LGR – Golden Oldies – DOS PC Game Review


[LGR Theme] [fizz, sip] Aahhh! Well, this is different. Golden Oldies: Computer Software Classics, Volume 1. With Adventure, Eliza, Life and Pong. “Have fun playing the classics!” “Play and learn from four of the
greatest game programs OF ALL TIME.” Of all time? When was this made? 1985. Well, I guess “all time” at that point was
just a little over a decade, but that’s okay. “Adventure: Explore the deep and twisted
recesses of Colossal Cave…” uh… “Only version of Adventure
officially endorsed by its creators.” “Playing adventure games without tackling
this one is like being an English major” “who’s never glanced at Shakespeare.” And you know, I can actually agree with that. Adventure is one of the original adventures on a computer. This is a massively important game in gaming history, really. I think it was developed on a PDP-10. Right around the same time as Space War at MIT. Next up on here is Eliza, which is essentially the pioneering artificial intelligence
program on the computer. It’s really weird. It simulates a
conversation with a psychiatrist. Originally made in 1965, again at MIT. Next one’s Life. I’ve never understood any of the iterations of this. This one was developed in 1970 by John Conway. Mathematician at the University of Cambridge, And then of course, there is the ultra-famous granddaddy of all the modern games, Pong. 1972, Al Alcorn’s version. All of this is packed on one
beautiful 5.25-inch floppy disk by Software Country. Ran into a bit of a problem on mine,
since I don’t have an actual RGB color monitor. It runs everything in black and white, since I run mine through composite, so… you’ll need an RGB if you want to see color, or it works great on a monochrome monitor. They are CPU-dependent,
so they will run way too fast on anything other than an original IBM, or in DOSBox, you’ll have to turn
the cycles down to about 200. The best part about this software package is the package itself. What makes it unique is that it’s not only the classic record-style packaging for
some of these disks back in the early ’80s, but it is the manual itself. It’s really a book. It contains backstory, uh, making of, information about the games themselves, how to play it, notes from the authors of the game. I mean, there’s little bits of
information about the creation of Pong. So, this really makes the package itself worth it. Now, do the games? Well, here we go. It is a very simple bit of programming. There are no graphics in the game. It’s all text or ASCII characters, or something like that. You have a choice to have an Adventure, consult Eliza, explore Life, or play Pong. So, first let’s just go in order and have an Adventure. Basically, it is a text adventure game at its… almost finest. This is the original, more or less, so, it’s a bit simplistic. You really can’t use too many commands
or parser text bits or anything like that. Uh, like some later games like Hugo or something. This one, you pretty much can say “go north, go south,” or even just “go valley,” if you see a valley. It takes some getting used to,
as all the commands are… well… They’re not exactly the most intuitive.
There’s a lot of trial and error. This is my second or third time playing it, so… You can get hints if you want
to use up some of your points. The hints really don’t do too much. So… Maybe you want to look at them
and then start the game over. You can also save your progress at
pretty much any point in the game by saving it to a disk. Which is pretty cool, especially for the time. I doubt this was an original
PDP-10 feature of the game, but who knows? You have all the standard stuff: inventories, using items, I’m assuming you can die, but I never have. Really, I’ve always liked text games, just because there are no graphics.
It’s only your imagination, so it’s like those “choose your own adventure” games. that you get in those children’s books and I loved those. I still do. So I love Adventure, even though this is an absolutely ancient program. It’s awesome. I recommend this. Next up, we have Eliza. The virtual psychiatrist. Now the game was originally only
available on a mainframe computer. Supposedly, this is an awesome version
for the microcomputers of the early ’80s. Just talk to the computer, telling it things, and then it responds more or less, to what you are asking or saying. Well, a lot of it seems exceptionally simplistic. Like, you just say anything with the word “no” or “nope,” or something along those lines,
anything that’s not a positive response, it’ll respond by saying “why are you being so negative?” You know what? It’s a bunch of little programming tricks which were probably exceptionally
interesting for the time. Perhaps even groundbreaking, as they say. But, normally, you just get
really aggravated at the game. Or simulation, whatever this is. And start cussing it out. So, it really annoys me. And it doesn’t always work. Sometimes it just repeats back
at you like she’s mocking you. So I don’t appreciate it. I’m not the hugest fan of this. Kind of fun to play around with, but that’s about it. Next up, we have Life. I remember playing this on a– I don’t know, it was probably a
shareware version or something. It was on Windows 3.1, called P-Life. Plife. I’ve never understood this game. It… [sighs]
It reminded me a little bit of SimLife or SimEarth which I’m assuming is probably
where they got the idea from. You place down these colonies, bits of something that are going to become life. And then you watch it go through all the generations. And it will simulate it as fast as your CPU can as the population goes up, spreads out, collapses back in on itself, and eventually maybe sustains
its own little part of the universe. Which some cells are on, some cells are off. You know, time flow and all sorts of… really… abstract things that go on. I’ve never really taken the time to get into it because honestly, it just seemed… random. Which I guess if you really look at life anyway, it is pretty random. And applying a numerical value to that always seemed a little bit odd to me, since computers can’t DO random. So maybe it’s not random,
and I know it’s based on some algorithms, and, you know, things like that,
but it just doesn’t make much sense why you would want to do this if it’s such an ambiguous way of doing it anyways. It doesn’t seem like there’s much use for it. And it’s certainly not a game. So… This is pretty much a loser. Next up, we have Pong. Pong is Pong is Pong is Pong. Correct? No! You have Software Country Pong and the original Pong, I’m gonna be playing the original here. The problem with this one is… absolutely everything. Let’s start at the basic part of the game itself, what you can see. The paddles themselves don’t move smoothly. At all. The paddles themselves don’t contact the ball properly. They don’t seem as responsive to hitting it on
the upper and lower edges of your paddle as it is in the arcade, or any
other version of Pong I’ve played. The controls are absolutely horrible. There’s a major delay. It tries to emulate a paddle with a keyboard. That’s impossible. They shouldn’t have tried. I don’t– you can’t explain this any further. It just doesn’t work. Software Country Pong is absolutely no better. In fact, I think it’s much worse. It’s a little bit faster, but the ball is smaller, which does absolutely no help to the stupid controls and bad paddle physics. Since the balls half the time will
go straight through the paddle, It’s not like on the Odyssey where at least most of the time it actually– you could tell it hits the paddle. Well, this just, it doesn’t. And again, I just can’t stress how bad the controls are. They just don’t work. So, this is an utter failure, too. Ha! “Utter failure.” Does that mean it’s a cow? Yeah, that’s enough of this. Adventure is pretty cool, Eliza is interesting, Life makes no sense, and Pong is useless. The original oldies may have been golden, but I’m sorry, but this collection is not. They’re old. But not gold. More like a very tarnished silver.

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