Welcome to the eighth edition of Sunday Top Ten, a list of completely random and undoubtedly self-indulgent things that may or may not be published on a Sunday or number “ten.” This feature is a continuation of the Sunday Top Tens I used to write for my earth-shattering personal blog Autowin, where I talked about myself pretty much constantly from 2006-2008.
My Mom insisted that my brother and I were mistaken when we insisted a video game console was necessary to our existence, considering that we had a Mac and a PC in our home, the latter utilized mostly for games (and eventually for Prodigy, which was basically AOL 1.0), the former provided to my Dad by his employer. She was right, I now realize, but at the time I couldn’t, because my friends talked about Super Mario Brothers all the time and nobody wanted to talk to me about Gold Rush!. As you can see, I was clearly living a life of oppression and misery and it’s truly remarkable that I made it this far in life considering those circumstances. That changes today. Today I am determined to locate even just one human being who spent countless hours controlling the Amquack Railroad in order to make enough cash to build a tire swing for Huey, Duey and Louie.
In January, The Internet Archive released over 2,000 classic DOS games for us to play for free on the internet, which our Geekery Editor Ali celebrated by spending an entire Saturday revisiting these fond memories. You might want to do that after reading this, too. Plus, you’ll find yourself exempt from the holiest of old-school-computer-game rituals: removing and inserting a new floppy disk for each ascendant level of play.
The screenshots here come from a variety of sources including the aforementioned Internet Archive, as well as from The Adventure Gamer, Dos Game Archives, Moby Games, My Abandon Ware and Abandonia.
Top Ten Dudical Computer Games I Played In The Computer Room
10. Sim Life (1992)
“A complex game in which you can create your own ecosystems, animals or vegetables, then watch them eat, evolve, mate, or die. Feel free to create funky animals! How about a giant snail that would have to eat several trees each day to survive – or a small kangaroo that would lay eggs and eat only bugs? You can even edit their DNA code, and make your animals mutate.” (via)
Basically, I was on board for whatever the good people of SimLand wanted me to do with my time, but I found SimLife intensely unsatisfying, perhaps due to my ambivalence towards animals in general and disinterest in science. This shit was complicated and, I suspect, genuinely educational. But thank you SimLife for introducing me to the term “gestation period.”
9. Sim Ant (1991)
“In SimAnt, the player plays the role of an ant in a colony of black ants in the back yard of a suburban home. The ant colony must battle against enemy red ants. The ultimate goal is to spread throughout the garden, into the house, and finally to drive out the red ants and human owners. In this respect, SimAnt differed from other ‘Sim’ games that were open-ended and had no victory conditions.” (via)
I have no idea how this could’ve possibly been fun, but it actually was? I think my little brother was better at SimAnt than me. I hated when my brother was better at things than me.
8. Black Cauldron (1986)
“You are Taran, assistant Pig keeper, living in Caer Dalben. Soon you’ll notice that your pig HenWen has magical powers… The Evil Horned King want that pig so that he can locate the black cauldron and rule the world. You must stop him.” (via)
Based on a ’60s fantasy book series for children, The Black Cauldron was an epic flop of a Disney movie before it became a Sierra Game that my brother and I were obsessed with. I think this was the first computer game we ever played ’cause I remember playing it in the basement, which’s where our computer was before “computer rooms” became a thing. My primary recollection of this game is begging our parents to let us call the 1-900 number in the manual for hints on how to advance past stubborn levels of unfairness. It was like $2.95 a minute or something ridiculous but also that was the only way to get anywhere in this game. It was hard and we were so small.
7. Mixed-Up Mother Goose (1987)
“In a dream, you are carried on gooseback to the fantasy land where nursery rhymes are true stories. Mother Goose has inadvertently mixed up all her rhymes, and it’s up to you to fix it.” (via)
I’d forgotten about this game ’til scrolling through the Internet Archive selections and then it all came back to me, all my memories of helping Humpty Dumpty find his ladder in a hot panic. Apparently the game was designed by a woman, Roberta Williams, who’s also pictured on the front of the game box. Also: nursery rhymes are dark, y’all. There was an old woman who lived in a shoe who needed broth to feed all her children and a dude who survives on a diet of pumpkin whose wife keeps leaving him and a girl who lost her sheep. Losing your sheep is the worst.
