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64 Bits of Crazy

[still haven't gotten to that long-ish post I was talking about this morning] After having a conversation about this with a friend this morning, I hit upon the reason I am so hell bent on finding every single video/computer game I used to play before, say, 1993. Itís not the nostalgia. Itís the simplicity. Todayís games are all about the graphics. It seems the better the graphics, the bigger the sales. But better visuals do not always make for better gaming. My son has played and completed all the recent Zelda games. When I introduced him to Legend of Zelda (available for the Game Cube) he pronounced it as "ugly but hard." In fact, he thinks that the gameplay on the original Zelda is far superior to the newer Zeldas. It's only the graphics that make the games superior. I'd much rather spend my time solving looking under pixelated carpets and walking through a forest of square looking trees than gawking at beautiful graphics that are just hiding bland substance. I have been steadily taking backward steps in my gaming. First, it was the Atari joystick games. Then we bought the Arcade pack for the GameCube, along with the Sonic pack. Last week, we got the GBA attachment for the GameCube so we can play all the original Mario games. And now, I am drooling over this over this. Each side of my conscience is sitting on their respective shoulder whispering in my ear. Buy it. Don't buy it. Come on, it's only fifty bucks. Your kids need new school clothes. You can play Pirates. Pirates. Dream House! The voice on the left is winning. That's the one saying buy it. Make it stop. Update: Reader Forrest sends this graphic: [click for bigger] Remember the C64 theme I had here a few months ago? Maybe I should bring that back. Update: I'm the current high bidder! Thanks, sweetie!


I believe your complaints about mediocre gameplay and bland substance stem from the fact that it's a Game Cube. Try a PS2 or XBOX, the consoles have better games (Final Fantasy comes to mind since you mentioned Zelda) and have a wide variety of uses (DVD, iLink, mp3 jukebbox.)

Hey, you're getting so many free games, it's like you're making money. Buy it! Do it!

Then, with the money you've saved with your wise purchase, you can buy one of these.

Shank, we have a PS and PS2. In fact, we have two of each.

Remember back then, when you beat a game, it wasn't because of cheat codes, it was because of hours of twidding the joystick and cramping your hands just to get the next level.

I can't count the number of joysticks I broke back in the day.

No other role playing game has the depth and intelligence of the Baldur's Gate series on PC. The graphics are decent, but the gameplay is amazing. Full AD&D rules, too.

Damn, Intellivision is back from the dead. That was tha shiznit back when I was about 12.

Hear, hear, Michele! Though I am a computer rather than console gamer, I believe that the same is true in this world. I have a two month old gaming rig that really flies, so I get to play all the latest pc games. Gorgeous graphics, just stunning. But the gameplay has just not hooked me, gotten me fired up. Give me the original Doom anyday (Which is ironic given that Doom III comes out today).

This past month I've been rooming in Texas with a woman who has 3 kids... the oldest is 8, and they all love video games.

Well, buried within their new game-cube Sonic DX or whatever, they found a "mini-game" with "ugly" graphics and easy bosses. What was this mini-game? Sonic 1, for sega genesis.

Me and the kids' mom tried to explain that this wasn't a mini-game... this was, in fact, THE game, back in the day. Now remember sonic 1 didn't have the down-B thing, where you can rev up and go... it lacked even that much cool-factor.

They said they couldn't go 'up' in the old game, so I jumped. Then they said they meant "forward", so i went forward. It was funny watching them struggle to outline what they meant. They meant it wasn't 3d, clearly, but they had absolutely no way of expressing it.

A Commdork 64? Please. Get an Apple II!


{pssst!} http://www.hexatron.com/rogue/

{Pssst more!} If you're looking for content as opposed to eye candy, learn the deep goodness that is NetHack (http://www.nethack.org).

Warning to the uninitiated: NetHack is one of the original Evil and Unreasonably Addictive Old-School Games.

One word - M.U.L.E.

Hell, I still miss the old Infocom text adventure games. Never had much use for them newfangled pixel contraptions. Sometimes I get so lost in nostalgia I can barely steer my wheelchair.

You'll be pleased to know that that atari remaking Sid Meier's "Pirates!" game for the PC. Looking at the screenshoots, it looks like a very faithful, yet modernized remake of the original.

Linky: http://www.atari.com/pirates/pirates/home.php

I am SOOO getting this when released.

Hey, this is for Jim Treacher...

You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door.

There is a small mailbox here.



Yep, my relatively "rich" cousin had the Intellivision. Bastard.

Jim Treacher,

Thanks for reviving the choildhood trauma of desperately typing in different phrases for hours (few of which were recognized by the game).

By the way, when I was 9 years old I created my own game using a TRS-80. It consisted of trying to hit a line zipping across the screen with a dot you sent up from the bottom. It never really caught on.

Now if someone would just remake a more modern version of Starflight, life would be grand.

I was 8 when I made my first "Choose you own adventure" game for the C-64 that consisted soley of IF..THEN..ESLE, INPUT and GOTOs.

When I first got a TRS-80, I thought it was the apex of human achievement. Strangely enough, I thought the same thing when I got my Tandy 1000 and first 286.

You mean the TRS-80 isn't the apex of human achievement??

If nothing else, it's a great self-defense tool. Considering its weight, you could really beat the shit out of an intruder with one.

Dude, I didn't know anyone else had Dream House! Of course, I don't think I really knew anyone else with a Commodore, my best friend's family was Macintosh all the way (her parents were teachers).

There were also a lot of games whose names I forget, but yeah, the Commodore was awesome.

You mean the Apex of Human Achievement wasn't the fact that the Atari 2600 joysticks worked on the Commodore 64?

