Posts Tagged ‘retrospective’

Why Gothic Is More Believable Than Modern RPGs

One of the many nebulous concepts that spring up when writing about games is “a sense of place”. We talk about worlds and locations and settings, but often these boil down to unusual geography or art direction – surface details and imagery rather than a real identity.

Gothic, by contrast, wasn’t particularly pretty. Its setting wasn’t the singular underground world of Arx Fatalis, nor the varied alien landscape of Morrowind. Instead, Piranha Bytes recognised back in 2001 that a place is a place not because of its landscape or biome or buildings, but because the people there make it one.

Most RPGs have NPC traffic. Gothic had a society.

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Frags For The Memories: Quake Is Twenty Today

Twenty years ago today, id Software released Quake. Following a multiplayer test that gave the world a first glimpse of the studio’s new, cutting edge 3d engine, the full game arrived on June 22, 1996. Its bizarre mash-up of medieval architecture and crunchy, industrial weaponry didn’t run through the sequels, which have focused on both singleplayer and multiplayer combat, and there hasn’t been anything else quite like it in the two decades since release.

Arena-based Quake is set for a revival with the recently announced Quake Champions, but here, we remember the original. Happy twentieth, Quake.

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What Cinemaware Understood About Cinema And Games

Cinematic! What a loaded word it’s become. Once the game industry’s marketing buzzword du jour, the descriptor certainly earned its current status as a groanworthy sign that a developer would much rather be doing something else.

With such a disclaimer then, it’s safe to specify why It Came From The Desert, and in fact most games from its developer Cinemaware, had “cinematic” firmly in their sights. But in a good way.

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The Joy Of Destruction In Silent Storm

It’s a strange time to look at old turn-based shooters. While we’re hardly swamped, the genre has left its dormancy, casting strange shadows on our old sacred cows. Whisper it now: maybe some of those old things we championed for so long aren’t all that great?

Fortunately, Silent Storm can ignore such insinuations, as it was never sacred. Its 2003 release by Nival Interactive caused little splash, and it didn’t find the legendary status of UFO or the dedicated mod scene of Jagged Alliance 2.

Playing it now, that strikes me as completely unfair.

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A World Gone Sane: Strategy and Story In Hostile Waters

I'm not taking the minutes again, Oliver. I didn't declare war on the world to take bloody minutes.

Strategy games seldom come with a premise more creative than “what if aliens?”, or “what if robots?”, or perhaps “what if alien robots?”, and while this often works – their appeal tends to come from systems and details instead – it does leave a gap for more imaginative fair. Take, for example, Hostile Waters, Rage Games’ 2001 release inspired by the 1988 naval/aerial action strategy hybrid Carrier Command.

The central premise of Hostile Waters’ setting is essentially this: What if the Occupy movement had won?

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1942: The Pacific Air War Is The Game Most Worth Saving From 1994

Every game released before 2005 is being destroyed. We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give. These are the Saved Games.

1942: The Pacific Air War is a game about jinking the Zeroes from your tail and also wondering where the Japanese fleet has gone since you last sighted it. It’s a game about being the best goddam tailgunner in the Pacific Theater and also about worrying that the Americans have shot down too many of your spotter planes. And it’s a game about holding steady and hoping your last torpedo will destroy the carrier that will send out planes to bomb your airfield.

It’s the game I think is worth saving from 1994, because of its incredible scope and scale. It interweaves a complex naval strategy game with a full-featured flight sim, and it’s a perfect example of the ambition of its age, ambition that was realised on 486 processors and yet is so rarely lived up to today.

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How Players Revived Star Wars Galaxies And EverQuest

I am standing in a place that shouldn’t exist. It shouldn’t exist because back in 2011 it was decided that this place and the countless others connected to it were no longer financially viable enough to warrant their own existence. Four years ago, almost to this date, thousands of players gathered where I am standing right now to witness the final moments of Star Wars Galaxies.

“When I was very little, I used to create trial accounts of the game for hours and hours just to continue exploring,” John tells me. “Even though I never made it off of Tatooine or past level 12, I fell in love.” That love is what inspired John, better known by his peers as Aconite, to get involved with the community dedicated to preserving and restoring Galaxies to what it used to be. He’s part of a growing trend of MMOs that find a second life through the reverse engineering, emulation, and sometimes theft of their biggest fans.

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