Pathwalker (pathwalker) wrote,

Old computer games

This weekend I've been spending a lot of time going through memories - checking on The Underdogs (and other places) to find games that I used to play, or that looked at when I was in EB or Babbages, and never actually bought.

There are the games I wish I never bought, like Earthrise which was an entertaining game, up until the end, when it revealed that if you didn't perform a minor action (flipping an unlabeled switch I believe) at the very beginning of the game, you were doomed to failure, with no indication until the very end. I'm still annoyed over that.

There are the really addictive ones I spent hours playing, like Snipes (By Novell), Starflight and many others. I spent quite a lot of time going forward year by year to see what I remembered.

I've also been tracking down older games. I finally found a Atari emulator that I am happy with, so I've been revisiting Agent USA, In Search of the Most Amazing Thing, Mail Order Monsters, AutoDuel, and Ali Baba.

Ali Baba is an interesting one - It's probably one of the first RPGs ever. The plot is loosely based on Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves but the designer appears to have not known the story in very great depth. All of the gaps were filled in with characters and plot lines taken from Tolkien, and modified very slightly to avoid lawsuits (Such as the character Stilbo the Bobbit). Other parts were filled in from Greek Mythology (you face the Minotaur at one point), there are robots, flying swords, and other strangeness (running strings on the disk image shows that Dr. Who is a character!).

This game used to really annoy me as a child. I would explore, and my party would get trapped in a repeating series of rooms that would annoy me greatly. Now with an emulator that I can switch into turbo speed, I can plow my way through the game and discover it's secrets.

Supposedly, the quest can be accomplished with only Ali Baba, and without harming any living thing. I haven't been doing that. I've been abusing the fact that if you retire a character and then re-add them to the party (which takes a while on an actual atari, but only a second in the emulator at full speed) they are fully healed. I've been throwing waves of characters at enemies in an attempt to bash my way through everything to see what happens. (Let's see what happens if you kill the Sultan - or find the hidden doors by bashing every wall in a room).

I have actually managed to find the princess using this strategy - now to see if I can find all of the clues, and set up for a future attempt to beat it with just Ali Baba.

In search of the Most Amazing Thing is another interesting game. It's intended for young kids, and is rather simple, but the atmosphere is very very cool. Unfortunately, for me when I was young, the game is written in Basic, and ran very slowly. Now with the emulator switching between normal and turbo, it is rather playable.

Agent USA just rocks. It may be intended for teaching states and capitols, but the idea of one man trying to contain a plague, and the different strategies you can use still keep it fun.
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