One of the programmes I’ve been enjoying on TV recently is Dara Ó Briain’s Go 8 Bit, a comedy game show where celebrities compete against each other on a variety of video games, both old and new. It’s great fun, and it’s got me thinking about some of the games I used to play when I was younger. So I figured it would be a good excuse to wallow in the nostalgia by writing a post about them.
These days I spend more than enough time on computers as it is – as part of my job all day, and then doing other things in my spare time like going on social media, blogging, watching videos, etc – plus I go out and about a lot too. So I’m not big into gaming as well, as I just don’t have the time, money or inclination for it. And the friends I have aren’t big gamers either.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t play modern games though. I would gladly give them a go if I had the opportunity, and I’d love to try Virtual Reality out of curiosity, as it would be interesting to see how accessible and immersive such experiences are these days, especially for someone with sight loss like myself. After all, it doesn’t matter how amazing the visuals or audio or storyline are, it can still be an awful game if the menus are tricky to navigate, text instructions and subtitles are hard to read, the controls are a nightmare, or it’s impossible to see what you’re supposed to be doing.
But thankfully there were many games that I was able to enjoy when I was younger, despite not having perfect vision, ranging from very basic PC programs to heavily detailed console titles. So I hope you enjoy reading about them here, and feel free to comment with your own favourites!
- Early Childhood
- Microsoft Windows
- Miscellaneous Systems
- Sony PlayStation 1 & 2
We’ll start with five of the very earliest games I can remember enjoying as a kid. I don’t remember them in vivid detail, but then again, looking up articles, photos and Youtube clips in the course of writing this has made me smile with some very fond memories of those days.
I’m assuming that most young gamers now won’t be aware of the existence of these games, unless they happen to be playing any related sequels, and may well snort in derision at the blocky low-res graphics and strange-sounding MIDI music. But these were cutting-edge and amazing to us at the time, and even now they would still be fun for many people to play. There’s a reason myself and many others remember their existence at least 25 years after playing them. And many games from the old days have been a big influence on titles that have come out in modern times – not just through sequels or spin-offs, but just inspiring developers in general across the gaming scene.
The Magic Telephone
This is the earliest computer game I have any vague memory of playing, which we had on a BBC Micro in school. I’ve no idea why this adventure game, with its simplistic but oddly charming blocky graphics, has stuck in my mind nearly 30 years later. But it was fun at the time. At it’s clear I’m not the only one who remembers it, and you can even play it online if you’re feeling really nostalgic! Just playing the first few screens there for fun, as well as reading people’s comments about it, brings back good memories.
These were both great shoot-em-up games played in DOS. I’ve chosen the third in the Duke Nukem series, the first 3D version of the game, as it’s the one I seem to remember, but I guess I may have played the two that preceded it, and/or one or two sequels that came after. I only remember playing the first Doom game, but again it wouldn’t surprise me if one or two my friends got the sequels. In any case, me and my mates loved playing these games, as did millions of other people. It was great escapist gameplay, and the graphics were really impressive at the time.
This has stuck in my head as simply being called “Larry The Lounge Lizard”, I’d forgotten what it’s full title was until now. If you think that first person shooter games aren’t appropriate for young kids, then this isn’t going to impress you either. This game, full of adult humour, about a virgin trying very hard to lose that label, was a huge hit among teenagers, and quite possibly some children younger than that. Sure, we weren’t supposed to be playing it, but it wasn’t exactly difficult to get hold of. And you soon got to learn the answers to the trivia questions at the start that were supposed to be only answerable by adults.
Again this was played in DOS, but these graphics were very low-resolution – which was probably just as well given the subject matter. You basically had to walk Larry around the environment, telling him what to do by typing commands, with the ultimate aim of finding a lady to ‘get it on with’, so to speak. It wasn’t an easy game by any means, but it was fun, especially with the humour involved. It was crude and silly, and that was the whole charm of it. It was a very well written game to be fair.
It appears there was a whole series of Leisure Suit Larry games, but I don’t know if I played any beyond the first one, my memories are too hazy. There was also a Reloaded version released a few years ago apparently, with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. And there’s loads more info about the series and other games, on the creator’s own website – Al Lowe’s Humor Site. So Larry’s legacy still lives on, which is wonderful.
