Back to the Present #1

Last week, my friend Nicole Concha invited me to her Podcast, along with Xip4 and AwesomeSoce [make sure to check their channels! – Portuguese content alert!]. It was incredible! I had a blast talking to them about nostalgia and female power in videogames. As for the former, I’ve wanted to talk about the games I loved playing as a kid. In fact, that’s why I started the series Nostalgic Nugget (and only posted about Johnny Castaway so far) but then started writing about recent games instead. The talk inspired me to pick up this topic and even bring it to my streams on Twitch. 

Whereas children nowadays grab a phone/computer and run an app, we, the 80s/90s kids, needed a bit more knowledge for such basic things. At the age of 2 or 3, I could open a floppy disc on DOS, install and run games. I was not necessarily smarter than everybody else; I just had an opportunity most of the kids back then didn’t. In 1989 when I was born, my dad already had a computer. He wasn’t one of those dads who locked everything away from children. On the contrary, he made sure we learned new stuff all the time. Though I watched him play videogames for countless hours, I also had my own share of playtime. 

3-year old Martii in 1992

 Because of this, videogames have always been a place of comfort and nostalgia. I’m starting this new Back to the Present | Nostalgic Nugget: 5 games I want to bring back to the present. Be it a remake, port. I don’t really care. We can still use the spectacular DOS box, an emulator that solves most compatibility issues with modern systems. So here it is. These are 5 games I miss. AND I’m gonna play some on Twitch on given Tuesdays when I’m not too busy.

1. Prince of Persia

Broderbund Software, Inc. (1990)

In Prince of Persia, you played with this blonde (or was that a turban?) prince who dashed into swords and spikes all the time. You had one hour to save a princess trapped in a castle through 12 levels. An hourglass counted the time; hence  Sands of time wasn’t officially included in the title (but was later in the Ubisoft 3d version.

I must say some parts absolutely terrified me! I’d watch my dad play, and whenever there were traps, I’d close my eyes. Even their sound gave me goosebumps! Of course, this was when I was 4 or 5. Not long after that, I beat my fear but still wouldn’t beat the game. One needs a level of dexterity I didn’t have at that age. I still don’t have it, but I do my best! 🙂


Just a side note:

I also played the Ubisoft inspired on this one, Prince of Persia Sands of Time (2003). Although it’s a totally different genre and all, it’s a shameful appropriation. Making a game easier doesn’t make it better. What games such as the original Prince of Persian taught me was: you won’t be able to beat the game instantly; It’s gonna be hard, you’ll learn by trial and error, and that’s ok. It would be best if you analyzed enemy patterns, the right timing, and survive. I was disappointed with features such as automatic jumping. Still, I was able to enjoy the game just by disassociating it from the original. I’m also curious about the upcoming remake of the remake.

Furthermore, there was also the movie Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, released in 2010, starring Jake Gyllenhaal…and that’s really all you need to know.

2. James Pond II: Codename Robocod

Forget about GTA V or Skyrim. Robocod is probably the game with more releases ever. It was released on Amiga, Sega Genesis, and Atari ST in 1991. It was later ported to Amiga CD32, Acorn Archimedes, MS-DOS, Game Gear, Game Boy, GBA, PlayStation, Master System, SNES, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, and, recently, Nintendo Switch. Also downloadable on PSP and PlayStation 3 on PlayStation Network store.

Personally, I played on DOS and bought it for Game Boy Advance and Nintendo Switch. I must say it is not the exact version I played. The castle “menu” is the same, and most levels are similar, except for the first two.

This was one of my favorites games growing up, despite not being easy for a kid. The latest versions of Robocod generate passwords that allow you to restart on a specific level door. On the other hand, in the original version, you had to be outstanding and beat the game all at once.

I do have the Nintendo Switch version, but I found the controls were a bit wonky.

3. Arkanoid

Taito (1986)

Arkanoid was inspired by Breakout and released a decade later, in 1986. In Arkanoid, there’s a subtle space story where you play with a spaceship (more like a racket). It moves left|right and hits a ball to destroy the blocks above. In each level, you have to destroy all blocks while, occasionally, several different items fall and provide all kinds of perks (shooting cannons, additional balls, etc.).

  It is an example of a simple and engaging game. It was fun, had a lot of features and powers you could get to improve your bar. 

4. The Cycles: International Grand Prix Racing

Distinctive Software, Inc. | Accolade, Inc. (1989)

Cyles was a first-person motorcycle race game. There was also a version with cars (GPEGA, which I will talk about in another post), but I found them more troublesome to control than the motorbikes. It included known stages and was a simple but entertaining game. There was no such thing as multiplayer. When it was my birthday, all my cousins had to line up and take turns playing.

5. Shooting Gallery

Dev|Pub: Arcanum Computing | Personal Companion Software (1990)

There were several rounds you could choose from /or play all of them. Skeet shooting, birds and bottles, or even shoot out, in a western-like environment. You just had one job: shoot every target and object, every single one with different scores. The levels were short and different from each other; the repeated ones actually increased difficulty. 

These were just the first 5 games I played as a kid. It was so heartwarming to get back to games that were simple, engaging, and kept me entertained in early times! If you liked this content, make sure to subscribe on Youtube and follow me on Twitch! 

What games did you play growing up, and/or would you like to see me play?


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Marti Silvestre

aka Marti McWrite

▸ Narrative Explorer
▸ Literary and Gaming Analyst

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