> Hello Sailor

i'd pass on that c64.

now if they had lode runner or jack attack, i'd be pulling out the checkbook...

Classic games are the best! I've been collecting game stuff since I got my first Atari 2600 in the early 80's, and I refuse to part with any of it! Check it out: http://homepage.mac.com/loudne55/PhotoAlbum17.html

Of course, with emulation being what it is these days, you can do no better than a well populated MAME ROM library for arcady goodness :-)

we had a commodore back when I wore shortpants. I remember playing mission impossible, moonrover, and we had some game where you had to swing from vine to vine and run up these temple steps while people chucked spears at you. My mom worked for the USCG doing drug-busts so we had a modem for the C64, it was about the size of a stereo reciever.

The Atari 800 system was the best, though. Remember Star Raiders, anyone?

Hey, I had the joystick from that picture of the C64 stuff! Except mine didn't have the 3 separate handles - that's cool. It was a great joystick, too....

Boy this makes me nostalgic for my old Commodore Vic20. Many happy hours of tinkering and programming. I really wish it hadn't been lost...

Hey Squire, do you remember the name of the commodore magazine that had games in it (if you were up to typing 6 pages of code in)

Heh. Mystery at Marple Manor. I destroyed everyone at that one.

Holy Shnikies! Thats it Michele! Ahhh.. The hours I spent entering code on friday nights, only to have an error...Prepared me for COBOL in college...

Remember how you had to type in the assembler first, and then enter the program code into that (with a checksum at the end of each line).

Oh the memories....

I see myself 20 years from now shaking a fist at the grandchildren "In my day we had to TYPE our own programs in..And WE LIKED IT THAT WAY!"

I think I might be part of the very last age cohort to have done any programming with punch cards. In 1983, I was in 7th grade, and we learned how to program in BASIC on a Hewlett-Packard punch-card driven computer of some sort. Then over Christmas break, the school got a whole mess of Atari computers, and everything changed....

I doubt there are many people under my current age of 35 with punch-card programming experience.

20 GOTO 10


Yikes, David, what third world country did you go to school in. At first I was like "Heh, poor old timer!!" then I realized, "hhhhmmmm... I was in 7th grade in 1981-82 and I never used punch cards". I didn't really start programming until freshman year in HS and that was in 1983-84 and there weren't any punch cards to be found. We were all using Apple II computers.

By the way, Michele, how much would you pay for Microleague Baseball for that C64 ??? I bet I still have it back in the Den at my parent's house. Same room the C64 was setup in some 20 years ago.

Yeah, it was actually pretty rare for schools at the time to have much in the way of computers at all. And I think the one we used briefly in 7th grade was something of a hand-me-down to the middle school from the upper school, which had some more "serious" pre-microcomputer machine, maybe.

Oh, I just realized I did my own math wrong. That would've been 1981, not 1983 when we used the punch cards and got the new Ataris.

I have to disagree with your son; I enjoyed Zelda: Windwaker very much. Albeit, the fighting was way too easy (I played all the way through in 20 hours with no 'game overs' until the final boss), but the adventure and plot were far superior to the original two Zeldas, at least. The graphics are weird, but after you get used to them, they are beautiful in their way, and insanely detailed (for example, at night, if you look at the big dipper with the spyglass, and zoom in on the second star to the end of the handle, you'll see that it's a binary star!). It's certainly not a bland game.
The N64 Zeldas are much better, in my opinion. I'm one of the rare people who actually liked Majora's Mask better than Ocarina, but they're both terrific. The Zeldas are the only console adventure games that I'll replay over and over.

And believe me, I've got oldschool cred. I was playing games on a Commodore 64 when I was five. At 7, I was playing shareware games like Sleuth, McMurphy's Mansion and Pharaoh's Tomb on a 286 with a monochrome monitor. Graphic adventure games are the single thing in life that I'm an expert on. Now I just have to find someone willing to pay me large amounts of money to navigate the streets of Shapeir without a map, or to explain my theory about the ending of Monkey Island 2.

My son like Majora's Mask much better than Ocarina. In fact, he's convinced me to give Majora a try.

Definitely look up emulators if you want to play the old games. I loved the C-64--remember how the 1541 disk drive would make noises like a machine gun when it came to the copy protection section of a game?

MULE and Micro League were the greatest--wasted many weekends on those games.

Michele, your son is actually the first person I've heard of who agrees with me. You won't regret playing Majora. The game clock is really irritating at first, but you get used to it, and it's what makes the game so unique. I love how the people in Clock Town actually go around town and do things on their own, instead of milling around mindlessly.

You guys are all spelling the abbreviation for Commodore 64 all wrong. It isn't C64, or c-64, or anything else. It is C=64, and for a nickname, "screaming chicken" is appropriate(for the appearance of the Commodore logo). BTW, did you know there is a whole site devoted to old software?

www.the-underdogs.org--I picked up my copy of modemwars there. Now if I only had a functioning modem(Damn this ethernet thingy!)

Regarding M.U.L.E. - Best Multiplayer Game Ev0r.

RIP Dani Bunten

Also, Sid Meier's Fixas Games is coming out with a remake of Pirates. I hope it does right by the Pirates name...

Best RPG ever must be Wasteland.

Video Games Used To Be Fun

Dave C:

I'm not yet 30, and I have dramatic pause switch register experience.

On the late, lamented PDP-8. I missed my calling as one of the great switch register operators of all time. I used to have a solid rate of one word (three octal digits, or twelve switches) every two seconds.

I'd like to point out for the record that the bolded "dramatic pause" came from me trying to have asterisks surrounding it. Stupid markup languages.