If you thought Larry’s graphics were blocky though, that’s nothing compared to the Lego-like designs used on my final choice, one of my all-time favourite games – Bamboozle. I defy anyone who remembers playing this not to smile just at the mere mention of it.
This wasn’t a computer game as such – rather, this was a quiz played through your TV on Channel 4’s Teletext service. It made very novel use of the coloured Fastext keys on the remote control, that were normally used for shortcuts to other sections of the Teletext service, and we used to play it as a family quite a lot.
Basically, you answered multiple-choice questions (posed by cartoon quizmaster Bamber Boozler) using the red, green, yellow and blue keys on your remote. A correct answer would take you to the next question, while a wrong answer would take you to a page where Bamber’s wife Bambette Boozler would say that you were wrong. You would then have to go back a bit, usually to an earlier question (though in the very early days you’d be thrown all the way back to the start – thankfully they changed that!). Sometimes Bambette would give you a bit of trivia, or she would ask you a bonus question that you could redeem yourself with (and there you could just press the Reveal button to see the answer). And at the end of the quiz you would get a rating, based on how many questions you got right first time.
There were many variations as well. Sometimes their children (Buster & Bonnie) would get involved to do a quiz for the kids, or there would be a sports quiz with Brian Boozler. And if you were really lucky, particularly over Christmas, they’d replace the quiz with a graphical choose-your-own-adventure game based on classic children’s game show Knightmare. I loved it when that happened. A crossover between a great quiz and one of my absolute favourite TV shows – heaven!
You couldn’t type in page numbers to skip questions either, you had to use the coloured shortcuts provided. And that’s because the clever people at Teletext were using hexadecimal digits. That is to say, you could only type numbers from 0-9 on your remote control, but page numbers could also contain the letters A-F (e.g. 1AA, 1AB, etc). And so they used this for the Bamboozle quiz, meaning the only way through was using the Fastext buttons.
However, you could still cheat another way, because the questions and the Bad Luck pages were always on the same page numbers. And sometimes it would take a few seconds for Teletext to cycle around to the next page it was trying to load. So you could select an answer, and immediately know it was wrong from the page number it was trying to access. And therefore, if you were quick enough, you could try the other answers until the page number changed, thus avoiding the Bad Luck page altogether.
Also, if you knew where to look, you could access one or two hidden engineering test pages as well. Sometimes you could just type the page number in using the digits 0-9, but other times you might have to go to a particular page and hit one of the coloured keys, which would then take you to a page with letters in the number. And on one TV I had, I could go up and down through the page numbers – including those with letters – using the up and down channel buttons on the remote. So I could make 1AB go back to 1AA, for instance. I’m not sure I found anything particularly interesting via that method, and you couldn’t get to every hexadecimal page that way – there was a limit beyond which it would take you back to regular numbers – but it was an interesting little glitch.
On a related note, BBC’s Red Button digital text service used to have a secret page where you could bring up the Test Card. Again, it was for engineers really, but for those of us who came to learn about it, it was a delightful Easter egg. Basically, you needed to go to the BBC’s Red Button channel (used to be 105, then it was changed to 200). Here, you had to press the Yellow button when the Welcome screen appeared, and then switch to any other channel. Next, go back to the BBC Red Button channel and hit the Green button this time, when you see the Welcome screen. After a brief delay, a screen of data would come up, then you could press Green again to reveal the Test Card. I don’t know if that still works on Freeview today, but those are the instructions I’ve found and remember doing.
So Bamboozle was a great game, and it’s well worth mentioning that Teletext was a great service in general, as was its predecessor Oracle on ITV and Channel 4. And, most importantly of all, let’s not forget the service that started it all – BBC’s Ceefax, the first and always best teletext system in the world. It really was a technological marvel when it launched. We basically had smart TVs because of this service, it was the internet of our time. All we had to do was press the Text button on the remote control, and we’d have instant access to all the news, weather, sport, finance, TV & radio guides, comments pages (I once had a letter published in the TV section!), and much more!
