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What game started it all?  

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Bullwinkle
(@bullwinkle)
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February 21, 2010 3:57 am  

Wow... fun memories here!

Cambragol wrote:
The game that got me hooked had no name... It was a Star Trek simulation, in which your ship was represented by a big...S...and you flew around a tiny screen...maybe 30 characters by 30 characters, engaging various aliens, exploring sectors, etc. It made Pong look positively primitive, albiet not graphically. I was hooked after my first game, and thereafter repeatedly begged my uncle to take me back to the Synchrotron facility so I could play some Trek.

I remember that game, Cambragol. I wouldn't swear to it, but I am thinking that it might have been named, simply, "Trek". I thought of it as something like an interactive "Battleship" game, because you had to give coordinates for your target when you fired the Phasers or Photon Torpedoes, right?

I skipped over Elite completely. By the time that Elite was on 8-pit PCs like the Acorn and Sinclair, I had already written my first CAD program and had worked with "fast" vector-graphics computers the size of a small room. In those days, I found that a text adventure was far more appealing than graphics games. The imagery that good interactive fiction produced in my mind was far more vivid than anything that the PC's of the day could produce!

So, for me, it was Adventure that got me hooked (the predecessor to Zork). Adventure was written as a student project at MIT by one of the guys who went on to found Infocom. I played almost all of the Infocom games, and they still are some of the best-written interactive fiction ever produced. Their packaging was brilliant, mimicking the theme of the game: a detective game was packaged in a plain, brown, dossier folder; a space game in a plastic starship; a "cryogenic nightmare" in a frozen-looking white plastic head, etc. Words, and even photographs, do not do those packages justice... you had to see one in person to appreciate the brilliant imaginations behind them. They have become collector's items traded on eBay.

From there I went to flight simulators. My first multi-player game attempt was in F15: Strike Eagle, which was so complicated that two players could act as pilot and RIO in a single plane -- and it was almost necessary due to all of the tasks required during a mission!

After several years of buying what felt like every new controller and video card just to play the current games, I got tired of the complexity of flight sims and turned to space sims. Although I could understand why an atmospheric pilot had to invert the aircraft then pull back on the stick in order to dive quickly without suffering "red out" from too many negative G's, it just was not fun for me. I preferred the faster pace of the "point and shoot" fly-by-wire systems (and the inertial stabilizers that prevent G problems) in starfighters.

I played the X-Wing series first, and loved it. It was only during a gap between X-Wing releases that I stumbled upon Wing Commander.... which is the game that got me hooked as a Chris Roberts groupie. Somewhere along the line I enjoyed the MechWarrior, Tomb Raider, and Myst series, as well, but I always seem to drift back to Roberts games.

As for the sequel to Starlancer... that was Freelancer! (Which I appear to be still playing today). I would love to find something better, or even newer, but I think that I am spoiled by the greatness of those games created by Roberts, Infocom, and Lucas. It seems that nobody does it better!


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Peak
 Peak
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February 21, 2010 10:32 am  

EVE for me,but then EVE trial ended so i searched hard and found Taikodom 🙂


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Songbird
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February 21, 2010 11:51 am  

Star Raiders on the Atari 400/800... 1979 methinks.

Also, back then you could by books full of code: I remember typing in that orig. Star Trek(ish) game line-by-line in basic and saving it to (Ho ha ha ha) a cassette tape. With time I recall adding lines of code for sounds and color.

That was a long time ago...


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Mogymog
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March 1, 2010 8:34 am  

I believe it was WC1 on the SNES back in like 91 or there abouts. Since there was no 'real' space type games on the NES. I had to wait for the SNES to get mine, then another almost 6 years before I got a PC and could discover real space games. 😛


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Aitor
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March 4, 2010 2:08 am  

I started with Privateer and loved it. Later on I tried Privateer 2 but wasn't the same, lot of digital videos but the gameplay wasn't improved. After that I jumped to X-Com and some other 90s space strategy games.


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Taymar
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March 5, 2010 10:22 am  

Well for me it was Scramble, the late 70's arcade machine game but not being a rich kid I couldn't have one of those at home but my luck changed when the BBC Micro became available in the UK and with it came Elite. . . .

Through many different home computers from the Sinclair ZX80, through the Sinclair Spectrum, the Dragon 32, the Commodore 64, the Atari ST and my first 386, space games have always been top of my list, the most lasting memory of space games was buying the original version of X Wing, it was on 8 floppy disks and required a boot disk to make sure nothing else was running.

Oh the good old days of DOS and floppy disks.

Best Multi Player experience for me was Starlancer, I was an admin for a UK based GSP at the time and having dozens of players all waiting to get on and blast eachother to pieces was great .

So my answer to the question posed - Elite.


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Grimloon
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March 5, 2010 12:17 pm  

Elite agan here - wireframe but that didn't prevent it being the birth of a genre. I started playing on a BBC model B, carried on using an IBM 8086XT (I had a 4.2 Mb HDD in that one!) That would be around 25 years ago now 😯

Multiplayer is a touch more complicated - I've always tended towards FPS for that as there were HPB servers catering to those of us out in the sticks with only limited dial up. TBH the first time I played any space sim online would be the tail end of 2008 with Taymar and some of the other Fallen Wild folks in Freelancer.

@Taymar - Wuss! My standard 286 config left me with 623 K free without needing a bootdisk. The joys of tinkering with autoexec.bat and config.sys to get everything to run! I'm almost (but not quite) going misty eyed here. I didn't get a 486 until I was 21 and that was the last time I bought a PC that anyone else had built.

My dig at Taymar aside (we try to provide spectator sport only most is off camera or censored) it still has to be Elite. Without that I wouldn't be playing space sims today. Everything else has tried to reach that level and, while thay may not have failed miserably, they still aren't there yet. It was the beginning of an age, graphics have advanced phenomenally (anyone else remember CGA?) but the gameplay is still somewhat lacking on most counts.

