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#72: The 7th Guest

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May 1993 – The 7th Guest

In every artistic medium, there are works that defy the limitations of the conditions in which they were made to become timeless classics, creations that hold every part of their appeal countless years later. And then, on the opposite end of the scale, there are things like The 7th Guest. I’m not sure there’s a single game that we’ve covered on this blog so far that has aged as poorly as this. Like Predator and Tower of Babel before it, it suffers mightily from the issue of its primary selling point being the showcasing of shiny new technology that is now hopelessly outdated. But with The 7th Guest, the problem is exacerbated further by the technology in question being the wonders of CD-ROM and its ability to put actual real humans onto your computer screen, which the game then uses to present the world’s hammiest actors in the most cliché-ridden haunted house story known to man.

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Posted by on August 16, 2017 in 1993, DOS

 

#71: Cannon Fodder

Iain wrote this one.

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April 1993 – Cannon Fodder

WAR! (HUH!) What is it good for? Oh, we’ve already done that one. And the much more celebrated Cannon Fodder does, at a basic level, quite resemble North & South, or at least the portion of it that involved moving tiny soldiers around the screen and shooting each other dead. It narrows down and sharpens the basic mechanic — move a smaller team, with left-click to move and right-click to shoot — and adds more thoughtful strategic complications around it. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2017 in 1993, Amiga

 

#70: Sensible Soccer

Hey, it’s been a while, but we’re back. And in all the time the blog has been laying dormant, we have been writing – entries are done up to the end of 1993. Which means we can guarantee weekly updates for the next ten weeks. After that… we’ll let you know where we’re at. 


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March 1993 – Sensible Soccer

Back in 1989 when we covered Microprose Soccer (the game to which Sensible Soccer is essentially a sequel), I talked about how that game captured the feel of the kind of football played by children in playgrounds and parks more than the professional sport it ostensibly sought to simulate and how this was key to its success. Sensible Soccer, then, succeeds even more by doubling down on this approach with a few important changes.

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Posted by on August 1, 2017 in 1993, Amiga

 

#69: Star Wars: X-Wing

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February 1993: Star Wars: X-Wing

Star Wars is, and forgive me for stating the obvious here, an enormously popular film series. And it has been for a full forty years now. Everyone has seen Star Wars or, if they haven’t, at least knows the broad strokes of what it’s all about. In 1993, I don’t think I’d seen any Star Wars films yet, but I could have told you that Luke Skywalker is a Jedi, and he teams up with Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi and some robots to fight Darth Vader, who is his father. And the beginning of 1993, a decade after Return of the Jedi and a few months before the hype train started rolling for The Phantom Menace, is probably approaching the lowest ebb in Star Wars’ popularity, which makes it something of a curious time for us to have our first (spoiler alert: the first of oh so many) meeting with the franchise here on AAA.

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Posted by on March 14, 2017 in 1993, DOS

 

#68: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

Iain wrote this one.

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January 1993 – Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

It’s an interesting time to be looking at a Nintendo portable game, in 2017 and less than a week before they Switch off the separation between portable and home console and try to consolidate the best of both. With Super Mario Land, we looked at a simulacrum of Mario whose appeal was in being at least that, on the go. At some point well in the future we’ll see the New Super Mario Bros. series elide the differences to be the same reliable nostalgia trip whatever you’re playing it on. But here is a is a game which is not port, not knock-off, but adaptation.

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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in 1993, Game Boy, Mario

 

#67: Street Fighter II

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December 1992 – Street Fighter II

Something we’ve talked about before in this project is the way that, at roughly the date we chose as our starting point, video games moved from being played in arcades to being played at home; moved from a public experience to a private one. But like so many things, this change didn’t happen instantaneously. The arcades didn’t die overnight. In fact, some of them are still around even now. And so we come to Street Fighter II, a game that, more than any other we’ve covered so far, feels like it belongs to the arcades.

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Posted by on February 20, 2017 in 1992, SNES

 

#66: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

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November 1992 – Sonic the Hedgehog 2

but with the introduction of the spindash, Sonic 2 does away with all the buildup, and allows you to go from 0-60 in the blink of an eye. It’s an astonishingly bold statement of purpose, one that promises non-stop thrills the likes of which have never been seen. As I argued in the original Sonic post, that game was meticulously crafted to make the most of its limited opportunities for unrestrained speed by carefully doling them out at exactly the right moments to make them really stand out, but this sequel provides a compelling case for the alternative all killer no filler approach. Taking away the need for long stretches of runup before the big flashy set pieces like the loop-the-loops means they can be more densely packed into the levels, allowing for a much tighter construction, and yet Sonic 2’s levels actually go bigger and more sprawling than their predecessors. It’s a case of the game brazenly trying to have its cake and eat it too, and one which turns out, preposterously, to be a completely unreserved success. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2017 in 1992, Mega Drive, Sonic the Hedgehog