And before the BBC showed the News Channel through the night, they used to broadcast pages from Ceefax during the dark hours with music accompanying them, and people got their nightly news fix that way. Much simpler and easier than the 24 hour news channels we get now, where the poor presenters have to keep repeating themselves to pad out the time. Perhaps the BBC should just broadcast screengrabs from the BBC News website overnight, it would be just as effective and a lot cheaper. Put the old library music over it again and people would watch it to hear the nostalgia alone!
There were all sorts of special services too. On ITV and Channel 4 there were holidays and dating sections for instance, which became big things in their own right – in particular, Teletext Holidays became its own business, which is still going today. And, of course, 888 was the page number for subtitles, because it was easy to remember and type in. Initially there were different numbers across the channels, but 888 became the standard.
And I remember ITV for a while used 777 as a weird ‘Televox’ service. To a random viewer visiting that page, you’d get pages of gibberish cycling by rapidly. But if you rang a special number (which I assume was premium rate), you’d be given a special timecode that allowed you to freeze the 777 screen on a specific sub-page, which you would then have control over by typing in further codes to display the content of your choice. I never used it, I had no reason to, but it always intrigued me nonetheless. There’s some discussion from a few people about it here.
The Advent Calendars at Christmas, where you pressed Reveal for a Lego-style representation of something festive, were also fun, as were the children’s stories like Turner The Worm. For things like this, the Teletext designers showed just how good they were at the graphics considering the limitations of the system in terms of resolution and colours available.
This was also evident in the more surreal aspects of the service that kids like me enjoyed, like Mega-Zine, with WLW (White Line Warrior) and – to finish by getting us back on the original topic – the video game section Digitiser. The latter in particular was sometimes extremely weird and rather controversial. You can browse some archived pages from it to see what it was like, and even watch a video of the very first edition. Its creator, Mr Biffo (aka Paul Rose) has kept the name with a website called Digitiser 2000, and a related Youtube channel.
The demise of Teletext was inevitable in the end, with the advances in digital TV and the internet. However, nothing’s ever matched the beautiful simplicity of those old teletext services, we live in a very different time now. So it was a very sad day when Ceefax was finally retired, with its final moments broadcast on the last day of analogue TV in Northern Ireland in 2012. It really did mark the end of an era. Many people still have fond memories of it just like me, and you can still relive some of the experience online here by typing page numbers in, plus there’s a Teletext Museum website with loads of stuff on it. It was a massive part of my youth, and I’ll always be glad for that.
I know I kind of got off topic there, but talking about Bamboozle without reminiscing about teletext services in general is impossible, especially as many young people now won’t have a clue what Teletext was, which is a real shame. So RIP Ceefax & Teletext – even in these days of the internet, we still miss you!
I grew up using Microsoft Windows, at home and at school, through all the major iterations from Windows 3.1 onwards. I didn’t buy many games for the laptop and desktop machines I had at home over the years, but I used to like getting magazines with freeware and shareware games and demos that I could play, and played a few free games on websites too. But aside from those, there are a few games that i did play a fair amount – two that came with the operating system, and two that I bought on CD-ROM.
I mean, this is obvious, right? Everybody knows of this, the classic Windows time-killer.
Solitaire is what Americans and Canadians call the card game of Patience, where the goal is to get the cards sorted into 4 piles, one for each suit (hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs), and with all the cards in order in each pile (Ace to King). There has been much talk over the years about productivity being lost in offices to these game, and it’s not surprising, it had a knack of drawing you in when you had nothing better to do (nowadays the internet does that job perfectly on its own, of course). The animations on the back of some of the cards was a fun touch as well, but the most satisfying of all was when you managed to complete a game and the cards bounced around the screen in celebration. That always made it worth the effort.
There was also a Vegas scoring option, as if you were in a casino, where you would start off with a negative value of -$52 as your starting payment, then every card you successfully sorted would earn you a $5 reward (so you’d end up with $208 at the end of a successful game). Which sounds easy, but you could only go through the deck once, you couldn’t refresh the dealing pile after that. And the score was cumulative from one game to the next, so the aim was to earn as much money as possible, or at least stay in the black (above $0) for as many games as possible. It was an interesting variation.