6. Donald Duck’s Playground (1984)
“The plot is simple. You as Donald Duck have various workplaces to choose from to earn money which you need to buy items for the playground of your nephews.” (via)
Donald Duck’s Playground was, then, not really one game so much as it was lots of tiny games absorbing the warm embrace of a larger umbrella game. Just watching screen grabs of Donald sorting luggage at McDuck Airlines or failing to catch a flying watermelon at The Produce Market makes my heart race. I loved games where you had to work different jobs to obtain small amounts of money which you could then put towards building something glorious for your friends to enjoy. That’s basically Autostraddle’s Business Plan, which means Donald Duck Playground is Autostraddle’s root.
5. Oregon Trail (1985)
“As a covered wagon party of pioneers, you head out west from Independence, Missouri to the Willamette River and valley in Oregon. You first must stock up on provisions, and then, while traveling, make decisions such as when to rest, how much food to eat, etc. The Oregon Trail incorporates simulation elements and planning ahead, along with discovery and adventure, as well as mini-game-like activities (hunting and floating down the Dalles River).” (via)
Apparently, being born in 1981 makes me part of the “Oregon Trail Generation.” As Anna Garvey wrote for Social Media Week, “If you can distinctly recall the excitement of walking into your weekly computer lab session and seeing a room full of Apple 2Es displaying the start screen of Oregon Trail, you’re a member of this nameless generation, my friend.” Guilty as charged. Oregon Trail, however, unlike the other games on this list, was a game I only played in school — there was really no need to have it at home, because we got plenty in the classroom. According to the comments on Ali’s post, y’all are really into this game and are aware that cholera is a bitch.
4. Gold Rush! (1988)
“The story follows the misadventures of a city slicker named Jerrod Wilson. A journalist for a Brooklyn newspaper, Jerrod’s main goal in life is to go to California and find his long-lost brother who has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Jerrod also hopes to find gold, become rich, and settle down with the lady of his dreams. It is up to you to help Jerrod accomplish his goals. He’ll face many dangers in the Old West, so keep on your toes in order to protect him from danger.” (via)
This was absolutely my favorite adventure game, and pretty much taught me everything I needed to know about moving to California from New York: you might get rich but you probably won’t, everyone will try and fuck with you, there will be a genuine ambiance of opportunity but no concrete path towards it, the weather will be fantastic and you’ll never really be sure if things are better than they were in Brooklyn. I was shocked to learn that this was one of Sierra’s more unpopular adventure games! It’s so good!
3. Sim City (1989)
“The original SimCity.. was one of the most innovative titles of its time, allowing the gamer to plan, build, and maintain a city from scratch…. You start out with nothing but a bit of money, and a piece of land, and it’s your job to create and maintain a city. As City Planner, you choose what goes where: residential, industrial, and commercial zoning as well as transit and power. You need to maintain equilibrium to keep your city flowing smoothly; each type of zone relies on the other, and you must create the perfect balance.” (via)
This was the first game besides solitaire that we installed on the black-and-white Mac SE/30, and it quickly consumed me entirely. SimCity convinced me that running a city is really hard and introduced me to the concept of Industrial / Residential / Commercial zoning. Also, I learned that power plants are bad and kill people, and if you don’t plant enough trees, people will murder each other. If I could go back in time and do it all again, I’d turn Bernardville into a lesbian separatist commune.
2. Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego (1989)
“This time you continue to catch Carmen Sandiego and her american gang in the U.S.A. Breaking from jail somewhere in Europe, she comes to yankees to steal their treasures. You as ACME detective have to travel from town to town on the tail of suspect, using clues and collecting evidences, which allow you to put suspect to jail finally. The words of witnesses are clues for you only if you have basical geographical and historical knowledge.” (via)
Real talk: I’m fucking amazing at this game. THIS IS WORLD’S BEST GAME. Not only am I killer at the computer game, but I’m also adept at being an armchair competitor for the live TV show game. I consistently found myself smarter than everybody else, especially for the final round when they had to locate things on the map.
