The old computer game appreciation thread...

I was into computers before they became popular. I remember feeling pretty lonely in grade school because there were no other families that really owned computers. In class, I doodled scenes from Wolfenstein 3D while learning fractions.

I recently went a-hunting for old games that I played with gusto in my youth. I found both parts of Castle of the Winds (Viking-saga-type RPG), a copy of Scorched Earth (which I can’t seem to get to work at all), and am currently searching for Tradewars 2002.

What are your favorite old (before computer gaming really became popular, and everyone aspired to be a computer geek) games?

Oh, and can you help me find Tradewars? I’d love you forever, and give you presents if you do, honest!

Number one, I think you might have misplaced this thread.

Number two, there have been myriad threads on this very subject.

Number three, I would kill to a working copy of Disney’s Stunt Island. I found a couple of sites that offer it for free, not warez, just some sort of public domain thing. It isn’t in production anymore so I guess they don’t care if anyone gives it away, but I haven’t had much luck downloading it.

And, I noticed in another thread you mentioned you were 15.
Old school games? I was playing Zork before you were even born, dude.

I think we should make this into a true Pit thread and flame all the manufacturers who were so inconsiderate as to go out of business and stop making our favorite games.

ARRRRRRRGHHHH! MichTron! I want my TimeBandits back!” :mad:

[sub]…and the 128K Atari computer it ran on? Um, no, I don’t think so…[/sub]

Wolfenstein3D is old?!? Bwahahahaaha!

You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.


and this was done before to good effect, but I for one am not going to waste a half hour of my life looking for it.

Ah, what a great game. If it weren’t for that, I don’t know how I’d make it through the workday.

And if anyone knows where to find Jazz Jackrabbit, I’d be much obliged.

Welcome to the world of abandonware. As it is technically illegal, I will not link to any of my favorite sites, but I will describe it and let people make their own moral decision on it.

Abandonware is a term for a game that is no longer in production, is no longer being sold by the publisher (whether in original packaging or in a ‘classics’ edition), is no longer supported by the publisher, and basically is impossible to obtain legally. Given that Game X is no longer for sale, some people feel no moral qualms about trading the game openly on the web. Note that these games aren’t freeware, shareware, or public domain – just abandoned.

Sometimes, a game publisher will crack down on an abandonware site and request that it pull certain games under copyright. Often the site will do that; the average abandonware aficionado doesn’t condone piracy, and would much rather buy the old game than download it for free.

I’m a large abandonware fan, partially because one of the sites I frequent is more dedicated to ‘overlooked’ games from years past. When I’m bored, I’ll download one of these underdogs, and play for a few hours. I don’t waste $50 on a new game, and I don’t feel like I’m stealing the game since the publisher won’t sell the game to me anyway.

(Appropriately, I’m playing Pacific Strike (Origin, 1994) on the computer to my right and Aces of the Pacific (Dynamix, 1992) alt-tabbed on this computer right now. However, I did buy both of these games when they were released, but the disks vanished or became bad over the years, and I now have to download the games from an abandonware site if I wish to install them.)

I’m moving this thread over to IMHO. Hang on, everyone, it’s a bumpy ride.

And yes, I remember the old games…I’ve got a CD of Infocom classic text adventures, over 30 games. And they’re MINE, all MINE!


[sub]Tribute to Wolfenstein:[/sub] “AAAAAGH!!! MEIN LAVEN!!!”

I enjoy playing Ultima VII, when I can get it to load correctly. Most of the pre-“Install Shield” era games can be a reall pain in the ass to set up these days(nothing’s changed).

<<<Quote from N³A³M³ “I was into computers before they became popular… I doodled scenes from Wolfenstein 3D while learning fractions.”>>>

Wolfenstein 3D is from before computers were popular? MAN am I old (at 30)!! I remember Beyond Castle Wolfenstein on the Apple II+ (the Mac wasn’t even a GLEAM back then). Beyond Castle Wolfenstein was a great 2D game, but I kept getting blown up trying to open closets with my handgun, and games back then didn’t allow you to save your place. Wolf 3D was the first “3D” first person shoot-em-up I ever played and still go back to play it once in a while (It’s fun just to go to my saved games and fight the bosses). Lode Runner was another good one. A newer old game I used to like (but it won’t run on my new PC) is Alone in the Dark.

I’m not really much of a gamer. Hell, I’m not a gamer at all. I usually prefer watching others play. I remember watching for hours while my younger brothers played Wolfstein 3D.

The one game I used to love playing was Ultima VI. It’s the only RPG I’ve ever played, I think. I didn’t care about winning, but I liked talking to people and fighting the trolls.

The only other games I recall playing were the Keen games, old school kiddie-fare. I was in fact a kid, after all :slight_smile:

Ultima VII has just, as in the past two days, been resurrected for me. Check outExult out–the Exult team is doing a wonderful job, and the current Alpha version is pretty durn solid for its development stage.

I still fire up an Apple II emulator for the sole purpose of playing “Karateka”. It’s quite soothing, somehow. Not near as old (in the Wolf3D timeframe), I still play both “Prince of Persia” games from time to time.

