The thirteenth game for the 2-Bit Game Club will be SimCity (1989) for the Commodore 64 and then rereleased for pretty much everything.
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:
The twelfth game for the 2-Bit Game Club will be King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown (1987) for the Apple II computer.
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:
Here are some of the relevant bits from last night’s discussion at Electric Perfume in Toronto.
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.
Day 1 – Basebol!
Jan 20th 20:09
Throughout the weekend I’ll be tracking the progress of the development of Crystallized Game’s jam game, Project Basebol, based on the jam theme, Waves.
Jan 20th 20:38
Jan 20th 21:22
Audio plan established. I’m exciting to work with some new techniques in the Unreal game engine. It’s time to bust out the Logic Pro X manual and learn about surround sounds and stereo up mixing.
Jan 20th 21:40
Jan 20th 23:20
Caffeine count: 300ml
Jan 20th 23:46
Caffeine count: 600ml
Jan 21st 10:30
Jamming resumes. Hot earl grey tea, oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, baby elephant walk.
Jan 21st 11:51
Some great reference material from the american composer Mancini, famous for other tunes like the Days of Wine and Roses.
Caffeine count: 900ml
Jan 21st 12:55
Caffeine count: 1.2L
First draft of the title theme is done! All the earl grey tea it done!
It’s crazy to look at how little of an idea needs to be implemented concretely in order for it to give a solid impression of where it’s headed. Composing is fun!
Jan 21st 14:08
The gameplay theme for Project Basebol is coming along nicely. This game’s soundtrack is going to be very silly.
Jan 21st 16:41
Development is racing ahead. I have a theme together for the game play section, the team got together in a a hallway to record shouting crowd noises, and the scope of our vision for the game is on course for completion.
Caffeine count: 1.91L
Jan 21st 17:07
Here’s a preview of what the game play music will sound like.
Jan 21st 19:05
Caffeine count: 2.62L
Composition has wrapped. Onto producing this hot mix tape.
Jan 22nd 10:07
Caffeine count: 2.92L
Welcome from Crystallized Games North. While laptop computers are nice and light, sometimes you need the heavy hitting of a desk top in order to deliver the goods.
Jan 22nd 13:07
Caffeine count: 3.83L
Back at Toronto Global Game Jam HQ at GBC on King, the new game is really taking shape.
Jan 22nd 12:33
WaveBall 20XX is finished! You can play it here!
When Doom was released by id Software in 1993, the landscape of game modification was greatly impacted and was the entry point for one of the first artistic interventions in video games. id Software was aware of an enthusiastic modding culture that grew from their previous game, Wolfentstein 3D. Though the process in creating and loading the mods for that game were more difficult. With the community in mind, lead programmer John Carmack, a known advocate for copyleft and John Romero, who had hacked games in his youth, had the idea to simply give players the tools required to mod via WAD files.
Short for “Where’s All the Data?”, WAD files contain levels, graphics, and sounds stored separately from the game engine. Which allows players to create their own visual and audio data without making any modifications to the engine itself. WADs modify Doom by replacing graphics and audio, but the customization is somewhat limited as the game’s behaviour is hardcoded. So even if the game looks and sounds new, a Doom mod will feel like Doom.
Game Mods vs Art Mods
The early artistic interventions with FPSs were not so different from hacks and mods by the gaming community. Though there is artistry in creating game mods, the distinction between artist and modder as defined by Anne-Marie Schleiner is that modders “remain innocent of previous artistic tactics which foreshadow their creative processes.” Also, most modders wouldn’t consider themselves artists nor do they have the artistic training. It is often the intention behind the mod, and who the mod was made by, that distinguishes a game mod from an art mod. Art mods are often a means to a critical end, shedding light on the FPS genre and as a critique on the artworld itself.
