Gaming in the 1990s


Part 2 Forbidden

As most people have probably done when they have been growing up I must confess I gained access to media which was rated for someone much older. My progression from kids PC educational software to kill everything mature games was pretty swift. It wasn't a new experience either. On my Amiga I played many sophisticated RTS games that you will probably need to do some deep google searches to find now. One was Airbucks- a simulation for running an airline company where you began the first level in the 1950s and had to buy new planes and make profits from all the routes you could establish. I never got the hang of it and usually didn't progress very far either. Progress on Floppy discs could be a logistical nightmare particularity if the game was spread out across 4 discs. Amiga garish green and blue graphics are seared into my eyes and brain. There was Railroad Tycoon which needs no introduction and a little curio of a game called Historyline- 1914-1918 which is a prototype version of Advance Wars- with more realistic graphics and grating 8 bit repetitive soundtrack.

I digress- I must have some subconscious desire to conquer the world. Strategy games were becoming the big thing for PC games as the mouse and keyboard controls and much more relaxed pace to proceedings was a very pleasing time. As I could no longer repress the ambition to be an evil overlord I managed to install and play to death- Civilisation II. Among the myriad of Sid Meier's branded titles this stood out. One major difference being the turn based format that allowed you to plan less on the fly. I was drawn to history and fascinated by the effects of war (I'm sure most boys reading this at some point got a piece of branch and made a machine gun noise).

The ability to build a society from the very beginning always appealed to myself personally as I am not a fan of the real world we live in- interesting experiments followed in how many cities I could conquer on one turn.

My sociopathic streak advanced back into real time play; I then got my first does of the wondrous 1990s FMV cutscenes. These tickled my fancy in Command and Conquer Red Alert. The PC classic that let you invade Russia or the USA using the front of an alternative history with access to Tesla Coils, Mind control, the ability to have a screen full of battleships and airships whilst gameplay being preceded by cheesy mini movies of the heroes or villains about to partake in you own private war theatre.

My parents didn't show much concern for the level of violence being presented before their introverted shy little son. My dad for instance was a big fan of Tomb Raider III- he put a lot of work into that enterprise for someone who wasn't a gamer per-se. He was questioned in a big way by my mother who once commented "You have looked at Lara Crofts arse more than you have mine in the last 20 years" Ouch!

Long before I was watching movies or reading magazines I shouldn't have done I would have felt the wrath of the conservative UK media if they had known I was playing such fluffy encounters as Carmageddon and Grand Theft Auto 1 and GTA London. Crashing cars into things has always been fun and no one will tell me different. With advancing technology something more sophisticated had to be on the horizon... how about first person shooters?!

Gareth Nelson