A Warning, From Beyond The Graaaaave
PC games have certainly come a long way in the two decades since the introduction of Windows to machines. Some absolutely fantastic games have come and gone, sometime falling out of public eye. As I’ve found though, just because these games are gone from the public eye doesn’t mean they’re any less effective at what they set out to do. The following are some rather strong titles I’ve had the pleasure of owning, if you’re interested in purchasing please scour around on Good Ole Games at http://www.gog.com. Some of the titles may not be on there, but a few very well may be.
System Shock 2, Why is this gun broken?
Irrational are awesome, natch. They’ve got Bioshock to their credit these days, which is very much in the vein as their 1998 release System Shock 2. What separates System Shock 2 from Bioshock comes down to just how effective the actual design is some years later. Bioshock has the HD treatment sure, and does well to capture the feeling of dread and isolation, but in places I thought it was too easy. System Shock 2 has that dread and fear combined with the knowledge that your weapons may fail. Then you’re left with a piddly little wrench in the dark, listening to a cyborg without skin talking about taking your flesh to feed the little ones. Sure, you could hide, but they never really go away.
I Have No Mouth, But I Must Scream, HATE HATE HATE
Harlan Ellison’s extremely renowned short story comes to life in a game that is guaranteed to send chills down your spine. A graphical adventure with voice work by Ellison himself, the story of the last survivors on earth and their path towards something even remotely resembling redemption is haunting. Each of the survivors have their own individual stories you must play through, Nimdok’s comes to mind as something you really have to play to believe though. Surprisingly adult, it really defies the stupid notion that games are just for kids. It may be hard to run on modern machines, but you can very easily run this through DOSBox if you see fit.
Alien vs Predator 2000, Game over man, game over!
I’m a huge Alien fan, I’ve been in love with the franchise since I was able to conceive nightmares. Alien vs Predator is a classic release that only really embraces the crushing loneliness and the constant fight for survival that the first film made famous, while going about it as a badass Colonial Space Marine. Your pulse rifle will run out of ammunition at some point, and those nasty Xenomorphs never stop coming. The impossibly scary parts come from just how black the darkness gets and the click click click of your motion tracker as another pair of them come your way. This was recently given a release on Steam for a mere pittance and may actual be the easiest game to snag on here. I do believe they’re charging less than five dollars for this fantastic game.
Thief 3, You’ll Know it When You Get There
Thief 3 isn’t necessarily a game with horror completely on the brain, instead it has one set piece that serves as an utter nightmare which can out do dozens of games that try really hard to be scary. The Cradle, an abandoned orphanage/sanitarium serves as something far beyond the usual limits of design. Everything from the actual creeping dark to the sounds of whispers and pounding walls do everything to set your teeth on edge. As you escape you may not be really sure if you ever did leave, but there’s a reasons essays have been written on just how fantastic this part of Thief 3. Forget your standard horror games where you’re tossed a million bullets to wade through the walking dead, Thief 3 makes sure you know how helpless you are. This thankfully still runs on my Windows 7 rig, I’m planning on not getting any sleep very soon.
They Hunger, this one’s free!
Half-Life is still home to hundreds upon hundreds of user made modifications. This little one taking place in the midst of the zombie apocalypse is surprising just how effective it is. Zombies don’t really adhere to the standard rules and everything is just so dark, the sense of dread instilled is fantastic though. Since this is free and I think toasters come with Half-Life installed by default you should just take your own sweet time to give it a shot.
Closing Remarks, From Beyond The Graaaaave
Yeah, lame joke, sorry, but anyways you’ll find that games from over ten years ago are still pretty fun to play. Especially if you’re willing to let something like superb audio design scare the pants off of you. The graphics may seem a little dated, but that’s alright, in ten years I’m sure Dead Space will seem a little dated to whatever fantastic doo dad we’re playing with then. Anyways, good hunting for some of these titles, they seem to be still waiting for players to give them a shot.
The above mentioned games are considered forgotten. It’s like gaming tshirts that you were wearing in the old times. But the good thing is, new games with better qualities are being introduced to the market today.