Another card game was added later called Freecell, which I also played a bit, but I never enjoyed it as much as Solitaire. And I never really got into Hearts either. I gather Microsoft have since also introduced the Solitaire Collection with a few other games and features, but I’ve never tried that as I don’t own a Windows machine any more. And besides, the original Solitaire will always be the best to me.
Also, although it’s not computer-related – while we’re talking of card games, I need to give a shout out to Uno as well, which I used to play a lot with my family and friends. I still remember the rules, with the matching of numbers and colours, making the other player draw 2 or 4 cards, skipping and reversing, using wild cards (including draw 4) to change colours, etc. And I still see it being mentioned today, most recently in a video by The Blind Spot (a channel I follow and recommend), so it’s great to see that it’s still out there. Always makes me happy whenever I see it, it brings back really fond memories. It’s interesting to see how the Americans pronounce it too – they’re saying “Oo-no”, while we always said “You-no”. I don’t know if that’s a common language difference or if we were pronouncing it wrong all these years, but it’s just something I noticed! But anyway, I digress. Back to the PC…
If we’re going to mention Solitaire, then this warrants a mention as well. I enjoy logic puzzles, so I enjoyed this for that reason. You had to be careful to avoid the mines and reveal just the empty squares in order to win. If you clicked on a square (assuming it wasn’t a mine), it would show you a number telling you how many mines were in the squares immediately surrounding it (but not which squares they were in, you had to work that out for yourself). If there was nothing surrounding it, it would be blank. You could place flags on squares that you felt certain had a mine in order to lock them down, or mark squares with question marks that you were unsure about. There was often a degree of luck involved, and the only reaction you got for winning was the smiling face icon wearing sunglasses at the end, so it wasn’t quite as satisfying as Solitaire – I still preferred that to Minesweeper ultimately. But this was still fun to pass the time.
There have been loads of versions of this game released over the years, but the 1995 Westwood CD-ROM edition is the one that myself and my best mate have played countless times over the years. After many years of owning the game myself, I eventually gave it to him when I no longer had a use for it, and I think he still has it. There’s just something really charming about it. The 3D graphics of the pieces moving around the board is really nicely done, and the ragtime MIDI music tracks are pretty good as well.
The controls were easy enough to understand, and it was very customisable with various options. We always used to turn on the double salary feature, whereby you would get £400 instead of £200 if you landed on the GO square itself. We also turned on the fines option for Free Parking, meaning that anybody landing on that square would collect all the money gathered from fines paid up to that point. It added an interesting extra twist to the game, as you could get a decent amount of cash there sometimes, if nobody had landed on it for a while. We also used the rule for even building – i.e. you must have 1 house on each property in a set before you can build a second, then 2 properties on each before you can build a third, and so on. I never understood the “Cheating is allowed” option though – I don’t know what it did though, as we never tried it. Presumably it allowed the computer characters to cheat – but why on earth would you want to let it do that?!
Talking of which, we used to have fun playing against the computer characters, because they were generally pretty stupid. In particular, when it came to auctions, they would do anything to get a complete set – even if that meant giving you every last dollar and every other property in their possession. So you could clear them out, giving you one or more complete sets of property yourself, as well as all their cash – and leave them with one complete set of properties they couldn’t build on. That always gave us a laugh, and always ensured they lost!
Of course, nothing beats the enjoyment of playing the real-life, physical version. That is always fun. And as a big Queen fan, I’ve been intrigued to learn about the Queen version that’s come out in the last couple of months. But the 1995 CD-ROM version has been a great way to play too. More modern editions will undoubtedly look much better, but the older classic is the one I’m familiar with and still love to this day.
Again, this is a game that I owned for a long time until I passed it on to my friend. And again there have been many versions of it over the years. The interface on this one was really colourful, with a nicely animated 3D board. The music wasn’t anything special, but hearing it back still jogs the memory a bit.
