Games of the Twentieth Century. The year 1984

The year passed and 1984 came. Brunei gained independence, another military coup took place in Nigeria, and Libya and Morocco created a single federal state. The USSR boycotts its participation in the 13th Summer Olympic Games, and just in case, it conducts an extensive exercise with the use of cruise missiles. But there was hardly anything else, can you enumerate everything? Well, the events of the gaming industry were marked by the appearance of two new platforms: Commodore 64 and Apple's Macintosh. And, of course, games. After a little crisis in 1983, there were especially a lot of them.

The best ones, according to our version, are in front of you.

King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown


  • Genre: quest
  • Developer: Sierra On-Line
  • Publisher: Sierra On-Line

This is the ancestor of quests as we know them today. Once it made a real revolution, offering players not a text adventure, but a drawn and animated 16-bit picture.

King's Quest I Screenshot 1

It was created by Roberta and Ken Williams, the founders of the famous Sierra Online. In those days it was a big rarity that several people worked on one project: often one enthusiast sat down for the development and spent several weeks on it. But above the King's Quest I, apart from the known married couple, five more programmers were at work. And the work lasted for about eighteen months. The game's budget was $700,000, a serious sum for that period of industry development.

We are now briefly transported far and wide to the kingdom of Daventry, where the elderly King Edward is looking for a worthy successor. He summons Sir Graham and offers to go in search of three powerful artifacts to prove his loyalty to the monarch. When he brings what he needs, Edward is assured that the throne will go to a worthy and courageous man.

King's Quest I Screenshot 2

But the kingdom is not at all as safe as it may seem at first glance. It is a fairyland, home not only to good leprechauns but also evil witches, lake monsters, giant wolves and fire-breathing dragons. And Graham will meet each of them on his way, and the encounter will not always be a pleasant surprise. If he decides to swim across the lake, the future king risks being eaten by its inhabitants, and if he enters the woods he can hardly escape a witch on a broom.

King's Quest I Screenshot 3

Though King's Quest I is a fairy tale, it is first and foremost a quest, and in those days of yore they didn't like to make easy games. If the plot is uncomplicated, the quests are occasionally a headache. You can not just take the right artifacts - first you need to solve a series of problems, without which the passage would be meaningless. But here you can easily come to a deadlock or get stuck in one place, and, as they say, neither left nor right. And in that case you have to start all over again. Eaten by a monster? False start, back on the line! Hook-nosed old lady turned into a sugar man? Right back at ya! Why? There are all kinds of fairy tales...

King's Quest I Screenshot 4

Mind you, you won't be spared in this one. But if you still want to see how it all began, the magical world of Daventry is and always will be waiting for visitors...

What happened next: the game got "platinum" status and grew into a great series (we'll definitely come back to some parts) and twisted and turned - the second part, third, fourth, fifth... Royal Quest existed for nearly 28 years! In 2016, Sierra (as part of Vivendi Games) re-released the King's Quest Collection, a collection of all the games in the series.






Castle Wolfenstein


  • Genre: action
  • Developer: Muse Software
  • Publisher: Muse Software

The same year the granddaddy or even great-granddaddy of all spy actions was born. Yes, yes, neither Garrett, nor Forty-seven, nor Sam Fisher, nor Kate Archer would have ever existed if not for Castle Wolfenstein.

It was developed by a company called Muse Software, founded back in 1978. At first, it produced non-game projects and even managed to create a text editor (reminiscent of Word, but much simpler). Castle Wolfenstein was the studio's first game.

Castle Wolfenstein Screenshot 1

And this game was staked on caution. You don't get to dash through levels and shoot everything that moves and doesn't move. Oh no, in that case you will be the target. And the fact that the run can at least start, because some of the doors are locked, which means you have to pick the locks. Of course, it's not as excruciating as in today's games, but you will have to tinker.

