2BGC

2-Bit Game Club

A monthly podcast about understanding what makes games great that you can participate in! Also videos, live streams, and in person discussion groups in Toronto

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2BGC Ep. 22 – Civilization

Civilization (1991) is an ambitious game that takes as its subject, an ambitious project to say the least, all of human history. Through it’s turn based game play you can replay your favourite stories in history, maybe if you were at the head of the Carthaginian invasion of Italy you could do what Hannibal could not… You can justify your political philosophy by winning the game despite never once raising an army… but really Sid Meier’s 1991 classic is about answering one of the great unanswerable human questions: What is it like to be a 6000 year old magical dictator? Well you can answer that question today as you can play the game below.

In terms of influence there’s few games that have had as far reaching impact as this. From the 6 game main series that have been ported to every major platform since the early 90s, twice as many expasions, to the Revolution and science fiction spinoffs, not to mention the board games and card games. In turn it is time for us to face Civilization off against its rivals throughout game development history. Will Sid Meier’s Civilization stand the test off time?

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2BGC Ep. 21 – Prince of Persia (1989)

2-Bit Game Club’s game for December is Prince of Persia (1989)

 

This is a story of a brace young man who saves a princess through jumping. It’s not Mario, it’s not Crash, but rather the unnamed prince of Persia, or PP. There’s a few things that set this game apart from the rest though, including the beautifully fluid animations, the precision platforming, and the game’s arabesque setting. Prince of Persia looks life like and real in a way that games of this era just didn’t. Even in 2017 with high CPU load hair graphics engines Prince of Persia manages to evoke a sense of real motion.

Prince of Persia is filled with all sorts of cool design choices and clever gameplay moments like the 60 minute timer, magical shadows whose fate is tied to the player, and a score of other fine touches all throughout the game which you should really just see for yourself. The version above is the 1990 DOS port of the game, though there’s no shortage of versions to try, the game was ported for just about every bit of home gaming hardware from the Amiga to the Wii.

 

 

 

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2BGC Ep. 20 – Oregon Trail (1971)

2-Bit Game Club’s game for November is Oregon Trail (1971)

(This is the 1990 version of Oregon Trail, go ahead and play it.)

Oregon Trail is the game where you and your family brave the cross country trip in the 1800s in search of a new life in Oregon. As an early game in the history of the video game medium many aspects of the game are pretty basic, but the Oregon Trail has cemented its self as a important touchtone in video gaming. If you weren’t around in 1971 to play the game at launch this game is a window into the past. Certainly if you haven’t died of dysentery yourself and have always wondered what it might be like than this is the game for you.

Way back in 1971 there were not a lot of options for video games, but the Oregon Trail was one of them.  Though it was initially a stand alone piece of software, Oregon Trail was released as a pack in for the Apple II computer which was a favourite amongst educational institutions looking to incorporate computer skills into their curriculum and the rest is history.

 

 

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2BGC Ep. 19 – Command & Conquer (1995)

2-Bit Game Club’s game for October is Command & Conquer (1995)

Command & Conquer (C&C) is as lot of things for the RTS genre, but it’s the first big title to deliver out of the box multiplayer through LAN, and then C&C Gold was one of the first RTS games to offer internet multiplayer. Developed by Westwood Studios and released in 1995 by Virgin Interactive, C&C offers a unique story told by both sides of a global conflict, the GDI and the Brotherhood of Nod, who each get their own single player campaign. The game play is polished pitting the two sides in asymmetrical warfare across varied missions that show the strengths and weaknesses of each fighting force. All this is set against the backdrop of goofy FMV that plots the dramatic arc of the Tiberium War with an amateur acting cast of Westwood Studios staff and also one professional actor, Joseph D. Kucan as Kane. 

Taken together C&C offers the full suite of features that came to define the RTS genre, laying the template for games all the way up until Starcraft 2 (2010). Beyond that the game is just wall to wall with the nice little touches that don’t make a break a game, but make every interaction with it that much nicer. Game critic Chris Hudak reviewed the game saying “Starting from the load-screens and straight on ’til morning, Command & Conquer is one of the finest, most brilliantly-designed computer games I have ever seen.”;  today it sits at a Metacritic score of 94,  Beyond that there’s the legacy of the genre defining game which spun of multiple franchises in parallel game universes, namely the Tiberium Wars, and the Red Alert games. 

You can find the freeware version of the game here. It’s also supported-ish by EA on their Origin service.

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2BGC Ep. 15 – Myst (1993)

The fourteenth game for the 2-Bit Game Club will be Myst (1993) for Mac computers.

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In 1993 there were plenty of people willing to bet against Myst. Activision declined Cyan’s approach to have them produce the game, their eventual producer Sunsoft didn’t believe in the CD-Rom as a format for games and wanted Myst to be a console game. What was released ended up being the best selling Mac and PC game until 2001 when Will Wright’s The Sims over took Myst and claimed the honour.

