I have a problem. I am a PC elitist. Despite the fact I’ve owned a PSP, DS, Xbox 360, PS2, PS1 and Mega Drive, the majority of my gaming has taken place on that big box of nerdy goodness, the PC. Where else can you learn Chinese at the age of eight to play the Heroes of Might and Magic II that your parents brought back from their holidays in the oriental?
For thirteen years I’ve gamed on the PC and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve been writing professionally for a variety of online publications for around two years. Marco Fiori’s the name and if you search hard enough you’ll find my musings on the video games industry. David’s promised me a cookie if I write for his blog so here I am, planning on taking you on a magical journey to a time when games were good.
I find it difficult to pinpoint the very moment I realised I was playing a game. It could have been watching Doom on MS DOS at a friend’s or playing an unnamed tank battle game on the Game Boy. What I do know is that the below games provided me with the basis for my passion. They shouldn’t be avoided or forgotten.
Arguably the first game that I ever owned. Bundled with our first DAN family PC, this racing game will still give modern titles a run for their money. Following an epic CG intro sequence, you’re tasked with working your way through a variety of races across barren canyons, abandoned cities and crumbling factories. Surprisingly responsive and sharp 3D graphics, POD blew me away. Add to that the inclusion of an AI driver by the name of Marco, it had me sold. Supposedly PC Zone gave it a 90% back in the day. Fear the 120 MHz system requirements.
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri:
While Civilization I, II, III, and IV have all attempted to eat away my sanity, I still remember AC as the definitive experience. Where else could you pit mind-worms against religious fanatics? The red planet had everything you could want from a strategy title. Diplomacy, technology, customizable units, conflict and human transcendence. If mankind left earth, this is what it’d be like.
You can’t be a PC elitist without quoting one of Black Isle’s games. Thankfully BioWare are still (generally) going strong. While BGII and Icewind Dale garnered more attention, Baldur’s Gate was what started my love affair with RPGs. It was so influential, at the age of ten, I wrote a collection of stories with Lotif, a mirror image of Baldur’s Gate’s narrative. From the moment Candlekeep was revealed, there was no going back. It’s a vital part of gaming heritage and it’s still playable today. Arguably, Baldur’s Gate II is superior in every respect, but nothing could take away the fear of Sarevok’s murderous rampage. Epic in every sense.
Coffee shops. Need I say more?
The fact that 12 years on I’m still loading this up at LAN parties and playing with mates shows its strength. Sure, Supreme Commander increased the scale and graphics engine, but there was something missing. I was always a bit of an Arm fanboy. Surprisingly, I never really delved into the campaign, instead choosing to role-play as the commander and living out the life of a military genius. With an awards list as long as my arm, TA makes Halo Wars look pitiful. Let’s forget TA:Kingdoms. May you R.I.P. Cavedog.
It started it all. You don’t need me to bang on about it.
Whether or not you believe that gaming is what it used to be, you can’t help but accept that without the above titles there would be no Mass Effect, Killzone 2 or Beauty Salon.
Marco ‘Snoozer’ Fiori