By ShaggE 5 Comments
I was the outcast among outcasts when I was a kid. I wasn't playing Mario or Sonic, I was playing Wolfenstein and digging through shareware compilations. It was awkward at the time, but it's left me with a decade full of offbeat, obscure gems (and garbage) that have long been forgotten.
So, I decided to blog about as many of these "classics" as I could. Both in the interest of revisiting/discovering them, and in the interest of raising awareness of them. I'm going to start by running through the entirety (compatibility willing) of the Game Empire trilogy, one of my favorite shareware compilations. I might do a handful of games per post, or just a couple, depending on how much I have to say about each title. I'm also going to skip card games and "famous" games, although I will touch on some fairly well-known ones. The games will be chosen at random.
After I burn through Game Empire, I plan to keep going with other PC obscurities, but that's going to take a while.
Let's get cracking then, shall we?
Game #1: Sledrider (1997) by BOCC Software
1997, huh? Wow. Okay. I'd have pegged it at 1993. I don't remember this one, and it's clear as to why: It's basically a bland mix of Toobin' and SkiFree with none of the polish of either. Not a great start to this project, but you gotta take the crap with the cream. Not much to say about this one.
Game #2: Starfire (1992) by Silver Lightning Software
Ah, here we go. I remember this. It was a pretty fun, if generic, shmup. After playing it again just now, I can honestly say that it is indeed a game I have played. Woof. Okay, it's not horrible, but the controls are really rough, and the horrendous sound actually made me nauseated. The game itself is the usual "shoot a fleet of abstract ships and grab powerups". There's just nothing here worth seeking out.
Game #3: Pong Kombat (1994) Stefan Gagne
And to round out this first entry, we have a personal favorite of mine that I may have cheated the randomized system to put on this list, because I needed a positive note to end on.
This one is a little more well-known. Pong Kombat is exactly what it says: Mortal Kombat-style Pong. It had a weirdly full feature set for a joke game, with secrets, specials, fatalities, even the pit stage in glorious early-90s pre-rendered CG. It's surprisingly fun, too, inspiring a couple fan sequels (that I've never played). I'm still waiting for my $1.34 and a plastic cup, though.
So that's three games down. Let me know how I can improve this in future installments, or if I should even bother continuing. Any particular obscure favorites I should look at? Even if I did this daily I'd have years of material, but I haven't played everything. I'm not completely married to just doing summaries, either, if you have any suggestions as to how I could change it up some. Maybe the occasional gameplay video.