Games of the Twentieth Century. The year 1995

The middle of the last decade of the last century. Mankind is gradually beginning to realize that he is about to step into the twenty-first century, but it somehow looks little like what was drawn in his works of fiction writers. All the same armed conflicts break out here and there, all the same crazy fanatics are willing to kill other people for the sake of the "great idea" ...

But for fans of computer games is one of the banner years. Just kidding: it was the time when three games appeared, which were destined to become great and give a start to a long-long series...

Crusader: No Remorse


  • Genre: Action
  • Developer: Origin Systems
  • Publisher: Origin Systems

Once again, it's the distant future. Mega-corporations World Economic Consortium rules the world, holding power with the help of elite soldiers called Silencers. Name very appropriate - dressed in blood-red armor fighters do not allow a squeak, destroying the rebels at the first sign of activity. But unfortunately for themselves, the corporation hasn't taken the time to clear their subordinates' minds, and at some point they begin to question whether what they're doing is right. Should they continue to follow orders and kill people in such large numbers?

Crusader: No Remorse Screenshot

Once again, company management makes the mistake of deciding to eliminate unreliable personnel. The combat robot sent by them easily copes with two "jammers", but the third man manages to survive and, having finally doubted the tolerance of his superiors, joins the Resistance forces. We can all imagine what a super-soldier betrayed by the superiors is capable of, this theme has been repeatedly played out in literature and movies.

For sixteen missions we do nothing but break through hordes of enemies to get to something very important, in order to steal or at least destroy it, and to annihilate the WEC. "Silencer" is not a superman - he can't stay under enemy fire for long. You have to constantly run, somersault, sneak, hide behind obstacles and intensely use the elements of the environment. Interactive objects on the level a dime a dozen - barrels, crates, even the walls can explode, causing damage to all in the vicinity. Turn the valve and the guard in the next room scalds with hot steam, activate the console and you get control of an armed robot in the midst of the enemies or just access the location of the enemy's video camera.

Crusader: No Remorse Screenshot

Mission on average runs for twenty minutes, and only after that you can afford to breathe, watch another video (with live actors, by the way!) and explore the range of local arms stores. Spill all the money on a pile of new guns - and go back into battle to the cheerful rhythms in the style of techno. And whether to pass all the accurately, pestering enemies around the corner with guided mines and looking for cunningly hidden cutscenes, or to dash through the level of a deadly hurricane, sparing neither guards nor civilians - it is up to the player.

What Happened Next: A year later, a second installment (though more like a full-blown expansion) with the subtitle No Regret was released, and that was the end of the series. Perhaps Doom and its many successors are to blame for this - in the era of three-dimensional action games there was no place for isometric projection.






Colonization


  • Genre: TBS
  • Developer: MicroProse
  • Publisher: MicroProse

It turns out that you don't have to be a leader of an ancient civilization and try to conquer the world to feel responsibility for your decisions. A humble colony in the New World is just as much trouble for its steward. Yes, we don't have to worry about the development of technology and worry about the result of elections at the World Congress. But we do need to worry about the supply of raw materials, the necessary specialists and diplomatic relations with other states. Not to mention the not so easy question of how to buy off the king with the least losses - the greedy man keeps raising and raising taxes, and we are still to live and live until the moment when our armed forces are enough to give him a decent resistance. Finally, this is a case where the sheriff cares a lot about Indian problems. Otherwise, they'll be furious that we're invading their sacred lands and digging up tombs in search of artifacts, and they'll run into our towns with our own rifles.

Colonization Screenshot

For all its external similarity to the classic "Civilization" Colonization is built on completely different mechanics. Having reduced the scale, Sid Meyer focused on the details. What resource to mine, when to start preparing for the revolution, whether to try to assimilate the indigenous population or burn all their settlements to the ground? The signing of the Declaration of Independence is a very responsible step, and you have to prepare for it beforehand, otherwise you won't find out later that there are not enough guns in the warehouse and the king sends such an armada to fight that you won't even see water in the ocean behind the ships!

