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Columns This Isn't About Monkey Island, Honest

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 7 Mar 2008.

  1. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    Funny you say that about being aloft in a hot air balloon - I'm due to go up in a couple of weeks. I've also been in a boat off the coast of Oman and watched a school of Dolphins jump out of the water. Not sharks, granted, and no limbs to declare at Heathrow but 7/10 for effort at least?

    The first game I remember getting hooked on was Atlantis. I can't remember a great deal about it, tbh. It was back in 1983 (I'd be about 9) and a good friend of my Dad's brought round a Speccy and an Atari VCS. After playing a game on the Speccy (an overhead car game involving either racing or checkpoints) and then playing a bit on the Atari, I had the very lucky choice of borrowing one for a week. I plumped for the Atari and played through a handful of games. The one cartridge that got plugged in the most was Atlantis. I played it so much, one of the four leaf springs on one joystick broke and then two on the other joystick gave way to my addiction.

    From then on, it's been peaks and troughs. Beach Buggy, as a 3-screen arcade machine was awesome and Space Harrier could never be the same at home without sitting in a hydraulic-powered cockpit that moved as you moved. The graphics on the Return of The Jedi arcade machine were pretty awesome for the time, too. Gravitating from a C64 to an Amiga 500 was an awesome upgrade. Stangely, there was something about the smell of a new A500 that stuck in my mind. I was devastated when, after a house move, my A500's floppy drive shrivelled up and died. Thankfully, it wasn't long before it was back up and running.

    On the C64, I'd have to say it was a group of games by a developer/publisher that kept me coming back, as not only were the graphics and music pretty awesome for the era, the gameplay was damn good, too. Armalyte and Hawkeye by Thalamus were amazing. I actually sat and completed Armalyte, thinking there was a chance of a golden code at the completion of the game. After ringing Thalamus up (!) they explained it was the actual cassette that was golden, but thanked me for playing the game right through and sent me some rather cool promotional posters. That was pretty awesome for a 12 year old. I can't remember completing any other games on the 64 - I just revelled in playing all sorts of different worlds - Last Ninja, Thing on a Spring, Wizball, Hypersports, Beach Head, Leaderboard Golf.. etc. I had something approaching 200 tapes I think. Just remembered, Spindizzy was a game that had me playing for hours, until I'd keep falling off a particularly hard bit.

    The Amiga 500 with it's Psygnosis games showing its graphical prowess (SotB, Agony, Walker et al) and Sensible's SWOS and Cannon Fodder and Lemmings and SWIV and Test Drive and Stunt Car Racer and Lotus Challenge and possibly the best shooter in existence, Xenon 2 was awesome on a desk. One game seemed to be 'the one' though. Strangely, it didn't involve shooting anything or leading a squad or building stuff. It was Indianapolis 500 and it got very special when you added another 512K of ram. You then got replays in full 3d. Just playing the game was good enough, but I couldn't wait when, one Christmas, unknown to me (and I used to look, believe me) I received this magic upgrade I had been lusting after which changed my favourite game and made it even more enjoyable, it had to be plugged in immediately and obviously tested out to make sure it worked properly.

    A year after the PS had been out and after seeing the frankly amazing Destruction Derby and Wipeout, I bought one. I played Destruction Derby and it's sequel to death. I remember having a hobby when I was young of drawing smashed up cars, with bits bent and wonky aerials. To me, DD was heaven served on a disc. DD2 took the formula and basically made it more exciting. FF7 was so different to anything before and it was sometimes a struggle to know what to do or even suss out what was going on. Strangely, it was the first game that made me shed a tear. The first GTA, although struggling on the PS and lacking the car alarms of it's PC counterpart, had me hooked for ages. It was hours after putting the disc in that I'd noticed it was well into the night.

    Tomb Raider came along and offered massive 3d worlds that you could leap around, shoot dinosaurs and get squashed by boulders. When I was playing it at home, I had to switch it off after my sisters went to bed. I couldn't play it on my own..!

