The Very Best Old Video Games

By Hannah Mudge

Maybe it's the fact I'm on maternity leave and have time to kill using a laptop one-handed while propping up a sleeping baby with the other. Maybe I just fancied reliving my teenage years, but last week I found myself digging out my Myst: The Collection boxset. After some effort messing around with various settings in order to get it working, I was exploring Myst island again, checking out linking books and flipping marker switches like it was 1996.

I first got my hands on Myst when it came as part of a package of games with the new family computer my dad purchased, and it didn't take me long to get hooked. Mysterious worlds! Complicated puzzles that occasionally necessitated some research online for cheats (or "hints and tips", as I preferred to think of them)! Myst was soon added to my list of obsessions, which at that time also included Britpop, The X Files, and writing angsty diary entries (I was not one of the cool kids at school). It consumed literally hours of my life.

Myst was released in 1993 and was the top-selling PC game of all time until The Sims overtook its sales in 2002. It was eventually followed in 1997 by a sequel, Riven (something I was so excited about that I even had a Riven poster in my bedroom), and further games in the series - Exile, Uru, Revelation, and End of Ages, each with more spectacular "ages" and intrigue than the last.

I ended up purchasing the full set of games again a few years back because things had moved on a bit from my parents' Macintosh Performa 5200 and on discovering them again, I'm really glad I did.

Also taking up my spare time back in the 90s: Wolfenstein 3D (yes, the original one), Quake, and Spin Doctor, first released in 1994 and excitingly, now available on the App store.

Here are some of the BitchBuzz team's favourite old school gaming memories...



"I bought Tomb Raider back in 1997, when I was given a PS1 for my birthday. I had no idea what the game was about; I think I bought it because Lara Croft was EVERYWHERE at that point. Remember when they used her to flog Seat cars? Anyway, I put it in and instantly loved it. There were puzzles to be solved and a T Rex stomping about for no good reason whatsoever. I even remember being amazed at the graphics! 

I've followed the series ever since, and I have a sizeable collection of the main series releases. It even includes, God help me, the last Core installment, Angel of Darkness. Now they're rebooting it (again) I'm a bit nervous, but I'll still drag my copy of the original out when I want a hit of nostalgia."


"I started playing Pandemonium when I was around 12 or 13-years-old, like a precursor to my future days of playing Tomb Raider. We didn't own a Playstation yet, so when we'd visit my Dad at the weekends (hooray for divorced parents) we'd go to Blockbuster, rent a Playstation and rent Pandemonium. I always loved playing videogames, but there was something so cool about playing a game with a kickass female protagonist, rather than a faceless ship, like in Asteroids. 

The entire landscape of the game was pure fantasy and escapism, and it completely captured my imagination. I'd play it for so long, I'd see the characters when I'd close my eyes, and dream about them at night. I was a nerd, to say the least..."


"My favourite had to be California Games on the NES. It made me laugh because the BMX riders used to say "bummer" when they fell off and I thought that was the NAUGHTIEST THING EVER. I also grew up thinking that all Californian pavements were strewn with banana skins and dangerous trip hazards. The graphics were awful and the soundtrack sucked but me and my sister would spend hours playing on it!"


"Alex Kidd in Miracle World on the Master System! It had like 20 levels and no save option! Also Tomb Raider when it first came out on the PC, though I mainly played it to run around her empty house looking at the furniture. I could never bring myself to play the actual game in case I had to shoot a dog."

The team's honourable mentions include: The Secret of Monkey IslandSonicCrash BandicootThe Legend of Zelda.

Hannah Mudge writes about all things news and feminism-themed for BitchBuzz, and is currently adjusting to life as a new mum. You can also read her blog, We Mixed Our Drinks or follow her tweets as @boudledidge.

Wed, 21 Nov 2012 12:00 (GMT+00)
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