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Sunday, 4 November 2018

Game Gallery: 386

Here's a gallery of some of the games I spent most of my time playing back in 1993 / 1994 on my 386 system. The first PC game I ever played was Lemmings. It came with my first computer and, for some reason, there was an icon for it in Windows 3.1. I eventually learned the importance of configuring DOS optimally for various games, now a lost art. I think the second game I played would have been Solitaire or Minesweeper.

A huge number of these games were belated ports from the Amiga. The PC was never intended as a gaming machine. The PC, XT and AT were business machines, plain and simple. But business people get bored - many early games had a 'boss mode', where a simple shortcut key combination would hide the game and put something innocuous on the screen like a command prompt. Up until the early '90s, most games retained backwards compatibility with IBM's early PCs, which meant clunky, 4 colour graphics, keyboard control and bleeps for sound. EGA was not widely embraced when it emerged, but the key game from this era was probably Dangerous Dave in Copyright Infringement, by a certain John Carmack. This brought scrolling graphics to the PC for the first time.

The biggest technological shift came with the AT's follow-up, the PS/2. They even designed a new operating system for it and called it OS/2. And it was built with performance in mind: 386 processor, 32-bit MCA bus, VGA graphics, 72-pin SIMMS and 1.44mb floppy disks made the PS/2 bold, rather than safe. And although IBM's attempt at closing down the PC clone market faded rapidly, the era of VGA games had begun, and the PC was considered a legitimate gaming platform for the first time. Chuck in an Ad Lib soundcard or a Sound Blaster and you were set.

All screenshots originate from Moby Games, and each game is linked in the caption.
Alien Breed (1993)
Alien Carnage aka Halloween Harry (1993)
Alone in the Dark (1992)
Beneath a Steel Sky (1994)
Bio Menace (1993)
Cannon Fodder (1993)
Car and Driver (1992)
CD-Man 2.0 (1989)
Commander Keen Series (1992)
Desert Strike (1994)
Doom (yes, really, but in a postage stamp) (1993)
Duke Nukem Series (1991)
F-117A Stealth Fighter 2.0 (1992)
F29 Retaliator (1990)
Formula One Grand Prix (1992)
Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist (1993)
Grand Prix Circuit (1988)
Hocus Pocus (1994)
Indianapolis 500: The Simulation (1989)
Jazz Jackrabbit (1994)
Jetfighter II: Advanced Tactical Fighter (1990)
Knights of the Sky (1990)
Krusty's Super Fun House (1992)
Lemmings (1991)
Lotus: The Ultimate Challenge (1993)
Major Stryker (1993)
MegaRace (1993)
Mortal Kombat (1993)
Pinball Fantasies (1994)
Project-X (1994)
Paranoid (1993)
Seal Team (1993)
Sensible Soccer (1993)
Solitaire (Included With Windows 3.1) 1992
Spear of Destiny (1992)
Spectre (1992)
Speedball II: Brutal Deluxe (1991)
Syndicate (1993)
T2: The Arcade Game (1993)
The Duel: Test Drive II (1989)
Theme Park (1994)
Wacky Wheels (1994)
Wolfenstein 3D (1992)
X-Wing (1993)
Zone 66 (1993)
Zool (1993)

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