But even if you manage to open the doors, it's unlikely you will get beyond the next level, without searching for the corpses of your opponents and without digging the drawers. And in fact they're usually filled with ammo and grenades, but the chests are also often locked, so even here you'll have to struggle. Unless you decide to shoot at the box a couple of times to make it open by itself. But here's the problem: if there are grenades hidden inside, you will be torn into small pieces.

Castle Wolfenstein Screenshot 2

It's interesting: some chests contain really cool stuff: schnapps, uniforms, medals, cannonballs and... Eva Braun's diaries! It's a pity you can't read them - you could learn a lot of details about Hitler's personal life. And if you drink a hot beverage, the hero will hiccup, and the sight starts jumping around the screen, not allowing you to shoot normally.

Castle Wolfenstein Screenshot 3

It is important not to forget that you can improve the ammunition and pick up new guns. And remember that to jump into the frontal - is tantamount to jumping fish in the asphalt. All sixty rooms and five floors of the castle require care. And although at that time the stealth action genre was still a novelty, now we already know what to eat it with.

Castle Wolfenstein Screenshot 4

What happened next: the Wolfenstein series is still alive today, but the same cannot be said about its creators. In 1987, Muse Software decreed its demise, having managed to release Beyond Castle Wolfenstein before that (in 1984). A couple of years after closing the doors id Software bought the rights for the game and in 1992 gave us Wolfenstein 3D, which became the ancestor of such 3D-action games. It was followed by Return to Castle Wolfenstein and the multiplayer project Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. And now we are looking forward to the new installment of the series, unexpectedly titled... Wolfenstein!

While we've been playing King's Quest I and Castle Wolfenstein...

  • The year 1984 was cited by George Orwell as the time of action in his famous novel 1984.
  • Terminator" and "Police Academy" were released worldwide.
  • The metal band Sepultura was formed, and Queen released the album The Works.





Sopwith


  • Genre: arcade
  • Developer: BMB Compuscience
  • Publisher: BMB Compuscience

You know what the word "classic" means, don't you? Pac-Man, Cucumber and Milk, Ludwig van Beethoven... thousands of examples. If we talk about the classics of computer games, then not to mention Sopwith is simply impossible!

Sopwith Screenshot 1

Even before the heyday of simulation games, when the games were almost black and white, the company, consisting of two people, came up with an arcade flight simulator - Sopwith. Executed in an eerily minimalist environment, the game has one valuable quality - it's addictive. Do you know what outsiders would roughly hear if they were eavesdropping outside your door while you were playing this game? "Yes! Hit it! Up! Who flies like that?! Bomb, bomb!" Without exaggeration: even spoiled with ultra-modern graphics and the most realistic buzz of the turbines of a flying fighter is unlikely to remain indifferent to Sopwith.

The game offers us three modes. The first one is the single player mode. This mode is designed with one single purpose: to get used to the game a little. You can just fly, shoot and drop bombs without any objective, just getting used to the game, getting accustomed to the aircraft's behavior.

Sopwith Screenshot 2

It's interesting: being originally a computer game, Sopwith has extremely intuitive controls: having launched the game, many will be surprised to discover the existence of square brackets and other strange keys on the keyboard.

The second - the game against the computer. It already has a goal: to defeat all enemy planes and destroy all its buildings. Seemingly simple, but in fact quite difficult task. The main obstacle to the player - the enemy planes. They never appear in a swarm surrounding our lone biplane, most often one or two at a time. But this does not make things any easier! Shooting down enemy planes can be very difficult. There are no definite tactics, just have "dogfights" and try and try to gain the upper hand. And if you have a couple of enemy pilots on your tail...

Sopwith Screenshot 3

And finally, the third mode - multiplayer. Like in any other game, it is one of the most interesting. It's hard to oppose electronic opponents, and twice as hard to play against real ones. But it is just as interesting, if not more!

It's interesting: Like most masterpieces, Sopwith is a matter of chance. The developers came up with the game as a simple demonstration of their own networking product known as Imaginet.

And do you know what the word "popularity" means? Today, in the twenty-first century, thirty-seven years later, there is a large community of fans of the game who keep coming up with new levels for Sopwith, as well as all sorts of imitations. That's what it is, popularity.

