Sunday, July 25, 2010

Interlude: The Joy of Legacy Gaming

I am the owner of a Macbook, and this makes gaming rather difficult. My deathly fear of partitioning hard drives has kept me from using Boot Camp to fully utilize the blazingly-fast (by 2007 standards) components inside my computer, so I use a handy-dandy piece of software called VMware to run various virtual machines: Windows 98SE, Windows XP SP2, and Linux-Ubuntu*.

In selecting games that can run in a virtualized environment, I take myself back to the mindset I had in the mid-to-late '90s. When we bought our first family PC, it was a state-of-the-art Gateway rig (costing ~$5,000 MSRP) that had 16 MB of RAM, 200 MB of hard-drive space, and a blazingly-fast 166 Mhz Pentium chip. Unfortunately, it did not have a 3D graphics accelerator, and so I was unable to play MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, a game that I had played and fallen in love with at my cousin's house (he was clearly ahead of the curve). I still have fond memories of that computer, though, starting with the first three computer games my father bought at a store: Men In Black: the Game, F-22 Lightning II, and a little weird-looking thing called Fallout.

It is absolutely astonishing to me how many classic games came through our greedy little fingers when my brother and I were children: in addition to the original Fallout, my brother and I played Command & Conquer (and practically cried with joy when my dad brought home Red Alert), Jane's AH-64D Longbow, Total Annihilation, Diablo (until my parents decided it was too bloody), Warcraft II, Dark Reign (does anyone remember Dark Reign?), the original Age of Empires, Quake II, Civilization II, Rainbow 6, Jedi Knight...the list goes on and on.

After a few years, my Papa had been convinced through carefully thought-out lobbying attempts by myself and my little brother (mostly us crying and saying "We can't play this game!"), and upgraded to a Pentium II 300 Mhz CPU, which was to the original Pentium as Terminator 2 was to the original Terminator, along with 64 MB of RAM, a 3dfx Voodoo 2 graphics accelerator and (this was the kicker) an enormous, 400-MB (that's FOUR HUNDRED MEGABYTES) hard drive.

I still remember staring at it the day after and watching this newfangled game called Half-Life run smoothly and beautifully; it was the most exciting 15-minute-long train ride of my life. There are very few things in my life that will ever match that beautiful feeling. Ahem.

In any case, here are some of the games I've been playing:

-Heroes of Might and Magic III (circa 1999)
-Jagged Alliance 2 (1999)
-Starcraft (circa 1998, and this will require its own blog post)
-Homeworld (circa 1998, picked up from that beautiful used-book store down the road for $7.95, and just as revolutionary as it was when it was released)
-Diablo II (1999)

*all the hipsters still sneer at me when I tell them I like Ubuntu

1 comment:

Minh Nguyễn said...

I await the day when Apple manufactures a computer with an NES cartridge slot and Super Scope support.