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Friday, March 21, 2014

The 15 Games That Made Mabrick

The Ancient Gaming Noob (TAGN) today gave us Picking My 15 Most Influential Games. Wow, was that a stroll down memory lane for me. As I read through his list, I realized that there were some games we shared in common, but most we did not. There were games missing from his list that I really consider to be monumental to the gamer I've become today. So, rather than make a comment saying, "what about this game or that game," I decided to do my own post about the 15 games that made me the gamer I am today. Here we go - GERONIMO!

  1. Asteroids (1979) - What can I say? I was a miner before I was anything else. Now it all makes sense doesn't it? The local bowling alley was a mile from my house, and I didn't have a lot of money those days, but I played it as often as I could. By today's standards, the game play was rudimentary and simplistic. But I could get lost for hours just shooting asteroids with my friends and egging them on when they played. Back then, this was the closest we go to massively multi-player.

  2. Star Castle (1980) - I spent hour upon hour (and quarter upon quarter) playing this game at the local bowling alley. It was the first game I ever played where I learned you could game the game. If you flew fast enough, you could bounce off the shields and over to the other side of the screen (the edges wrapped.) By paying attention to your angle, you could bounce like a cue ball and "rotate" your ship around the screen so you were always shooting at two places on the shields. These spots were opposite each other and you'd get through one of them before the gun inside the Star Castle could destroy you. But you had to bounce faster and faster, as the rate of fire increased the longer you took. It was my first truly exhilarating gaming experience.

  3. Battlezone (1980) - There seems to be a theme going on here doesn't there? At first Battlezone doesn't seem like it'd fit. But it does. What you don't know was at this point in my like I was a huge fan of David Drake's Hammer's Slammers published in 1979. Every time I plopped a quarter into Battle Zone, I was a member of Colonel Hammer's futuristic mercenary mechanized brigade. I suppose you could call that role play. I know I did.

  4. Warp Factor (1982) - By the time I made it into college, the "modern" personal computer had made it's way onto the scene. I have written before about the hours I spent in the Computer Club's computer room at my Alma Mater. Warp Factor was my first experience with a turn based strategy game. To this day, the turn based strategy game is probably my favorite format for a game. I like to puzzle things out; use analytic thinking to come up with solutions. Every psychological test I've ever taken, from Briggs-Meyer to Personalysis bears this out. That didn't start here (it's just who I am,) but this game helped it grow and lead to the RL career I have today.

    [caption id="attachment_2043" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Warp Factor (1982) Warp Factor (1982)[/caption]

  5. North Atlantic '86 (1983) - It was the height of the Cold War. I had embarked upon my first career, and this directly related to it. It was like being able to run a training operation without having anyone around to critique it. Either I succeeded or I failed. In retrospect, it meant far more to me to win this particular game than I should have allowed. It was not an accurate reflection of the real world political situation. Nothing is ever as black and white as success or failure. But one thing this game did teach me is that Pyrrhic victory is no victory at all.

    [caption id="attachment_2017" align="aligncenter" width="640"]North Atlantic '86 (1983) North Atlantic '86 (1983)[/caption]

  6. Reach for the Stars (1983) - This was my very first space conquest game. Until Reach for the Stars, space games were tactical in nature. This game made strategy the first consideration and tactics really not that important. You could even choose to dispense with the tactical fight and simply plan your way to victory. For fleet battles that might be particularly close you might want to take control just for the option of getting as many ships out as possible if you had bad luck, but generally this game was about economic management and building a better fleet than the computer could muster. I was so into this game I can remember spending entire weekends doing nothing else except eating at the keyboard and running to the bath room while the end of turn processed.

    [caption id="attachment_2021" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Reach for the Stars Reach for the Stars (1983)[/caption]

  7. Silent Service (1985) - This was the first Sid Meier game I ever played. It was the game that hooked me on Sid Meier. If there is a giant in the game of computer game development, this man is it for me. I have never been disappointed by a game with his name on it. What this game lacked in graphics, it more than made up for in campaign mode. It was as long as World War II and sometimes seemed just as hard. There was a time in my life I preferred the difficulty of this game to the difficulty of dealing with real world issues, but that's a story I won't be telling here.

    [caption id="attachment_2018" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Silent Service (1985) Silent Service (1985)[/caption]

  8. Elite (1987) - I've written several times about this one. It's one of the main reasons I gave EVE Online a try. But there is an evolution to that statement so don't think Elite directly was the reason. It wasn't, but it was the game that got the ball rolling. I still remember with fondness the day I could afford a docking computer and wouldn't have to match the station rotation a la 2001 A Space Odyssey.

    [caption id="attachment_2025" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Elite (1987) Elite (1987)[/caption]

  9. Silent Service II (1990) - And the avoidance of real life issues continued. This update to Silent Service II was huge with me. It added the concept of achievements to the game in the form of medals. It kicked up the campaign play with strategic maps and tactical maps that relayed a lot of information in a single glance - at least they did to me. I was already a student of World War II so I knew the various theaters. I knew their history. I knew how the war was really fought there. And this simulation captured that very, very well. It made me as certain I didn't want to be on a submarine in war time as Das Boot did. It was Das Boot for me.

