It was just a normal Saturday running errands up and down Garden St. Normally, I get out my thift-shopping cravings by hitting up my short list of trusty non-profits once a week to see what forgotten items land on their shelves. I hadn’t had any plans until I glanced upon the yard sale sign in the median of the street. I figured killing a little time in-between errands wasn’t going to hurt anyone.
I was only expecting to rummage through stacks of ill-fitting clothes and a couple of puzzles with missing pieces that had fallen between the sofa cushions. What I wasn’t expecting was to find three tall stacks of boxed mid to late-1990s PC games.
Apparently, the man of the house had had a brief stint of PC gaming glory back in the 90s and had been smart enough to leave these behemoths with their full packaging, manuals and all, untouched in the attic. Finally after 20 years, they had made their way onto the fold-out table on the lawn.
The couple had done a little bit of research and priced these games reasonably between five and ten dollars. I wasn’t necessarily going to strike absolute gold and take the lot or leave empty-handed. On top of that, I was being cautious. Though I had played a few PC games in my youth, I hadn’t kept anything around from that time. These pick-ups would be my first stint at retro PC collecting. I don’t even have any machines laying around to test and see if any of these are actually working (not even a stray floppy drive).
But there wasn’t a better time than now to get started! I carefully scanned through the stacks and picked out the ones that most interested me at first glance. I was generally leaning towards action and fantasy. There were a few sports games in there, but playing a sports game on a computer? That just doesn’t make sense to me. I’ll reserve that genre for consoles.
The first two games that caught my eye were Aliens Versus Predator and Max Payne. I had previously seen a short documentary on AVP produced by Ars Technica which really highlighted the technological challenges overcome by the developer, Rebellion, and had heard Max Payne referenced many times by one of my favorites, LGR. Needless to say, both of these games were valued much higher than the steal that I got them for. This alone was a huge win for me, but I wasn’t going to stop there.
The rest of the lot were pretty interesting, but not as jaw-dropping as my two highlights. At first when I saw the game Outpost, I wasn’t exactly sure what to think of it. I do like city and resource management games of that time, namely SimCity 2000 and Civilization III, but Mars colonization management is a bit overwhelming! That classic Sierra logo in the bottom right corner is what really won me over. After a little research, it seems that this game isn’t one of the more desirable Sierra classics, but it is still nothing to scoff at.
I don’t know much (if anything) about Shattered Light. It is a turn-based RPG, and I figured it wouldn’t be bad to pick up at least one of those. There were a few similar games in the pile as well, but this one stood out for its similarities to classic Dungeons and Dragons and high level of customization. Note: After a bit of digging, I found this review of the game which is a funny read. Turns out that it’s a bust!
Both Excalibur 2555 AD and Deathtrap Dungeon are 3d fantasy action platformers that seemed par for the course. Deathtrap Dungeon especially caught my eye because of it’s tombstone shape which I believe to be a special release of this game.
Once I get the right setup to try some of these out, I’ll do a brief overview of the art style and gameplay. Until then, they’ll just have to keep looking pretty on my shelf.
Ugh, I can already feel that this is going to be a new obsession.