    I started playing PC games fairly late compared to most, as I clung to my A1200 (with it's 68030 50Mhz CPU+FPU and 16MB ram) until 1998 when the 3.5" 1.6GB hdd I had shoehorned in there that took about a minute to boot into Workbench suddenly died. A mate sent a ripped copy of Half Life (which was minus the music) - tbh I didn't know anything about the game at the time. I certainly got a taste for it and after buying the game, it took up a lot of my spare time. The game just seemed to keep going on and lasted me a fair old couple of months or so. I never got that far in Opposing Forces though, there was one point where it got rather difficult so I quit.

    Call of Duty was pretty amazing, but storming the battlements on the beach in COD2 has to be a defining moment in gaming. Of course, HL2 was amazing. Day of Defeat got me hooked on multiplayer online gaming - so much so, that I was on a few website leaderboards for a short time! The first online game I played was something I downloaded from Gameplay I think.. not called Wings but something similar.. anyway, you were strapped in a WW2 biplane and the aim was to shoot down other players in their biplanes. I was that excited to be playing 'real' people online, I was shaking.

    Looking back on a mostly good gaming past, it's incredibly difficult to pick a game that is defining, a favourite - one that, given the chance you'd go back to play it and still derive much pleasure with it being your only sustenance for an afternoon.

    I'd have to give the honours to something like Sim City, or Mega-lo-Mania. Something that is easy to pick up but will give you hours of enjoyment, offering a wide range of things to do and which isn't repetitive. In other words, another world you can live in while the real world tumbles on through space for an afternoon or so.
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2008
  2. Blademrk

    Blademrk Why so serious?

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    The game that got me was either Space Invaders or Tank Assault on this Acetronic consle that my dad had, I was around the age of 3 (I'll be 30 in a couple of months). Dad was a bit of a computer nut himself, he had a ZX80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, BBC B (with the big old floppy disk drive) and the TI99/4A. Now this machine holds a special place in my memories as I first started programming on this machine i had a book which had code for all these wonderful simple little games (3D Tic Tac Toe). I didn't really understand what I was typing (for I was still very young at the time), but it's always been at the back of my mind.
     
  3. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    Wolfenstein 3D (Shareware version) was probably the first game that really got me hooked on gaming in 1992, at the age of 4.

    I can't say anything about Wolf3D that most gamers don't already know about it - Precursor to Doom, revolutionary rendering system, etc etc.
    It just happens to be the first game that really grabbed me, rather than one that had any huge impact on my life beyond initially getting me into games.

    The first game I ever actually played was "Gorilla.bas" (A QBasic example game) which my father taught me how to load up and play on our 286 when I was about 3 years old.
    Eventually I got my hands on a bunch of the Apogee & ID releases of the early 90's and in that regard you could say that the guys at ID and Apogee played a big role in my formative years. :hehe:
    Wolf3D, Duke Nukem, Xargon, Commander Keen, BioMenace, Cosmo, Doom, Quak, etc..

    After that, the list of my favourite games throughout the years reads like a contents page to my life, showing my changing tastes and expectations in gaming, which for years was the only hobby I spent any significant amount of time on.

    I was obsessed with shooters for years, particularly with Quake 1 and later Unreal 1. Hearing the music from Unreal still sends shivers of nostalgia down my spine.
    In 1998 I got Baldur's Gate for Christmas from my parents and it changed my gaming life, opening me up to the world of RPGs (which I only had a passing interest in previously).
    Half-Life got me back into shooters again in between, while Starcraft, Total Annihilation and Red Alert got me into RTS games.

    In 1999 I went on to experience some of the best games of my life, mostly expanding on my love of RPGs, including Planescape Torment, Final Fantasy VIII (which got me into the entire FF series) and Omikron : The Nomad Soul (an underrated, but strange, classic) while I also went back to play Fallout & Fallout 2.

