“Do you know my child, back in my day…”, how many times have you been trapped into a conversation with an adult who began a rant about his glory days with this exact same sentence? Let me guess: you lost count, right? You can’t really blame them though now can we? With a future so uncertain, it is our past that we fondly cling to and hope to relive. That said (and since we are not getting any younger ourselves), I have compiled a list of retro games that is guaranteed to send you in a wild trip to the beautiful city of Nostalgia-Ville. And just so I can make you feel terribly old, I will mention the year when these games were published.
1. Prince of Persia (1989): The original Prince of side-scrolling platform games. Admit it. You loved every hateful moment when the 8-bit prince fell off ledges, was impaled by spikes, got his butt incinerated by fire pits, squashed by closing walls, stabbed by some random guy in a turban. I don’t remember anyone ever actually completing the game.
2. Midtown Madness (1999): When you see a draw bridge pulling up, what do you do? A) Slow down and come to a stop or B) Just ram the accelerator and use the raising platform as a ramp for the most spectacular stunt jump ever? If you chose the latter, then you have probably played this game. Midtown Madness, unlike every other racing game, did not limit you to the tracks but gave you an large, open, functioning, city to wreck havoc in.
3. Wolfenstein 3D (1992): Revisit the era where you killed Nazis before you learnt about World War or even knew how to spell the bloody word. This game is so old that all you might probably remember was the pixeleted gore, your parents’ worried faces when they saw you take delight in a killing spree with a mini-gun and that funny moustache guy. Yes. THE funny moustache guy.
4. Serious Sam – The Second Encounter(2002): “Give a man a bullet and he’ll want a gun. Give a man a gun and he will be giving bullets away.” Where can you get such an inspirational quote if not from Serious Sam, a man who preaches from the barrel of his fully loaded mini-gun? This game had what every 12 year old wanted – absolutely mindless violence. So what are you waiting for? Go kick some alien guts again!!!
5. Project I.G.I (2000): This tactical shooter came as quite a surprise. It was too polished a game for its time and had guns that actually sounded like guns (somewhat) and did not go ‘pew-pew-pew’. One of the most popular shooters back in the days, it coined the catch phrase – “I am going in.”
6. Medal of Honour – Allied Assault (2002): Unlike Wolfenstein, by the time you got to play this, you probably got the idea about what a ‘Nazi’ was. Or not, as the case may be. This first person shooter was the only WWII game I seem to recall where I was shooting down antique planes, running away from the intimidating Tiger tank, throwing a ‘frag’ in a room full of ‘baddies’, sighing in relief after finding a ‘medi pack’ when my health was dangerously close to zero…ahh the history (pun intended)!
7. Counter Strike (1999): The first multiplayer you ever played and loved. The reason why you “borrowed” money from your dad so you could go with your friends to the nearest Cybercafe and hook up a LAN session. Come on now. Show the kids of today why everyone in you locality called you “The Headshot King”.
8. Pokemon Red and Blue (1999): Almost every kid who got this game can relate to how much agony the very first decision I was pushed to make – Charmander or Squirtel? (i.e.Charizard or Blastoise?) I mean, seriously! What were the game developers thinking putting such a crucial decision into the hands of a kid, who had watched every episode of Pokemon and adored these pokemons? How could one child choose between two icons? Oh, did someone choose Bulvasaur? Seriously? Why?
9. Super Mario (1985): The original badass. How many people you know can shatter bricks with their head, jump enormous gaps in a single bound, shoot fireballs from his hands, eat mushrooms that grow from odd places, hold their breath underwater infinitely, scour fortresses to defeat dragon/turtle hybrid to save a freaking mushroom guy who tells you that the princess is in the next castle only to find the same guy again every f*@#ing time?
10. Age of Empires 2 – Age of Kings: “Hololo” Boom! Your Moslem Castle is now converted to a French Catholic! “Holololo” Pow! The guy you shot on the face with your ballista is now fully healed. Age of Empires. A game that transcended age and logic. A classic. A point and click strategy game that had you playing for hours at end, collecting resources and forginh empires. Now that you are drowning in the sea of nostalgia, can somebody please tell me – “How do you turn this on?”
11. Contra (1987): You see your partner lying down cold and dead near you and you are down to your last life, all the while the nefarious ‘boss’ is laughing at your imminent termination. You move left to dodge a bullet only to find a wave of laser beam shooting down from that direction. You leap, tuck and roll. The boss gurgles in delight, amused by your pointless acrobatics. But suddenly you see a ‘bonus’ float in the sky. You shoot it and down falls a mini-gun. You smirk. The Boss is not laughing anymore.
12. Grand Theft Auto – Vice City (2002): Every kid in town has played this. And why not? It has guns, bullets, bombs, babes, cars, attack helicopters and more guns. And remarkably, your rocket launcher could fit in your pants. Many have sank countless hours in causing nothing but total anarchy in this game. Nobody gave a damn about completing the campaign, all everyone wanted to do was get a concubine in their car and shoot her to get the money back. Whoops! Did I say that out loud?
13. Diablo 2 (2000): The RPG game that kept every fanboy/girl tossing and turning at night, wondering “Should I spend my gold on that armour or that sword?” I had spent a considerable amount of time mulling over issues such as distributing skill points, choosing the perfect perks, developing my character, making sure I was well stocked in potions and antidotes before I tried to tackle a dungeon. *Sigh* Those memories…
14. Age of Mythology (2002): The lesser cousin of Age of Empire. That is how I recall this game. Yet it was fun to play this game. You can never really get enough of games where you click on little men, order them to do build stuff, tell them to produce more men, tell them to kill someone else, unleash destructive wrath if some mortal displeases you….yea that’s what being a God is like in a nutshell.
15. Baldur’s Gate (1989): This game was one of my all time favourite RPGs. Based on the modified version of the gold old Pen and Paper D&D game rules, this game was a huge success. Unfortunately, it was mostly unheard of in our part of the world during the time of its release. Why Then did I put this game in the list you ask? Because it is a brilliant old school RPG with ton of flexibility and replayability options that you must play to make up for the good times you have missed as a kid.
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