Colonization Screenshot

What Happened Next: In 2008 a remake of the original Colonization appeared on the Civilization IV engine. Most of the changes were cosmetic, but still it gave the old fans a chance to indulge in nostalgia, and also introduced the new players who wouldn't play the original game due to outdated graphics.






Earthworm Jim


  • Genre: arcade
  • Developer: Shiny Entertainment
  • Publisher: Activision

Earthworm Jim can claim a place of honor in the contest of the craziest characters. He was an ordinary rain worm until one day a miracle suit with arms, legs, and lots of useful functions fell upon him from the depths of space. And the title of a hero of the galaxy Jim won himself, having made (mostly by accident) a few feats and getting faithful companions. For example, a puppy named Peter who has been possessed by an evil spirit. As a result, at the slightest stress Peter turns into a bloodthirsty monster and tears into pieces... Jim himself in front of his bewildered enemies. Or here's the insect princess How-To-The-Eye. Don't get the idea that the author is a sclerotic princess: that is her name, all right!

Earthworm Jim Screenshot

The characters are extremely charming - you can learn more about them in the animated series and comic book, but for now we are interested in the computer game based on them. It's a fairly straightforward arcade game steeped in Jim's trademark madness. The main character rushes to save his beloved, fighting off evil crows with his blaster, travels in a fragile bathyscaphe through tangled underwater mazes, accompanies Peter through an obstacle course on which he moves as on the lawn, hopping, risking to fall and awakening the evil spirit. There are rides on giant hamsters, a free fall with a rope tied to his belt, and even episodes without a spacesuit, when Jim is virtually defenseless and must only dodge enemy attacks.

It's only after overcoming all the obstacles that the heroic worm gets to the princess... Alas, only to see the girl get crushed by a cow that fell from the sky, the same one that we launched into the stratosphere in the first mission to clear the way.

Earthworm Jim Screenshot

What Happened Next: An even more absurd second part, featuring, among other things, swimming through a cow's stomach in a salamander costume and catching falling puppies on a trampoline to the famous Italian song Funiculi, Funicula. Then there was the three-dimensional third one, which was impossible to play because of the terrible camera and nightmarish graphics. And now there are rumors of a revival of the series roaming the web, but unfortunately without details yet.






The Need for Speed


  • Genre: racing arcade
  • Developer: Pioneer Productions
  • Publisher: Pioneer Productions

The fact that the Need for Speed racing series - the most famous in the world, can argue with the owners of consoles. The number of games in it has long ago exceeded ten, and not everyone is successful, the history of the series has fifteen years, and in the foreseeable future it does not seem to end.

And the secret to the success of the first installment, which is where it all began, is pretty simple - it was stunningly, incredibly beautiful. Great speeds, challenging routes, and dangerous opponents many races had to offer, but it was in Need for Speed that we got the most pleasure out of driving expensive, sparkling cars on lush, bright tracks. After this riot of colors other games seemed dull and pale, we were drawn again and again to drive along the sunny coast of the ocean and the piercing red desert somewhere in the central strip of America.

The Need for Speed Screenshot

However, the graphics would have been a pittance if the developers had missed in other aspects, but no. The cars reacted adequately to the controls, the opponents behaved reasonably well, the curves of the tracks made you sweat, twisting the virtual steering wheel, and the presence of network play (including the "split screen" mode) allowed you to share the joy with a friend.

For the most inquisitive, the game had a built-in encyclopedia of all the cars present in it. With photos, videos, comments and a list of characteristics, where, among other things, there was a point about the cost of the car in real life. It was not a trifle, but how much more pleasant to drive not an abstract car of an unknown manufacturer, but the real Ferrari 512TR, priced $217,000. Well, almost real...

The Need for Speed Screenshot

What Happened Next: Lots and lots of Need for Speed. The creators themselves have lost count by the fifth, but there are actually fifteen (not including Special Editions and trying to break through online). And given that the last installment turned out to be a rare success, the series will clearly continue to exist in the future.