    The next game to have a significant influence on me was System Shock 2. Anyone familiar with my frequent rants about the state of gaming these days will have seen me reference the System Shock series as being an example of the pinnacle of gaming - SS2 had that much of an impact on me.
    Followed by SS2 was Deus Ex, which blew my mind yet again, quickly adding itself to my list of gaming perfection (to later rant about, particularly when the disappointing sequel is mentioned).

    Baldur's Gate 2 expanded on the excellence of BG1 for me and managed to improve in almost every way on the game that got me into RPGs, and for that reason is probably the game that I've spent the most hours of my life playing (alongside Fallout 2 and X3 Reunion).

    I was never much of a console gamer, the GameBoy and PSX being my only non-PC gaming machines for years, while I only bought a PS2 a few months ago.
    I 'dabbled' (read: obsessed over) Pokémon on the GB for a long time, and the PSX sated me with Metal Gear Solid and FF7/FF8, but I've always been a PC gamer at heart.

    I'd find it difficult to pick a single game that I can say had the biggest impact on me, but Baldur's Gate, System Shock 2 and Wolfenstein 3D all played large roles in influencing my gaming tastes and even influencing who I am, given that gaming dominated my life for so long.
    The best distinction for me of a classic game that had a large impact on me is the question of whether I could sit down and play the game again from start to finish right now.
    I could for every one of the games I've mentioned here.

    The general decline in gaming lately has been very disappointing to me, but I live in hope that there will be a return to glory days again, that we get intelligent, involving, deep PC-oriented classics on a par with System Shock 2 and Deus Ex to restore my faith in gaming as the most engaging artform of my life, rather than just a money-driven medium of which I'm a consumer.
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2008
  4. zabe

    zabe Perfect in my imperfection

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    Even though my first game was Pong, followed by the NES generation with all Mario Bros. titles in existence, that was only "killing time" for me. It wasn't until the PlayStation era that I got to enjoy gaming as such. My first game in 32bits was Crash Bandicoot 2, I'll never forget the sensation when I first played it. It was the plants. I started playing the game, and I was in the middle of this huge jungle, with trees, plants, flowers... it had "exotic" written all over it. Given that in my town (mediterranean, but not as full of vegetation) I could have never seen all that wildlife, I got hooked to the beautiful scenarios, the feeling of being in the jungle, the incredible sounds of air, animals, plants moving... It was truly like going to Australia or something. A few years later, this awe for the jungle became more refined in exploration, which helplessly made me drown in the depths of any Tomb Raider location (yes, even though the series sunk to the lowest levels of quality up until Legend). I just couldn't help the intrigue, the excitement of discovering places, wanting to see what was in each jungle/tomb/misterious place... To this day, even though i'm a linguist now, my writing extracts usually have to do with scenery and exploration, and I can't help but feel that being an explorer is my one frustrated passion... which exploration games always seem to satisfy, and I'm sure, that my being a linguist today is empowered by that same sense of intrigue, of wanting to explore, discover, analyze... only that, instead of doing it in exotic places, I do it in amazing texts. So yes, I guess I can say that gaming did change my life, gave me direction to my way of living.
     
  5. skpstr

    skpstr New Member

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    For me it was Missile Command on the Atari 2600. I would play that game for hours, I remember actually clocking the score back to zero once. :)
     
  6. Whalemeister

    Whalemeister is so hot right now!

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    Great article Joe! And what a way to start a lively discussion!

    There were a few games that I remember from my days with the C64 that were very formative in developing my passion for games, Bubble Bobble, Bomb Jack, Commando and Gauntlet would be some of the most addictive and fondly remembered games from the C64.

