The Call of Retro Gaming

Keyboard

So, it’s a pretty great time to be a gamer. The advent of gaming platforms such as Steam and Origin means unprecedented access to games for a fraction of the cost of what they did before. Now, I say this as a former naysayer to the whole online revolution. In the early days of Steam, I was horrified that the old days of trawling through bargain bins filled with games was over. I feared that never again would I be unwrapping the familiar shapes of game boxes at Christmas and birthdays. I gazed longingly at my treasured game manuals wondering if they would be the last I would collect before the impersonal PDF took over. Frankly, I thought the whole thing sucked. Big time.

Now, though, I’ve come to see the light and I am a converted man. Of course, changing times had something to do with it as well. In the early days, the average South African like myself would have sweated bullets over the data required to download games from the Steam store. Bandwidth was expensive and slow, so I am sure I was not the only naysayer. Now that things are more accessible, I have the world (Steam et al.) at my fingertips. And with all the specials, sales and free giveaways my entire Steam library cost me about what a physical copy of a premium game would have cost me 10 years ago. Lord Gaben is truly kind.

One of the other advantages of these platforms (and I’m getting to the point of what this rant is about, I promise), is that it gives independent developers access to a growing market and big developers an opportunity to make niche titles which would not have been commercially viable otherwise. This opens the door to something the gaming fraternity has been crying out for since time immemorial: REMAKES! There are so many old games out there which I adored growing up but I can’t play now because I either can’t get them to run on modern machines, can’t find them because they are abandonware or can’t bear to look at them because they are now hideous and make my eyes bleed.

A few years ago, I played the Special Edition of the Monkey Island series and it was amazing! They even had a key shortcut to change to the original graphics from 1990. It is easy to forget how terrible these games looked back in the day compared to how you remembered them, but this button really brought it home. Now, though, I can relive the memories and appreciate them all over again. Brilliant!

Next I got my hands on Day of the Tentacle, sometime last year. This was the LucasArts point-and-click at its finest. Hilarious and addictive I spent days playing this as a kid on my old 486. The remake was as perfect as the Monkey Island one had been. And, of course, this was the age of online walkthroughs so I could actually finish the game this time (I was so close to the end when I was 10 but just couldn’t figure it out).

Now, a week ago, I started playing the first game anyone ever gave me which came on a CD-ROM. I had finally installed a CD-ROM on my old PC and someone felt sorry for me having nothing to use it for and gave me this game, with its awesome little comic that came with it. The game was awesome, but it was so difficult (and wholly inappropriate for my age) that I didn’t get very far. Then the 20th Anniversary Edition came along and I got that on special just the other day. Time to boot that bad boy up again. I finished it last night and I thoroughly enjoyed it. An awesome story, great setting and voice acting by the likes of Tim Curry and Mark Hamill, what more could I ask? I wanted to get stuck into the second game straight away, but it doesn’t look like a remake is on the way so I will have to contemplate playing it in its original form. Luckily, thanks to platforms such as Steam and GoG (Good old Games) compatibility is guaranteed and clunky boxes won’t clatter up my house, so there will be no trace of just how many games I have.

 

If any developers are reading this, please contact me directly for my wishlist of games I want remastered ASAP. For the rest of you, have fun playing and don’t be afraid to revisit the oldies.