Ys [1987/1989]

You may or may not have picked up on this if you're a regular reader, but I'm not good at playing video games. I'm kinda bad at them, with limited exception. Most titles, I muddle through with nothing more than bloody-minded persistence to try over and over again. I don't ever know first-hand what high-level … Continue reading Ys [1987/1989]

NetHack [1987-2023]

NetHack [1987-2023] is a "Forever Game." I use that phrase a lot in casual conversation, and now is the time to pin it down and define it for future reference, even though it will mean repeating myself a bit. Theoretically, one can play basically any game forever: people can and do play Super Mario Bros … Continue reading NetHack [1987-2023]

Castlevania [1986] + Dark Castle [1986]

Just from reputation, I expected to have to turn around and eat my words from the Super Mario Bros [1985] post, the ones about how it inaugurated a new kind of thoroughgoing consideration towards player onboarding which quickly became gold standard. But instead, I saw it more or less confirmed. The gameplay begins with a … Continue reading Castlevania [1986] + Dark Castle [1986]

Portopia Serial Murder Case [1983]

(Content warning: Police abuse, suicide. Spoilers for Portopia.) While both Colossal Cave Adventure [1975/77] and The Portopia Serial Murder Case [1983] are nostalgic reveries of a real location from the author's life crammed into the computer, Portopia must abridge its Kobe City. It's not as geographically exacting, instead compressing locations into composite sketches and eliding … Continue reading Portopia Serial Murder Case [1983]

Zork [1980]

As far as Popular Game History is concerned, Zork [1980] is the first and last text adventure game ("interactive fiction" sadly never fully filtering out to mass consciousness,) a cute stage-setting for the graphical adventure genre that completely superseded it on technical grounds. This is a perception deeply beholden to a progress narrative and commercial … Continue reading Zork [1980]