    Lemmings, Robocod and Speedball 2 would be my pick of the games from the Amiga 500 (or Atari 520st[fm]) days

    The first games to get me started with PC gaming (which is currently my 'spiritual home') would have to be Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Syndicate and later Deus Ex and Max Payne
     
  7. AlohaStitch

    AlohaStitch New Member

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    Well, i'm kind of a fps fanboy, but ironically, most games that left their mark in my mind aren't of that genere. I'm gonna give three examples, there are more, but i can't write a bible here. The games are Megaman 3, Contra, and street fighter 2 the world warrior.
    It's hard to be objective explaining why because i was too young when i played them and well, i just loved them, never stopped to think why until i grew up a little and started analizing. For example, despite what fans and even Keiji Inafume would say, for me, at the time, Megaman 3 was a perfect game, and improoved the series in various ways, gameplaywise, it added the signature slide to megaman's list of moves, storywise, it included protoman to the cast of characters, Contra, well, is an action game like none other, it is difficult, fun, had exellent graphics for the time, exellent music, the level design was challenging and, it had the spread gun ('nuff said). Finally, the world warrior, it set the standard for all fighting games in years to come, and the gameplay mechanics of that game are still being emulated, no wonder why capcom is going back to the roots with street fighter IV, plus, who doesn't remember entering an arcade house and hearing Hadoooken!!!?
     
  8. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    I must say Joe, your girlfriend has good tastes (at least in gaming!). While FF7 immediately sprung to mind for me, it really was the Genesis-era Sonic games that sucked away my childhood. There were plenty of others that took tons of my time, but I think that blue rodent took an amount of screen time that's only rivaled by the number of times Tails died.
     
  9. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    I always thought it was, "How are you Ken?"

    Ooh, also just remembered Turrican 2 - that was amazing and took a few good sittings, the levels where you had to fly your ship made the game stand out (and more often than not ended with an 'aaarrgghh!! bugger me, bugger me!! ooh, that was close.. arrrrrggghh! ooh, flippin eck.. woah, that was cool..' as the speed increased.
     
  10. AlohaStitch

    AlohaStitch New Member

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    OH yes of course, Shoryuken = Are you ken? / Tatsumaki Sempuu Kyaku = Contact at you ken
     
  11. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    I wanted to change Ken to Willy or Jonny for giggles, but I decided against it :p
     
  12. TRG

    TRG New Member

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    Subspace Continuum

    In grade 9 at high school I was introduced to Continuum, which we played during lunch hour for most of that year. even just in December, I led a renaissance of that, with my own server running at lunch for about 4 weeks. I had about as many people playing during those 4 weeks as we had back in the day. It took months to learn how to make balanced settings for the game, and even longer to make fun and interesting maps, but when I had the chance to run my own server, it was bliss for me. I am actually quite bad at the game, but my skills with making content more than make up for it. That is my story. Continuum is the best game ever, with 1,000's of players, dozens of 24/7 servers online, and a handful of successful community sites.
     
  13. Jamie

    Jamie ex-Bit-Tech code junkie

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    Ditto on that, my dad showed me Gorilla and QBasic on my 286 and I also had a lot of the Apogee releases. Lemmings was a big game in my past too.

    Welcome to the forums :thumb:

    Thinking back I actually had a Game Boy long before I started PC gaming, played a lot of super mario, tetris and zelda - link's awakening.
     
  14. Thacrudd

    Thacrudd Where's the any key?!?

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    The game (series) that hooked me into gaming was Mega Man. To be exact, Mega Man 2. During the day my grandmother would baby-sit me while my parents worked. I would spend all day either playing the game, or making arm cannons out of cardboard and duct tape. I didn't just play the game, I wanted to "be Mega Man" Others had heroes like superman or the Green Lantern, mine was Mega Man. But it is not my obsession. I literally owe my life to another.

    Back in 1996 my friend came over and brought a game with him. It was called Chrono Trigger. Now I'm sure you are familiar with it. Though it is quite popular nowadays, I knew nothing about it at the time. I asked to borrow it and I loved it. I was so engulfed in the story about this band of characters that came together basically by fate to travel though all corners of time to defeat an inevitable threat. I felt their pain and their motivation, as if the very world I live in was threatened. I didn't play the game because it was fun, I played the game because I "cared". (Keep reading, I promise this is going somewhere)