As long as it’ll run, I think I’ll still play the first “X-Com” years and years from now.

Hey, it turns out that a lot of these old games are still for sale–check out

I’m sorry, but I too find it funny that a 15 year old would be talking about games they played “before computer games were popular.” Not funny in “you’ve got to be kidding me” but just gives me the giggles. Now, I remember when there weren’t any fancy disk drives(or hard drives!), you saved things on tapes, and games were cartiages that you stuck in the back of the computer. Anyone else have an early pc like the Vic 20? Not quite as advanced as the comedore 64, but…those hadn’t come out yet when my family first bought a pc :slight_smile: They don’t make games like Clowns, Seawolf and Gorf any more.

As for oldies in your lifetime, how about one of my all-time favorites? I think it came out when you were 4 or so. Castles! I still love this game. It’s a stagedy game in which you’re the ruler of a tribe in Early England and the goal is to build a castle before the invading saxton tribes kill you. My brother and I set each other off by quoting “A front of a castle? Who needs a front of a castle?” which makes us laugh, but puzzles everyone else. So what if it was something we first said while playing many years ago?

I also find it funny when people who first encountered computer games in the 1980s on their VIC20 think they were the original computer gamers. I usually win these “oldest computer” arguments so I’ll just put a stake in this one right now.

The first computer games I got addicted to were on the legendary PLATO IV, I wheedled some access to the local university’s terminal through my jr. high school math club. That would have been around 1970.
Anyway, most of the official PLATO games were designed to have some sort of educational function. MOONWAR was a multiplayer game played across the network (all PLATO terminals had dedicated network connections). Players were presented with a rectanglar playing field with randomly placed circles. This was your ‘moon’ with craters. A small icon for yourself and your opponent were dropped at a random location on the screen. Then you had to type in an angle (0-360) to shoot your laser. Or you could pass on taking a shot and move to a new x,y coordinate. Shots would reflect off the edges but be absorbed by the craters. Devilishly hard to play, but I improved once I figured out that you could type in your angles in radians, and also you could input equations. I would really like to recreate this game, and I’ve even tried (and failed) a couple of times. This would make a great classic game, and kids would even LEARN something from it (oh no!)
The other PLATO game I loved to play was GALAXY. It was a massive multiplayer planetary conquest game, it could take hours or days to play a game. As far as I know, it was the first of its genre. I found out that people at UIUC were playing the game on two adjacent terminals, one to play and one in “god mode” to see all the players and cheat. The author took pity on me, since our university only had one PLATO terminal, so he gave me the cheat code.

I had to go to work with a friend, to play “Trek” on his IBM terminal. Mainframe had a game going pretty much all the time, at (I must assume) government expense. Ascii characters as “Graphics.” Keyboard commands to engage impulse engines to move around the “sector” and phasers, torpedos, and mines to shoot at “klingons.” “Warp drive” took you to another sector, unless you ran into something before you entered warp. When you died, you died. No message, no Game over, your screen went blank. It was 1970ish.

On of the programmers had a “new version” which allowed you to choose three, or even more “dimensions” for the universe. It also added “Romulans” in cloaked ships.

On the same machine, was “War” (which later became “Empire” on Dos machines.) I would love to find another copy of that one. Adventure, of course, as alluded to above. There was also a half assed game of finance trading which you could not run because it crashed the system about ten percent of the time. No one told me not to run it.


" There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it." ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero ~

Awesome.(period dot) I used to love stealing things and hacking up cows and puppies. Aaah, the good old days. :smiley:

I’ll say it again. I have the Zork series on my Palm Pilot. Bow down and worship me, puny mortals!!

You young whippersnappers and your fancy video screens! Back when I first played Trek, we didn’t have no stinkin’ CRTs, we used to play it on a teletype and print the screen each time we moved. And we LIKED it!

No, I’m not kidding. I used to play Trek on a printing terminal. It took damn forever. Much later, I built a computer from a kit in about 1975 and Trek was the first game I ever bought.

Many legal (as in public domain, not abandonware) versions of Empire are available at Note that there are versions for your PDP-10, VAX/VMS, PDP-11, and if you’ve got a really advanced computer, your PCjr. The author has released these (as well as modern PC versions) to the public domain because really, who’s gonna pay for them, and he’s made a whole bunch of people happy now.

Oh, for the old days.

For those who enjoyed Infocom games (and by the way, if you have a Starcross saucer, let’s talk. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, 'sokay.) visit, the archive of “i-f”, or “interactive fiction”. There’s been a resurgence in interactive fiction in the past six years, and there are some very high quality freeware games released by authors just like you and me. (Especially like me; I’m finishing up an entry for the 2002 IF Competition).

If you remember Prince of Persia, there was an unofficial community-built “sequel” called 4D Prince of Persia. It’s devilishly complex, and the graphics, sound, and gameplay are identical to the original. This is also freeware, and it’s driving me insane. :slight_smile:

Rick Dangerous was pretty cool, back when I had Commodore 64.