And so we bid a fond farewell to the eighties with Batman, generally referred to as Batman: The Movie, to avoid confusion with other Batman games. Batman is a character who will be cropping up several in this project in the future, and if we’d started a little earlier, he might well have cropped up in the past too, with the first ever Batman game being a 1986 isometric adventure by Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond, making it a direct predecessor to Head Over Heels, of all things. And while there have certainly been games based around other comic book superheroes, they are, on the whole, considerably less successful. In their original medium, Superman arguably just about beats Batman to the title of ‘Most Iconic Superhero’, but in games, their fortunes aren’t even close. The only Superman game of any renown is known as one of the worst games of all time. It really feels like Batman, as a character, is suited to games in a way that other superheroes aren’t. Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: 1989
Iain wrote this one.
“Today’s racing spectators wanted power, excitement and… danger! The year is 2008 and this promises to be the fastest and most dangerous season of the lot.”
I remember playing Stunt Car Racer, but more than any other game so far, I remember something else from its oversized box. It came with a history of motorsport, and Formula 1 in particular, which eventually turned speculative, a look back from an imaginary future. You can download it from here: http://www.c64games.de/phpseiten/spieledetail.php?filnummer=417
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Fantasy World Dizzy seems to be widely regarded as the pinnacle of the Dizzy series, at least within the narrow niche where ‘the pinnacle of the Dizzy series’ is a concept with any meaning at all. This is clearly wrong – the following game, Magicland Dizzy, is superior in just about every way – but taken in context of the rest of the series, it’s easy to see why it has this reputation. Because, in gameplay terms, while Magicland does sand off a few more of the rough edges, its improvements are nothing compared to the giant leap forward that Fantasy World takes from Treasure Island. Read the rest of this entry »
“Margaret greeted her lord with peculiar tenderness on the morrow. Mature as he was, she might yet be able to help him to the building of the rainbow bridge that should connect the prose in us with the passion. Without it we are meaningless fragments, half monks, half beasts, unconnected arches that have never joined into a man. With it love is born, and alights on the highest curve, glowing against the grey, sober against the fire.” – E.M. Forster, Howards End Read the rest of this entry »
Iain wrote this one.
It’s 1989. You are, despite appearances to the contrary, a kiwi. A seal has captured your kiwi companions including, inevitably, your bow-wearing kiwi girlfriend. You must trek across the country to rescue them, but there are things out to stop you: bear things, star things, penguin things riding flying ducks, axe-throwing cats, dank things in shells. Welcome to New Zealand. It’s been waiting for you.
Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat; Rick Dangerous is an absolutely stellar name for an action hero. He’s also a fairly straightforward rip-off of Indiana Jones; if the box art didn’t make this abundantly clear already, the start of the game certainly does, immediately recreating the iconic ‘run away from giant boulder’ scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Rick also delves through ancient ruins in search of priceless artifacts, wearing a fedora and an extremely smug grin at all times, although in place of Indy’s whip, he carries, and I swear I am not making this up, a pogo stick with which to incapacitate his foes. Read the rest of this entry »
Populous presents a fairly straightforward power fantasy, allowing the player to take on the role of a god ruling over a group of devoted worshipers. To a certain extent, all games are power fantasies, and this is simply taking this fact to its logical conclusion, giving you not just the power to jump really high or handle a sword or shoot bubbles out of your mouth, but something approaching absolute power. In this game, you can shape the very world itself according to your whims. Read the rest of this entry »