A little nostalgia ... a little joy

Last spring my parents decided they needed to clean up their house in order to sell it. Of course one thing to do was to clean out all the miscellaneous junk that their kids had accumulated and left behind after we moved out … so I took home about 100 issues of Computer Gaming World (more on that later, I’m sure) as well as some of the old boxes to games. Some I left there to be pitched. I only took the games with me that I really had fond memories of. Games that turned me into a “hard-core” gamer. Games that I remembered playing at certain times of life or games that impressed me so much I thought “this gaming thing … this has the possibility to be on par with books or movies or sports or girl in my interests”.

So, a little nostalgia for you ladies and gentlemen. I take you on a tour of me cutting the covers off some old games (to make a collage of and frame - see this post http://www.quartertothree.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=20618) and my thoughts on them as I did this.

Alone in the Dark - I opened this box to find a small book (as in, maybe 1.5x1") with two pictures of various objects on each page. I couldn’t figure out what this was, then remembered something about this acting as a copy protection. Immediately I had flashbacks of code wheels, black paper with lists of codes in dark blue text, the map from Star Control 2 (what star is at 638.1 x 342.5 - Alpha Brachae). As for the game, I remember the utter feeling of dread the first time I walked into that bathroom. The thing in the bathtub made me leap out of my chair, literally. I remember also the dog like thing that crashes through the window in the attic and attacked right as I was looking for clues in a baby’s crib… ahhhhhhh! Wonderful game. The box cover reads something about "A tale of Adventure set in the World of H.P. Lovecraft. Reading about what the owner of this house had done in his spare time becoming obsessed with Chthulu made me go out and read several Lovecraft short stories.

Drakken - I’m not sure how popular this game was. I noticed that way back, games used to come in hard boxes that had bottoms and tops. Stiff cardboard that kept those 5.25" disks in safe. Then they went to hard boxes with sleeves, then big boxes with flaps, and finally to the small boxes with flaps that we have now. I remember Drakken being extremely confusing … I had no idea what I was doing, but it was fun as hell to fight the giant dragons and Jabberwocky looking giant creatures that swooped down and fought your party.

Dune II - What a beautiful box. A troop in front of a wind collector (what were they called?) with gold trim framing the art. I got this game on vacation in Florida and read the manual probably 20 times before I got to go home and actually play the game. It boasts on the back of the box a “military strategy game in real time” where you could send your troops out to do battle, or “control them in real time”. What an innovative game, this is! We’ll call it … Real Time Strategy!". I remember distinctly playing that game my freshman year in college for so long one time that I felt like I was falling backward in my chair but I was actually leaning forward. Also the first time I ever played a game for so long it turned my eyes red and I had to take damp washcloth and put it over my eyes to make them stop hurting. My one friend in college played Dune II so long that he missed all of his classes that day and played it all night long that night … something like 20 hours straight. Whew, that game was addictive … no one I knew had ever seen anything like it. People would actually come over to my room just to watc me play it. I loved driving the Harkonnen tank into the enemy’s camp. Woo!

Warlords - The original. The classic. Heroes running around with stacks of creatures. Funneling the production of your most powerful cities to the front, to the new city you just captured. The dastardly AI running a small stack down the coast to try and capture the city that was the only one in your empire that made giant spiders, or unicorns, or griffins, or any of the neat units in that game. The box had a guy in full mail standing in front of a castle. That guy would get crushed on a battlefield in Warlords.

Kings Quest V and VI - these were the “whiz bang” games on their time. I had played every single Kings Quest game that came out with the exception of the first one. 2 I played on a PC Jr (this is before the 286) . With 5, the series went to a new graphical upgrade and at the time look absolutely stunning. It also had real sound for the first time out of my new Soundblaster, a small company that was trying to push their product over their competitor, Ad-Lib. I guess we know who won that battle. The box art was pretty (more so V than VI), but the manual was only a “How to play Sierra games” leaflet. I think VI had a nicer background story manual meant to look like and old leather book. I also found a flyer for 10 free hours of Prodigy and Sierra’s The Imagination Network. I wonder if they’ll still honor it. :)

Wing Commander - Ahh, the space simulator. Can anyone else sing the “battle alert” theme song with me? Your character running though prep before a mission, the feet in black silouette with the red alert red in the background, the launch out of the Claw’s hold. Paladin at the bar, Angel on your wing. The reason, I have read, that Sound Blaster won the sound card war, and the reason many people upgraded their systems. I remember thinking “EMS memory? What the hell is that?” Because of that game I became an expert at managing Expanded, Extended, and UMB memory in DOS. Oh, those were the days of only computer experts playing the best computer games. Now all you do is install, download updated drivers, apply the patch, make sure no other software is conflicting, make sure your particular hardware config is up to spec, remap your keys, adjust all the video and audio settings in game, and you’re good to go! Where there even patches back then!? No! The box had the perspective of the pilot with a Kilrathi ship flying dangerously close in front of you.