1. Sim City 2000 (1994)
Sim City was the greatest, but once Sim City 2000 debuted, all bets were off. I loved this game — the first we installed on the new COLOR Mac Centris — more than I’d ever loved a game before. The main challenge of SimCity 2000 was that I never managed to succeed without using cheat codes to bulk up my bank account. Building cities is hard-to-impossible. Hats off to all you people who try to do this in real life.
Okay, now you’re gonna tell me about The Sims and I want you to know that I am 33 years old, which means I didn’t get into “The Sims” until just after graduating from college. At which point I got way too into The Sims and had to stop.
Recommended follow-up K-Holes:
- Abandonia – one of the largest DOS game websites in the world (which survives on donations!) with forums, an incredible database and so many downloadable games. “It’s like an old gaming arcade with all the old games in their original format,” say its creators.
- Abandonware – Thousands of games to download for free (organized by theme, creator, and more) and tons of screenshots.
- The Adventure Gamer – This guy plays ALL OF THE GAMES and reviews them for you in clear and relevant detail. If your Mom wouldn’t let you play Leisure Suite Larry, this guy played it for you, okay? I enjoyed reliving Gold Rush through this guy’s eyes.
SO, TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD COMPUTER ADVENTURES, GUMSHOES!
Omg I LOVED Simlife! I liked making sprites for different imaginary creatures and then making then compete with other creatures for food. Sometimes i would make plants or animals that were inspired by non living things (i once made a species of dogs whose diet consisted of a plant called “homework” that looked like a piece of paper). I liked fast forwarding to see the population grow and shrink and spread. One of my favorite games from childhood :)
“Um… hello! Me Willie! Me Willie Trombone!”
I almost forgot about this game, thank you for the reminder!
Sim Ant is the best! It was my favorite game when I was in grade school. I remember playing with the experimention mode and giving that asshole wolf spider laser eyes.
FYI Kara is playing SimAnt right now and is very excited about it. :)
– Kara’s girlfriend
this is ADORABLE
MY GOD You are the first person who I’ve met who remembers Sim Ant!! It is BY FAR THE MOST SUPERIOR SIM GAME. Screw humans, I want to be a small tiny ant avoiding raindrops and spiders and using scent trails to lead my family to food and if I die I’ll pop out from a tiny egg from the mighty-mother-queen because reincarnation and I didn’t finish fulfilling my obligational duties as a tiny ant to take over the human species.
Look at how much I learned from this A+ educational classic game!
you’re basically a professional ant! i bet you’re better at this game than me OR my brother
TEAM OREGON TRAIL FOR ALWAYS AND ETERNITY.
…I never played it in school but the library near me had it and I spent A LOT of time playing it (in the Children’s Room, shhh) the summer before ninth grade. And I was majorly upset when they got rid of it/the computers it was on.
Someone also gave my sister this Madeline game. I didn’t play it till I discovered there was a feature that let you design rooms/arrange furniture. If I had a dollar for every hour I spent doing that I’d be rich.
There was also had this game that was supposed to teach kids basic math and involved elves (or were they dwarves?) who walked around saying “what’s in the green bag?” and collecting gems.
Treasure Mountain! And all those other The Learning Company games. I had the sequel, Treasure Mathstorm, and it taught me all the adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing before I hit kindergarden. Left me lots of time to play with tiddlywinks and draw.
OMFG I LOVED THOSE GAMES
I took computer classes for a couple of years and those games were our reward for finishing a day of class. I tried replaying them a while ago and was pretty surprised at how slooooooooowwwwww everything processed.
Phantasie. Long before I acquired my love for RPGs that I have today, my father bought me this game. I don’t think I understood it as I would now, but it was something that I just kept on playing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantasie
Karateka – Beat up bad guys and save the princess using karate. Not exactly the high point of video games, even at that time. I still had lots of fun. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karateka_%28video_game%29
I didn’t accomplish anything in the early 90s due to just being born, but I have a bit of late 80s/early 90s game overlap anyway. I attended a “computer camp” at some point in my youth that was ostensibly for teaching us real applicable skills but my memory of my time spent there is really just a hazy cloud of Sim City 2000, floppy disks, and pop tarts.
I played Math Blaster and Midnight Rescue! in elementary school, for sure, and JumpStart and Reader Rabbit games at home. Vapid fluff games like Putt-Putt and Petz got a lot of play too. Also, Detective Barbie. Don’t judge.
