The Games I Grew Up With

January 26, 2014

Yesterday I discovered (and watched) Indie Game, a kickstarter-funded documentary depicting two teams of (now well known) indie game developers and their struggle to get their project out the door.

It amazed me how the games featured in the film (Braid, Super Meat Boy and Fez) are a lot like the video games I played when I was a kid. They reminded me of countless hours I spent with the first computer we owned, our trusty 80286 with 1MB of RAM and 20MB of hard disk space, numbers that sound medieval by today's standards.

Me and my cousin playing Commander Keen

Today I spent some time compiling a list of the games I enjoyed most back then, some of which I completely forgot they even existed!

Golden Axe
An arcade beat 'em up classic in which you can ride tiny dinosaurs. Had a lot of fun playing this with my brother (on the same keyboard). Dwarf is best.
Jill of the Jungle
2D platformer by Epic, now famous for the Unreal series.
Commander Keen
Breakthrough side-scroller by id Software, who we all know as the developers of the Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake games.
Wolfenstein 3D
One of the first popular first-person shooters in a 3D world. Mein leben! I actually never heard the Germans say that - we did not have speakers.
Hocus Pocus
You're a wizard in this 2D platformer. I remember I loved the graphics and begged my dad to buy the full version for me. Never happened.
World Cup Italia '90
I was unbeatable in this football game.
Lander (by George Moromisato)
One of the only reasons I started Windows sometimes (this and Tetris). A classic lunar lander game. Someone apparently ported this game to Android.
Amazing puzzle game in which you're an ant placing dominoes. One of the few games my dad loved as well. Found out that someone reimplemented the game with updated graphics!
Prince of Persia
The original. I remember having to restart so many times because I didn't know the controls for swordfighting (it was the insert key I believe - not sure).
Operation Wolf
Arcade shooter. Grenade! Grenade!
Fire Power
You drive a tank and shoot at stuff. I had a lot of fun playing this.
Simple but very fun racing game. Like many of the games listed here you can't save and come back to it later - I remember my mum dragging me away from this for dinner. "BUT I CAN'T SAVE, DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND??".
Sim City
The original city building game.
Flight Simulator 3
I never got the point of this game, but it was interesting to learn how to play it without a manual.
Grand Prix Circuit
Formula One racing game. My brother was unbeatable. Made by the same company as the next three games (apparently the now-CEO of Zynga founded it).
The Cycles: International Grand Prix Racing
Looks almost exactly like Grand Prix Circuit, but this one's with motorbikes.
Test Drive
Break the law and get chased by the police.
Test Drive II
Get chased by the police with slightly better graphics.
The Blues Brothers
For the soundtrack.
Duke Nukem II
Barely ran on our machine. Duke Nukem in 2D!
The character animations were so funny.
Puzzle game in which you dig yourself through a digital world and try to not get crushed by falling eggs.

Notably absent are Doom (required a 386) and Quake (486?) because we basically had the same 286 computer until we made the jump to a Pentium 200 with 64MB or RAM and 3Dfx Voodoo 2 video card (running Windows NT). By then I moved on to the original GTA, Warcraft II and Diablo (though I did play some Quake 1 and 2 on this machine)

As far as console games go, our neighbour had a NES so I played quite a bit of Super Mario and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there. Later I got a Sega Megadrive II and played a lot of Samurai Shodown.

So many good memories. Which were your childhood games?