OK, I admit it. I play video games.
Actually, not so much any more, but since the early 80’s I’ve been playing computer games.
Classics such as Space Invaders, Centipede and Mr Do in the arcades, and 3D Monster Maze, Snake and stuff arduously typed in from magazines on my Sinclair ZX81. Later my friend acquired a ZX Spectrum, and home gaming was taken to a new level!
I think I was just at the right age, having experienced games arcades at the seaside, and then witnessed it make the technological and economic breakthrough into the living room at home.
As time progressed, and games and the hardware to run them became increasingly more sophisticated, I was treated to the delights of Elite, Atic Atac, and Knight Lore. While the Platform Game became more detailed and intricate, it was the ever-expanding scope of games such as Elite and PIrates! that really caught my attention. Whole worlds, even galaxies were being built inside computers, and I was being given a chance to explore them! And with Sid Meier’s next releases, to rule them!
By the early 1990’s I had seen what happens when a place is ruled badly, and Sid Meier gave me a chance to do it right!
Elite, Civilisation, The Settlers, Railroad Tycoon … a whole series of Empire-Building games filled my spare time for several years, as expansions, and sequels and new versions were released, taking advantage of the Onward March Of Progress in computer hardware and programming techniques.
But like all good things, it appears to have come to an end.
The Settlers V turned away from its cutesy, cartoon-like graphics. Civilisation V moved to hex-based rather than square-grid and emphasised the military side too much. They, and the other games that I had loved for so long, sit untouched on the shelf, vying for space with lesser titles.
I did have a phase of on-line multi-player games, mainly Neverwinter Nights, and while it had many similar elements, and the added attraction of adventuring with other real people, it didn’t last.
And so now, with so many pulls on my time and resources, I am struggling to find a game that I enjoy so much. Maybe it is just nostalgia; none of these new-fangled offerings will live up to The Golden Age. Maybe it is not being able to play for 18 hours straight any more. An hour’s snatched play here and there doesn’t do them justice.
Maybe I am growing up.