What we most liked, though, was that the questions were spoken to you – not by a speech synthesiser either, but by recorded human voices. They also made comments when you selected a category on the board, and answered a question rightly or wrongly. One or two of them did seem to be slightly euphemistic in nature, or maybe that was just our teenage sense of humour (“Let’s slip a wedge right in there!”, “You’ve earned a pink wedge!”, etc).
The questions were multiple choice, so you could simply type a number or click the relevant answer – unless you were extremely brave/foolish and opted to type in the answers by hand without the multiple choice options, but we never did that! There were tons of questions, and me and my friends didn’t play it that frequently, so we rarely ended up memorising any answers. So the game stayed with us for years, and continued working on some later versions of Windows that my mate had. I don’t know if it would still work on current Windows systems, but I think my mate still has the disc.
These were 2 classic first-person shooters by the Rare development team that my mate had – and indeed still has – for the Nintendo 64 console, which he also still owns. Only a couple of years ago the two of us (along with a couple of other friends) were playing these games when I was staying over for my friend’s stag do.
They were classics of their time, and are still fun to play now. Especially Goldeneye, that seems to be our favourite of the two, but Perfect Dark is also great. I’m rubbish at both of them to be fair – when you have poor distance vision and eyes that constantly move thanks to nystagmus, trying to spot and target people before they shoot you isn’t easy. But somehow that doesn’t matter here, and the winning or losing isn’t really the point. It’s just great fun to play either of these games in mutiplayer mode with your mates, because the carnage that ensues is hilarious. And sometimes you are able to get some pretty good shots on target if you concentrate hard enough.
Youtube is amazing for nostalgia with things like this as well, as you can enjoy full playthroughs and the complete soundtracks of both games on there.
I can’t talk about games without mentioning the classic Nokia mobile phone version of Snake. It was addictive and fun, and I remember there was one day when I got a really high score and very nearly completed it, with a couple of friends watching eagerly. So it was a fun, if sometimes frustrating, way to kill the time.
Ok, this isn’t a computer game in fairness, but it did require a TV screen, and it was something a bit different. In some countries it was called Nightmare, apparently.
This was a board game with a twist, because you had a video to watch as you played. Not a DVD kids, but a video – there used to be these bulky things called VHS tapes that you’d have to put in a big machine called a Video Cassette Recorder. It’s scary to think that some youngsters will have no concept of what this is now, just like the Teletext stuff I mentioned earlier. It makes me feel old even though I’m only in my thirties! Later versions of the game did have DVDs, apparently, but we never played those.
Anyway, the game master would appear on the video and give instructions every so often as you played the game. I don’t remember the game vividly, although I seem to recall the guy on screen being quite scary, deliberately so. I don’t think we played it too many times, because once you’ve seen the tape once, you know what’s coming, so the novelty and surprise probably wore off a bit. But we certainly got a good few games out of it, otherwise it wouldn’t have stuck in my head.
Incidentally, I also vaguely remember a show about technology and computer games as a kid that required the use of a video recorder for part of it. Now that I look it up, I’m reminded that it was called Bad Influence!, and the segment I’m thinking of was called Datablast, where frames of information rapidly appeared on screen near the end of the show. The idea was that you would record the show on your video recorder, and then use the slow motion and pause features to read each frame. It was an interesting way of giving people lots of information to read through. Just another of those random things I remember.
Sony PlayStation 1 & 2
I spent many happy hours playing on my PS1 & PS2 consoles, so there are several games I can mention here.
I loved Crash Bandicoot. The first game I played was actually Crash Bandicoot 2 – Cortex Strikes Back, because it came bundled with the PlayStation console when I bought it. I then moved backwards to play the original Crash Bandicoot title, before then moving on to Crash Bandicoot 3 – Warped. They were all great games, with so much to discover and a great variety of levels. Some of the levels were really hard – which is fair enough, you expect games to get a bit more difficult as they progress to give you a challenge – but I managed to complete all the games in the end.
It’s great to see that many other people still remember the games fondly too. Just flicking through things like this speed run on the second game brings back great memories. It’s also interesting to see some of the glitches in the game, many of which I hadn’t been aware of. You can also listen to the fun music soundtracks from the first, second and third games online (as well as later spin-offs and sequels that I’ve not played if you search around).