I also had this NES emulator with the dismembered bleeding hand as a cursor. I played many games on there ad nauseam even after I had gotten a console with actually good graphics, to the complete bewilderment of my dad.
Math Blaster & Reader Rabbit! Holy crap I loved those games. Reader Rabbit because it was easy for me and also – carrots! Math Blaster because it was a challenge for me and it felt really good to do well at it.
Reader Rabbit was the first game that my family owned, I’m pretty sure!
Also, I don’t know whether there are multiple Detective Barbie games or just one, but I played the Carnival Caper one! In my defense, it belonged to my younger sister (most of the Barbie games did, I think – Barbie Riding Club, Secret Agent Barbie, etc. I owned the Harry Potter ones, but I also played all of hers).
I’m not sure either, but same here! I have no such excuse because i’m an only child, but man, who knew a Barbie game could be so creepy.
Some nerdly gaming history about Maze: http://www.polygon.com/features/2015/5/21/8627231/the-first-first-person-shooter
My favorites were Summer Olympics, and one called the Castles of Dr Creep which I don’t think many people played but it was awesome and you had to escape from a castle of a mad scientist. Commodore 64, oh yeah.
We never had the summer Olympics one, just the winter Olympics one. This may be why I’m uninterested in watching summer Olympics now that I’m an adult.
(also the word Olympics looks really strange when you actually focus on it.)
The game that I remember being on all the school computers when I was a child was Skyroads. It seems pretty simple now compared to games that required a strategy other than accelerating to full speed and hoping for the best.
I played sim city at school in the mid-ninties. I don’t know it’s educational value.
My favorite game is MANIAC MANSION always and forever.
Wait, I love how Sim Life was essentially like: “we are only going to program this game half way, so you should prolly figure out the deep cuts of coding, preschooler.” 80’s games, it seems, followed the trend of illustrating the harsh realities of this difficult world much like I hear 80’s children’s television did.
The first game I ever played in this cruel world was The Logical Journey of The Zoombinis, which was essentially this really difficult /creepy game that required you to find a new home for the enslaved Zoombini’s. Now “Zoombini” is my online brand and I also have a tattoo of a Zoombini, because I think it’s one of the most exciting things how 21 – 33 yr olds essentially grew up with computer technology and the internet in a way that no one else in the history of the world will experience. The origins of our digital experience are very relevant because they illustrate the micro-history of all digital experience! It’s so crazy that you were playing SimLife as a baby and now we have virtual reality theme parks! Phew.
ZOOMBINIS! The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis (1 & 2) were so creepy and amazing. I’m so glad you mentioned this. Just yesterday I demanded my sister “Make me a pizza!”. As soon as my study semester is over I am going to track down this game and play again. I am so happy you have a Zoombini tattoo – that might be the coolest thing I have heard all year.
“Make me a pizza” “More toppings!” & “Something on that I don’t LIKE” are things that I regularly say in the world hoping for anyone to get the references, ever. They are not easy phrases to casually slip into conversation, but I do it, with the naive hope. I am very glad you exist in this world!
Also don’t freak out too hard, but your dreams are coming true because someone else loved Zoombinis enough to re-design it and re-release it for tablets and computers, which you can play VERY SOON: https://www.facebook.com/ZoombinisGame
I am torn though because I don’t like the new blobby design they gave to my dear zoombini friends :(
Hip hip Zoombini! What excellent news!
I see what you mean about the new design of the zoombinis. However, I think I can look past it if it means I get to play Pizza Pass, and agonise over the Bubble Wonder Abyss once more.
Zoombinis ftw! definitely sums up my formative gaming years. I am praying they keep the original music and sound in the new version as the catchphrases were such a highlight. I still have the original cd-rom though it no longer works on my pc. I never fully completed it – bubblewonder abyss and that hotel one were freakin hard!! #lifegoals
YES, I was hoping that someone would mention The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis! They had that game at my elementary school and I thought it was so cool and fun that I made my parents buy it for me.
I never liked the last two levels, though (Mirror Machine and Bubblewonder Abyss), because they took SO LONG and I was obsessed with not losing any zoombinis, so I would have to go back to camp if I lost even one.