Note to devs: Pretty doesn't equal excellent, it just means it looks nice.


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Pinback
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March 6, 2010 1:13 am  

I was nut for scamble,had a number of scamble games on the Vic 20,although I think my fav

arcade game would be asteriods.


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Taymar
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March 6, 2010 1:18 am  

Asteriods was a class arcade machine.

I used to go by the tag 'Slim' back in my misspent youth and I usually held a space in the high score list on the asteroid machines near where I lived. Lots of good memories of spending hours stood at the machine with a Coke resting on the screen and me bashing away at buttons . . . where did my life go 🙂


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DarkOne
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March 7, 2010 6:30 pm  

Also have to say where did all the arcades go 🙂 Scramble and Asteroids were some good games. I also liked the classic booth Star Wars game.


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Bullwinkle
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March 8, 2010 6:00 am  
Darkone wrote:
where did all the arcades go?

Two forks:

    [*:2ay59qw4]Some arcade games evolved into home console games. For example,

Nolan Bushnell, maker of the first commercially-produced video arcade game, went on to be a founder of Atari. Namco and Midway went the same way. Nintendo went on to become... well... Nintendo.

[*:2ay59qw4]Bally (Pac-Man, Space Invaders) evolved into health clubs and those rows and rows of video poker machines at modern casinos. You know the popular brand of Life Cycle equipment (elliptical trainers, treadmills, stair climbers, and stationary cycles)? That's Bally. Instead of putting in a quarter, now you have to put in some sweat!

Video arcades might never have become as popular as they did without Bally's efforts. Bally is a long-term survivor in games; first formed in 1932 to make pinball machines. For Bally, video arcades were not the core of their business. Arcades were merely another market that came and went, while Bally went on to bigger and better things.

Since this is ConspiracyTheoryCentral (or whatever 😉 ), it is worthwhile mentioning that Bally was formed in Chicago in the same year that Al Capone went to prison. Bally later moved to Las Vegas and has owned two casinos and a chain of health clubs, among many other acquisitions. Could Bally be the "legitimized" reincarnation of Capone's empire?

So, the next time that you feel that you are being extorted by video game companies, think twice about it...

Perhaps you are!

In other words, if you ever thought that video games are a "racket"... you might be right. Literally!


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DarkOne
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March 9, 2010 7:42 am  

Nice post Bullwinkle, nice digging up on that info on Bally 🙂 I need to spend more time sweating on the Bally machines myself...

But another arcade classic I absolutely love is galaga. Man I loved that game, many, many quarters were pumped into that machine when i was a kid. Only place I can go now to play the classics is here: http://www.funspotnh.com/ . It's got 3 floors of standup arcade games and pinball games. The third floor is the best it has all and I mean all of the classic games from the beginning of gaming. And its also the place that holds the Annual International Classic Video Game Tournament ( http://www.classicarcademuseum.org/index.html )


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Taymar
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March 9, 2010 8:44 am  

I was once offered a 'Table Top' Space Invaders machine for around £300/$400. I turned it down as the original joysticks had been replaced with newer buttons. I'm told that arcade machines are collectors items now and are worth a small fortune, maybe when I win the lottory I'll get me one.


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DarkOne
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March 10, 2010 10:00 am  

That was a good price Taymar, an original Space Invaders table (sitdown game) costs in the $1,000+ sometimes not even working state 🙂 The old arcades are worth some good money so keep an eye out. I have always wanted a original Asteroids and Galaga arcade games and I would be a happy man.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaga

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroids_%28video_game%29


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Geraldine
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June 1, 2010 4:45 pm  

Had a good think about this and I believe it was either Gorf (a bit like Galaga) or Defender. Thank goodness I finally got a spectrum in the 1980s; it saved me a fortune in not having to go to arcades! 😳 Elite was my first proper space sim when I could get it to load off the tape drive! 😆


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XenoHelix
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June 4, 2010 6:22 am  

Frontier

(Not saying anything else, to not spoil it :p).


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Rattan
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September 22, 2010 5:38 am  

The first space game I played (other than arcade games) was Starflight. It was on a friend's computer. That was where I first started staying up all night gaming as well. LOL Their computer died, so I got one of my own, but by then Starlight II was out, so I got that. After that was Elite (DOS version).


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Rith
 Rith
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September 22, 2010 7:09 pm  

The first space sim I can ever remember playing was a demo that came with a game for my Win95 or 2000.

I don't remember much except that in the demo I thought it was awesome flying around a space station's pylons.

I was about 6 or so. 😆


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CrossDressiNate
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May 19, 2015 4:45 am  

The x wing and tie fighter series. I was 3 or 4 at the time. I can't wait to buy em on gog when I get a new computer and joystick! All I need is a dedicated x wing v tie fighter community to join.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
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May 20, 2015 8:34 am  

Kolony on C64. It was a text game about managing colony on alien world.

Elite. Except I never played it, only read a review in magazine.

Then came PC. I think I played X-Wing first? I think I finished it 10 times.

Then one summer, when I was at my grandma's place, I went to the town (because something). There I bought another magazine, with review of a game which was like Civilization, BUT IN SPACE! Can you imagine? And it had real battles.


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Phaserlight
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May 20, 2015 8:50 am  

For me, it was Rebel Assault and X-Wing.

Later, the Escape Velocity series was the first set of games that really got me into modding.

In a couple weeks, I'll have been a part of the Vendetta Online community for 12 years.


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Gunbladelad
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May 20, 2015 9:17 pm  

For me it would've been Codename MAT on the CPC that first got me playing them, but Rescue on Fractulus got me loving them.


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