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What ever happened to…

November 17th, 2003

…games that didn’t require supercomputers to play? Simcity 4 is out and it’s system requirements like so many other new games includes Radeon video cards for all kinds of wild eye candy. This really isn’t a rant about “the good old days.” Instead, the question I have is why there aren’t more smallish games that I can reasonably play in a window that simultaneously have more depth than puzzle games like Snood and don’t require total enormous time investments to play. I don’t want to play online against others. I don’t want an online community offering custom scenarios. I just want to play for a little while and move on to something else.

There used to be games like that. Granted when the original SimCity and SimTower came out, there were significant hardware limitations, but they were still fun to play. Now, I’ve got this beefy multitasking operating system and fast hardware but games still expect to monopolize my machine. It’s not fair. My email client doesn’t do that, why should my diversions? I want to have some entertainment and still be able to have IM windows churning in the background where I can see them. I want to be able to have all kinds of automated stuff running just like I do when I’m working.

In theory, SimTower runs in MacOS X Classic but it requires 256 color video mode which basically hoses anything else that’s running. That’s pretty much a non-starter.

To me, at least, it seems pretty clear with the popularity of things like the MAME project that allows the playing of old arcade machine games on modern machines that there is likely similar demand for retro gaming of older computer games. It would be great to see some old friends come back with cleaner user experiences and simple but satisfying game play.

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