Retro Computer Game Days

Games With Which I Remember Growing Up
September 02, 2013
Computer games have become essential to our maturity process, whether we are playing for fun, playing to learn or both. While the software is still available to this day on CDs, there had been a time when it was available on different formats like the floppy disk or diskette. One of the most classic games people seem to remember fondly from their childhoods, specifically in school is Oregon Trail, the game designed to teach children about the realities of 19th century pioneer life where the objective was to hunt for food to survive and avoid diseases and death in an effort to reach Oregon's Willamette Valley. Other classics may include the ultra violent Doom, or the surreal fantasy world puzzle game Myst. While I still have many of the following games on CDs, sadly, none are compatible with any current operating system. These are the computer games I remember growing up playing.

Reader Rabbit

While the graphics are pretty primitive to today's standards, this was one of the earliest games I remember playing as a very young kid. You had the sorter game, which was to pick words that have the same letter in the same place as the one shown in the Sorter Machine. All wrong words are discarded into the garbage can. Next was the labeler game, which was to unscramble letters to spell out picture labels. At the end of each game, the little rabbit would do a little dance. Word Train would involve making a train of words that differ by only one letter from the last word on the train. Finally, you had the Matchup Games, which was basically a memory card game, matching picture cards with other picture cards, picture names, or with vowels or consonants within the name of that picture.

Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?

The objective was to travel the world and follow clues, usually through pun-filled wordplay in an effort to retrieve stolen artifacts and apprehend a female criminal mastermind always on the run, as well as her posse of crooks. When you have finally reached the target destination as well as the apprehension deadline, you can take down the bad guy, however, a warrant must be issued by the ACME Detective Agency prior to arrest with a description that eliminates all but one suspect, otherwise you have no legal authority to make an arrest, allowing the bandit to get away. Adding the educational factor of this game was the issuance of a World Almanac and Books of Facts to help the player travel to different countries. Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego was so successful that numerous spinoff games and TV shows have been created over the years, including the popular early 90s game show on PBS, and a Saturday morning cartoon. As of 2013, a movie is in the works, with Jennifer Lopez as the title character.

Mario's Game Gallery

This was the first Mario game to feature the voice of Charles Martinet, an actor who to this day continues to voice the famous Italian plumber. It was a definite change from the previous actors who portrayed him more as an Italian American with a Brooklyn accent. It came with five games, all of which were pretty fun to play, including Checkers, Go Fish, Dominoes, Backgammon and Yacht. While subtitles were provided in the game, especially for players who may be hearing impaired, it was often funny to hear them and confuse them for different words. Like Hotel Mario, it is another game where its footage is used in random nonsensical mashup videos on Youtube.

Sim City 2000

I hadn't really played this game too much when I first got it, and even when I had, I didn't have much patience for it. One of the lessons the game was supposed to teach was about budgeting and financing and configuration of tax rates for residential, commercial and industrial zones. Whenever taxes were lowered, the citizens were very happy. However, whenever they were raised in an effort to collect more revenue for further construction of the fledgling, user-created town, the citizens were very upset. Unlike the previous games, it was more Three Dimensional, as opposed to its old top overhead view, showing different elevations and underground layers and new facilities were added including prisons, schools, libraries, museums, and hospitals. However, many disasters would come into the establishment of these cities including hurricanes, tornadoes, firestorms, rioting, and even monsters.

Kid Pix

Before I used an Adobe Software package to make art, I had practiced on this program. It had the basic tools for drawing, painting, erasing, typing, and rubber stamps. Two of the more fun features were the quick erase tool, as well as the undo guy, who came with many hilarious soundbites, including "Oh no!" and "Oops". While I don't have the original floppy disk version from 1991 anymore, I still have the Kid Pix Deluxe CD, which sadly won't work for my current computer.

Mad Dog McCree

As one of the many great Laserdisc games of all time, the player assumes his first-person role, simply known as "Stranger", in a live action interactive Western-style movie where he must save the town, as well as the mayor's daughter from the villainous Mad Dog McCree and his gang of outlaws. While the acting wasn't exactly Hollywood, it made for some pretty fun game play, especially when the right choice was not made and you were met by the undertaker. While I had played this quite a lot on the computer back in the day, the pixelated graphics and use of a mouse made the gameplay a lot harder than the actual arcade game, which allowed for higher definition picture and the use of a light gun. It was also one of the many games the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk had at one point, but later discontinued. I never really got to the main boss, but just playing the game was enough fun for me.

Beavis and Butthead: Wiener Takes All

The chuckling teenage duo had already been popular on television and in endless merchandise, including dolls, T-shirts and video games, and in 1996, they were given their own trivia game show style computer game. While the characters don't play the game themselves, they both sit on the couch watching it on TV, offering their praise or criticism of the actual players who answer correctly or not at the questions, usually involving trivia from real life, from the popular MTV show or both. At the end of each game, depending on its outcome, Beavis and Butthead would always leave the house, usually to go to their friend Stewart's house either after a power outage or after their TV fails on them, or to go downtown to view the debris of a women's locker room at a recreation center in town and ogle the ladies inside after hearing about it on the news. However, there is always the option of another game for the player or players.
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