John Madden Football


For a brief spell, probably around the time the Super Bowl came to the BBC, I was following American Football. It was fascinating in its own way, though far more fascinating to play in Madden NFL 11 than it ever was to watch.

It's a long series, Madden, and the line goes all the way back to John Madden Football, cramming as much of the sport into a cartridge as was possible. Did enough get crammed in there to make it a game worth playing, though?



Just one moirai go...

You wait ages for a Tetris clone and two come along at once - and neither are clones.

Columns will probably look familiar to you, if not because you've played it before then because you've probably played something very similar to it, likely on a mobile phone. It's one of those games that are so simple to get into that before you know it, you've missed the bus, and it's started to rain, and your bag's been stolen.

I don't use public transport, I have no idea what I'm talking about. The point I'm trying to make though is that Columns is so simple a game that it and versions of it can be found everywhere you look, so the gameplay must be pretty good to have survived in some form for all these years.


Dr. Mario


In the notes I've made for these games, I've written that Dr. Mario was great, especially when someone else was playing my Tetris cartridge. In the 1001 book, Tetris is mentioned in every paragraph of the Dr. Mario write up, such are the similarities between the two titles - and yet they're not that similar, really.

Both involve falling objects that disappear when you stack enough of them together in the right way, but they do so with different goals, themes and mechanics.

I suspect you know all of this, having already played both titles, but for those of you who haven't, the Doctor will see you now...




Source // YouTube

Hands up if you're surprised that Bomberman made the list. How dare you put your hand up, of course Bomberman would make the list. There have been more Bomberman titles than I ever imagined, and the first of two to make the 1001 list is the TurboGrafx-16 title that introduced multiplayer to the game - and that changed everything, didn't it?


Eye of the Beholder

"I would hide in the sewers. And that is where I think you should start."

Given my previous experience with first person dungeon crawlers of the 1980s, I didn't have high hopes for my time with Eye of the Beholder, which sees a game like Dungeon Master officially flying the flag of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons license.

Now I like D&D. I've played a fair bit of it, across a couple of versions and mediums, from tabletops to Baldur's Gate and the like, and it just so happens that after quite a lengthy period of time, I got back into tabletop RPGs (albeit with Pathfinder) just yesterday, so my head is there or thereabouts in terms of the mechanics at play here - but will Eye of the Beholder be there or thereabouts too?

A lot of games have claimed to transport the D&D rules from paper to 'puter, but sometimes those rules should stay on paper. Will that be the case here?



Pondering over the map, you prepare plans for battle...

When you turn the page to reveal Powermonger in the 1001 book, you're shown a screenshot that looks similar to the one shown above, and similar to a game like Populous.

If you had a bad experience with Populous, you are perhaps dreading your time with Powermonger, described as its spiritual and technical successor. Reading it makes it sound great. The land you play on is vast, almost staggeringly so, and its inhabitants all have names and jobs and histories within the world.

But what do you do with this playground? Probably fight a lot, given the title.


Out Zone

Destroy all of them. Goodluck !!

Source // RetroCollect

I couldn't tell you what kind of game Out Zone was even if you paid me. It rings no bells, its name gives off no impression, I simply don't have a clue what I'm in for.

Turns out that it's a kind of bullet hell twin stick (but not twin stick) arcade shooter. Cyborg soldiers must repel an alien invasion in the distant future of 2097. Who'd have guessed that? Sounds great - looks great. Let's jump in.




Two flight games in a row? And both of them are wildly different from each other? Alright then, how does Pilotwings handle?

In contrast to most, if not all games set in the skies until now, Pilotwings doesn't have you soaring over military bases shooting down other planes but has you floating over a flight training school, learning the basics of flying a biplane, parachuting, controlling jetpacks and more.

You're not trying to down a certain number of foes but to score enough points to get your pilots license and progress to more challenging challenges, putting your flight skills to the test.

It sounds like a nice and simple, relaxing little game.


G-Loc: Air Battle


There is a fair chance that I may have come across G-Loc: Air Battle somewhere before, but completely dismissed it because of its title. It's not exactly a snappy, memorable one, is it? True to its name, though, the game features air battles and G-Force induced loss of consciousness.

Sounds awesome. I think it's about time we take to the skies and see what's up there.



Get three in a row... DIAGONALLY!