The Dig


  • Genre: quest
  • Developer: LucasArts
  • Publisher: LucasArts

Once upon a time, a story was born in the bowels of LucasArts Studios. It revolved around a huge asteroid that was approaching Earth very quickly, threatening to collide with it and destroy all life. A team of astronauts on the shuttle was sent to meet the asteroid, to install a nuclear charge on it and use a powerful, directional explosion to change its trajectory to a safer one.

Note that the events described took place three years before the movie "Armageddon". In this case, the studio found the storyline weak and uninteresting. And suggested that it be slightly expanded.

The Dig Screenshot

Thus, in the remaining crater after the explosion there were strange mechanisms clearly of man-made origin. Careless handling of alien artifacts led to the fact that the asteroid transformed into a spaceship and took astronauts to an unknown planet.

It was once inhabited by intelligent beings with incredible technology. They were able to build bridges of pure light, command the movement of space bodies and even reanimate dead bodies through mysterious green crystals. But by the time the heroes arrived, all this was in the distant past - the planet was extinct, only numerous ruins testified to the former greatness of the alien race.

How could a civilization with the secret of immortality perish? What other mysteries lurk in the artifacts it left behind? And is it possible to return from here to Earth?

The Dig was perhaps the most atmospheric of all LucasArts quests. The dead planet was frightening and mesmerizing at the same time. Everything here was alien: the mechanisms, the architecture, the rare living creatures - it all had very little in common with the familiar, earthly. The abundance of cinematic scenes, fantastic scenery, and sad music further immersed one in this amazing and oppressive world.

The Dig Screenshot

What Happened Next: LucasArts continued to create some of the world's best quests, but never returned to the space theme. Maybe rightly so, The Dig was a thing in itself - a logically complete story that wouldn't accept a sequel.

While we were playing Need for Speed and The Dig...

  • Michael Schumacher won his second consecutive Formula One race championship.
  • A rocket launched in Norway to study the atmosphere was mistakenly identified by russia as a possible start of a nuclear attack.
  • There was a gas attack in the Tokyo subway organized by the Aum Shinrikyo religious sect. Twelve people died and more than five thousand were severely poisoned.





Command and Conquer


  • Genre: RTS
  • Developer: Westwood Studios
  • Publisher: Virgin Interactive Entertainment

It's scary to think about, but once upon a time not a single person on Earth knew who Kane was, what the Brotherhood of NOD did, what Tiberius was, or why it needed to be collected. And when you realize that a full fifteen years have passed since Westwood told players about this, it gets even scarier - because these simple things seem to be common knowledge and timeless.

Command and Conquer Screenshot

C&C was not the founder of the genre, as Dune 2 by the same developers and Warcraft had already come before it. But Dune was still primarily a "book game." And Command and Conquer was telling a completely new story, and it didn't happen somewhere in space, and not in some strange world inhabited by orcs and elves. It was our home planet, but only in the distant, distant future - and it was not the best future for it. The strategy genre suggests conflict, confrontation - and here it was implemented in full. Two sides: the Brotherhood and the supranational organization "Global Defense Project" fought against each other. There was a third party in this conflict - the unknown tiberium, a strange alien half-mineral half-plant, which spread after the meteorite fall. It seemed to be useful - after all, all production in the game was tied to the collection of green bushes. But the newcomer was just doomed to not understand why his trained infantry didn't get to their destination - and only then did he realize that "humans don't walk on green. The treacherous tiberium instantly "ate" the soldier who stepped on it.

Command and Conquer Screenshot

Still, the main striking force of armies in C&C has always been tanks. And very often the one with the most tanks won. You gathered your equipment into a fist - and slammed it into an enemy base! Micro-control? What's that? We need tanks, lots of tanks! Especially since this game finally introduced the ability to select "rubber-band" as many troops as you want and send them all with a click of a mouse button.

What Happened Next: The series began to grow and branch out - there was the "alternate-historical" Red Alert, and much later, "closer to reality" Command & Conquer: Generals and tried to move away from the strategy to first-person action game Renegade. But players have always been particularly thrilled to see a new installment of "that" C&C - about GDI and NOD. And so it went on, until the "epilogue" happened to the series...






