In the first part I explored the games that first made me realize there is more to gaming than a few hours of time wasting every odd Sunday.
So after revolving around car games for a while what made me get out of that niche and into other games? OK, it's not like I haven't played anything other than car games but none of the games I played made me feel anything special up to this point. Cca. 1992. This was the time when rumours about a groundbreaking new game started to circulate. Those who were also around during this period might already know what this game was. Of course, Wolfeinstein 3D.
But there was a slight issue. The family PC only had an EGA adapter, which was quite advanced compared to all those office PCs at the time with 2 color displays, it was capable of displaying 16 colors off of a 256 color palette. But I digress, modern games started to require a VGA adapter which could show 256 colors on screen.
I wasn't particularly unhappy as I never actually got to try Wolf3d, so I didn't know what I was missing, I was happy to play car games like Stunts.
I first saw Wolf3D in action at one of my mates house when he got a new PC in 1994. But it wasn't the game changer I was expecting. Yes it was cool, but in a way it still felt like games of old, a bit crappy, a bit cheesy looking, so it didn't quite hook me. I also got a new PC later that year, that's when I got to try a whole plethora of games that were out of reach before. The same friend who had shown me Wolf3D also introduced another game: Dune II, but I just graduated from car games to action games, an RTS was beyond my reasoning at the time, so I promptly dismissed the game.
This was a great period of progress for videogames. Games that were new were so far beyond games that were only a year or so old that it was mind boggling. Doom came out less than 2 years after Wolfenstein 3D and it was a different dimension.
But at this point in time games were still just games. Time wasters, where the narrative was thin or nonexistent. The last great game with no strings attached was Carmageddon. And also the first game that I played overnight into the next morning to finish.
But let's not jump ahead in time that much, first go back to 1994. I don't really remember how or when, but eventually I got hooked on Dune II. And I bet it has somehing to do with Transport Tycoon, the first strategy game that I enjoyed. And the game that I actively played for the longest period of time. The game has a cult following, and the community continuously supported it expanding it greatly through TTDPatch, it was even completely re-written for modern systems as OpenTTD.
The game is now 25 years old, and for at least 20 of that I was actively playing it. No other game can claim anything close to that. The biggest selling point of Transport Tycoon is how rewarding it was to see the systems work that you built. I could spend hours observing as the trucks and trains carried goods the most efficient way possible. And to this day that is what I look for in every strategy game. That coming up with a good strategy should be its own reward. The mere observation that it works. And as such I have to nominate Transport Tycoon as the most influential game if this period.
In the next part I'll detail my journey to high concept narrative based games.
You realize you're old, when some of the tracks in a game you played are long abandoned and overgrown in real life.
My first real taste of the open road. This was the first street racer game with realistic graphics. Yes, street racing was cool before fast and the furious, I'd argue more cool, F&F ruined it for us oldschool guys, with the neons and ricers and ridicilous pimp my ride style. The actual driving became secondary.
I could namedrop at least two dozen more games, but this will have to do for now...