Not once have I come across Klax in my gaming history. I hadn't heard of it, it didn't ring any bells upon seeing some screenshots, it was completely new to me. It looked like a simple little puzzle game, though, so I didn't think I'd be in for a difficult time.



Are you awake?

Something feels different when you start playing ActRaiser. There doesn't need to be an overworld for a side scroller, surely. What do I need assistance with? Just give me a sword and point me towards the enemy.

There's a reason for all this and I suspect it will be both interesting and irksome.


Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe

Ice cream!

A long time ago - I don't know when - I saw the original Rollerball on TV, the brutal future sport involving motorbikes, rollerskaters, studded leather gloves and heavy metal balls. It was entertaining, if not for the plot then for the idea of the sport ever taking off and becoming a thing in the first place.

Surely there had to have been a game or two that did a similar thing to that, and sure enough, there is. A few of them in fact, with Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe taking the crown - with force.

You manage a team in a 9 v 9 game of football meets handball meets pinball meets ice hockey. It's as hectic as it sounds and as much as the sport has supposedly been reformed into a non-violent game, it is a hard-hitting pastime.

But it sounds fun, right?


The Secret of Monkey Island

"So you want to be a pirate, eh? You look more like a flooring inspector."

When it comes to point and click adventure games, you can find yourself playing all manner of genres and levels of sensibility and seriousness. When it comes to Lucasfilm point and click adventure games, you tend to know what you're going to get: humour, and lots of it, with The Secret of Monkey Island standing tall above the rest as the go-to funny game, certainly for this period in time.

Despite sequels and remakes, it was only recently when I finally saw first hand what this game presented to players, in the form of The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, which overhauled the graphics entirely and yet allowed you to play with more of an old school look if you wanted that bit of authenticity. It also added sound effects, voice acting and music to the mix, as well as the greatest tool in a point and click game - hints.

How many hints am I going to need in this adventure?


Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap

The long battle-filled journey has finally ended.

I'll be honest here - I continually mistake the Wonder Boy titles for Alex Kidd titles. It's probably because I grew up with the likes of Mario and these other games simply never got a look in, or, of course, it could be ignorance. I'm not going to say that's impossible.

Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap isn't an Alex Kidd game, but a Wonder Boy game, which means we're playing as Tom-Tom out on his merry adventures to... cure himself of a curse (given to him by dragons) that turns him into different creatures. That's a video game plot if ever I've heard one.

But how does it play?


Stunt Car Racer

Drop Start.

Source // Lemon Amiga

I simply could not picture Stunt Car Racer until I saw a screenshot of it and said "ah, yes, that one, the early 3D one or something. Wasn't it awfully slow?"

I don't know the answer to that question because I've not seen much of the game, I certainly haven't played it, and don't have any hope at all of correctly telling you which port of the game I saw. Maybe I've seen a few, I just don't know.

Stunt Car Racer, to me, is that almost throw away game in documentaries about modern racing video games, but if it's on the 1001 list then it must be there for a reason, so it's about time I found out why.



He will never leave Eurasia alive.

Source // Wikipedia

I own but have never played the 2014 remake of Strider. I've seen it, as well as the 1989 arcade original, but haven't played either. I haven't schwinged Strider Hiryu's sword like a maniac, I haven't scaled the walls and flipped over platforms, I haven't slid under stage hazards.

What am I missing out on, I wonder? Perhaps a strange choice of words, considering I've seen them both in action, but I've forgotten much of what I've seen.

If Strider is good enough for a remake, then I better play Strider.


Prince of Persia

Or is that the Prince of Pressure?

Source // Wikipedia

When it comes to trial and error, I find myself having to be really invested in something in order to persist through all of those trials and every single error. If I'm not, frustration is generally not too far away. Prince of Persia is going to test me a fair bit...

Perhaps the king, rather than the prince, of trial and error gaming, Prince of Persia is unmistakably iconic to look at and play. I've seen it before, many a time, but playing it hasn't yet happened, probably because I think it'll be a nightmare - therefore why bother?

Well, we bother so that we can confirm or contradict our preconceptions, so it's about time I found out first hand whether Prince of Persia will keep me hooked or not.

Will we save the Sultan's daughter from the evil Jaffar, or will we fall face first into any and all spike pits we find?