Coded blue.

Sunday 1 January 2006

Stack of cardboard rubbish

Pic of the day: The sad remains of a cupboard full of games. How could I even begin to do such a thing?

Like killing your pets

I have not looked forward to this day. Or at least not with joyous expectation. I guess dread is too strong a word, but I knew it was coming and I did not like it. I have known for years that it would have to happen eventually, if I lived long enough. And after seeing how much smaller my new apartment really was, I knew it would be now, not in another ten years. The day I must trow away my old computer games.

In practice, I play something like 5 PC games over the course of a year, all of them from the latest 5 years. (Although Daggerfall was a near daily companion for longer than that, and Master of Magic has seduced me to a week or two of mad passionate playing pretty much each year since 1994.) With over 100 boxes filling up my cupboards, something has to be done. That doesn't mean I have to like it. OK, the evening is not getting any younger. Let's get started-

***

Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers. OK, that's an easy one. I did not play it halfway through or a quarter of the way through even when it was new. It was boring, frustrating, and tried in vain to be fun. I put the recycle-able parts in one place, and the floppies in another. Not a bad start.

Heart of China. This one I actually enjoyed, but that doesn't mean I completed it, nor have I played it in a while. Hmm, (c)Dynamix Inc, 1991. I guess it arrived here a year or two later. That makes it well over ten years ago. If I could live without for ten years, I can probably live without forever. It was kinda pretty for its time. Also ... no, you don't need to know that.

Robin Hood The Legend of the Longbow. The game that finally turned me from Sierra adventure games once and for all. It was beautiful ... and utterly unplayable without a walkthrough. Some small thing you did or didn't do early in the game would cause you to have to start from scratch again much later. I switched to The Elder Scrolls, where every mistake you survived was another path forward. I never looked back. Death and fiery destruction to another Sierra game! But it sure was pretty, for 1991.

Kings Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart go Yonder! I have heard good things about this series. I didn't play this game for many weeks though, and not for the last 15 years or so. I am sure you can find a pirate copy on the Net if you really want it. Mine is on the path to recycling now.

Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire. I really enjoyed this one, even though I never came far in it. The atmosphere, the music. I knew I was never going to play it again, though. Besides it was a Sierra game, so would have depended on a hint book.

Heimdall... OK, this one is easy. The game sucked from the day it was born. The only reason I bought it (without trying it or checking up facts) was that I am Norwegian and it's based on Norse mythology, which had been a keen interest of mine since childhood.

Railrod Tycoon Deluxe: NO! I will NOT hurt my preciousss! One of the best strategy games ever made, even though its graphics are blocky and ugly, I want to play it again someday. So I haven't done so in the last five years, perhaps. But I know if I destroy it, I am likely to buy it off ebay some day anyway. There is a Railroad Tycoon II, but it is not by MPS labs (Sid Meier & co) and while much prettier, not as addictive. I may or may not sacrifice that instead. But not this one. No way.

Covert Action: Same, only more so. It is not only the best in its genre, it is also the only one. A game where you hunt down terrorists by placing wiretaps, sneaking through safehouses collecting scraps of evidence, and the occasional car chase, all in beautiful CGA. The point is, as I said, there was never an updated version for Windows. I know I played this quite a bit after 9/11. Sadly such times may come again. Also, it is by MPS Labs. Keeper.

Supremacy: Your Will be Done. I obviously bought it for the title, but it is an addictive yet fairly simple strategy game on a planetary scale. The graphics leave something to be desired. Two of the melodies are really good, and the first victory melody is one of my lifetime favorites. It is just awesome and I have found myself whistling it for many years after I stopped playing the game. I've seen it floating around on the Net as abandonware. This may or may not be true. Just in case, I copy the 3 floppies to the hard disk of my newest PC, where there are gigabytes of free room. If I have forgotten it by the time that machine dies, it was probably not worth keeping.

Civilization - the original. At its time, the greatest game ever. In a manner of speaking, it has stood the test of time. But in this case new versions of the game have been released. The Windows version at the very least has everything this had and does not add lots of clutter. So this one will go, no matter how many fond memories I have of it. Who would have thought this day would come?

The Magic Candle by Mindcraft. Good idea, but I cannot abide role playing games with a time limit. Besides, it was primitive looking even when I bought it.