Sopwith Screenshot 4

What happened next: The following year, David Clarke, the game's creator, released Sopwith, a sequel with the original name (still tacitly called Sopwith 2), and in 2000, Sopwith: The Author's Edition was released.






Sokoban


  • Genre: logic game
  • Developer: ASCII Corporation
  • Publisher: Spectrum Holobyte, Inc.

Now we find ourselves in a world of boxes and brick walls. There is no way out, so the little man, doomed to eternal imprisonment, can only go from room to room. And so until he reaches the last, the fiftieth room. And then what happens, not everyone knows, because not everyone managed to pass Sokoban to the end.

Sopwith Screenshot 1

The game has a long history: it was created in 1980, and published by Thinking Rabbit in 1982 in Japan. Unexpected success pushed the developers to think about a sequel. Three of them came out: Boxxle, Sokoban Perfect and Sokoban Revenge. And so it began. The popularity of the puzzle was so overwhelming that Sokoban immediately ported it to all possible platforms and types of computers.

Sopwith Screenshot 2

The point of the game is simple - here's a level, here's boxes, here's a place to shove them. All in all, a big box in your hands, gentlemen, and a big splinter in your brain. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Let's try it... The first six or seven rooms are easy to get through, but the rest is more difficult. After all, you have to figure out and correctly calculate how, what and where to move. A couple of careless moves, and getting the box out of the corner no longer can. And in the higher levels you have to make about a thousand moves to win.

It is interesting: as it turns out, Sokoban is not only entertainment, but also a great field for scientists. They used the game to study the theory of computational complexity, and use it to test artificial intelligence.

Sopwith Screenshot 3

Tired of playing proudly alone or want to show off your skills to a comrade? Please try to fight against each other for points (at the end of each level the final score depends on the number of steps made). Well, if bored with the same type of levels - design your own.

What happened next: Of course, the success has spawned a huge number of parodies and imitations, such as Chip's Challenge and Rocks'n'Diamonds. People are still creating levels for Sokoban, and the game can even be played online.

While we were playing Sopwith and Sokoban...

  • The first Apple Macintosh released on sale.
  • President Reagan gave the U.S. Marine Corps an order to leave Beirut.
  • Turkey implemented the death penalty for the last time.
  • Dell Computers Corporation was founded in the United States.





Robot Odyssey


  • Genre: puzzle game
  • Developer: The Learning Company
  • Publisher: The Learning Company

In those gray-haired days, few fans of logical entertainment got past "Robot Odyssey." And even fewer who made it to the finale on their own.

Robot Odyssey Screenshot 1

The game begins rather unexpectedly: after a short dream about robots, our character literally falls through the bed into... Robotropolis, the underground world of robots. Finding ourselves in such a strange position, we must find a way out. What to do is unclear, but luckily we meet three friendly residents, with whose help we have to solve all the mysteries of the mysterious robot underground.

The first thing to advise the player is to turn on the tutorial mode. Honestly, if you don't have a degree in robotics engineering, it's better to listen to the built-in advice!

Robot Odyssey Screenshot 2

The whole highlight of Robot Odyssey is that our alter ego has no way to get out on its own, and Sparky, Scanner, and Checkers (our three assistants) won't listen to us for nothing. They have to be programmed. The process itself can already be called a game within a game, so interestingly it is implemented. Our character gets inside this or that robot and rebuilds its microcircuitry in the right way at the moment.

If at first levels of the game you only need help of one electronic friend to solve all problems, then at later levels you will have to combine actions of two or even three robots. And the process requires not only ingenuity, but also original thinking. That is, it is not enough to be able to program the robots and coordinate all their actions - you must first understand how to solve the problem in general, and then test the conjecture in practice. And hope that it is correct, otherwise the robots may be lost forever. But no one, of course, forbids saves.