Xixit


  • Genre: logic game
  • Developer: Optik Software
  • Publisher: Optik Software

Tetris. And before the eyes immediately appears a familiar picture from early childhood: the "glass" in which a variety of squiggles fall. They must be put together so as to obtain horizontal lines. Simple, straightforward, and pretty damn addictive.

Since the puzzle has existed, many times it has been tried to be reworked, varied, added to. Most of these attempts were not entirely unsuccessful... But they could play for a day or two, nodded, "Yes, it's interesting to think of it," and then returned to the familiar and familiar squiggles. There is no need to complicate anything in Tetris. Neither new figures, nor looking at the "glass" from above, not from the side, as always, nor the third dimension - he does not need anything. The puzzle is already complicated enough.

Xixit Screenshot

And if, on the contrary, we simplify it? "What's there to simplify?" - is a logical question, but the creators of Xixit have found an answer by changing a few game principles along the way. First of all, the only remaining pieces are the vertical "sticks", which, moreover, can no longer be rotated. But in Xixit, it's no longer enough to simply sketch the pieces as long as there's no empty space between them; each one is made up of colored blocks that must be assembled into lines of the same color. Yes, yes, this is the match-3, which is already familiar from games like Zuma, Bejeweled and hundreds of "variations on the theme".

Another innovation - the ability to play in pairs. A "glass" per player, divide the keyboard - here your buttons, then mine - and action! Who is who? The number in the column "level" increases, the speed increases... Who will last the longest? Dirty tricks, such as pushing your opponent and pulling the keyboard out from under his hands, are forbidden or allowed by agreement. But finally you can prove that you're not lying when you boast that you made it to level 20!

Xixit Screenshot

What Happened Next: As time goes on, Tetris and all its variations don't give up. Now they have almost abandoned the "serious" gaming systems, but feel great on all kinds of mobile devices. There are among them, and programs that resemble the good old Xixit. And if you remember his "relative" on the line of "Collect Three in a Row", then there and all too fine and great - similar games a year appear well over a hundred.






X-Com 2: Terror From The Deep


  • Genre: TBS
  • Developer: MicroProse Software, Inc.
  • Publisher: MicroProse Software, Inc.

...After years of incessant terror, peace finally prevails on Earth. Through the efforts of a small team of professionals known as "X-Com", the evil aliens have been defeated. The first interplanetary military expedition ended in complete human victory - and its participants returned home as heroes.

But if only it were that easy... The game about the fight against the alien threat was successful, and there was no way to continue. We had to quickly and quickly come up with a story about an alien spaceship that "hid" under the sea, to deck it out with Lovecraftian trinkets, to give the Xcomians submarines instead of fighter planes and harpoon guns instead of laser rifles.

X-Com 2: Terror From The Deep Screenshot

Outwardly, not much has changed. Still the small squad was catching hostile aliens, still dragging everything they could carry from the battlefield to the base, to the scientists. Weapon samples were studied, alien bodies were dissected, sensational discoveries were made, "ufopedia" was full of articles...

But the specter of the first installment hovered invisibly over it all, posing questions that couldn't be answered. Where are the veterans of the "first interplanetary"? Where had all the research and inventions of those years gone? And why do today's aliens use some incomprehensible "zrbit" instead of the usual alien mineral "aleria"? And in the end, why for the first flight to defend the glorious city of Vladivostok from the aliens we had to drag with us the very harpoon guns? Well, are they really that much superior to laser rifles or even simple automatic weapons on land?

And when it came to clearing the alien contagion from captured tankers... Here sometimes the most seasoned players lose their nerve: the ship is not just big, it's huge. And to find in the labyrinth of cabins and corridors, the place where the last alien was hidden, it was absolutely impossible. It was necessary to comb the entire deck, sometimes several times, because the cunning alien did not sit still. And so the last enemy is found, and the mission is accomplished ... No way! That was only the first deck. And now you'll have to clean up the second deck in exactly the same way...

X-Com 2: Terror From The Deep Screenshot

What Happened Next: Next was anything but a normal continuation of the series. In the third part, the developers abandoned turn-based fighting in favor of fashionable "real time. And then it was off and running! Action movies, simulators... The "X-Com" brand was stuck on literally everything. And people still continued to play the very first part.






