Games of the Twentieth Century. The year 1985

Orwellian 1984 passed, and the year 85 began. The year began... a year... of com’s. To be more precise, .com. On January 1, the very first level domains, .com, .net, .org and .edu, appeared on the Internet. The only national domains so far are .us, and the British came up with .uk in the middle of the year. We'll see the consequences of all this in games much later; In the meantime, we didn't think about it, we just played...

F-15 Strike Eagle

  • Genre: Aviation Simulator
  • Developer: Sid Meyer
  • Publisher: Microprose

- The world," the veteran players used to say in those days, "is shaped like a suitcase.

Look at it from above, from the cockpit of an F-15, and see for yourself. The world is a flat checkered "case", sometimes yellow, sometimes gray or overpink - it depends on what video card you're lucky enough to get. The inhabitants of the suitcase's surface are divided into two classes: those who must get a rocket from you, and those who, in addition, are ready to send you their hot, explosive greetings.

Life on the suitcase is dull and boring - it's the same thing in the sky! The wings that carry you are able to perform in the air... No, not every maneuver, but every maneuver in life. "Barrel", "corkscrew" - primitive, these are for air parades. Upper, lower and straight yo-yo, several kinds of combat spirals... In six months the book "How to Play the F-15" is coming out - it will be written by a seasoned ace. And other pilots are serving as consultants and test pilots for Strike Eagle.

F-15 Strike Eagle Screenshot

There are only seven missions, and they are all "real," coming from real-world operations. But there's plenty of room for creativity in each, and none of them are in the "fly and shoot anything that shows up on the radar" spirit. What? Yes, of course there's radar. And a detailed picture of the plane - what it has where and how it feels.

We knew every mission like it was our own. They even made it into the literature...

- Here our party leader was talking about the fact that capt. Mark Panella shot down his thousandth MiG today. And besides this he, for example, destroyed the locator in Tripoli four thousand five hundred times, and if we count all the missile boats and add airfields, such a figure will come out ... But you can't measure a man by one figure alone. I know capt. Panella may be better than the others - I've been flying with him for half a year now, and I'll tell you about one of our raids. That was my first time on the F-15, and you know how difficult that truck is. And he told me before the flight: "Ron, remember - don't get nervous, go behind and lower, I will cover you. Well, I was inexperienced then, but I had a nerve - why should he cover me, when I flew the entire Persian Gulf on the F-16? Yes... Well, we got in our cabins and they gave us the takeoff command. We took off from the aircraft carrier "America", and our task was first to sink a ship in Beirut seaport, and then to destroy the terrorists' camp near Al-Bengazi. So we took off and flew low, on autopilots. And there, near Beirut, there are probably eight pieces of locators - well, you all were there...

And I'll tell you this: where is the employee of the State Planning Committee, who did not destroy the terrorists' camp near Al-Bengazi with his own hands? If not in the first F-15, then in the next?

That's how American troops got a virtual addition, and Sid Meyer invented his first game genre. Soon he would invent epic games, managers, global strategies... And this little experiment won the title of Action Game of the Year from Computer Gaming World -- and 1,500,000 copies. I'll spell it again: 1.5 million. In 1985.

What happened next: And then there were flight simulators. The second and third part, other planes, other theaters of war. "HAWX, Lock-On were also a light from that spark.

The Bard's Tale

  • Genre: RPG
  • Developer: Interplay
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts

There is a little town in England called Skara Brae. However, people don't live there... Thousands of people lived there 4-5 years ago and now it's like a Roman Pompeii. And because it is almost as well preserved, the British love it and often put it in games (in Ultima, for example). True, they usually think that the Celts, with their bards and druids, lived there. Although they came much later.

But in 1985, it was inhabited by - definitely - the bards. And that's how it turned out.

The Bard's Tale Screenshot

The Warlock Mangar struck the thriving city of eternal winter, some other spells made the whole garrison of the city... simply disappear. And when a cataclysm descends on the world, only two types of organisms survive: cockroaches and adventurers. How the cockroaches reacted, we don't know, but the adventurers got together as a team and went... right, to clean the dungeons of whatever had settled there.

And here before us is a huge three-dimensional labyrinth. Yes, three-dimensional, and not even outlined, as it was a year ago, but colored and cheerful. And its inhabitants, by the way, have... facial animation. Simply put, they sometimes move. When they talk, for example.

Some instead move, let’s say, a sword - a subtle hint of having to fight.

Combat is done without a map; just an enemy in front of us, and each round the six heroes choose their actions. Hit? Heal? Sorcery? What kind of sorcery?

The Bard's Tale Screenshot 1

...Michael Cranford, the author of the game, played Dungeons & Dragons for years. Alas, to declare his love, "Dragons" had to be without the help of the license, but in the eight classes of the game - warrior, trickster, wizard, sorcerer, monk, hunter, paladin, bard - something familiar was felt. No favorite Bigby's Handle and Mordenkainen's Unlocking, but 85 of their own spells. By the way, mages of all stripes can change classes and, thus, are able to learn all 85 - for this is given a "superclass" called "archmage".

But here is the bard, who in all hitherto existing versions of D&D was, by and large, the weakest of the heroes - here was made almost certainly the most necessary. And each of its songs, in addition to its magical effect, made the old PC Speaker squeak out classic melodies.

