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Friday, 23 November 2012

Returning to Strategy

Home computers started their march into common parlance while I was still in school. I remember well the excitement of owning a ZX Spectrum. I also remember well the frustrations of copying out lines of code on that awful keyboard only to find the resulting programme was so full of bugs that, had it been a dog, it would have been euthanised by a compassionate vet. But despite it's limitations it became quite a cult in my school, with games and pokes being swapped at breaktime. I have fond memories of Manic Miner, Jet pac and that hit and miss business of stopping the tape at just the right point to add the line of code that gave unlimited lives.
I continued as a gamer for several years, becoming something of an addict with the advent of the Myst series. No pokes, no tapes, just an awesome game that challenged the intellect. I adored those games. Sadly, they are no longer made. Gaming moved away from beautiful settings, puzzles and escapism and descended into anarchy, shooting, maiming and killing. I hate what's happened. Games like Myst were a force for good. I came away from playing them feeling calm, contented, intellectually elevated. I don't think anyone could honestly claim to feel that when they play Call of Duty. I know it's unlikely that the cut-throat business of gaming will return to such expensive and detailed productions, but I lament their passing all the same.
I still play SimCity 2000 on my creaky old Windows laptop. It's flaky at best, the graphics frequently struggle, at times it locks up completely, and I've played it so many times now that I know all the tricks and fixes, so it hardly represents a challenge any more. Which is why I was delighted to hear that a new version is due to be released. This version looks to be graphically intense. A new laptop will certainly be required to handle the processing, but if this signals a return to a more strategic type of gaming, I'll raid the kitty, sweep the streets, and take on a paper round to raise the money for a new machine. It will, to me, be worth it.
For anyone interested, video footage of the new far more interactive game is available on the SimCity website.
I'm waiting with baited breath for the return of the Myst series. Please? Anyone?

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