– by Mark MacDonald –
Video games have been around for decades, and in that time an enormous volume of wonderful games has been amassed. The early days of game development may not have employed the visual graphics of today’s titles, but they nonetheless have much to offer and are increasingly in demand. Products like the Retron and DOS emulators make it easy to re-visit classic games, though some may cost a pretty penny to obtain. Here is a look at some of the best in vintage gaming.
Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars (SNES, 1996)
Look at the price in any vintage game store and you’ll see that Super Mario RPG fetches a pretty penny-for good reason. The turn-based role-playing take on the Mario franchise is a solid game for those who enjoy the genre. The game does a good job at letting you navigate the world (which looks great) in real-time fluidly, then engage in turn-based combat when you encounter an enemy. Tons of levels, great animations, visually pleasing environments and a very long gaming experience make this game a great one.
King’s Quest (PC, 1983)
Husband and wife Ken and Roberta Williams founded Sierra Entertainment in 1979 and together created some of the best and most influential games ever made. Perhaps the pinnacle of their work is the King’s Quest series, which began with the first installment in 1983 and continued until King’s Quest VI in 1992. The point-and-click adventure games are imaginative and rich, and the puzzles present sizeable challenges without leaving you frustrated or completely lost. A truly landmark series, the King’s Quest games are extraordinary.
Donkey Kong Country (SNES, 1994)
The graphics, the music, the gameplay; there are so many reasons to like Donkey Kong Country it’s no wonder it is so highly regarded and massively popular. The side-scrolling game features forty levels that are visually pleasing and challenging. The game can be played by two players, who alternate between Donkey and Diddy Kong, and can also play as other friendly animals, such as an Ostrich or a giant frog who are encountered along the way. A classic SNES game, Donkey Kong Country is simply a joy to play.
Quest for Glory (PC, 1989)
Another series of adventure games created by Ken and Roberta Williams’ Sierra Entertainment, Quest for Glory incorporates RPG style character customization as well as combat into an adventure game. Players choose between three different options; Fighter, Wizard or Thief and can hone their skills through the course of one-or all of the games. The same character you developed in the first installment can be loaded into any subsequent titles and an additional ‘Paladin’ class can be earned through making the right choices in gameplay. I cannot stress enough how truly exceptional the Quest for Glory games are; surely some of the best games of their time.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, 1998)
Possibly the best game to come out for Nintendo 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time delivers hours upon hours of enjoyable gameplay. The one-player adventure game does an excellent job of making the combat fluid and fun, while also creating dynamic puzzles in a large world in which you can easily roam around. The plot takes you from a young Link armed with a slingshot and a wooden shield through time to an adult version of the hero armed with an array of fun and useful weapons. With plenty to do in a visually pleasing world, and great gameplay mechanics, Ocarina of Time deserves its high acclaim.
The Secret Of Monkey Island (PC, 1990)
Lucasfilm Games’ fun-filled point-and-click adventure game series began with the first Monkey Island in 1990 and continued over the years to include four more titles. The game is designed to never leave the player ‘dead’ or in an unwinnable situation-something that, at the time of its release, was relatively unheard of. The game revolves around the adventures of Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate who seeks to find the secret of Monkey Island, defeat the evil undead pirate LeChuck and earn the love of Governor Elaine Marley. The game, set in a fictional Caribbean during the 17th or 18th century, is undoubtedly comical, with characters often breaking the fourth wall or else alluding to the fact that they are in a video game. The music is truly infectious, the gameplay is enjoyable, and the setting is more than aesthetically pleasing, making the Monkey Island series a classic.
Shadowrun (Genesis, 1994)
Shadowrun continues to be one of the most popular role-playing games of all time, spawning a series of video games, novels, and card games. The game is based in the future, when magic has returned to Earth along with dragons and various other creatures associated with the fantasy genre. From elves to dwarves and trolls, all manner of creatures are now present in the world-which is primarily controlled by corporations who control private armies and attempt to undermine each other with corporate espionage and the like. Shadowrun begins with the murder of your brother, and sets you off on a search to find the truth about what happened to him through the cyberpunk world of the future. The game combines fantasy and sci-fi elements in a unique way and the gameplay is smooth and enjoyable while offering hours of entertainment. It’s no wonder Shadowrun has been so successful and highly regarded-truly a great game.
Whether it’s role-playing or adventure, giant apes or wannabe pirates, these games of old offer hours of entertainment for anyone looking to re-visit some of the ‘classics’, I sincerely hope you check them out.