More later… :)

Any pics?

I love all the dune games.

Don’t throw them out whatever you do!

If I had the original Warlords I would be playing it again right now. What a fantastic game. I have that map memorized. Only a few ways to get from North to South. The Dwarven route thru the mountains. The river…the ocean/boat…or thru the wolves and orcs in the swamps of the east. Absolute classic.

You’re damn right I can - that is the very first bit of real music that I heard on a PC, and it is what drove me to purchasing a Sound Blaster for my own 386-33MHz computer.

Aye, those were the times! Storm Giants its your turn!

My brother and I used to take on the other warlords in hotseat. Its strange how good the graphics were in your mind. I really saw my giants stamp on the dwarfs, my archers riddle the enemy with arrows ect. (Also worked for other games like dune, civilization ect) Nowadays the graphics leave little to the imagination… your mind doesn’t need to fill in the blanks. Wonder or that’s an improvement really. Wish they would focus on gameplay instead of flashy graphics… but that’s a lost battle.

Still there’s always books when I want really good graphics. The more blanks, the better and books are great for that. :D

BTW I got the first three warlords games. I think you can legally download the first two nowadays… think SSG/Infinite Interactive allowed that. Its available on some fansites, but I can’t find it quickly. Must have a bookmark on one of my comps though, but maybe someone else can help you with a decent link.

You’re damn right I can - that is the very first bit of real music that I heard on a PC, and it is what drove me to purchasing a Sound Blaster for my own 386-33MHz computer.[/quote]

I remmeber getting my 386 and finally seeing 256 color graphics. My mom was complaining to my dad about the cost and I butted in with ‘BUT MOM! ITS TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIX COLORS! I’LL NEVER NEED ANOTHER COMPUTER AGAIN, THATS ALL YOU NEED TO DO ANYTHING! LOOK AT THIS!’ then I showed her ultima 6’s intro.


Lucky bastards. All I ever had was a Packard Bell 286 :{

I had to negotiate heavily for it. IIRC it was 2 years of birthday and xmas presents all at once. Of course they didnt stick to that, but that was the deal I made to get (mainly mom) to go along with letting me blow 3 grand or whatever it cost. I think thats the most they ever spent on anything for me, aside from tuition. I loved that damn thing though, stuck with it until pentiums hit 200mhz.

My dad had some fun with me though, after he got the ‘ok’ he handed me a (HUUUUUUGE) computer shopper magazine and told me to pick the parts. I knew nothing about pcs at the time, hell I was like 8 or 9 I think. He bought the parts I picked.

Yeah our family was straddled with that POS for quite awhile. WingCommander 2 and Falcon 3 really brought it to its knees and when I read that Ultima7 required at least a 386, I wept :{

Luckily therapy and Exult is helping to heal those mental scars. As an aside, I’m really blown away by U7’s world. This thing came out in what, '91 or '92? Damn the level of interactivity and the feeling of a living breathing world is amazing for a game of its age. Too bad the combat sucks though :O

The nice thing about the combat in Ultima 7 is that you can run past almost all of it. I think I beat the game at the same level as when you start.

But with Exult, I find Ultima 7 still holds up really well. One of my all time favorites.

Ok, ready to weep at my gaming goodness? Here’s what I made tonight and hung on the wall. I still have a few dozen box covers that I can mount. Bow to my l33t skillz with an exacto knife.

Here’s one pic. Clicky the link below for details of each collage.


Those look really good. The one on the left especially.

I’m sort of sad you cut up a Wing Commander box, but, ooh, pretty!

Cool idea!

Why did I throw away so many of my boxes last yea when cleaning the attic :(

Still saved the best ones, I’m going to see or I can make something similair. Very nice!

Ooohhh! That’s a good idea. I’ve taken to just tossing the box as soon as I’m sure I’m not returning a game, but now I’ll clip the cover for collage material. Of course, pretty soon it’ll just be DVD slip cases, and most of my nostalgia boxes are already gone. :-(

Those look really good. I guess if I ever have to get rid of my box collection, I’ll have an idea of what to do with 'em.

I like the one on the right

Jagged Alliance

My all times!

This reminds me.

Games today have shitty box covers.