So you’re relaxing at home, calling the duty or reading your favorite My Little Pony erotic fan-fiction (I’m not judging, you sick fuck), when your clumsy self spills whatever diabetes-inducing flavored-sugar-water drink you consume onto your uber-10Ghz-supercomputer. As you frantically beat on it as if it’s an old-timey black and white television, it splutters and audibly grinds to a crawl. Luckily your machine hasn’t completely Micheal Jackson-ed on you, but now it’s slower than the Antikythera Mechanism running Windows 10. Luckily for you, we’re gonna take a look at three games this month which should run on that coal-powered computer they keep in the history museum. These games can be found super-cheap or as abandonware, with gameplay that still competes with today’s games or may even be better.
Command and Conquer (1995)
Developed by Westwood Studios as a spiritual predecessor to Dune II, this is a classic real-time strategy game. Players take on the role of a commander of the Global Defense Initiative or Nod, and control sci-fi-ish military forces while harvesting the fictional resource Tiberium, but y’all know that from playing the million sequels, prequels, or anti-quels it spawned. The original game that started it all really is fun, simple to play, yet challenging enough that it’ll keep you trying the missions you’ve failed until you master the game. The game features live-action cut scenes featuring the employees of Westwood that are so lame they’re insanely awesome. I’ll never forget the scene when you’re being briefed by the NOD commander when Kane comes in and nonchalantly shoots him in the head and then proceeds to brief you about a completely different mission. Really, if you love real-time strategy games, you gotta play the original Command and Conquer.
A spin-off of the classic SimCity and developed by Maxis, SimFarm puts you in charge of managing, you guessed it, a farm. The premise is similar to today’s Farming Simulator, but does away with actually having to drive the equipment yourself, and uses a top-down strategy game style where you place crops and build barns to hold animals, machinery, or other equipment. You choose which location in the US you want your farm to be, which affects rainfall, temperature, and various other conditions. The game revolves around growing and selling crops and livestock. You can upgrade your house, help develop the town, or even enter your animals into local livestock contests. The simulation is surprisingly detailed, and you have you have to watch out for irrigation, over-fertilization, temperature, and other real-life farming concerns. The game is deceptively complex and surprisingly challenging.
Ultima 7 (1992)
If there’s one game on this list that you have to play, it’s this one. Ultima 7 succeeded the also fantastic Ultima 6, both open-world RPG developed by Origin Systems and designed by Richard Garriott (creator of Ultima Online), the guy so awesome at making games that NASA let him aboard the International Space Station. In Ultima 7, you control the Avatar, a being from our totally lame dimension who gets sent to Britannia. You go on all sorts of cool adventures with your trusted squad, Iolo, Shamino, and Dupre, who have followed you through the other Ultima games. The game differs from most classic RPG’s in that the fun is not in completing quests or leveling-up. The game is all about freedom and providing an enjoyable non-linear open-ended world to interact with. You can explore every town, cave, and the many islands of Britannia, and there all kinds of hidden treasures, weird characters, and easter-eggs all over the map. There’s a cave full of bees protecting a naked and incestuous brother and sister, an abandoned island with skeletons guarding treasure, or a crashed space-ship leading to the legendary weapon, “the hoe of destruction.” Heck, you can forge weapons, milk cows, or bake bread all day long if that tickles your fancy. The game allows you to drag and move items wherever you want, a level of interaction that only the Elder Scroll series comes close to achieving. My favorite memory involves buying a ship with money I stole from various houses to sail to the pirate island to gamble, all while fending off various sea-monsters.