Remember the good ol’ days of gaming when our Atari, first-gen Nintendo, and 8088Mhz PCs were just discovering color graphics and pixels were measured in the low triple digits? Remember when you had to put quarters into machines at the bowling alley or the mall to play games? Remember the etiquette of stacking quarters on the corner said machine to let other players know how long you’d be there?
Ya, those were the days. Of course, since we’re old now, we’re probably remembering them better than they really were. But still, there were some games back then that were really, really good. Even by today’s standards. Those games need to come back; with a modern refresh, of course, to hit today’s standards of graphics and such.
Here’s some games that should be in the works now and not later.
I might be the only person on the planet who got addicted to this old PC game, but it was a precursor to nearly every turn-based strategy game we play today. The game loosely (and sometimes accurately) related stuff from Sun Tzu’s classic book, but mostly the game was about understanding infantry, cavalry, and ranged units. Perfectly. If you didn’t understand how to use them right, you’d lose this one. Every time. The game was simple, fun, and addicting.
Likely one of the best and definitely most popular race driving simulators ever made, Pole Position would always be the busiest game in the arcade and the most worn-out cartridge on the Atari.
Not only did you have to make qualifying laps (and they weren’t afraid to just take your quarters if you failed), but you did it on a race track based on a real life one. This game was awesome. This game was so cutting-edge, that the only thing needed to bring it up to date are better graphics, sound, and finer-tuned controls.
This game is widely considered the father of all modern martial arts fighting games. It preceded all but Street Fighter and was, frankly, better than nearly all of them. While I can honestly admit that I played Mortal Kombat a lot more than I did this one, Shogun Warrior had several awesome things going for it.
First, it used actual Japanese mythology for its background. Second, it had that cool grab-and-escape system wherein you could attempt a grab maneuver and then had to move your joystick back and forth to keep hold of the other guy while you wailed away on them. Meanwhile, the person being grabbed could slap random buttons repeatedly and try to escape. The whole thing was a testament to how robust stand up arcades were in those days.
Remember this game? I think I sunk more quarters into this one than most any other game I can recall. This one gave you a James Bond DB5-like car on the screen (from an overhead view, of course) and let you squeal, oil slick, and smoke screen your ay past bad guys and enemy agents. When they caught up with you, you could use your razor knives on your tires to slice apart their rubber and really F up their insurance rates.
By today’s standards, this game was extremely simplistic, but even at that, it could be awesome and a best-seller. There was an attempted remake in the early 2000s that flopped harder than a movie starring The Rock..
Add in better physics for the driving dynamics, make it a little more 3D, and modernize some of the weapons and Spy Hunter would still rock the console. I still remember the tune.. Dun dun dah dun dah dun da da..
A completely simplistic game that was nevertheless awesome in its ability to suck you in for hours of addictive play, this game has been cloned time and again on mobile devices and Facebook. None of them have done it justice and with 3-D televisions and computer screens coming soon, a whole new dimension of game play could be added with this one. Not that they haven’t tried already.
A faithful remake of the 1980s blockbuster multi-player video game is in order. This would seem like a no-brainer given the penchant for MMOs nowadays. The old stand-up machine game was always an arcade favorite amongst the kiddies, with its crappy fire pixels and horridly pixelated, but alluring depictions of April O’Neil.
After the blockbuster and near-instant success of the cartoon TV series (and despite the huge flop that was the live action version), this game stayed as true to that series as possible and was thus a hugely successful tie-in.
Frankly, the iterations of TMNT that have come around since then have all gone over like spoiled sushi.
I include this one with trepidation. It’s almost certain that someone, somewhere, is working on a Tron MMO or RPG or FPS. Or all three in some kind of horrid mish-mash of “make everyone happy” thinking. Regardless, the original game was highly addictive and could definitely use a return to our screens.
What about you? Have any cool favorites from back in the day you think would make awesome current games? Maybe Deus X or the Ultima series? There were a ton of great games being made, but not all of them would translate and I can’t claim to have played all of them either.
Go ahead! Tell me which ones I missed!