I’m back on the video games this week, except instead of trashing them I’m actually going to write about 3 games that I love. Recently I have spent a lot of time wanting to play games from my childhood again. The only problem is that even though I still have the discs, they no longer work on modern computers, never mind the fact that I’m on a Mac now and not a PC. So when I recently stumbled across a site called Good Old Games I was thrilled to find that a tonne of my old games are available to download and play and even better were also really cheap. So without any further ado, let’s play some Good Old Games.
Theme Hospital – 1997
If you’ve never heard the receptionist on Theme Hospital say “Patients are asked not to die in the corridors” then you can’t begin to imagine the fun of running your own hospital. Theme Hospital is made by Bullfrog who created the equally fun Theme Park and Dungeon Keeper. The basic idea is to build the best possible Hospital before being promoted to the next, simple, right? Wrong. By the time you are 6 or so hospitals in, the difficulty gets cranked up to 11.
You’ll soon be expect to deal with everything from health inspections, complaining staff, patients who cause a tidal wave of sick (no, really) to 10 emergency patients being dropped in for a cure in a limited time. The pressure is on and if too many patients die then the game is over. Hospital planning is difficult and you need to drain these sick people of every penny in their wallets. In fact, by the time you have a staff of 40, and patients dropping litter, it can become down right infuriating. But this is part of the charm of playing old games, they weren’t easy.
Too often these days every game is so damn easy because God forbid that not everyone can make it to the end. Well, Theme Hospital makes you work for your reward and by God, if you can complete the game then a pat on the back to you good sir because as of writing I’m still 2 levels off the end. But I’m determined to do it. I think it would be poor form not to mention the in-built hilarity of the game. Nothing is normal and the diseases themselves are often the best bits. You’ll be curing everything from Invisibility, Cause: Being bitten by radioactive (and invisible) ants to Alien DNA, Cause: Facehuggers equipped with intelligent alien blood.
Think you can do a better job than the NHS? Give it a go, not a bad hospital, now anyone fancy a curry at the Taj?
Fallout – 1997
I have written about Fallout 3 before you know. Well this is (almost) where it all began. Fallout is unfortunately the game that time has left feeling rather terrible, which is a shame. I really enjoyed playing it again but, as I said at the start, this is because I have fond memories of playing it as a child. With that in mind I will only recommend this one if you have played it before.
Living in a Vault in the future you are tasked to traverse the nuclear wasteland of Southern California and locate a Water Chip with just 150 days before everyone in the Vault dies of contaminated water. It’s a tall ask since you have never left the Vault that you grew up in. With a frankly rather massive game world to explore, and tonnes of side quests to complete, you could spend ages on this game. So long as you can get over the dodgy controls and poor graphics.
And that’s it. I was actually really disappointed by playing this again, because time has not been kind to the game, but never mind.
Constructor – 1997 (I’m thinking I really liked my PC in 1997)
My last choice is probably the least known but is by far my favourite. Fitting somewhere between Sim City and Command & Conquer, you are tasked by the council to build and maintain a small city, each plot of land at a time. The concept is very simple but the game is far from this. Every plot of land must contain at least one tenant and, unsurprisingly, your tenants don’t like living next door to brick factories. It’s here that the game really excels itself. Your tenants are out for anything they can get.
The Punks wont live next to the Hippies because they don’t like the fences that the Hippies demand. If you move the Professor in he’ll want a shed to do experiments, but have Yuppies on the same street and they’ll want one too, not to mention some garden furniture and keeping up with the neighbours means the Professor will want some as well. When tenants complain you will get a fixed time to resolve the issue or face some black marks from the council, enough black marks and you’re fired.
The council also have some tasks for you. Building a massive and expensive park or murdering an enemy tenant are the early ones, but they get much harder as the game progresses. Oh yes that’s right, you’re not the only person building this city, so while organising your tenants and keeping the council at bay you will also be constantly attacked by enemy undesirables. They range from a ghost setting loose a horde of zombies, to a a gang of thugs having a party in one of your houses, and even a psycho attacking your buildings with a chainsaw.
Even on its easy difficulty Constructor is not for the faint of heart. It’s worth a play and at only $3.99 (about £2.50) why the hell wouldn’t you give it a go?
Good Old Games has a massive selection of games for you to try your hand at, so just go have a look and see what you can find from your own youth and relive some happier times.