6 Retro Games That Are Still Fun and Worth Playing - Dangerously Genocidal

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Friday, 12 May 2017

6 Retro Games That Are Still Fun and Worth Playing

For those of us who have been playing games since before Windows and Consoles were things, it’s often hard to remember that a lot of games that we used to play are now decades old. But just because they’re old, it doesn’t mean they’re outdated or no longer fun – that’s why they’re now called ‘Retro’. There are a lot of them that are still heaps of fun to play, and completely worth the time, whether you’ve played them before or not – and there are a lot of them. Here are:

6 Retro Games That Are Still Fun and Worth Playing



1. The Secret of Monkey Island, LucasArts (1990) 

“Hi! My name is Guybrush Threepwood, and I want to be a pirate!” These are the very first words ‘spoken’ in the first game in the Monkey Island series, and they set the tone of the entire game. What follows the brief intro is several hours of puzzle-solving, comical swashbuckling fun.

Monkey Island is a point-and-click adventure game, and it has a lot going for it. For its time, Monkey island was considered to have astounding graphics and sound effects. Death is almost impossible – Guybrush can only hold his breath for 10 minutes, after all - unlike other adventure games at the time, and something that made it easier to just enjoy the silly-pun-filled game. Regardless of the humorous tone, the puzzles were fun and the story was oddly addictive. It was also one of the first games to introduce a dialogue tree.

An overhauled special edition was released in 2009, introducing a lot more detail in the graphics, as well as a new soundtrack and voice acting. Despite this, most die-hard fans of the game – such as yours truly – still prefer the original over the new edition.

The secret of its success can probably be attributed to many different factors. Regardless, The Secret of Monkey Island is a winning combination of fun, humour and out-of-the-box puzzles that make it one of the most enjoyable and timeless adventure games ever released. What kind of person passes on a chance to indulge in some good old Insult Sword-fighting?


2. Lemmings, Psygnosis (1991)

If you have ever played Lemmings, it should come as no surprise that the game is on this list. Lemmings was one of the best received games of its era, and it became so popular that various remakes, sequels and spin offs were made, including a Christmas version.

The concept itself is ridiculously simple – the aim of the game is to save adorable little green-haired creatures and lead them through increasingly complicated scenarios. They drop in from a hatch located at one end of the map and, using a limited amount of eight available skills (such as floating umbrellas, stair builders or tunnelling, for example) you need to safely guide your Lemmings past obstacles and towards the exit.

Unless given a specific task, the Lemmings will just continue with their carefree bobbing walk, even if it means walking off a cliff or into a pool of lava. Often it is nearly impossible to complete a level without losing a few Lemmings, but the aim is to save as many as possible and make your survival quota.

Despite its age and basic graphics, Lemmings is still one of the most enjoyable and addictive puzzle games to play – a must for any person who wants a fun, brain-teasing retro game. Be forewarned: addiction to the game may result in inexplicably losing several hours of your life.


3. Myst, Brøderbund (1993)

Myst – it’s a name that has become iconic in the point-and-click adventure genre, and one that, for many players, has become synonymous with “that beautiful and addictive but damn near unsolvable game”… or with a variety of curse words. For those players familiar with role-playing games, Myst has become to point-and-click puzzle adventure what Dark Souls has become to RPG. That being said, Myst was ahead of its time. It offered an interactive experience and a whole new level of immersion. It was such a hit that it was the best-selling PC game for nine years, before it was finally dethroned by The Sims in 2002.

In Myst the player, known as The Stranger, has to solve puzzles while travelling to various dimensions and worlds called ‘Ages’. These Ages reveal the backstory of the characters in the game as you progress through them. An interesting feature to note is that Myst was one of the first games to offering several different endings to the narrative, depending on the choices you make while playing the game.

Although well known for its beautiful world and brilliant narrative, the game itself offers very little information on how to progress, and clues in the environment are rare. It challenges even the best of puzzle solvers, and the focus required pulls the player so completely into the game that its easy to forget that there’s a real world around you. It’s that difficulty that makes whatever rewards you receive for solving a puzzle that much more meaningful.