Heroes of Might and Magic


  • Genre: TBS
  • Developer: New World Computing, Inc.
  • Publisher: New World Computing, Inc.

If we give out prizes for games in the "sleepless nights generator" category, the Heroes of Might and Magic series is likely to receive awards for the first three places, and then also the grand prize in the team competition. Sat down to play "for half an hour," and got up from the computer the very next morning. Yes, yes, a classic of computer addiction. The process of moving the heroes around the map, collecting all sorts of chests and items, capturing mines and battles with neutral monsters is not just drawn out - it is completely absorbed, leaving no time for anything else.

Heroes of Might and Magic Screenshot

That said, HoMM is one of the few games of those years that could boast a normal online mode. And the fact that you could play on the same computer, taking turns making moves, was its undeniable plus. And it did not matter that others could see how the player was building his kingdom and what army he had. When the one whose turn it was now, got into battle, those waiting their turn began to help him wholeheartedly with hints and advice. After all, advice - it's almost as interesting as playing, but also much safer!

In single-player mode, HoMM could also be entertaining for a while, but it was the most typical "not that." Practice before the big fights - nothing more. Although it was good for figuring out who, how and against whom to fight. And to understand that dragons are innately immune to all sorts of magic. You might even be embarrassed later, thinking a superpowered spell could kill a lone lizard.

Heroes of Might and Magic Screenshot

What Happened Next: Next came the equally popular second and third parts. Then, after the controversial fourth and the bankruptcy of the development company, it seemed that "Heroes" was over. But this was not the case: thanks to the efforts of Nival, HoMM V and several additions to them were born. And the sixth part of the series is already in the plans...






Ascendancy


  • Genre: global strategy (space)
  • Developer: The Logic Factory, Inc.
  • Publisher: The Logic Factory, Inc.

Master of Orion, which appeared two years earlier, clearly defined the appearance of global space strategy: a map of the galaxy on which spaceships belonging to different kinds of intelligent beings move between the stars. And humanity is traditionally strong in diplomacy and trade... Wait. Wait, why exactly should humans have any advantage in negotiating? And for that matter, why should there necessarily be humans in space?

Ascendancy Screenshot

There are no people in Ascendancy. I mean, absolutely. There are a lot of different unusual creatures, with their own advantages and disadvantages, but humanity is absent as a species. But there is a place for creatures who have only eyesight among all the senses - but such that they are called "living telescopes". And huge intelligent single-celled organisms which reproduce like... like single-celled organisms, by division and very quickly. And these special properties of each of the organisms can make a big difference in the style of play for each species. For example, the same "living telescopes" know the location of all interstellar paths from the beginning - and travel between systems is only possible with these linking lines.

Colony building itself is also different from what it was in Master of Orion. Here the colonized planet is divided into separate squares, each of which can be occupied by a single "module": a factory, a hydroponic farm, a research center, or a missile defense system, for example. And each square can give advantages to some type of building - in one it is better to build laboratories, and in the other it is desirable to erect an industrial zone. Considering that you can only build on those squares that are adjacent to already completed buildings, the process of creating the most effective colony becomes unhurried and thoughtful.

Ascendancy Screenshot

And what a "technology tree" this is! Not only is it huge, it's also branchy and intricate... What your scientists discover is one thing. And then to the main "trunk" are joined unique technologies stolen from neighbors or obtained from the excavations of the ruins of ancient civilizations, and each - a new building for the colonies or a new module for ships of your empire. So there's no overplaying the game!

What Happened Next: In 2006, a sequel was announced. It should come after The Logic Factory finishes working on the Seeker game - but so far we haven't seen much progress in that direction, alas.


While we played Command & Conquer, X-Com, Ascendancy...

  • Iraq officially admits for the first time that it was developing biological weapons.
  • The most distant galaxy from us is discovered. It is more than fifteen million light years away.
  • A planet orbiting a star of the same type as our Sun was discovered in the constellation Pegasus.