This door is locked.

I've heard of NetHack a few times down the years but never realised what it was - a descendant of Hack, which is a clone of Rogue. Oh. Ohhhh. Oh this should be interesting then...

What's more interesting is that NetHack has been around in one form or another since 1987 and it is still getting updated with new content and mechanics, with the last release, version 3.6.0, coming as recently as December 2015.

Advancing technology doesn't tend to let that happen, especially in gaming, and so I'm going to take full advantage of it and play version 3.6.0 (mostly because I can't get version 1.3d going yet, but don't tell anybody that).



A better choice of title than Asteroids 2: Asteroidier.

Source // Wikipedia

The name gives it away. Blasteroids must have something to do with Asteroids, and you'd hope that it was an official sequel rather than a knock off cashing in on the legacy - and it is a legacy by now, for eight years had passed since the release of Asteroids.

Blasteroids is developed by Atari Games so this is a sequel and we're going to find out just what happened in that near decade between titles. The image gives away the change in graphics, but what about the gameplay?


Super Hang-On

OutRun on two wheels?

Source // We Love It

It's hard to not think "Oh, it's like OutRun then?" when you first see Super Hang-On. The two titles sharing a designer, Yu Suzuki, might have a little something to do with it, but there are differences between them. 

Enough differences to warrant an inclusion on the 1001 list? Wheel have to have a look, won't wheelie?

Too forced? Too forced.


World Games


Seeing World Games on the page evoked a bit of a groan, along with words to the effect of 'ugh, not another bloody collection of sports'. Things are thankfully a little different here than at the Olympics, as the events take place around the globe and highlight some of the more unusual sports you could find yourself participating in.

Will a mix of known and unknown events make World Games stand above the likes of Summer Games II? Can we finally have a sports game that I find enjoyable? We ought to find out.


The Legend of Zelda


It begins

I have never played The Legend of Zelda. Any of the Zelda titles, in fact. N64, GameCube, old, new, original, remastered. You name the Zelda title and I will show you a game I've never played. But I've watched a great many of them: Let's Plays, speed runs, glitches, histories, documentaries...

Its origins are The Legend of Zelda, launch title for the Famicom Disk System, staple of many NES players' game libraries. It is an absolute must play title whether you're following a list of 1001 games to play or not, so they say, so I really should cut this intro off and fire it up.


Buggy Boy

Bouncy bouncy.

Source // Wikipedia

I must admit to glancing across the 1001 entry for Buggy Boy. Perhaps being sandwiched between Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and The Legend of Zelda had something to do with that.

Perhaps it was the image, as bright and colourful as it is, simply not grabbing my attention.

Perhaps I dismissed it because I couldn't imagine why it would be on the list. What does Buggy Boy do that racers haven't already? There's only one way to find out.


Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

Oh, it's like that is it? Ok, okay...

My cousins didn't have a massive library of SNES games but they did have one title that would definitely provide hours upon hours of replay value: Super Mario All-Stars contained the first three numbered Super Mario Bros. entries, as well as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.

I didn't get too far through any of my cousins games as a kid, but I was told to not even bother with The Lost Levels. It was hard, they said, and being a child who listened to his elders I took that on board and never selected it from the menu.

Now, some two decades or so later, I'm in a much better position to see if that advice was accurate.


Space Harrier

Welcome to the fantasy zone.

Source // Wikipedia

If I guessed that Thrust would involve air or spacecraft of some sort, then surely I've got to guess that Space Harrier involves aircraft in space. It does not, and once again I've been made to look a fool.

Space Harrier sees you pilot some sort of rocket (not a rocket enginged vehicle, a straight up rocket slung under your arm) around a fantasy landscape that screams into view, a la OutRun before it. As well as dodging around stage hazards in the form of trees and stone pillars, there are enemies that include alien craft, one-eyed mammoths and floating stone faces, and that's before mentioning the equally bizarre boss fights scattered throughout.

The 1001 entry explicitly says that we should play the arcade version, so let's see how we get on.



Newton's never seen his laws like this.

Source // Moby Games

A word like thrust is typically associated with the likes of air or spacecraft, or at least it is to me, so I imagined Thrust to have something to do with flying. I was right, in that the game is about flight if you're successful, otherwise the word we're looking for is 'crashing'.

It certainly looks like it should be familiar to you, with strong vibes of Lunar Lander and Gravitar being thrust upon our screens. Ah-hah. Thrust. Get it?

Get on with it... What does it play like?


The Sentinel

"Highly recommended for many absorbing hours", says Computer Gaming World

Source // YouTube

The 1001 entry for The Sentinel describes it as 'Chess with added paranoia'. Its Wikipedia entry calls it both 'the first virtual reality game', as well as an 'energy management game'. Just what on Earth is this thing?




Source // Wikipedia

There are a few games on the 1001 list where I don't know a whole lot about them but are looking forward to finding out more. 720° is one such title, not because I'm a skateboarder (Heeeeelll no), but because I enjoy skateboarding games quite a bit.

My first was Tony Hawk's Skateboarding, and I'd imagine that was the first for many a gamer, but we're going back a full 13 years before that to see what the state of extreme sports video games were like.

Will I fall flat on my face at the simplest of tasks? Will it have a memorable soundtrack? Can I pull off a 720°?


Super Sprint

Gotta go fast.

Source // Wikipedia

Let's imagine you've created a nifty little racing game that feels like a joy to play. It doesn't take itself too seriously, but it does require you to at least try to be graceful around the track. What do you call it to get the attention of all the arcade goers though? Super Sprint, obviously.

I didn't think racing when I first saw the name, but as there's generally nothing wrong with racing games I'm eager to see what it's all about.


Rolling Thunder

Code Name: Albatross

Source // Wikipedia

If a game is called something as awesome as Rolling Thunder, I'm expecting big things. I'm getting an Ace Combat vibe, dogfighting, pushing aerial machines to the extreme...

It's not what I got when I started playing.

What I got in Rolling Thunder is a shoot 'em up located firmly on the floor. We become a one man killing machine, special agent Albatross, on a mission to rescue agent Leila Blitz from the clutches of Geldra.

Yup. Sounds a lot less awesome than I hoped, but what does it actually play like?


Defender of the Crown

In the year of our lord 1986...

Source // Wikipedia

The entry for Defender of the Crown in the 1001 Video Games book mentions its cinematic qualities as much as its similarity to the likes of Risk. How do you make a game of Risk cinematic in the mid 1980s? Is there more to the game than that? I've got absolutely no idea, so I dove into the NES port to find out.


Dragon Quest

But thou must.

Thither art many titles in the Dragon Quest series, this much I knoweth. They are fantasy role playing games in a similar vein as Final Fantasy, I can sayeth that too. What I can't sayeth is that I hath played any of them. I hath not. Not even a later entry to the series, nor a spin-off, nor even a demo. Nothingeth.

I am coming into a fantasy realm full of vast quests completely blind, which probably means I'll barely scratch the surface, receiveth horrible wounds, get lost and moan about it not being like Skyrim, or some such blasphemy.

Let's find out.

In English, from here on...