Like Skyrim with spaceships?

When I think 'Mercenary', I think along the lines of the only game I know of with that theme - Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. A bunch of hardened former military folk blowing everything up because it's all part of the job; something like that. This is Mercenary though, which is quite different and much older.

You're not a gruff mercenary in the same sense, but you can certainly make use of your ships weaponry against the locals, be they on the other side or on your side and in your way - it doesn't matter, you just want to get off the planet you've crash landed on, which means I've got to crash land and see what this game has in store.



Has destroying the core ever been so enjoyable?

Source // Arcade Museum

Anyone concerned that I am completely ignorant of video game history can breathe a huge sigh of relief as I can tell you now that I am aware of Gradius, that side scrolling space shooter with aaaalll the bullets, or lasers, or whatever they use.

Just because I'm aware of it though, that doesn't mean I've had the pleasure of playing it. I think I'm safe in saying I've played none of the Gradius series. At all. Ever. And don't be that kid who claims Scramble is part of the series, knowing full well I've had to play it as part of this 1001 list. A spiritual predecessor doth not a series entry make, and all that.

It's probably fair to say I've had mixed success with space shooters so far, but we'll give Gradius the chance to impress, as we should with all games.


Green Beret

The gun-less run and gunner?

Source // Arcade Museum

A game called Green Beret could mean a few things, but it's the mid 1980s so it really means only one thing - you versus the rest of the world in nonstop Rambo-esque combat. I don't have a problem with that.

Known as Rush'n Attack to western audiences, it is undeniably Cold War themed, although a single US Green Beret killing hordes of Russian soldiers in an attempt to free four prisoners of war isn't exactly a cold war stalemate...

You'll be using your trusty knife for the most part, with weapon pick ups in the form of flamethrowers, rockets and grenades helping to mix things up through four stages of all out combat.


Ghosts 'n Goblins

One of the most difficult games released, huh? We'll see about that...

Source // Hardcore Gaming 101

Ah, Ghosts 'n Goblins, I know it well, and by 'well' I really mean I know it and don't recall having played it despite numerous ports and sequels and ports of the sequels.

Sidescrolling action, platforming, courageous knights defeating everything in their path... Sounds like a game well worth playing.

Often described as really rather difficult, or words to that effect, I'll have to find that out for myself using the NES port. I'm looking forward to it.



Remember, don't shoot food!

Source // Wikipedia

Like many titles on this list so far, I seem to have only a passing resemblance when it comes to Gauntlet. Do I know the game, Gauntlet, or do I know the word gauntlet...? I'll have to go with me not knowing the game, because it's probably the more likely.

Gauntlet is an arcade co-op hack and slashy dungeon crawler where you and three allies can team up to grind through level after level of enemies absolutely intent on hunting you down and halting your progress.

Will their overwhelming numbers lead to your downfall? Will you not be able to find the level exit and see time get the better of you? Will you remember to not shoot the food?


Yie Ar Kung-Fu

Everybody was Kung-Fu fighting... against the computer, because we can't have everything.

Source // Wikipedia

Fighting games and I have a bit of a distant relationship. I don't avoid them, but nor do I seek them out. I did get some early titles in the Tekken series back in the day, but I wasn't terribly good at them. Before that, getting wrecked by older cousins at the likes of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter (and not even the good Street Fighter, but Street Fighter: The Movie) was a common gaming experience.

Long before all of that though, in the arcades of the mid 1980s stood a Yie Ar Kung-Fu cabinet, the first glimpse at what the fighting genre could offer.

The screen alone shows a familiar layout, with health bars replacing hit points after hit points had replaced one hit kills. Backgrounds were fancy but not in your face, and while the characters were small and the screen doesn't scroll, it's one on one, no nonsense action until one of you falls over.

The more I read about Yie Ar Kung-Fu, the more interested I got to play it.



Congratulation your every duty finished.

Source // Wikipedia

I don't believe I've ever come across Commando itself, but I'm sure I've seen and played my fair share of games that pay homage to it (or straight up use the mechanics themselves).

Running and gunning are the themes of the day as you take control of Super Joe, tasked with lone wolfing it through eight stages of all out war.

Let's see how far we get.


A Mind Forever Voyaging

A Gamer Forever Wondering just what the bloody hell he's got to do to make any progress. Goddamn it, why do I get myself into these situations...

Yeah, sorry, not the easiest of screens to read...

It seems like only ereyesterday when I was going through Déjà Vu, the logical, graphical, next step for the text adventure, but we're not done with getting lost in an adventure game yet. Steve Meretzky is back with quite the tale this time, as we become A Mind Forever Voyaging.

I have no idea what it's about, so let's blindly stumble into it.


Summer Games II

I thought the Olympics were every four years...

Source // Lemon 64

Yup. It's another athletics game. I'm not going to have the best time with it, am I? What will Summer Games II do differently from the likes of Track & Field? Was the original Summer Games not a big enough leap forward for the genre to be included on the 1001 list?

I shouldn't be so harsh on it, especially having not played it. If anything it'll be a damn good excuse to see how Commodore 64 emulation works, seeing as I hadn't tried up until this point. Who knows, maybe Summer Games II will blow my socks off.


Déjà Vu

Have we done a point and click yet?

Source // Wikipedia

I can't recall my first experience with a point and click adventure game, but I know for certain that it wasn't Déjà Vu. I hadn't come across it before in any capacity, despite it being the first game in the MacVenture series, kicking off all things point and click on the Macintosh and paving the way for point and click as a genre on any platform. Suffice it to say I hadn't got a clue what the MacVenture series is either...

All of this complete ignorance puts me in great stead for playing Déjà Vu, where I'll be taking control of an unknown protagonist with no idea who he is and how he got into the bathroom stall he wakes up in.

Let's dive right in.

To the story. Not the toilet bowl.


Bounty Bob Strikes Back!

2049 2: 2049er.

Source // Big Five Software

I couldn't recall Bob in the first place, let alone him striking back, but it doesn't take long to find out that Bounty Bob Strikes Back! is a sequel to Miner 2094er. The two titles look and play very similarly, with Bounty Bob Strikes Back! adding some depth to the platforms, as well as fleshing out the world a little bit more, whatever crazy world we're inhabiting.


Spy vs. Spy

-... -.-- / .--. .-. --- .... .. .- ...

Source // Wikipedia

When I was setting up my RetroPie I made sure to test out a few games that I knew were on the 1001 list, and Spy vs. Spy was one of them.

I'm only vaguely aware of the characters, insofar as I've seen them before, but don't know where and don't know why. The game is therefore a complete unknown to me, and I first fired up the Sega Master System port.





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Pac Land

Too many pills, Pac-Man. Too many pills...

Source // Retrogamer.net

There have been a few occasions where I've seen or heard mention of Pac-Land, but I genuinely think I've always imagined it as being a copyright infringement case or a homebrew game of sorts - 'something this weird couldn't have been official', I'd think, but sure enough it is a legitimate offering from Namco.

Pac-Man has gone from gobbling pills in mazes to escorting a fairy hidden under his hat home to Fairyland. And then travelling back again, without the fairy, because no trip is complete without arriving back home to be welcomed by Ms. Pac-Man and Baby Pac-Man.

What happened in the 1980s?


Jet Set Willy

Nothing to do with Jet Set Radio.

I know I've heard about Jet Set Willy somewhere, but couldn't tell you where, when or why - and I'm not thinking of it being written down in the 1001 entry for the first game in the series, Manic Miner. I know Jet Set Willy is of some importance to video gaming history, but I just don't know why I know that.

What I do know is that it's hard as nails before any bugs. Gamers of the 1980s were built of sterner stuff than I...