Monday, September 2nd, 2013
Computer Game #12: SimCity (1989)
My own roof leaks, I hate mowing the lawn, and I can’t balance a checkbook, yet somehow I was the successful mayor of “Margaritaville” for over a century. OK, ‘successful’ is a relative term. I could never keep those ungrateful ingrates happy, even when I gave them the stadium they wanted, and the original downtown was always too dirty thanks to coal burning electric plant next door to the city park. We built a new downtown, but that got trashed by Godzilla. It also had a tendency to catch fire. But my simulated metropolis lasted for well over 100 years. And while software designer Will Wright went on to build a real-world empire with SimCity, with numerous sequels and updates so graphically detailed you can look in the windows on the denizens of your City (don’t even get me started on the insanity of The Sims), there is still something charming about the bitmapped simplicity of the original city simulator.
Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Video Game #18: Rampage (1986)
The whole point of video games, it seems to me, is to do things you couldn’t normally do. Why bother playing a digital version of golf or bowling or hunting when you can go out and do that for reals? Now, blow up a planet, fly a starship, shoot someone in the head? — hello, arcade.
Few titles embodied this better than Rampage — the game where YOU are the giant monster destroying the city. You get to eat people, knock helicopters out of the sky, and smash buildings. Better yet, Rampage was a three-player game, so you and two buddies could trash the town. The game gave you the option of playing King Kong, Godzilla or a giant werewolf (or their cartoonish generic equivalent) in a scenario right out of a ’50s monster movie.
Level the entire town and you get to move on to the next level … where you get to crush even bigger buildings and eat more people. That’s it. But really, what more can you ask for from a game that let’s you play Godzilla?