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Discussion > Off TopicMay 4, 2023 8:00 am CT

What games from the past, obscure or not, would you like to play again?

Memory is strange. My conception of “now” keeps getting broader as the years pile up, and time compression has become a very real thing. Is a memory from five months ago or five years? Or was it 15? There are a lot of data points to work through, and it’s not always easy to track down the subjects of a specific memories.

Back in the day, in the first decades of interactive fiction, I liked the idea of text adventures in theory — but playing them very quickly turned into an exercise in frustration. It’s not that I couldn’t figure out how to do things in a general sense, but success depended on the ability to read the minds of the programmers to come up with the very specific phrasing used to solve problems. These days, trying to retrace my steps to a barely remembered website or article from the early 2000s is like trying to read my own mind from back then. I encountered this while searching for a Commodore 64 game that played like the love child of Robotron 2084 and Wizard of Wor from the arcades of my youth. I vaguely remembered that the game had been programmed in BASIC or originated as an amateur effort or something.

It thought it was something I’d discovered eight 10 years ago or so. But, no matter how many variations of “Commodore 64” or “Robotron” and “BASIC” that I plugged into Google Search, I came no closer to discovering the game. Then, while cleaning up my archives recently, I discovered an emulator folder that had been transferred from hard drive to hard drive for years — 21 years to be precise — and hit pay dirt. The game was Crossroads, and it had a fascinating history as originating in Compute’s! Gazette, a program meant to be typed in from page upon page of machine code, which is a task for either the obsessed or the masochistic. I was neither and had found the program while delving into some arcade emulation back in 2002.

So, how about you? Are there any games from years ago that you’re still trying to track down? How does playing the games from the past again match up with your recollections? Let us know in the comments!

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