FOR THE CHEIF:
For whatever reason my school had this game that was called Odell Down Under that is basically a game where you start off as a regular fish and need to eat and not be eaten. I never had a lot of patience to figure out what type of food the fish I chose could eat so I think I would choose to be a shark so I could eat all the things. I’m not sure what that says about me as a person.
Also the usual: Where in the Wold is Carmen Sandiego, The Oregon Trail, Math Blasters, SimCity and also SimFarm because well, Wisconsin.
A. I loved Oregon Trail & Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego!
B. My actual favorite computer “game” wasn’t actually a game, but an architecture program where I would just design houses. That was always my favorite part of The Sims and this way I didn’t have to deal with the stupid sims. I really wanted to be an architect when I was in middle school. I was cool.
I was also super into designing the houses. High five!
i loved designing the houses!
I also liked designing the houses! And the families too, I guess, but I would imagine stories for them and then not want to actually play with them.
Yes! Playing with the families was definitely the least interesting part for me.
I was that way irl too – I’d create these big worlds & back stories for playing house with my friends, but never actually enjoyed playing house.
Do I even have to say it? Carmen SanDiego 5ever
I was waiting for your comment tbh
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was one of the best games I have ever played.
Carmen SanDiego, Sam and Max, Full Throttle, Lemmings, Tetris, Solitaire, SimCity and The Sims were also in heavy rotation in Little Carmen’s 486 DX 4-100
Sam and Max. Ooh yes.
Also, Leisure Suit Larry I. =D
How about Kings Quest? Circa 1985 or so… I never made it out of that desert.
that shit was HARD
i think i abandoned it for black cauldron — same game designer, i think?
Love the Kings Quest series. That desert was legit hard. I remember using paper to track my movements and where everything was so I could go back. Their hint book also had that little red screen that you had to use to decipher it. Awesome.
Dungeon Master was the best, you get to fight mummies and monsters that looked like trees
OMG, you guys! I miss old games!
Monkey Island! Ultima 7! Commander Keen! Street Rod! *feelsallthefeelz*
Creatures! Eye of the Beholder! Pirates! Colonization! Sim Tower! Pizza Connection!
Man, I gotta try to get all those…
Commander Keen! Aliens Ate My Babysitter (I think it was Commander Keen 6) was a definite highlight of my childhood.
I loved all these games and actually had a couple more of the Sim games – Sim Earth and Sim Life were my least favourite but they’d do in a pinch.
What about LEMMINGS guys?! Remember that?
TOTALLY PLAYED LEMMINGS. I feel sad for everybody who doesn’t have a mental image of lemmings walking off a [surface of some kind? were they building something? i feel like yes] to plunge to their deaths in that game whenever lemmings are used as an analogy in conversation
The player was building stuff I think; the lemmings were just walking onwards to their doom.
fuck yeah, lemmings! ugh I loved that game.
we also played a lot of chip’s challenge, to the extent where we had yellow legal pads full of the correct arrow key combos for the ice levels and shit.
microsoft entertainment suite for the win.
Paintbox Pals, anyone?
awww, I remember Oregon Trail! And all my family members dying mere miles from the damn river at the end.
My brother built the most elaborate cities in SimCity 2000, then he’d choose all kinds of disasters (usually monsters or aliens or something) and watch it all burn.
Good times. Glad I’m not the only one with fond memories of old games.
One of my favorite things was when my mom got a hand-me-down win95 computer when they upgraded their systems to win98. It had the coolest demo disc I’ve ever seen. A game like interface before you even got to playing the game demos themselves, I probably spent more time throwing coins at things and running around in the selection mode than playing the games it had.
Before that happened my game experience was all DOS, StickyBear’s Fun With Numbers(?), Donald’s Alphabet Chase, Treasure Mathstorm, The Amazon Trail, The Treehouse and Whacky Wheels.
WACKY WHEELS! Somehow, I bring up Wacky Wheels in conversation more than one might expect, but no one ever has any clue what I’m talking about. I LOVED this game!
My pops was a computer engineer, so he had me deciphering notes in 7digit ascii when i was pretty small, and DOS was a portal to all sorts of fun games and random backdoors. We were also a Prodigy house.
I loved Black Cauldron, mostly because I had been a huge fan of the Chronicles of Prydain book series.