M1 Tank Platoon by MPS Labs. Which means it is awesome and beyond. Despite the poor graphics it is actually in some ways better than the follow up, which was buggy even after the patches. I actually have two of these, one CD-ROM and one floppy. Ah, 5.25" floppies, that would explain why I bought the CD-ROM. Been a while since machines supported that format. Keeping the CD-ROM, keyboard overlay and the original manual. Not that I expect ever to play it, but ... if Ubuntu Linux has a really good DOS emulator, you never know.

Railroad Tycoon - the original. For some reason RRT deluxe did not include the Great Britain scenario, one of my favorites. I'm putting the floppies in with the deluxe box, then destroying the rest.

Sim Earth: Again a game that was unique. There was never made another like it, except in my fantasy. Now you may say there could be a reason for that, and I guess so. It was a bit evangelical on behalf of the Gaia theory, which incidentally is not a bad theory until you let the New Age goddess worshipers loose on it. The manual is full of fun and interesting facts. Not that I don't know those already. Solution: Copied to hard disk.

SimAnt: Once again, utterly original. And its fate did not exactly inspire a thousand clones. The handbook is quite funny, if you like puns and funny doodles. You can for instance learn about driver ants, and it probably helps to also learn about backseat driver ants. And the illustration of a worker ant milking an aphid: "Got a match, buddy?" "Yeah, my rear end and your face." Indeed, certain species of aphids do have rear ends that look amazingly like the front of nearby ant species, which is probably why the ants care so much for the aphids. Sadly the joke itself went out of fashion with matchsticks, a few years before the book was printed.

The Adventures of Robin Hood: Finally an easy target again. Old game, feminist goddess-worshiping agenda. But yeah, it came close to its claim "The most original real-time adventure ever produced". Also one of the more confusing, if you ask me.

Wing Commander: I got this game with my Sound Blaster card. Until then, games said "beep". I was awed. It was also my first game by Origin ("We Create Worlds") and would later lead me to their Ultima series. Anyway, although I never won the game, I often played it till near dawn, enjoying the space flight. I have since childhood felt an affinity to the starry void, the feeling it cause in me is perhaps the closest I have felt to homesickness, in a way my physical birthplace never did. No wonder this game held my attention until the computers became too fast to play it. That and its successors. Now, however... Well, perhaps I'll be able to fiddle with Dosbox settings to emulate the one perfect processor speed. In which case I'll play one of its successors.

Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi. Isn't that spelled "Kzin" anyway? Not that successor. Demolished.

Ultima VI: The False Prophet. LOVE!!! Cloth map! LOVE!!! There is only one problem with this game: The floppies are 5.25". But I will find some spell to resurrect them! I will! One day. Perhaps. And I'm not giving up the cloth map. Like, ever. Keeper! Not that I ever finished it, or any of the Ultima games, but I sure had tons of fun. Especially with that one. I can still see the places where the headless usually jumped our party. The last of the best trilogy out of the nine games, in my opinion. 7, 8 and 9 took a darker, more disturbing turn.

Megatraveller 2: Quest for the Ancients. A very good RPG, except it is itself ancient. If I had got this when it was brand new, I would probably have played it more than I did. It was already a bit old looking when I got it, and this was just before the next generation of exciting games broke upon the world. Besides, I don't like Science Fiction anymore.

Rules of Engagement. Not about romance, more's the pity, but strategy space battles. Interstellar War! I enjoyed this a little, but not a lot. I am not likely to ever try it again. The navigation system was awesome, but it was old, it was sci-fi, and I got other better games.

Gunship 2000: I enjoyed this a bit, but not enough to learn it thoroughly. Also, I hate war. A war game needs some awesome qualities to hold my attention. Tank Platoon had that, Gunship 2000 hadn't. I guess it was slightly too hard for me with my low motivation. I'm not even copying this to my hard drive. I know I will not touch it again anyway.

OK. One cupboard cleared out, unknown quantities of dust inhaled, and it's past midnight. Dozens and dozens more to go. Why didn't I start long ago? Why didn't I start EVERYTHING long ago?


Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: "I have nothing"
Two years ago: Gamey new year!
Three years ago: New Years who cares?
Four years ago: Unfocused
Five years ago: Mars Now!
Six years ago: Welcome to the future!
Seven years ago: A mild new year

Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.


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