You won't need a mouse in the game; you should take a pencil in your right hand and put a piece of paper from a notebook instead of a mat. Because if you don't want to spend your life wandering around the catacombs, it's advisable to draw a map. Even if you're an honest customer and you've taken out of your box a color plan of Skara-Brae. Because the game goes far beyond that!

The Bard's Tale Screenshot 2

What happened next: the same year the second part saw the light, and soon the games of the hack n slash system, "dungeon cleaners", became an acknowledged "mainstream" of the RPG genre. And twenty years after the release of The Bard's Tale, it was decided to release a new game with the same name, but they didn't try to revive it "as it is": the "same" gameplay won't catch you today. Therefore, the new story of the Bard became... a parody of all the imitators of that story.

While we were playing F-15 and The Bard's Tale...

  • Andrzej Sapkowski decided to take up writing and invented the Geralt of Rivia.
  • Mike Tyson won his first professional match by knockout.
  • A new American TV channel, Discovery, was launched. And the shuttle with the same name returned from space with the Muslim Sultan Aziz Al Saud on board.

King's Valley

  • Genre: arcade
  • Developer: Konami
  • Publisher: Konami

If you want to become a tomb robber, keep in mind: many have to do without Lara Croft's pistols and Indiana Jones' whip in this difficult business. A simple, ordinary robber has to enter the pyramid with only the right eye and quick feet. And even instead of a magic Indy hat, a disgraceful panama hat.

No self-respecting robber would leave the Valley of the Kings alive as long as there was at least one tomb left... Not so long as there is even one treasure left in it. Perhaps that's why they so seldom leave.

King's Valley Screenshot 1

And inside, by the way, there are mummies walking around. Though their brains may have dried out over the years, they're better brains than most. All hope is that somewhere in the pyramids they forgot their swords. True, our tomb raider's swordsman is like an enema trombone: he clumsily picks up his sword at whatever he has to and... launches it right in front of him. Who didn't hide - it's not his fault. The mummy usually bursts with anger at the sight of this, but then comes to his senses and condenses back into air.

Alas, the rogue priests who laid out the treasures here took absolutely no care for our comfort. Now and then it turns out that the treasure in general is walled up. Then the pickaxes come in handy; they, too, are spread out over the pyramid. However, the ancient masters forged them remarkably fragile, so that after the first hole made, the pick falls apart and can not be restored.

And the worst thing is, you know what? To use both the sword and the pickaxe, you and I are left with the single "space bar". And it's also needed for jumping, damn it! So if we have the pickaxe, no fighting and no jumping until we've dug a hole. And so on.

King's Valley Screenshot 2

That, my gentlemen, is why the work of a tomb robber requires a jewel-like calculation. Sadistic priests often put exactly as many picks into a tomb as we minimally need; don't you know that there's a small hump in front of the intended excavation point that needs to be jumped over? Well, I pity you, goodbye...

Oh, by the way: if you have not Yamaha MSX, the best friend of the Egyptian grave-digger, but an ordinary PC, then the pyramids will be black and white. I was lucky enough to visit the Valley of the Kings on a Yamaha MSX. By the way, that's where my gaming career started.

What happened next: was KV2, but then King's Valley had no worthy successors. didn't happen. Too bad, though some ideas from it were used as a basis for the game Lemmings, which is still popular today.


  • Genre: logic game
  • Developer: Alexey Pazhitnov
  • Publisher: many different

Many people, not without reason, consider 1985 to be the birth year of Soviet game building. Because twenty-nine-year-old Alexey Pazhitnov created the great Tetris on the Electronica-60. And schoolboy Vadim Gerasimov brought it to the PC at the same time.

Describing this game is, of course, silly: after all, "even if I were a Negro of advanced years," I would still probably know that "Tetris" is when four-cell pieces fall into a cup, and one must not let the cup fill up. This game is on every conceivable platform, including phones, clocks, juicers, and vacuum cleaners. But only on the platform of "Kilometer 193" is not yet, but will certainly appear soon.

Tetris Screenshot

By the way, the world of "Tetris" has long been firmly established as one of the symbols of the USSR on a par with Gagarin. Sometimes you start up another version built into a Korean watch, sold for export to Sri Lanka, and there is a screensaver in the form of a matryoshka and a false, but recognizable "In the field stood a birch tree," or "Korobeyniki" or "Kalinka- Malinka". "In America, "Korobeyniki" is often considered a tune written by Pazhitnov himself for Tetris. Believe it or not. Why? And the lyrics are on point, about "a box full of boxes"!

This is interesting: it is mathematically proven that even with perfectly correct player decisions, the game will not be infinite. True, it can last a very, very long time.

Alas, Pazhitnov didn't get his well-deserved millions from the game; after all, it's easy as hell to make a "Tetris" clone under any name. And the money for the trademark was not divided fairly. But fame is not always "a bright patch on a singer's shabby rags.

What happened next: "Tetris" became the father of a large and motley family. There are versions with five-, six- and seven-cell pieces (I loved the six-cell one in my time, it's the kind of game in which even with a pause it's difficult to gain a hundred rows), and three-dimensional, and "gravitational," and multiplayer, and turn-based... Yes, between you and me, puzzles like Lines or JawBreaker are not without Tetris genes.

While we were playing King's Valley and Tetris...

  • Garry Kasparov became the youngest ever world chess champion.
  • The British expelled 25 Soviet diplomats for espionage.
  • In the obscure town of Schengen, seven nations entered into a visa agreement.