Also, I played Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy with my copy of the book sitting in my lap typing ridiculous instructions like ‘take an analgesic’ in order to get over the debilitating hangover that would leave you bedridden and destroyed by an intergalactic bulldozer if you didn’t take the initiative. If I remember correctly, the opening line to the game was ‘It is dark’ and the first (correct) command prompt was ‘Open your eyes’. Yeah…spent waaaay too much time with that game.
When I wasn’t typing through command prompt screens in the name of entertainment, i really loved Qbert, Extreme Pinball, Tank Wars, Tetris, Jungle Jim…and Tapper.
Does anyone else know about Tapper? This game was hilarious, and completely inappropriate…the tagline was ‘bartending is hard work!’
Geeked out a bunch with Myst, but that was way later, like 1993!
This is super fun Riese, thanks!
I played a lot of Oregon Trail in school, as well as Carmen SanDiego and a game called NumberMunchers.. (hehehe ‘Munchers’)
At home I played Civilization and Command and Conquer.. and some Casino Game.
Also used up soooo much ink printing out pictures from the Rock-A-Doodle colouring book program on my dad’s old PC!
I got in SERIOUS trouble one time printing out a poster-sized (four sheets) full color MASTERPIECE that I made in some art program. Parents should just disconnect the printer, probably.
What about Lode Runner?!
Below the Root – it was lovely, fun, girl-protagonist and a nice imagined world based on author Zilpha Keatley Snider. I think of honey and lanterns and trees.
Ditto – Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego, Lode Runner and drawing kids’ bedrooms with Mac Paint.
Where the hell is Transport Tycoon??? X-wing? The Secret of Monkey Island?
Yeah! The secret of monkey island! And loom?
Ah Oregon Trail. I still have the app on my ipod tbh. Not the same but still fulfills that itch. Im def more into 90s stuff. I had a SNES when everyone else was starting to have playstation. I have an emulator now for both NES and SNES games. Great to play Sim City.
I’m an ’86 baby so I’m all about this post right now.
The games I remember playing most:
There was also this game with pipes that I remember playing all. the. time. but the name is escaping me right now.
Others that I loved:
Oregon Trail (duh)
Wheel of Fortune
Jeopardy (my love of trivia continues to this day and dates back to 8-year-old me flying it on floppy disk)
Duke! Man, he had balls of steel. :-D
My friend and I were playing Family Feud on our old Apple, and we were stuck on the category of “things people do in bed before sleeping.” We asked my dad, who scandalised us little 8 yr olds by saying, wistfully, “Making love.” It was a right answer though.
oh g-d i played jeopardy more than any other game, probs! i should’ve included it.
EVERYBODY played Doom but my Mom wouldn’t let us
Oh man was the pipe game called Pipe Dreams? I never got into that one too much, but I remember my mom being essentially addicted to it through a number of my formative years. Think it must’ve come free on our computer, and she would stay up late into the night trying to connect pipes before the water flowed out. Oof, the memories! =P
Gold Rush! I spent hours and hours in the late 80’s trying finding my way to California, and dying in a myriad of ways (food poisoning on the ship going the long way around the Cape, quicksand via Panama, horses pulling me & the wagon off a cliff when travelling overland). I still have the original box complete with 5.25″ floppy disks…
The Sierra adventure games were awesome. Gold Rush and the Police Quest series were by far my favourites.
British here so I had a Sinclair ZX Spectrum and I had games on cassette tape, I had a game called Pirate Ship, lotta text and a platformer called Dizzy where you were basically an egg.
We had BBC computers in school and played a game called Granny’s Garden which had this terrifying witch not sure of the purpose of it, I didn’t enjoy it. I had a text based famous five game but I swear all I remember are the words “You wait, time passes” appearing on screen and I couldn’t get further than that.
I also remember hours of going to pages in the manual with certain codes for saves on an Atari my friend had and the joy of getting lemmings on win95. I saved so many of those green haired guys.
Console based sidebar- Back to the future 3 for master system has kicked my ass more than any game I have ever known. It only has 3 levels!
Sim City taught me that it costs $1 to fix a tiny block of land erosion and if all else fails you can always unleash Godzilla.
Also that typing in rude words as your username is hilarious. Congratulations, Mayor Buttface!