    When I got into High School, my interest dwindled from gaming with my pointless strive to be "cool". I got with the wrong crowd (though they were my friends and I still live them to death) and started doing drugs and partying. I had lots of fun, but it was affecting my life and my health. I graduated and in 2003 I bought my first "real" gaming computer, still "living on the edge". I played different games but a year or two down the road I found out you could emulate the Super Nintendo. The fist thing I played was Chrono Trigger. It was back, that feeling that I had unknowingly missed for years. Here's the turning point : Drugs were effecting my relationship with my soon to be wife (June 5th, 2008!) and I knew it. After I got that feeling back I started buying more games. That means my money was going to games instead of drugs, and that is good. They both make you lazy and unproductive, but hey, it's better than living your life in a gutter wondering if you took or drank or took too much. I got back in the gaming world and realized that being cool is well, stupid. I am cooler than I ever have been lol.
     
  15. Anakha

    Anakha Member

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    Here we go. History of gaming.

    While we had a +4 first, many of the "Games" included with it didn't really tickle my ticklish bits. "Fire Ant" was good (As already mentioned), but nothing else seems memorable.

    The first game I played through to completion was "Sonic the Hedgehog" on the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in the US), and that started my love of the blue hedgehog. The game that really cemented my love of gaming, however, would be a toss-up between "Toe-Jam and Earl" and "Ecco the Dolphin", both on the Mega-Drive. Ecco was arguably the easier game, as it gave out save codes between each level, whereas TJ&E had to be played through in one sitting. And man was that game BIG!

    Multi-Player gaming got me when a friend of mine got a PC of his own (That I built for him), and we strung over 100 feet of null-modem cable (Not really, it was a whole hodgepodge of Serial, Centronics, RS-232 and Parallel cables joined end-to-end with gender benders and one null modem cable to make it work) between his machine and his parents machine after school to play long C&C:Red Alert skirmishes. Quake was always fun, too, but my friend didn't like it so much (Mainly 'cause I kicked his ass!).

    Then the internet came around, and I was using an Amiga 1200 to surf (With hard-drive and '040 expansion card, of course). Still, going over to a (different) friend's house and hooking our A1200's up to play rounds of XTR was big fun, and alone, Monkey Island and Flashback took my time.

    Sneaking "Descent" into college to play on the network there was awesome. A nice 16-way game of Descent was more then enough to get the grey matter going, and a better lesson in relative physics and 3-dimensional thinking than any other game I've seen so far.

    Then, when it was obvious Commodore were never going to be able to keep the Amiga alive, I got myself a PC. Doom, Quake, and Half-Life became my life until one by one they fell to completion. Then came a round of hardware upgrades, and Q2, Q3A, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, Halo, all of them were played and completed.

    Now I'm in Canada, with a wife. And while there's a fair few computers here, none of them are up to playing modern games (Portal won't work without patching - only a GeForce 4 MX, so no pixel shaders!). The XBox sits here, Halo2 having been completed. It taunts me with Black still (Not completed it yet, damn that game is tough), and Burnout is fun, but mostly it's there to act as a frontend to my DVR (MythTV + XBMC on the XBox). The Wii is great fun. And Super Mario Galaxy is sitting at 90 stars - So close to completion!

    So, right now, I'm saving my pennies to get legal and get working. Then I can get (In order) bills paid, a House, a New PC, and an XBox 360. Then I can revel in Crysis, Halo 3, UT3, GoW, GoW2, and whatever else comes to hand.

    So, quite the chequered history, but fun and interesting, perhaps?
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2008
  16. Bluephoenix

    Bluephoenix Spoon? What spoon?

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    the first game I ever played was Gorilla.bas on an old beltron machine, which is still gathering dust at home in a closet if I remember rightly.

    I was mostly a casual console gamer for alot of my life, and then really got into 'hardcore' gaming (clans, heavy online multiplayer, etc) by the release of the xbox and the first halo.

    before that I did play games, on pc and console, but not at the level I did after that.

    since then I've accumulated a great love for FPS games and a few RPGs and RTSs as well as a Passion for modding flightsim games (did some work on the Freespace 2 SCP, have written scratch mods for FS2002/2004/X and xplane, currently writing an entire game overhaul for Wings Over Europe to bring it up to modern scratch.)
     
