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July 10th 2014 3:12 pm

My early DOS gaming memories

Recently, I was browsing some random Abandonware websites (dedicated to those old computer games that are mostly long forgotten) and it ended up turning into a crazy stroll down memory lane. As a child, I spent countless hours in front of dimly lit CRTs playing all sorts of games. These represent some of my earliest memories of gaming. It's crazy!

That mainly has to do with the fact that growing up, I never had any of the early gaming consoles (Atari, Nintendo, etc), but thanks to my dad being a huge fan of technology, we did have a number of computers in the house: the original IBM PC, IBM's XT, 286's, etc.

I have fond memories of the glowing DOS command prompt.

Anyway, here are a number of early games that I remember playing on our old computers (excluding more obvious titles like Doom, Oregon Trail, or Wolfenstein).

Car Builder (1982): I think this is what later inspired the automative management game "Detroit." You basically design and sculpt cars, test their performance on a track, etc. I don't remember if it had a point, but I do remember that I enjoyed making fast cars.

Rocket Lander (1982): Basically a clone of the Lunar Lander games. You have a rocket, a limited amount of fuel, and various obstacles to tackle.

Super Star Trek (1982): I've never really considered myself a huge trekkie, though I do enjoy watching the episodes of the show and movie now and again. This was a text adventure I spent some time playing. It looks kind of drab, eh? I guess it left a lot to the imagination.

Midway Campaign (1983): Relive the Battle of Midway from World War II in all its ASCII glory. This was basically a glorified version of Battleship, but you could launch planes. And I did.

Castle Adventure (1984): Basically an early text-based RPG that depicted your environments with various ASCII characters. You could control your character and move them around the screen to explore. I played this a lot and don't think I ever properly beat it -- it was tough! If you've ever played Nethack, it kind of reminds me of that.

Pitstop II (1984):
I never played Pitstop I, but this was a simple and fun car racing game and probably one of the first racing games I had ever played! If I recall, you had the option of racing against a human (sitting at the same keyboard) as well as a computer player.

Super Zaxxon (1984): It's like Paperboy, but with space planes. Dodge obstacles, shoot things, etc. I don't think I ever got past the first few levels!

Lawn Mower (1987): This is a simulation about mowing the lawn. How fast do you do it, can you avoid the neighbor's dog, and not run over random things? It was surprisingly fun, and I remember my sister and I even taking turns playing this game and challenging each other.

Falcon (1987): One of my favorite genres of games were flying games. Secretly, I think I always wanted to be a fighter pilot while growing up. Falcon was an early game that let me at least pretend. This is probably why the F-16 became my favorite aircraft ever. Anyway, it was fun getting in dogfights and trying to bomb things in various quadrants of the map.

The Soccer Game (1989): For awhile, a company called Wizard Games were making some of my favorite text-based management / adventure games. In the Soccer Game, you played as a manager of an up and coming soccer game and tried to make all the right moves (rosters, traders, strategies, budgets) to win a trophy. This probably shaped my future love of ridiculous sports management sims like Out of the Park baseball and Football Manager.

Rockstar (1989): This is another text-based game from Wizard Games that I absolutely loved. You're in a rock band and try to make it to the top. Basically, you name your band, you practice, record albums, go on tours, and have options to make all sorts of inappropriate choices that might tank your career.

Anyway, there's probably a number of others I could add to this list, but these are some of the early games that I have ridiculously fond memories of. Oh, man. What a trip down memory lane!

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I remember playing Pitstop when I went to summer camp. Cool kids go to summer came to play on computers, right?

I didn't really get into PC gaming because I always had a Nintendo/Sega system around, but other non-DOS games that I was particularly fond of were:

Gizmos & Gadgets: One of those games that tricked kids into learning. My favorite part was building your vehicles; you always had to make sure you had the best parts.

Sim Tower: I preferred this over Sim Earth/City because it was simpler. I never beat it when I was younger, but I re-played it in college and totally became a real estate mogul that I'd always hoped to be.

Lego Island: Probably the first game I played that had 3D graphics. I remember it running pretty poorly on my outdated computer, but that didn't stop me from delivering pizzas.

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I played all kinds of text adventures but my favorite was Hitchikers Guide
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i don't like that game, text adventures is not nice
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My faves were in the adventure game genre, which includes old LucasArts and Sierra games, and also Mean Streets. Also loved Tie Fighter.
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Wow, thank you for sharing that! I remember a lot of my favorite games back in these days. Do you guys know Skiordie? Or the old Testdrive series? I also loved Hero's Quest.. The graphics were so different in these days...
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