My mom was even worse and only got us educational games, and we were only allowed to use those occasionally. So, super solvers outnumbered and treasure cove, which were actually great. We had the reader rabbit where you’re tracking down stories for a newspaper, and in the end you get to print out the paper and tear off the dotted edges.
Also, my mom would never get the basic version of anything that everyone else had, so we had where in space is Carmen sandiego (which I never understood because the mission was given to you by a talking alien and our computer didn’t have sound) and Amazon trail but never the classic ones everyone was talking about. In retrospect that was a terrible parenting choice but we were just glad we got any computer games at all. My sister’s friend let us download SIM city 2000 from his floppy disks, which mostly worked, so we were cool once.
Nancy Drew for life! They also just had their first canon queer lady character in the most recent game of the series which is pretty cool.
I had my suspicions about Bess and George too… until I found out they were cousins.
Was also really into random architectural software and The Sims. The amount of fear the burglar music would cause my little heart was almost too much to bear.
Does anyone else remember Chip? It was this little boy running around collecting grey chips and trying not get eaten by green monsters.
Also Hover! It was released on windows 95 I think. Anyway, those were good times.
Chip’s Challenge, yeah! I played the version in one of the Microsoft Entertainment packs.
CARMEN SANDIEGO = best game ever
followed up in the early 2000s by the never-ending collection of Nancy Drew computer games, which kept me occupied and was cooler to my classmates than reading every single book by Carolyn Keene (although I did that, too).
I loooved Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego!!! Best game ever, although English not being my main language I was forever confused at this point in the game where I had to answer a question and they mentioned some sort of book I could look up, but I never got where the book was.
Other games I played and loved:
Disney’s Aladdin, I had this pack of Disney games, but I only ever played Aladdin.
Bomberman was great, it allowed for single player with levels and multiplayer for just for fun
The Incredible Machine was another one of my favorites! So many puzzles and so many contraptions! This one had later releases, but none could compare to the original
Civilization II came free with Windows 95 and consumed multiple days of my childhood. Of course, trying to play past warlord difficulty just took the fun out of it. What do you mean I can’t obliterate their civilization with 3 knights??
Alpha Centauri was another awesome game that came out a couple of years later, that was basically the same thing but in space. So good.
Holy crap yes. I lived for Oregon Trail and Number Munchers days at school, on those absurd 5.25″ floppies you were warned never to bend or touch the center of. Also Math Blaster was amaaaazing, and Chips Challenge and Hover and that Hoyle card game pack and Pharaoh’s Tomb and Pitfall (the Windows 95 one, that Atari shit was way too hard) and stupid wonderful endless Skifree with that random yeti that would come eat you.
But I think my favorite (besides Hover) was that game on the Encarta 95 and 98 discs. It was a trivia thing. My cousin and I burned an unreal number of afternoons on that. Nerds ftw I guess? Those were the days!
Nothing triggers my nostalgic feelings more than computer games. I clearly spent a lot of time playing them lol. One of my favourite games ever was Donald Duck’s Playground!!! So much fun. Carmen Sandiego taught me the capital cities around the world.
We never had Sim City which I really wanted, but SimCopter – anyone remember that game?
Did anyone else play Operation Neptune? I think that’s what it was called anyway…you were underwater, and had to get a submarine through these different caverns. That and Wacky Wheels were my early favorites. Kings Quest and SimCity/Farm/Ant/Safari/Park/Tower/Tunes were all next.
I was always really poor at Sim City 2000, and I think every city I ever made went down in a blaze of, well, fire. Similarly I’m pretty sure I never actually completed Command and Conquer, because the missions where you didn’t have a base were always a nightmare.
My super top game of the 90s though was the Blade Runner spin off, which I fervently remember being one of the best computer games ever made and I am still waiting for a remastered version to appear.
Also Grim Fandango was just golden.
WRATH OF THE GODS, which I think only my brother and I ever played but was the best game of all. Also, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis!!
The game that took over my childhood (and my adolescence) was Ultima V (http://www.abandonwaredos.com/abandonware-game.php?abandonware=Ultima+5%3A+Warriors+of+Destiny&gid=1318). I began playing Ultima V on a Commodore 64, struggled to reach the Underworld on an Amiga and then I finally finished the game on a PC.