  17. UncertainGod

    UncertainGod Well-Known Member

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    The Games that hooked me were the first few I got for the Amiga when it came out and they are the likes of Frontier: Elite II, Megalomania & Cannon Fodder.

    To this day even though I love my fast FPS games like UT, ect. I still think the games I like th most are the big epic space based games, the fast & frantic RTS's and ... Dawinia as it's the only other game to come close to capturing the spirit of Cannon Fodder (hurry up Multiwinia!)
     
  18. MrMonroe

    MrMonroe New Member

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    I don't need the wine (but I'll take it if you're offering), the answer to your question appeared in my mind about two sentences before you posed it:

    Civilization. Played on my mother's enormous black and white copy editor's monitor, struggling to make out what the unit tiles indicated.

    Sure, I had played games before on the IBM my dad had for as long as I can remember... Ninja, Marble Madness and Sopwith come to mind, as well as that weird adventure game in the castle that I know I'll never remember the name of or find a 5 1/2" floppy drive on which to play it again (remember bootable games?), but Civilization was different. Civilization was hard. I don't mean hard like tested your reflexes like Ninja, or hard like solving a puzzle in MM, Civilization made you get organized; Civilization made you think ahead. Most games are "balanced" by the design team, so that no player comes into the game world different from any other, and at any point the player can load a quicksave and be back on top of it again. In Civilization balance was a task (a quest?) lain upon the player's shoulders, and if you failed in that task, (often evidenced by the sudden appearance of a horde of Roman Legionaries) your oldest autosave was rarely sufficient to fix your mistakes.

    Wonderful column, by the way.
     
  19. Orlix

    Orlix New Member

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    I remember the first game I played. Jupiter lander on the C64. It was not that good to put it mildly. I played several games for a while, but the mother of all games is easy to identify: Ultima 4. It did not have great graphics (how could it in the mid 80s?), but the story line and the game play experience was unique and totally immersive. It had something that current RPGs do not have. You actually had to think... and keep notes of what to do or ask to the right person. You had to keep notes... tons of notes not to get stuck. Fine, this is a drag in a way, but it really made you feel in the game, a true RPG. I still enjoy RPGs, but they are missing that factor. You can just hack and slash and solve quests without even knowing what the characters are saying. I enjoyed Oblivion a lot, but when you talked to somebody, all of a sudden you passed an object that you had forgotten and quest solved...

    I really like the graphics in today's RPGs, but they could add a little of that Ultima 4 experience. Long live Lord British! Long live Britannia!
    --Orlix, the Avatar
     
  20. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    Unlike Joe, I genuinely think I was born a geek.

    I had a Binatone game thingy (you know, the ones with the controls where you twist a knob to control your bat/player). And I had early exposure to what early text-based adventure games on the Commodore Pet. When I say text-based, I mean some were purely textual narration, but some were crudely rendered using standard ASCII characters (Nightmare Park?).

    Then I got a C64 where I bought the odd game, but often programmed them out of books (no cash as 12 yr old!).

    I remembered being totally wowed by games like Way Of The Exploding Fist. but the key game that sealed my fate as a gamer was Gunship by Microprose.

    It was non-linear and career-based. There were degrees of success rather than simply win or lose. And these characteristics have stuck with me throughout my gaming life - recent games I've played, loved and ultimately kept: Pro Evo, BF2 &, Oblivion. Bioshock and Crysis were great but being linear means I play them once and re-sell.

    Apart from defining the style of my gaming, Gunship was the first game to obsess me. Previously I'd loved and played many games, but I always had time for one more mission on Gunship. 'Coming out for a game of footy?'... 'Nah, I'm in the middle of a game of Gunship'.

    For years afterwards, I compared all games to Gunship; it was the benchmark against which all other games were measured.

    I'd love for someone to re-develop it... same game but modern eye-candy...
     
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