Spy Hunter

With its smart weapons, awesome cars, Spy Hunter was viewed as a very stylish game back in the arcades on the early 1980s. It was a title that playing into any boy's fantasies- secret agents, nasty weaponry, and a driving lincese. Make no mistake though, it was the action packed gameplay that kept people coming back for more again, again, and again...


The year that the war ground on may have been 1943, when rationing continued to bite down hard, construction work on the Pentagon was completed, and the Japanese forces were driven back from Guadalcanal, but it's a whole lot more enjoyable if you think of it as this wonderful little vertical-scrolling shooter from Capcom, released for the delight of the arcade-going populas in 1987...


The game isn't just a good looking isometric dungeon crawler, it is THE best dungeon crawler. A simple - almost brainless trek through caverns and catacombs filled with vile creatures, not to mention all the loot. Blizzard spent a lot of time working on the generation of the game's spaces, making items, enemies, and geography be different every single time you load up the game...

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

The Elder Scrolls games are best known for the fourth chapter in the series, Oblivion, released in 2006. In comparison,The Elder Scroll's Morrowind is altogether more of a curate's egg, neither as commercially successful nor critically applauded as it's successor. Perhaps because of that, however, it's also a much more interesting game...


Rogue first appeared on college Unix systems in 1980. It contains an infinite variety via a series of randomly generated, ASCII-rendered dungeons that must be explored in a bid to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor (Rodney spelled backwards) from somewhere behold the twenty-fifth level -- an unlikely achievement given the imposing difficulty of even the earliest dungeon layers.

27 October, 2011

Age Of Empires

  • Release Date: 1997
  • Platform: PC
  • Developer: Ensemble Studios
  • Genre: Strategy

While advances in video games are typically characterized by leaps in technology or game play innovation, lateral crossover is also important. Like some novel technology concocted in one of its temples, Age of Empires crossed two existing game play templates and boiled down the result to produce a new branch in strategy gaming.

The first parent was Civilization, Sid Meier's brilliant 1991 title. Devotees loved it, but its complexity and turn-based mechanics put off many more. By the mid-90s, real-time strategy offered a more accessible way for armchair generals to marshal their forces. The best-selling strategy games -- Command & Conquer and Warcraft -- and their copycats were science-fiction or fantasy affairs. What Ensemble Studios (including designer Bruce Shelley, who worked on Civilization with Meier) did was meld Civilization's historical trappings and empire building idea with the genre's game play and pretty graphics.

The result, Age of Empires, was an approachable take on dictatorship with enough historical finery to satisfy all but the most bookish rulers. Assuming leadership of one of a dozen peoples, from the Greeks and the Babylonians to the Japanese Yamato civilization, you guide your race from being hunter gatherers through several transitions to create a dominant Iron Age culture. The twelve civilizations are divided into four main group, each one with its own distinctive architectural style. The emphasis is on military progressions, though victory conditions include building a Wonder, such as an Egyptian pyramid. On the fighting front, dubious artificial intelligence, later patched, and Age of Empires launched a globe-conquering franchise that eventually sold twenty million units.

Camels, Elephants, and everything in between. Age Of Empires features a large  variety of units.

19 October, 2011

Dr. Mario

  • Release Date: 1990
  • Platform(s): SNES, NES, Satellaview, Game Boy
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Genre: Puzzle
In Nintendo's rush to create a Tetris clone unencumbered by the legal disputes of the original, it seems nobody stopped to ask a few fundamental questions. For example, when did this world-saving plumber find the time to acquire a medical degree? Perhaps the reason no one raised such pressing issues is that they were too busy playing Dr. Mario.

Instead of the blank slate that beings most Tetris-like games, each level of Dr. Mario is contaminated with red, yellow, and blue viruses. Mario attacks them by way of double-sided capsules, each half coloured either red, yellow, or blue. Stack like colours atop or next to one another to eliminate them, match for or more in a row and they disappear.

One major difference between Dr. Mario's capsules and Tetris's tetrominoes is that the coins of Dr. Mario's realm are much more manuverable. The result is a greater focus on agility: if you want to succeed, you'd better master split-second reactions. For a Tetris knockoff, Dr. Mario is remarkably original. The game spawned a thriving branch of the falling puzzle genre, and without it there might have been no Lumines or Bejeweled.

04 October, 2011


Release Date: 1993
Platform(s): Arcade, SNES, SEGA Genesis, SEGA CD, Gameboy, SEGA Game Gear
Developer: Midway
Genre: Sports

The catchphrases are legendary: "He's on fire!" "Is it the shoes?" "From downtown!" You're apt to hear all these and more during a single game of NBA Jam, and if you need proof of the game's cultural currency, walk up to somebody, say any of these one statements, and see how the react. Most likely, they'll respond with the immortal, "Boom shakalaka!"

NBA Jam is the game of basketball as seen through a funhouse mirror. It uses real NBA teams and superstar players, such as Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, although that's about where similarities to the real thing end. (One notable omission is Michael Jordan, whose likeness was too pricy for Midway to license.) Teams take each other on in games of two-on-two, which leads to fast paces, high-scoring games without a lot of passing or strategy.

The game's true inspiration is to exaggerate the sport's traits beyond the limits of credulity. When a player hits three buckets in a row, he's said to be on fire, and from that point until the other team scores, he won't miss a shot, and the ball will scorch the net. The centrepiece of the game is its monster dunks -- the player can jam it in with a variety of long-distance tomahawks, behind-the-back moves, and aerial somersaults that take them outside the frame, each one lustily narrated by a Marv Albert soundalike.

NBA Jam's sense of fun knows no bounds. Fourth quarter dunks have the effect of shattering the glass. A bevy of unlockable secret characters creates hilarious match-ups. Between the various arcade and home versions of the game, it's possible to play as actors, mascots, athletes from other sports, and even President Clinton. Slick Willie throwing down a baseline jam on Hakeem Olajuwon's head? Boom shakalaka!

02 October, 2011


Release Date: 1991
Platform: PC
Developer: Microprose Software
Genre: Strategy

Want to make a PC gamer of certain age cry? Whisper "Civilization" in his or her ear. There are any number of reasons why the tears might flow, but it's likely because more sleep, weekends, job, and relationships have probably been lost to Civilization than any other game.

This seminal strategy experience is vast. Beginning with just a settler wandering a hostile world 4,000 years before Christ, you found first a city and, through your choices, a civilization capable of defeating all its rivals or of sending a spaceship to distant Alpha Centauri. Blocking your path is the land unknown, barbarians, and rival civilizations, and the tools at your disposal to run the gamut from trade and diplomacy to all out hostilities.

You decide what civilization you'll play, choosing from the Mongols, the Romans, and other past and present contenders for the title of global superpower. Your choice affects trivial matters such as the names of your cities  or the colours of your army: Civilization's genius is that this decision does not determine the paths your people follow.

The technology tree does that; a brilliantly conceived flowchart of human progress that has been copied by most strategy games in the wake of Civilization. By researching, for instance, the wheel, you can unlock further related technologies, such ass transport or vehicular combat units. Few areas of human endeavour are ignored, but since you can only research on thing at a time, your civilization is shaped by the order of the choices you make.

With day-to-day tasks ranging from war to farming to transport planning to developing the Wonders of the World, the demands on the player are immense. What's incredible then, is how the game manages to make time disappear as you play. If you've got a night to kill, the set it aside to play Civilization.