ArsDoom conceived by Austrian artist Orhan Kipcak is often considered to have opened up the conversation amongst art mods. Exhibited in 1995 at Ars Electronica, the interactive artwork was a modification of Doom where players could run and gun in a reconstruction of the Bruckernerhaus’ exhibition all. A concert hall and significant venue for exhibitions and events related to Ars Electronica.
Inside the simulated exhibition space, players take on artistic player characters such as Joseph Beuys, Arnulf Rainer, Georg Baselitz or Jeff Koons. Weapons of choice, a colour gun and a water hose. The virtual space is filled with original digital works by computer artists invited by Kipcak and players played out the role of curator and critic. Deciding which artists would be destroyed and what would be kept for public display.
Kipcak admitted that Doom was used for its availability. “The Doom Engine was an open-source solution, easy to handle and very popular at the time. It made our life so much easier!”
Doom’s Lasting Influence in Media Art History
Doom’s relevance to media art histories was particularly highlighted when the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karsruhe, Germany, included it in their Media-Art-History exhibition in 1997.
The Doom game itself was included in the exhibition. Not any specific art mods to have been built using the software. The impact of the open-source solution Doom provided through WAD files is assigned cultural meaning in this case. Giving recognition to Doom, and it’s engine, as something more than a commercial application.
The tenth game for the 2-Bit Game Club will be Final Fantasy (1987) for the NES.
Final Fantasy (FFI) is just the first of many games in a landmark series that has dominated the JRPG genre. With beautiful opening art, the enchanting prelude by Nobuo Uematsu, and a no nonsense tittle crawl that puts you right at the heart of a world of magic from word go, Final Fantasy is a game that invites you to get lost.
Fans who are familiar with the series and JRPG genre will recognize in this early entry all of the things that people still love and hate about JRPGs today. Dense and often obtuse menu driven combat, big open worlds that are empty and lifeless, and larger than life story telling with unrelatable and bizarre characters. Like it or lump it, Final Fantasy delivers hard on its promises and refuses to make any explanation for its self.
To find a copy of Final Fantasy try your friendly retro game store or use other means. Consider picking up the NES Classic, playing on Android, or iOS. 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:
The ninth 2-Bit Game Club game will be Doom (1993) for the PC.
Have you ever wanted to travel to Mars and take a portal to hell so you could kill the damned with a shot gun? If so Doom has your number. Made by id Software, doom is the seminal first person shooter. There were earlier shooters that made an impact, such as Wolfenstein 3D (1992), and there were shooters that advanced the genre more dramatically, such as Hovertank 3D (1991), but Doom was the game to excitingly deliver all the elements that would come to define the FPS genre in the coming decades. It had tight controls, a dramatic setting, tense game play, and legitimate scares and horror. Bathed in gore and ultra violence the game has left a cultural legacy of concern over the impact that games have on their players, but for all the political posturing around the game here might be no better demonstration of the western relationship between the player and the gun.
Doom is a creation of id Software who were a giant in the early FPS genre delivering many hits with their game engine. Woldenstien 3D, Doom and its many sequels, were just a few of the titles that delivered on their early formula, though id Software would continue to lead innovation in the FPS space with their Quake games. The games huge success lead to it spinning off onto all of the popular platforms of the day, and into today with fan mods, illegal rips, and plain old nonsense. Here’s Doom running on a MacBook Pro touch bar.
To find a copy of Doom try your friendly retro game store or use other means. 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:
Blockbuster video game exhibitions rarely inspire me to think critically about games. My opinion was confirmed upon visiting the Ontario Science Centre in 2013 to see Game On 2.0. Especially in respect to how the Pokémon franchise was incorporated into an exhibition covering over 60 years of gaming history. This logistically complex touring exhibition was organized by the Barbican Centre and perhaps is still the world’s largest touring exhibition on the evolution of video games.
Laid out in a loose chronological order and organized into 14 distinct sections, the expansive exhibit features more than 150 playable games. Game On 2.0 tracks the development of video games from the earliest computer games to arcade-era hits – including pinball games – as well as rarely-seen consoles, controllers and collectables.