Other than several more chapters to the story released in the franchise, three remakes were released. One of the remakes, realMyst, adds a free-roaming mechanism to the game. Although well received by some, the original creators as well as a lot of players didn’t like this new overhauled version – it was very taxing on computers at the time, and Robyn Miller (the original designer and not involved in the remake) said that ". As a remake, it was a lapse of reason and directionless; overt merchandising of the original Myst. It definitely wasn't how we originally envisioned Myst, as was promoted."

Now, Myst might not be on the same level as new games when it comes to gameplay, but it is still one of the most challenging, beautiful and enjoyable puzzle solvers – and, for any self-respecting adventure gamer, definitely still worth it.


4. Loom, LucasArts (1990)

Like The Secret of Monkey Island, Loom was also released by LucasArts around the same time and is also a point-and-click puzzle adventure – but that’s where the similarity ends.

You play Bobbin Threadbare, a young member of the Weaver’s guild – a group of magic-like people who can read the threads of fate and weave magical musical drafts. The introduction of the game leaves you smack in the middle of the mystery with a lot of questions and very little instructions – luckily the game isn’t very hard to figure out.

Most of the games from this genre at the time involved interacting with various things in the world while using items in your inventory. The only item in your inventory you have to interact with is your distaff. Using it while clicking on objects in the world allows you to find out or perform four-chord magical spells – everything from simple opening spells to illusion spells and even the good old straw to gold trick. It’s up to you to figure out how to use your limited spells to get through various mazes, puzzles and situations.

The story itself is actually very interesting for a game of this kind, creating an amazing fantasy world to explore as you, the mysterious Loom-Child, figure out why chaos is consuming your world.


5. Theme Hospital, Bullfrog Productions & Electronic Arts (1997)

Theme hospital is a business simulation game – you are a hospital supervisor slash owner, and it’s your job to build your hospital, hire employees and do research. All of this leads you through various missions to make money and progress to more challenging levels.

What makes Theme Hospital so much fun is the humorous tone of the entire game. Aside from pretty standard rooms like a GP’s office, psychiatry and pharmacy, there are also strange rooms to cure even stranger diseases. You could find yourself dealing with a relatively normal case of the uncommon cold, to a horrible case of bloaty head or slack tongue – or a timed emergency of several patients with spare ribs…

You also have to watch your staff. Many of them have very specific skills or personality traits that can benefit you or drag your hospital down. While you’re watching your staff and making sure you don’t kill any patients (whom Death comes to retrieve himself) you also need to keep all your machines working, the hospital clean, money coming in and the VIP’s impressed.

In essence, the game is really simple. Build, diagnose, cure instead of kill and move on. But the entire atmosphere – created by the rhythmic sound of popping heads over cheery music and witty, comical commentary by the receptionist – is unexpectedly addictive, and a great way to lose a few hours.


6. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, Oddworld Inhabitants, Digital Dialect, GT Interactive (1997)

Oddworld is a platforming game that was praised for having innovative gameplay, great graphics for the time, and interesting cut scenes to advance the story. It did have a bit of a steep learning curve, but it was the fact that you could only save at certain checkpoints that made the game really challenging.

You play a strange little creature called Abe, a Mudokon. Mudokons are slaves to the tyrannical Glukkons who run Rupture Farms – a giant corporation that slaughters Scrabs and Paramites (and the now extinct Meeches) for pastries and pies. But Abe, being a little snoop, inadvertently discovers a plot by the Glukkons to raise profits by turning Mudokons into their next tasty treat! It falls to you to escape the factory, saving as many slaves as you can - and if you miss too many of them, beware the ending that awaits you!

The gameplay is a lot more fun than you’d expect from a platforming game, with lots of different areas to explore, puzzles to solve and enemies to overcome and outsmart. Even the story has some wonderful twists and turns, and the multiple endings makes the game worth playing at least twice.




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2 comments:

  1. Wow, if I have played these games I don't recall. I was more of a pitfall and duck hunt kind of girl during these times. The Hospital business simulator sounds super fun though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have no idea! I've lost days to that little game! ...or maybe I was just really horrible at it...

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