Sunday, 5 May 2013

Computer Games

This week I was thinking about playing a particular old computer game and once I looked it up, I fell into a hole of reminiscence much like when you meet someone new and realise they spend as much time thinking about the Thundercats as you do. I know there are more that I haven’t remembered so this might need updating when I think of them. 

Like what was that game called where you control a helicopter by pressing space bar to make it go up and releasing it to let it go down, avoiding all the windmills and cliffs on the way?

Or the one where you have to get out of a different gate than you came in at and to do so you have to push blocks into the water etc?

OOooh what about the one where you are tracking down biological weapons in a factory? There is one scene where you are talking to a worker and you ask him a name and he goes “hmmmm, hang on, I think it begins with P.... oh wait, it’s Seth”. If someone could help me remember what that game was I’d be over the moon.

Also, what was that one where you are on a sort of space slide and you have to not fall off and it gets faster and faster and you can jump.

There used to be an H&M game in the early days of mass internet that I played a lot, if anyone has any more memories or info on that I would be interested!

I’ve tried to be vaguely chronological but some are probably mixed up.  All dates and screengrabs apart from Paint and Floorplan are from


My sister and I would spend hours making pictures of snails on walls, much like this one. Sometimes it was a night time scene for a bit of variation. I did actually look for a screengrab to try and get out of redrawing it but turns out it might have been just us who liked drawing snails on walls so much.

Bricks (1984) 

Just very slightly more interesting than Pong but just as engaging.

Floorplanning (so many available I don't know the particular one we had)

This wasn’t really a game but that just depends on how you use it. Once, when I was a regular once a week visitor to the children’s section of the library in Lewes, they ran a competition to design a new library. I think they were probably imagining a picture of the building perhaps with a nice friendly librarian next to it but my entry was a very detailed and completely unfeasible birds eye plan for what I imagined to be the perfect new build. I sent it in to them but they never went for it (possibly because the children’s section was massive and the reference and adult areas were tacked on in a kind of lean to).

Anyway, the reason I did this was because I was mad on a house layout programme called floorplan which I used to create my imaginary future living accommodation. Like playing the Sims but without the pesky people, or setting up my Sylvanians in detailed dioramas but not acting out any scenes. Who needs emotions when you can have home decor? Nowadays I use an online one called Floorplanner and I have mapped out where everything will go in the new house – it’s even more fun doing it when it’s your very own real life house. Double points if you can tell me what the above layout is for.

Moria (1992 for DOS) 

I don’t think ‘the kids today’ would be very impressed with this one but I loved it. I didn’t know at the time it had anything to do with lord of the rings but I did like that you could choose to be a goblin/elf/human etc. This game taught me the word ‘inventory’. Your character is the @ symbol and you move around the lovely DOS screens going in shops and running away from baddies.

Monumentsof Mars (1991) 

It took me ages to find a screengrab of this one as I thought it was just called Mars. But after discovering a wonderful website packed with DOS games which you can download I finally found it. I remember getting up after I’d been put to bed and finding my dad on the computer playing this. I think he made me go back to bed again but he did let me play it the next day.

Pharoah'sTomb (1990) 

This game taught me the word ‘antechamber’. Looking at it now I realise why they chose the name Nevada Smith for the character. That went way over my head when I played it.

AlleyCat (1983) 

Basically, you are the Alley Cat and you have to go into various eye bleedingly bright levels based in living rooms or walls or washing lines and get all the food/points while not getting eaten by the dogs that wake up if you go near them. At least I think that’s what you do, I have yet to run this game and try to play it.

Micromachines (1994) 

Little cars! Race tracks with paper clips and left over breakfast!

Fleet Street Phantom

I can’t find any screen grabs of this one. I used to be off school a lot and sometimes when I was at school I didn’t go to normal lessons and went to sit in the Special Educational Needs area. If the SENCOs were all busy with the groups they taught in the classroom there, they’d let me sit in their office and play Fleet Street Phantom. I loved it. Especially because it was an educational game and I was hungry for knowledge (not really, I just liked showing off how good I was at hangman).

MavisBeacon Teaches Typing (1987) 

(see above about being a swot and loving educational games)

Princeof Persia (1990) 

This was really really hard. I don’t think I ever got past the first level or two. I would always fall on the spikes and have to go back to the beginning. Very frustrating but I kept trying because I liked the setting so much.

Wolfenstein3D (1992) 

If in doubt, kill Nazis.

Doom (1993) 

Probably my brother’s first introduction to video games, my Dad used to do the controls and Rob would press the fire button when they saw an enemy. Doom also had excellent cheats which meant you could be invincible and have all the best guns which was very good for an impatient player like me who couldn’t be bothered to play it all through properly. Ditto Doom 2.

HocusPocus (1994) 

Look how cute little Hocus is!

SimCity2000 (1994) 

This is pretty much the same as PixelPeople which I am currently addicted to playing on my phone.

ThemePark (1994) And Theme Hospital (1997) 

I'm sensing a theme here. CONTROL.

Worms (1995) 

GrandTheft Auto (1997)

Like Micro Machines but with more running over nuns. I never got to grips with the 3D version, I like the bird’s eye view.

Special award: My sister’s Sega GameGear for being the most jealously desired gadget of my childhood.

Special Awards for games I’ve played since I 'stopped playing computer games' 

TheSims (and Sims 2 and 3) (2000) 

Pharoah (2002) 

This might just be my favourite computer game of all time. It's floorplans, city layouts, history all in one. I want to play it again please.

so, in summary, I have a God complex and I need to get out more.


  1. I like this a lot.

    Having two younger brothers I didn't really get much of a look in at playing computer games I had to wait for hand-me-ups (!). However I do remember Paper Boy and will always have a special place in my heart for Minesweeper (97 seconds on the expert level, thanks very much).


    1. I loved paper boy! I can't believe I forgot it. Minesweeper is a classic, I don't think I've ever got a score that good though.

  2. It's your flat! I would be excited about double points, but as I can't answer any of your other questions that makes double zero which is still nothing.

    I've never really played any computer games, but the floorplanning thing sounds BRILLIANT. I've got hand-drawn versions of a million room plans somewhere.

    Have you asked Holly about the computer games? She's really good with identifying stuff like that! xx

    1. Double points! Double zero still means I owe you a kit kat though I think. I haven't asked her - I will do so though, thanks for the tip! x