Robot Odyssey Screenshot 3

Increasing difficulty from level to level becomes a serious challenge for many players - but the sweeter the victory! The satisfaction of finding a successful combination and alignment of the iron trinity - that's what the game binds. Sayings like "the best logic game I've ever seen" in different variants simply surround Robot Odyssey descriptions, and sometimes you can find the following: "You know how I became a programmer? I played Robot Odyssey!"

Robot Odyssey Screenshot 4

What happened next: the game manual says "Robot Odyssey 1", and although there was no sequel, another game from the same developers, Rocky's Boots, can rightfully be considered a predecessor - the theme is similar. But if the banner falls, someone else picks it up: in 1991 a similar logical game with learning elements came out: Castle of Doctor Brain by Sierra. And then there's The Incredible Machine, Gertrude's Secrets... As for the idea of indirect control, it was adopted by many games of other genres - for example, the popular strategies Majesty and The Settlers.






Alley Cat


  • Genre: arcade
  • Developer: Synapse Software Corporation
  • Publisher: IBM

Who's not a March Cat at heart? Or a cute kitty cat? So, another masterpiece from 1984, Alley Cat.

Forget that you're human. You're a cat. A cheeky black cat, from the looks of it. What's the first thing a cat like that needs? That's right, to fill your belly. But to do it is not so easy: first of all we will interfere with other hunters of adventures from the feline family, and the neighbor bulldog, on a strange whim of fate at the sniff that can not tolerate cheeky black backyard cats.

Alley Cat Screenshot 1

Does this situation sound familiar? I'm sure millions of people will remember a certain series of adventures of a certain Tom and Jerry. And no wonder, because, among other things, Alley Cat is stylistically very similar.

But this is about cats. Slight interference doesn't bother us: the dogs and competing cats are left behind. We look at the windows. Each window is a new adventure. Of course, many people tend to throw trash off the balcony or out the window, but that's not a problem either. Behind each window we are waiting for an interesting mini-game, the main purpose of which is to find food. You have not forgotten what we need first, right? There's plenty of entertainment: you can drink milk from the bowl of a dog living in the house, or you can put together a pyramid out of the tools at hand to get a canary, or you can scrounge up some tasty fish.

Alley Cat Screenshot 2

Finally the cat's stomach calms down, it's time to think about... that's right, white fluffy kitties! This is the possible prize awaiting our black bully if the minigame is successfully completed. Why is it possible? Because no self-respecting kitty will not show favor to the first found cat, even so damn charming as our black bully. This means that the favor of the fluffy cat must be earned through bravery and agility: avoiding competing cats and dodging Cupid's arrows, our hero hastens to the object of affection.

But the goal is conquered. What next? Well, what's next: there are many windows, and each brings a new adventure, the result of which will be a collection of white cats. And the cats in the garbage cans are getting bolder and bolder, and the neighborhood bulldogs are getting faster and meaner...

Alley Cat Screenshot 3

Alley Cat was a kind of 1984 explosion. Easy to control, just a couple of buttons, the classic CGA picture, pretty well stylized like a cartoon, and the sound... The sound was amazing for a PC-Speaker. I have no idea how it's even possible, but the long, frustrated "meow-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah" it gave off when defeating our cheeky black friend was very similar to the real thing!

A game for all ages, Alley Cat could very well act as a family tournament on a day off. The hilarious defeats and joyous victories of the backyard cat are forever in the history of computer games.

Alley Cat Screenshot 4

What happened next: The years passed, but the theme of springtime feline entertainment and the pastime of homo sapiens has hardly changed over time. In 2004 the fans of the game made the mobile version of the game - Alley Cat's Life (or Mobile Cat), and in 2006 they came up with the sequel - Alley Cat 2. And what do you think? Sassy black yard cats still eat and meet white fluffy cats. Indeed, nothing is new under the moon.

While we were playing Robot Odyssey and Alley Cat...

  • At the excavations of the Sumerian city of Ur, evidence of the existence of ancient... leasing.
  • On April 3, 1984 a bar with the longest bar (103.6 meters), called "Lulu's Roadhouse", was opened.