Myst is a point and click mystery game whose story starts off with the player being dumped on an island with no explanation. There’s no one on the island to explain where you are or how you got there, and the inquiry starts from there. The game is equally famous for being subtle and rich, or obtuse depending on your perspective. Either way the game has delivered endless sequels, ports, spin offs, and board games and remains a pillar of the age of early CD-Rom gaming.

 

To find a copy of Myst try your friendly retro game store. Join in the discussion about this piece of video game history and share your thoughts with us. You can find the 2-Bit Game Club around the web at the following:

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2BGC Ep. 14 – Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)

The fourteenth game for the 2-Bit Game Club will be Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988) for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

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In 1988 the Super Mario Bros. series reunited to see the era of the NES out. Widely recognized as one of the best game of its time, and best platformers of all time, SMB still has a dear place in the hearts of gamers being a favourite game for speed runners. SMB3 is colourful, full of variety and novelty, recognizable  as a Mario game but still full of fresh ideas. As successful a follow up title as there might ever be Super Mario Bros. 3 remains a joy to play.

 

To find a copy of Sim City try your friendly retro game store. Join in the discussion about this piece of video game history and share your thoughts with us. You can find the 2-Bit Game Club around the web at the following:

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2BGC Ep. 13 – SimCity (1989)

The thirteenth game for the 2-Bit Game Club will be SimCity (1989) for the Commodore 64 and then rereleased for pretty much everything.

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This is the original City Simulator, and the beginning of designer Will Wright’s franchise of franchises, the Sim games. The Sims, SimAnt, SimCopter, SimFarm etc. all owe their beginnings to SimCity, not to mention the slew of games in a genre going strong 30 years later, the simulation game. In SimCity you build a thriving city by balancing the needs and dreams of its simulated citizens by insuring their needs are met. By managing your city’s zoning, adjusting budgets, and providing essential services like electricity and hospital access you can provide a meaningful urban life for your growing metropolis. That or have everyone killed my lightning and godzilla.

 

The reach and impact of SimCity cannot be understated as this game managed to penetrate layers of society, reaching audiences not yet touched by video games. With it’s sandbox style play, productive and civically minded goals, (mostly) nonviolent content, and wonderful balance between logic and creativity, SimCity made it’s way into endless classrooms in an era where school were just beginning to experiment with integrating computers into the classroom.

Why not play right now?

 

To find a copy of Sim City try your friendly retro game store. Join in the discussion about this piece of video game history and share your thoughts with us. You can find the 2-Bit Game Club around the web at the following:

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2BGC Ep. 12 – King's Quest: Quest for the Crown (1987)

The twelfth game for the 2-Bit Game Club will be King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown (1987) for the Apple II computer.

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King’s Quest is the age old tale of a prince’s quest to become king. In this Prince’s Quest Prince Graham most prove to the king that he is ready and able to take the mantel of the king hat and rule from the king chair. By pointing and clicking your way through the Apple II computer, you’ll solve puzzles, meet colourful characters, and hopefully claim your destiny.

Designed and written by Roberta Williams at Sierra On-Line, King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown is but the first game in a series of 9 games under the King’s Quest banner, not including 3 different attempts to develop King’s Quest IX, none of which have come to fruition.

 

To find a copy of King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown try your friendly retro game store. Join in the discussion about this piece of video game history and share your thoughts with us. You can find the 2-Bit Game Club around the web at the following:

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2BGC Ep. 11 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

The eleventh game for the 2-Bit Game Club will be The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998) for the N64.

Zelda was a big kid on the block long before there was 3D gaming, with four hit games for the NES, SNES, and DMG, the series was already a heavy hitter in the games industry, but in 1998 Miyamoto and Aonuma released what would be Nintendo’s heavy weight champion.

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Zelda wasn’t the first Nintendo series to bridge the gap from 2D to 3D, but it did so with universal acclaim. The game stands with an invincible 99% on Metacritic, having received perfect score from IGN, Gamespot, and became the first game to receive 40/40 from Famitsu.

If you haven’t played this game you’re missing out on a cornerstone of gaming history. Even if you don’t enjoy 3D action adventure games with compasses and dungeon maps The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is worth playing for the historical value alone.

To find a copy ofThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time try your friendly retro game store. Versions of the game are available for N64, Gamecube, 3DS, and virtual console. Join in the discussion about this piece of video game history and share your thoughts with us. You can find the 2-Bit Game Club around the web at the following:

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Doom – Toronto Discussion Group Round-Up

Here are some of the relevant bits from last night’s discussion at Electric Perfume in Toronto.

Doom Mods

It’s a huge database of WAD files that you can plug into the doom engine to get started on enjoying content the Doom community has been creating since 1993.