Somehow or other, I’ve got back into old video games lately. And when I say old, I really mean it. Some of them are around 30 years of age. I’m not quite sure how this happened or, indeed, what this says about me on a psychological level, but I’m loving it.
They say nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, but they’re wrong. Among other things, I’ve had a wonderful time preventing rodents from succumbing to the perils of gravity, unearthing the secrets of a lost civilisation and rewriting Tottenham’s history from the 97/98 season onwards.
For me, these games have really stood the test of time but I was keen to learn what my children think of them. Much has changed since I was their age. Graphics are obviously much better nowadays and there are many more variables to pretty much every genre. But, from my point of view, the gameplay is still exceptional.
Also, I figured that, if I involved the kids in my current throwback obsession, it couldn’t possibly fall into midlife crisis territory. Here, then, is what they think of three 90s video games I loved.
The aim of this classic point-and-click game is simple. Guide dimwitted, gown-clad, green-haired, humanoid lemmings to safety by giving them jobs – or umbrellas.
I remember the frustration some levels caused me, but also the strong sense of achievement when I sussed out how to stop the eponymous rodents from proving Charles Darwin’s theory sadly right.
Having once compared one of them to this game, I was cautiously optimistic the kids would like it. And they do! They’re delighted by every element of it, from the task at hand to the jaunty music.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
One of LucasArts’ finest adventure games, this one lets you take control of the world’s coolest history teacher. It’s packed with puzzles and humour and has a storyline as good as any of the films.
Plus there are three paths to complete it: team, wits and fists. All with sufficiently different plots, dialogue and challenges. I’ve completed the first two and am looking forward to playing the third.
All three kids seem quite interested in this one. Maybe because there are rumours of Indy cropping up in Fortnite. But I think they can see beyond the now-limited graphics too – perhaps things like Minecraft making pixelated stuff cool again has helped there.
Championship Manager: Season 97/98
I’ve always loved the Championship Manager/Football Manager series, but have a particular fondness for this edition. Without training, press conferences and the like, you can pretty much play a whole season in a day.
I’m five seasons in, have won absolutely everything with Spurs and have a Jürgen Klinsmann who just won’t retire. Plus CM97/98 legend Tommy Svindal Larsen bossing the midfield. Marvellous.
The kids are baffled as to why I love this game so much and even bandied about the word “boring”. They don’t get why it’s text-only with no FIFA-style animation and weren’t keen on the flashing text when goals go in. I understand the latter but have no option but to conclude that they’re philistines with regard to the former.
It’s been a bit of a mixed bag, but this has been a positive experience. It’s lovely sharing things from my childhood with them and nice to see they enjoy some of them as much as I did.
What were your favourite video games growing up? Do you think your kids would enjoy them now?