5 Iconic Retro Games You Must Play
When the micro-computer revolution began in the late 1970s, this gave way for the video game industry to blossom. Prior to that, video games could be played only in commercial arcades, limited home gaming consoles (like pong), and small handheld gaming units like the classic Game and Watch and the like for those who can still remember. Growing up in the '70s and '80s gave me a chance to see how the video games industry developed and grew through the years.
The 80's released a flood of micro-computer brands with their own proprietary operating systems. A horde of home market gaming consoles was being released as well. The Apple// computer series (my first computer ever) made video games a way of life for most young boys and men who plunged headlong into the world of computer technology. With IBM releasing their own PC the micro-computer industry started to solidify in the '90s with both the Apple Mac and IBM PC as the de-facto standards of the PC world.
Before Gates developed and released windows in response to being up by Jobs and his GUI Mac OS, Microsoft created (or rather modified) MSDos as de-facto OS for Intel-based PCs. Most of the games and new ones being made had to be compatible with MS-DOS to run on all the IBM clones. Believe it or not, most of the games that came out during this time are what can be considered today as classics. They were awesome and the best during that time not because of their graphics or sound effects but because of the storylines and gaming concepts, they introduce that became the foundations of the gaming industry today.
Thus, Retro Gaming has become a way to currently experience the historic and wonderful past of video and computer games. For the younger generation, it is a way to get to play your grandparents' and parents' video games. It may not be as exciting and awesome compared to the almost realistic games of today but still fun and worth playing for those who can see beyond the technological edge of our current times. For those who have played and enjoyed them before, then you know there is much gaming gold in the past which are mostly freeware or shareware today. With that, let's take a look at five of the most popular and iconic games of the glorious Apple// and MS-DOS era.
Just a quick note, to run these classics on current windows based ultra-fast super-duper PCs, you will need an MS-DOS emulator to do so. A very good one is (of course) DOSBox. Some can be played directly with your current web browser. There are many tutorials online and on YT on how to run these games so it won't really be that of a hassle to do so.
Let's begin with FPS. There's no other game that can describe MSDos based FPS other than DooM. "The Gate is the Key" murmurs the sour lemon-smelling decaying marine before you blast him to bits with your pistol! The horrific 3D adventure of space marine Fly Taggart has gone down in gaming history. Released in 1993 by id Software, Doom has set the technological and gameplay standard for 3D and FPS gaming all the way to today with graphics and sound advances being implemented to its original core design. If you've seen the latest release (version) of DooM, playing the original will give you an idea and feel of the advancement of FPS gaming through the years. Still listening to that awesome scary soundtrack till today.
Adventure games were a hit during the MS-DOS era. Since PCs were not that fast, people tended to focus more on the storyline more than real action. "Beneath A Steel Sky" released in 1994 by Virgin Interactive is by far one of the best if not iconic PC adventure games of all times. You play Robert Foster in this massive point-and-click adventure as you explore a post-apocalyptic Australia to get to the bottom of why and what you are doing there in the first place. With your droid sidekick Joey, you will have to wade thru an awesome storyline that combines insane humor with a serious threat and comics-style storytelling with the awesome PC graphics of the time.
Among the game genres of the '80s and '90s was the puzzle game. Video and computer games of this variety went beyond the jigsaw or crossword classic puzzle-solving and put-together gaming activity. Game developers were able to come up with a lot of novel and fun ideas. One of the most notable is the concept of the Lemmings, computer creatures that massively followed the one in front in a straight line like oblivious stupid zombies to either safety or their doom. There are however some of them who can save the day and their tribe as well. They are the diggers or bridge builders and of course you who can steer these stupid but cute little folks to use umbrellas instead of plunking all the way down and never reaching the next level. Released in 1991 by Psygnosis, Lemmings will always be a fun and awesome part of gaming history.
Role-Playing Games was one of the main-stay gaming go-to of gamers of the '80s and '90s. Games like Dungeons & Dragons which originated as pencil and paper multi-player games of the '70s were ported over to the computer world. Aside from the Bard's Tale, the Ultima Series of Richard Garriott (Lord British) has become sort of the de-facto standard for RPG in the way DooM was for FPS. One of these Ultima games is "Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss" released by ORIGIN Systems in 1992. The game is a sprawling dungeon crawler 3D RPG adventure with lots of Non-Player characters to talk to, fierce enemy monstrosities to battle with, and massive twists and turns that will really require some time to explore. The game took a lot of effort to create and present the best in RPG in the MS-DOS era.
Today, we have MOBA/Real-Time Tactical and Strategy games like DOTA2 and League of Legends. These games however are, as you can say, grandchildren of a single game released by Blizzard in 1994. The first-ever WarCraft game Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (aka WarCraft 1). If you play this game today, you will have to adjust to the somewhat clunky game mechanics but it would be really worth it if you want to know the origin of the iconic game series. The graphics may be a little outdated (of course) but this was the MS-DOS era and look where this game has led to today. No other RTTS game can go as iconic as WarCraft 1, but don't expect to see Prince Arthas running around.
So there you have it folks, five of the most iconic retro games/game series of all time. They may be old but they sure are the gold of the gaming world.