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100 Games To Play Before You Die

100 Games To Play Before You Die

100 Games To Play Before You Die
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With so many great games to play it's sometimes hard to know where to start. This essential selection is not only compiled by Retro Gamer readers, but also goes behind the scenes on a number of classics, from Pac-Man to Zelda: A Link To The Past

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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd

in this issue

1 min.
welcome to 100 games to play before you die

Discovering great videogames can be something of a minefield. There have been literally thousands of games released since the Seventies, so how on earth do you focus on the ones which are worth playing? Fortunately for you, we have the answer. Originally compiled for Retro Gamer by its own readers, the following tome contains the 100 games that you really should experience before you die. The games in question cover a wide range of genres, from platformers to racing games and range from 8-bit hits such as Pac-Man and Manic Miner to more recent classics like the excellent Skyrim. In short there’s something in this book that should appeal to everyone, whether you’re a fan of Shenmue or Super Mario Kart. But that’s only part of the story. Once you’ve…

12 min.

With modern-day game characters often being designed and scripted to ape Hollywood movie stars, it’s somewhat pleasing to note that a yellow circle with an insatiable appetite for eating pellets remains the most enduring videogaming star to date. After all, which gamer hasn’t played some variant of Pac-Man? According to a May 2008 report by the Davie Brown Celebrity Index (dbireport.com), which scores celebrities to evaluate potential product spokespeople, Pac-Man was recognised by 94 per cent of US consumers, outstripping even Mario, which is pretty impressive stuff. Pac-Man’s appeal is, ironically, akin to Hollywood heavyweights like Tom Hanks and Will Smith. Part of this appeal is no doubt down to the fun, peaceful nature of Pac-Man and his actual actions. He explores a simple maze, munching dots, pursued by a quartet…

1 min.
conversion capers

Atari 2600 Embarrassingly drawing attention to itself via an ‘Atari National Pac-Man Day’, this conversion supposedly resulted from marketing pressure. A flickering mess, the game’s dreadful maze layout and ropey gameplay led to a shortfall in sales, with five million cartridges left gathering dust. MSX Namco’s 1984 MSX release eschewed the horizontally stretched mazes of most home conversions, instead shifting the score display to the side of a smaller maze that retained the arcade parent’s aspect ratio. This device remains in use today – eg: in Pac-Man plug-and-play TV games. Game Boy Advance A touch of the crazies descended over Nintendo HQ when the NES Classics line reached Europe. With collectable boxes ditched and prices raised, you got a botched port of the bog-standard NES conversion for more than the superior Pac-Man Collection cost at…

1 min.
pac-man milestones

Ms Pac-Man (1981) Fed up waiting for Namco’s Pac-Man sequel, US distributor Midway struck a blow for gender equality by releasing GCC’s Pac-Man hack. Along with speeding up the game and amending the hero, Ms Pac-Man includes new mazes, more varied ghost behaviour and moving fruit. Super Pac-Man (1982) Namco’s Pac-Man sequel disappointed many outside of Japan, due to the fact that the gameplay was substantially altered. You still clear mazes, but munch targets behind gates that open when keys are guzzled. A ‘super power dot’ makes Pac-Man grow Hulk-like, to devour everything in his path. Jr. Pac-Man (1983) Midway again did the naughty, creating this effort without permission, and Namco terminated Midway’s licensing agreement. Namco still doesn’t recognise the game as official. With its scrolling levels obliterating the original’s tightly honed strategic gameplay, it’s…

16 min.

It’s hard to imagine a time when every game – no matter how simple the concept – felt fresh and new. But it once existed. Take, for example, Defender, designed by gaming legend Eugene Jarvis. For the uninitiated (and if you’re one such person, are you sure you’re reading the right magazine?), Defender is a wraparound side-scrolling shooter, with a small cast of deviously designed enemies, and a defend-and-rescue theme. The aim is to stop Lander aliens making off with your small crop of humans, carelessly exposing themselves on the stark planet’s surface. When a Lander snags a human, it rises to the top of the screen, consumes it, becomes a crazed Mutant, and comes after you. Lose all your guys and the planet explodes, driving the point home that…

15 min.
manio miner

CENTRAL CAVERN “This was the test screen, the first of everything,” begins Matt. “The collapsing floors, conveyor belts, the jumps, the colour clash. Using two colours in the bricks of the solid platforms and then when you jump up on to the first platform, that’s all testing for colour clash. It has one of all the difficult jumps in, too.” How was difficulty determined, we ask. “From the end of the conveyor belt to the higher platform counts as a difficult jump… but I put in a safety net. I plotted it out on graph paper: two pixels and then a parabolic, acceleration down until you hit terminal velocity, at about four pixels a frame, then you started falling straight down. I’d do all the testing and see where you’d land.”…