And, even more interestingly, when finding videos to link in this blog, I’ve only now discovered that the original Crash game had a deleted, unfinished level, that could actually be accessed by using a Gameshark code.
Now, for those who don’t know, devices like the Gameshark and Codebreaker allowed you to enter special codes to cheat at games. It effectively changed values in the console’s memory while the game was playing, so that you could do things you weren’t supposed to – like get extra lives or items you weren’t meant to, or access hidden levels. You could even create your own codes, by using the device to discover where certain values (e.g. lives or health) were stored in the console memory, and then alter them.
I had one of these devices for a little while – I can’t remember which one – and it was fun to play with. I did complete games normally, I didn’t use it to cheat like that. But I did enjoy experimenting with it to see what was possible and just muck around with my favourite games. I never knew about that hidden Crash level though, I’ve no idea how someone found that! But then that’s probably just as well – it looks really hard from the videos I’ve seen about it.
But anyway, Crash was great fun. And it’s cool to see that they’ve brought him back, by remastering and updating those 3 games for the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. It looks interesting from the videos I’ve looked at online, certainly. It can’t be the same as the original games, sure, they will always be classics even with their now-outdated graphics. But it’s wonderful to see Crash being reborn for a new audience, and to give the games a new lease of life for those of us who remember it previously. Long live Crash!
Worms was a massive favourite of mine that my mates and I kept playing for many years, it never got boring. And we always stuck to the original 1995 version (which my friend still has). The later editions were ok, we did try a couple of them (and the Wormsongs I recently discovered that were written for each game are quite fun). But we always quickly went back to the original. Even though it can be hard to play on a small screen when you can’t see too well, it still felt easier and generally more pleasing than the later 3D incarnations. The joy of throwing things like banana bombs and exploding sheep at your mates, while the worms make all sorts of exclamations in their squeaky voices, all helped to make it great fun to pass the time.
Indeed the “Incoming!” sound effect from the theme tune is perfect for a text message tone, and I used it for some time on my mobile phone. I was able to do this because the game disc was playable in a standard CD player, so I could rip the theme tune on to my computer (as well as the music for the levels), and then isolate the relevant part of it to use on my phone. I was always delighted when I found a PlayStation disk that you could play in this way – there were quite a lot of them. Track 1 would generally be the game data, so it would make a horrible noise, but the additional tracks could then have some very interesting bits of music. And the theme to Worms has to be one of the most memorable and iconic in the gaming world, it’s quite the… well… earworm.
These are the only two Grand Theft Auto games I’ve played, but they’re both amazing and kept me addictively occupied for many hours. Being able to explore such gigantic and varied environments and do whatever you like is wonderful escapism. There are plenty of missions and quests to complete as well, of course, which I managed to do – using some tips (not cheats, just advice) from internet forums if I got stuck on anything. There were plenty of secrets to discover and unlock as well. I also bought the soundtrack box set for Vice City, featuring the music that was used on the game’s radio stations (with DJ links and humorous adverts included), as there are loads of great tracks on there. I haven’t played any of the games beyond that (e.g. GTA San Andreas), but I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy them if I did, based on these two titles.
In the days before the World Wildlife Fund took issue with the initials, this was one of the official games of the World Wrestling Federation. I was never a big wrestling fan in terms of watching it on TV, but I had friends who loved it. I just found it boring and silly to watch. Playing the computer game, however, was a different matter, I really enjoyed it. It was always fun playing out the different types of matches, and the entrances for each of the wrestlers were pretty good as well. So it was another great slice of escapism. I think we did try out the sequel as well but, as with the Worms games, my fondest memories are of the original. It was a great time-killer.
This is the first of a few driving and racing games that I want to mention. Rollcage was pretty unique, given that the design of the vehicles meant they could be flipped over and you could still drive them, plus you could drive along walls and ceilings, smash through parts of the scenery in the beautifully designed levels, and use weapons on your opponents. It also had a great soundtrack featuring Fatboy Slim. Here, kids, is where you’ll find something called Love Island that’s actually decent, as opposed to being the title of a terrible TV show these days. Fatboy Slim’s tune of this name is very catchy. It just all combined to make a cracking game. I never did get the sequel though, so I don’t know if that was any good or not.
