PC Gaming – A Retrospective

Todays Classic Monday Column is from 2007.

As I was getting ready to play the end of Persona3 on my PS2, I started thinking about my first experiences with computer games.

Let’s go back in time shall we………………………………………………………..

It was long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. There we were. Kids, normal kids, riding bikes, building forts, playing hooker Barbie (don’t tell me you never did it) when along came a marvel. Pong. Just imagine, you could turn on your color TV and two white rectangle “paddles” would bat a white “ball” back and forth. I know, you are thinking that is about as exciting as watching paint dry but back then it was magic. We didn’t care that it ruined your TV with “pong burn”. I mean we didn’t pay for it.

Well the years rolled by and along came PC’s. They were big and bulky. My friend Catwoman use to haul hers around, plinking away on Wordstar *shudder* before I made her learn Wordperfect. Why is this important? Well she had a game! It was called Kings Quest. The commands were all typed in, the characters were crude, the monitor was amber but it was COOL!!!! It had a story and puzzles and it was on the computer. I mean how cool was that?! And then coolness jumped ahead…..

Kings Quest 4 – the Perils of Rosella. This was AMAZING! The monitors were color now, there was sound and a hard drive was 20mg. You could load the game directly onto your hard drive so you didn’t have to swap out boot disks in dual floppy 5″ drives. I was working at a major real estate office on the west side of LA then. I stayed late to use peoples computers and taught myself Wordperfect and Lotus. On the weekends, I would come in and play Rosella all day. I swear it took me hours to get her up those stairs in the tower. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Sierra made the BEST games back then. The graphics were the best and the stories were great. Ken and Roberta Williams were my heros. We also played all of Al Lowes Leisure Suit Larry games and when Phantasmagoria came out it scared us so bad that we would play in the dark on purpose and YES we were grown but it scared us just the same.

Sierra was bought out in the late ’90’s and it just crashed after that. Gone were all the great games we grew up on and made us game fanatics. Sure we found other games. The last PC game I bought was American McGees Alice by EA. In fact I got my latest system with the caveat that it had to be able to play this graphics heavy game.

So now we have Playstation and XBox and Wii and all kinds of things with life like graphics and amazing sound and it seems so far away from that collection of amber figures I saw on that old IBM. But if it wasn’t for Sierra and the Williams’, I wouldn’t have yet another time sucking hobby that has kept me entertained for way too long.

Posted on October 4, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Victoria McDonnell

    I LOVED Phantasmagoria! My high school boyfriend had it and we played it together until we beat it, constantly freaked out song the way. I bought a uses copy on eBay years later by never managed to get it to work on another computer after that. Shame. I’d totally play it again if I could find a machine that could run it.

  2. Bards Tale on my C64… oh the days of trying to make it through the dungeons under the city.

    http://www.abandonwaredos.com/abandonware-game.php?gid=MTExNA==

    Leisure Suit Larry and Hitchhikers Guide… damn I had read the books a dozen times by then and still couldn’t get more than 10 minutes into the game without dying.

    … and there was no Internet and forums to get help from… you ground it out or you bought a new game and moved on.

    Oh the days.

    …btw… just got a Wii (anniversary gift) and now instead of trying to figure out dugeons, I am explaining how I got tennis elbow to my doctor.

    • LOL!!! Love my Wii! Oooo, I found my old copies of Hitchhikers Guide and Leather Goddesses of Phobos (all text games (no graphics) for people who don’t know) and they were HARD! Never finished them. On leather goddesses, I’m still stuck on an ice flow trying to figure out how to get all the penguins across.

  3. Played and loved all these games. Especialy the Quest series, although the obligatory maze sequences sucked. I died in the dessert too many times. Miss the old fun games and wish there were more instead of the death, killer, mega monster games of today. Yeah, I’m old.

  4. dont forget: Zork, Leather Goddess’ of Phobos, Bureaucracy and Sierra’s Hero’s Quest.

  5. The first “computer” game I played was Mines on a hp45 calculator. Over the years Mines morphed into D&D.

    The original was more fun because it was NEW.

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