    [caption id="attachment_2019" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Silent Service II Silent Service II (1990)[/caption]

  10. Wing Commander (1990) - I fell in love with space based PvE in this game. It was all my sci-fi/military fantasies come to life. I played all the Wing Commander releases. This was the first game series I actually bought a specific piece of hardware to play. I bought a Microsoft Sidewinder joystick so I could have all the pickle controls at my right hand finger tips. I'd like to believe I was really good at Wing Commander. I did complete all the games and claimed victory in each one. But I had to repeat some of the missions so often that I thought they'd permanently burn the pixels in my monitor and I'd always have a ghost of the Kilrathi on my screen. *LOL*

    [caption id="attachment_2026" align="aligncenter" width="615"]Wing Commander I Wing Commander (1990)[/caption]

  11. Civilization (1991) - TAGN and I converge here. Until now, none of our early games coincide. But it's hard to argue that Civilization isn't one of the defining games of the entire industry. This is another giant game from that game developing giant Sid Meier. And notice that was not in past tense. Civilization continues to this day, and I play it to this day. This is the defining turn based strategy game and I doubt very much I'll ever give it up completely.

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Why yes, I did rip this off from TAGN. Why? Civilization (1991)[/caption]

  12. Wing Commander: Privateer (1993) - Oh yeah, flying the Orion. That's what I'm talking about... er, writing about. Here's a little something I don't think I've ever told anyone about. My favorite character in Star Wars is Han Solo. It isn't because he was handsome or debonair. It was because he was independent. He was a lone wolf. And he was confident to the point of arrogance - yet he was a hero. That meant there was hope for me. Privateer catered to the internal desire in me to be Han Solo. My ship wasn't the fastest or the prettiest, but like the Millennium Falcon, it got the job done.

    [caption id="attachment_2028" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Wing Commander: Privateer Wing Commander: Privateer (1993)[/caption]

  13. Ultima Online (1997) - UO was my first foray into the world of Massively Multi-player Online Role-playing Games (MMORPG.) It was also my first encounter with Player versus Player (PvP) and griefers. And that forced me away from my lone wolf habits and into the arms of my first in-game guild - Crusaders of the Realms. This group of players formed in Never Winter Nights and moved to Ultima Online when it released.  With them I discovered that not all other players were dicks. I found people who genuinely cared if I had a good time or not. They were a bunch of good eggs, Kalfear and the lot, and I miss them to this day. It is thanks to them I didn't give up on the MMORPG and go back to just playing turned based strategy and PvE games only. Thanks a lot guys. :-/

    [caption id="attachment_2029" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Ultima Online (1997) Ultima Online (1997)[/caption]

  14. Star Wars Galaxies (2003) - This was the first MMORPG I can say I actually won. I started playing Star Wars Galaxies because it was the direct embodiment of my Han Solo desires. I didn't even bother to try and become a Jedi when I created Mabrick. I wanted to be a Trader, just like Han Solo. Okay, not like Han Solo. There were no space craft at first and you couldn't fly in space. But I could become a Lando Calrissian - and I did. By the time I stopped playing, I was so wealthy I ranked in the top 1% of the top 1%. I'm not exaggerating. I had more gold than I knew what to do with. I was not only a Trader, but I was a triple master ending in robotics, the hardest tract. I could make any sort of robot, and I did, and sold them for lots of money. But I actually made my fortune selling commodities I got with my extractors. That was where the real money was. But then Sony killed the game and I had to move on. I'd still be there today if it wasn't for that.

    [caption id="attachment_2031" align="aligncenter" width="628"]Star Wars Galaxies (2003) Star Wars Galaxies (2003)[/caption]

  15. Eve Online (2003) - After Star Wars Galaxies, I moved to Earth and Beyond. That was a nice game that never lived up to its potential. When it died from its own apathy, I spent a brief period in World of Warcraft. I quickly got tired of that and spent two years in Lord of the Rings Online. But my heart wanted a space based MMORPG and the only one out there was EVE Online. So as my third choice after Star Wars Galaxies, I started playing EVE Online in 2008. Does it surprise you it was my third choice? It shouldn't. EVE Online's non-apologetic embrace of Player versus Player is it's weakest attraction from where I stand. I meet plenty of jerks in real life. I don't want to be forced to meet them in the games I play. But EVE Online is a true space opera MMORPG. I get to fly spaceships. I can be Han Solo or whomever I want. And that attraction has kept me interested for six years now - and even got me to start this blog. That last more than anything is why it's in this list.

    [caption id="attachment_2032" align="aligncenter" width="800"]EVE Online (2003) EVE Online (2003)[/caption]


  1. Battlezone! Amazing! That is what I am loving about these lists - the games I *forgot* about, but played.

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  3. Another Elite fan :) And yeah getting that docking computer was always a bless...losing it in a dog fight was always a sudden very scary reality check...having to dock manually after so long relying on auto pilot!


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