Another great driving game, this was very addictive as you tried to rack up as high a far as possible as you tried to get people to their destinations. It was quite tricky sometimes, but once you got to know the layout of the levels, you started to get the hang of the best shortcuts and the best ways to brake so you could drop off and pick up people as quickly as possible. You could also get bonuses for doing cool jumps, show off your extreme driving skills on the Crazy Box levels, and the graphics throughout were good as well.
I absolutely loved these games. Not only were they fun racing games with a great soundtrack and gorgeous graphics, but the best part was the crash missions, where you had to rack up as high a score as possible by causing as much damage to other traffic as possible. This was immense fun, because the effects and devastation when you got it right looked amazing. It was so satisfying!
These were great adventure games. I think I found them harder and thus less enjoyable than Crash Bandicoot in some respects, as some of the puzzles, visuals and controls were somewhat tricky for me. But it didn’t stop them being fun, as there was so much to see and do in them. Being able to explore a 3D world so freely felt really novel and exciting – though nowhere near as much as the Grand Theft Auto series later proved of course.
This was a lovely platformer with beautiful graphics. I wasn’t as big a fan of it as I was Crash Bandicoot, so I don’t remember it as vividly. But I still enjoyed it at the time, it was very well designed.
This was a good racing game. Not great like the ones I listed above, but still enjoyable. I actually had the PC version, but it was also released for the PlayStation, so I feel I can still count it here. The great thing about this game is that all the music could be heard by putting the disk into a standard CD player, and thus I was able to rip it to my iTunes library as well. And they are pretty cool tunes too!
The Monkey Island games were very unique and fun adventure games, requiring you to solve all sorts of puzzles, figuring out what items you needed to get and which people you needed to talk to. There was a lot of good humour in the games too, a well-written storyline and nice graphics. I think I must have played more than one of the games in the series, but this is the title that sticks in my mind.
I didn’t think that skating games would particularly be for me, but I must have played a demo of this one and enjoyed it enough that I ended up getting the full game. And I did do quite well at it. It was something different from all the other games I’ve played, which was partly why I liked it I think. It was something new and fun to get stuck into. It’s not something I’d rush to play again necessarily, but it was a good game.
This was effectively the PlayStation equivalent of software like GarageBand that we have now, and was designed by Welsh musician Tim Wright. It was music creation software where you could put all sorts of riffs together, or make your own by manually entering the notes, and even grab audio samples from CDs. As someone who loves listening to music, it was fun to play around with it, seeing if I could do my own remixes of tunes that I knew. Granted, it could take ages to put a song together, and I’m not remotely a professional music producer, so the results wouldn’t have sounded great. It’s not a substitute for proper music creation software on proper PCs and was limited by the PlayStation’s memory. But even so, it was still pretty powerful and capable of lots of fancy effects if you knew what you were doing, and a lot of people did an awesome job with it. So it was a fun way to pass the time.
London Racer (My Worst Game)
Finally, I want to balance things out a bit by nominating the worst game I ever played – London Racer by Davilex Games. I love London very much, so discovering a game where you could race around the city sounded awesome.
Oh, how wrong I was. I cannot begin to describe how appalling this game is. Everything about it – the graphics, the controls, the collision detection, the soundtrack, the typos, it was just painful to play. It appears there were sequels, but after this i would never have gone anywhere near them. Apparently the PC versions were a bit better, but I never tried those. I can’t imagine them being a lot better, but who knows? Still, if you don’t believe me as to how bad the game was, check out SuperDuck’s very accurate review!
I did have a lot of fun playing video games during my childhood and teenage years, and I do miss it. So, as I said at the start, I would love to try some modern games and some VR stuff, just to see how I get on with it. I’m not sure I’d buy a console for myself these days, but occasional gaming will always be fun, especially with friends.
So I hope you enjoyed that nostalgia trip through my favourite games of yesteryear. Do let me know if you enjoyed any of the same titles, or if there are any others you particularly enjoyed. Thanks for reading!