This is where you can read any of my irregular wafflings about computer gaming. The whole point of this blog is to help motivate me to properly finish games, whether they be recent ones or older ones I played when I was younger that I never managed to beat.
30th December 2017 - Nostalgia Bomb
Every few years I enjoy travelling back through time and re-living my early teens with the aid of my Amiga emulator. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been going pretty hard.
The game I tried first in this little marathon was Formula One Grand Prix, a game I adored as a kid. Together, me and my mates went through several seasons using "hotseat" style multiplayer, with those of us that had mastered manual braking having a big advantage. When I got a PC, I completely forgot about this game and got hooked on the sequels instead, which were far better, and now I've remembered why.
I played this for one short race, where I went from back of the grid to 7th. Man it was a struggle. The frame rate is probably only 4fps or something silly, making it hard to control. How the hell did we play it back in the day? It won't be one I play again.
After that, I slapped on some Super Skidmarks, which for a while was the game of choice for me and my mate Dave, especially when we played it on his A1200. This thing is still insane and a lot of fun. It's hard to control, like you're driving your car on an ice rink, but definitely something that's still worth playing.
Of course, I couldn't crank up the Amiga emulator without playing some Sensible Soccer. It always was my favourite Amiga game, and always will be. I managed to create two new teams to bring the total to 20, just enough for a full-sized league. After going through the whole league, I won every game except draws against Final Fantasy and The Witcher, and a single loss against the Decepticons. Wouldn't have minded, but none of those teams were near the top of the league come the end. Punks.
Then I decided I wanted to finish some games, and Scoob joined me in going through a few multiplayer ones. Up first was Golden Axe, a game Scoob was sure we'd already completed back in the day, but I wasn't so sure. After getting to the end, surprisingly easily I might add, it definitely seemed familiar so we must have completed it after all.
Still, other than a bit of stutter here and there, this game was quite fun to play. Definitely better than what we played next...
After we enjoyed Golden Axe, we thought we'd give Double Dragon a try. I played this quite a lot in an arcade with my bro on holiday when we were kids, but even though I got it for the Amiga later I couldn't really remember playing it that much. No surprises why...
The Amiga version of this thing sucks ass. With inferior graphics and sound, and crappy, buggy gameplay, it's a wonder we got through it at all. But just like Golden Axe, when we got to the end, it all seemed familiar, so again, it was another one I must have completed as a kid.
One game I knew for a fact that I'd never finished was Battle Squadron, a game we used to simply call "Silver & Gold" when we were kids. This shooter used to kick our asses all up and down its vertically scrolling screen, and even during this play through, we had to turn a lot of the options to easier levels, something I don't think we ever knew we could do all those years ago.
It's a fairly short game, but fun and worth a run through. I'm thinking when I've got some more time I might play it solo on harder difficulty. It should be possible with the emulator's save state capability.
Taking a look down the outside
Getting smacked about by the AI cars
My defender fails to block a shot on my goal
Twonking some ruffians
Playing tennis with some ruffians
Tyris unleashes her inner dragon on the end boss
Seriously, WTF are these graphics?
Scoob beats up the Hulk
These damn spears killed us way more than the bad guys did
All hell breaks loose in the final battle
Shooting the shit out of the Barrax Empire
There are some odd enemies in this game
Splatting some huge bugs
Scoob unleashes a nova bomb on the final boss
7th October 2014 - Feeling Sensible
The emulator got a further workout when I had a bit of a fad recently on good old Sensible Soccer. I played four leagues on the trot, each one including more and more teams as I thought of new ones to create. It was honestly quite a bit harder than I remember it when I was a kid, and I continually failed to win the title until the fourth league where I really knuckled down. Even then, throughout the course of the madness, I had a fair few second half meltdowns, playing very badly in the second half after doing good work in the first.
But it was so much fun to just go nuts on a fondly remembered game from twenty-odd years ago.
Angron scores passed me for Chaos Utd...
...so I fight Chaos with chaos
Scoring passed the DC comics team
Going for the lunge
Everyone's on their arse
Marvel's keeper tries to head it out
Only Marvel beat me on the way to the title
The midfield battle against the Skumsplattaz
Great save by Aquaman in the DC goal
Champions at last
23rd March 2012 - Revisiting Classics
A few days ago I discovered the existence of GOG, which offers old PC games that are usable on current Windows. Of course, as soon as I saw the old Worms game on there I had to have it. I wrongly assumed though that the software had been tweaked so that it would install and run on XP, but instead the game is just as it was and is bundled with something called DOSBox that allows you to run it. I could have just downloaded DOSBox for free myself, as I'm pretty sure my brother's original Worms is in the loft somewhere, but oh well.
Worms was one of the first games we ever had for our first PC back when I started college in '95, and it was by far our favourite. My bro, my mates and I spent many a Saturday afternoon blowing each other's worms to pieces in a variety of silly ways, all the time trying to counter my mate Spud's dark side tactics!
Nug Nug Worm sorts two enemies out
Worms is a fairly customisable game, with the ability to add your own maps and sound effects. Back in the 90s we didn't have the capability to make our own speech, but I did add a couple of my own maps with (AFAIR) fairly little trouble. So, imagine my surprise recently when I found it very difficult to make my own maps, when I assumed it would be a doddle with newer software. Damn you Photoshop. Gimp is supposed to work though, so maybe I'll have to download that and give it a try. And when I can get around to it, I'm sure I'll be able to make my own speech sets with the contraptions that I now have available.
So far, I've only got around to entering a single team - based on the LLAP-Goch classic, "The Adventures Of Detective Cronkshonk", which I have been using to beat up on the Take That team.
After giving Worms a couple of plays, the existence of DOSBox got me thinking about other, even older games that can be played with emulators. Long before I had a PC I had a good old Amiga 500, so I decided to see if I could get the WinUAE to work. I had originally attempted to use WinUAE about 10 years ago, but the only game I ever really got to work to any decent level was called North & South (which I bloody loved by the way). Upon downloading the latest version I discovered it to be a much better bit of kit than the old one I tried, and allows you to automatically configure it to match any of the old Amiga models. And so I went hunting for the game I easily spent the most time on as a kid...
A few minutes later I was listening to the menu music of the one and only Sensible Soccer, and having a massive nostalgic experience. After starting a match I soon remembered the style of its gameplay. Your players just can not control that ball, and the slightest change in direction will see the ball dribbling away from them. So to progress up the pitch, lots of quick passes are in order (which is not easy on keyboard). Nevertheless, I came out of my first Sensible Soccer match in over 15 years with a 5-3 win, with Sparky and Choccy doing the business as usual. Really does go to show you how easy the original Sensible Soccer was, but I loved it all the same.
I then thought about what had been my staple footy game before I discovered Sensi. World Cup 90 by Genias really was not the best footy game ever made, but boy was it cool to hear that awesome music again. I set up a match and got stuck in. The gameplay really could not be more different than Sensi. In this one the ball sticks to your feet like glue, but I can not find any pass option to speak of. So instead the tactic here is run and shoot like mad. Somehow, despite not knowing what the hell was going on, I managed a 2-0 win over Argentina, the second goal of which was a bicycle kick after their keeper saved the initial shot.
Really will have to grab my joystick out of the loft and give these old footy games a proper go, as it's very hard to control those little dudes with the arrow keys.
It's my intention to get stuck into other old classic games, as many seem to be available. Fantasy World Dizzy, Gobliins 2 and 7th Guest are all calling to me, and maybe I could find Skychase which was such a cheesy laugh (those little Amiga balls as missiles - hilarious).
Really not sure what my player is up to here
He's gonna kick me in the face!