When I was your age...
Games are perhaps the best applications ever written for the PC. They are the killer app that drives the engine of innovation. Would we need a Geforce 3 or Radeon 8500 for spreadsheets? I don't think so. Would we need $400 speaker systems for Real Video? No way on this planet. We ran an article some time back about the state of PC gaming.
It got me thinking. Why did DOS hold out so long even with the benefits of Win9x and NT? Was it Lotus 1-2-3? Not even. It was the Games. People just love their old games. They are still huge fans of the golden oldies, and have spent a great deal of time making sure that their sound cards and video cards keep on playing as many of those as possible. I know I love my old games and I play as many as I can by booting to DOS mode. It is about the only reason worth booting to DOS mode in fact, unless you are doing a lot of drive cloning.
In this article let's take a stroll down memory lane, and share some of my all-time favorite games with the loyal Firing Squad readers. I really feel that these games represented the true Golden Age, where everywhere you turned, you could find another great title just a download away. There was some amazing innovation, and most developers never seemed to lose focus on what really mattered: making games fun to play.
Zork: The Original Text Adventures
It was the text adventure that started it all for me. I was playing this on Apple IIe machines when I was learning to program in Basic back when I was in high school. We would play this game for hours on end and it never, ever got old. A simple command line interface let you enter basic commands like "Go North, Move Rug, Open Trap Door and Light Lantern" (so you would not be eaten by a Grue). The magic continued in a long list of Infocom classics like Planetfall and sequels to the original Zork. Later, Activision bought the rights to the series and tried some updated Full Motion Video sequels, but none of them had the magic of the original series. The original series let your mind create your own vision of the world. Once in a while, you might try writing your own map down on paper to keep you from getting lost, but in most cases, you became so familiar with the game, you never needed to. Talk about a healthy addiction!