September, 2003 Edition
by Ms. Duh
Everybody is waiting for a G5. Of course, everybody is always waiting for the new Mac.
And, ever since Apple has been coming to my house every morning to mix a pound and a half of Black Tar Heroin in my Cheerios whilst putting me under hypnosis and implanting post hypnotic suggestions about life being worthless without buying new hardware, I eagerly await every new machine.
But just because I feel the hunger deep, deep within my quivering loins when there's even a rumor of shiny new machines that I will buy - and in most cases, sell within the year - doesn't mean I don't love my old Mac. It's the old Mac I still have OS 9 on, and the Mac I still have the original Marathon game on, and the Mac that still chugs along with Netscape 2.1 and Photoshop 3 as it has for this past DECADE.
Now, I do have just about all the old MacAddict CDs I can get my hands on, and possess a plethora of pre-Panther games (I would have said OS X, but alliteration is my life) and applications which I can still run. Why do I even have a machine that runs software from the Stone Age, when you had to bang two rocks together to make fire? Because I have that part of me that remembers fondly, if not inaccurately, the good old days. The green of the old Netscape sends me into geezer mode and I start babbling about the days when 24mb of ram was unheard of and I surfed the Internet with a Macintosh Centris 610 with a 500mb hard drive.
Remember the desktop accessory where you could change the desktop background by drawing with a little electronic pencil on a little grid of pixels? When I made a checkerboard pattern with it at work one day, I floored all my coworkers. I had a stockpile of games on floppy that made all the folks around me drool. I paid $30 for games that now people email to me. Ah, these kids today... they just don't know... EGADS. Save me before I start comparing and contrasting the composing nuances of the pre-bathroom busted George Michael to the post 5 o'clock shadow one. I collect all the old, old, old games. I've had people email me all the ancient text based adventure strategy games from Infocom. With titles like Zork, Leather Goddess of Phobos, and Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It, how could one not love these games? Especially Leather Goddess. It gave me such a visceral thrill to put the game in 'Lewd' mode, and type in dirty words.
I didn't always care to look back on the path of computer history. I had thrown off the floppy, pooh-poohed the beiges, and had my eye on the prize, always aiming for that next Macintosh.
Then, I got a wild hair about playing Marathon -- an old game I had gotten a long time ago with an old Mac purchase. But I couldn't find it anywhere. Or at least, I didn't look hard enough, most probably. So the search for this antiquated shootem-up game with graphics akin to the old Atari cartridge games started me on a compulsion that usually leads me down a path to a destination where only the truly obsessive end up. I started to collect old games. I started begging for old games, or old MacAddict CDs for old apps. I had the notion of setting up an old machine with all these games and apps, not for any useful purpose, but to waste a good portion of my life and energy for the proud privilege of saying, "Lookie what I did" to about 6 people in the world who would even give a crap about such things.
And when I get a wild hair, you betcha its like putting Rogaine on a Wookie... there's just no way of stopping it.
Like when I discovered you could get free samples of Raisin Bran online.
In the process of hunting down the site to get my free cereal, I signed up to have about 400 free samples sent to me. Eleven straight hours in front of the computer, signing up for free samples of everything under the sun from a piece of fatique matting to catalogs from the Amish, to free organic dog food that caused my mutt to poo green lumps of undigested kelp.
For weeks, I had packages of jellybeans and water purifiers, brochures on investing, free samples of imposter perfumes (which burned like acid when applied to skin), temporary heating pads, a dinosaur toy catalog and coupons for breast enhancement surgery.
But, I digress -- back to the wild hair that I should have plucked out of my head and gone on with life. Most people would have done that. But I am not most people. I'm not even some people.
I ended up spending a couple months playing all sorts of old games, especially if they had the word 'Monkey' in the title. I like monkeys. You could probably slap a sticker saying "Burning Monkey Mobile" on the bumper of a 1978 Gremlin and I would dig it.
One of the games I found that I still play today is Snood. Good God almighty, if you value your life and sanity, do NOT play this game. It's some sort of evil, evil plot to suck all productivity out of society. It's like a Rubiks Cube, but with more shelf life. I played it then, I play it now, sometimes I play it and I don't even want to be playing it.
Another one I played, and actually introduced into the bloodstream of all my co-workers at the Graphic Design Service Bureau I toiled at, was SWOOP. I loved that game. At one point, everyone in the shop was playing it, when the big boss came in. Needless to say, joy and mirth did not fill me that morning.
I went through HUNDREDS of games. Hexen, Obsidian, Pro Pinball, Skull Cracker, Decent, Bonkheads, and many others.
My absolute favorite line of games is the MYST series. Myst was a HyperCard based puzzle/adventure game that had nothing in it that wanted to kill you. That, in itself appealed to me, because the worse thing in the world I would want to do on the computer is get killed. The graphics were astonishing (at the time) and it was a game that had lush back-story and atmosphere. It took a good long time to play, and I couldn't do it without a hint book. RealMYST came out a couple years ago, which made Myst even more amazing than it was when it came out. Although the navigation through the new version is by mouse, and is extremely sensitive, the whole 3-D effect of the new setup is like being in an Unreal Tournament world. It gets some getting use to, as moving the mouse in a herky-jerky way will send you reeling through the environment, and probably get you seasick.
Here's some other stuff I plowed through:
AMBER-Journeys Beyond: Demo - Ok. This was just freaking creepy. It's about helping ghosts and traipsing around a haunted house and, well, it creeped me out so much that I quit playing it after a while. It has a Myst-like feel to it, so when I fired it up, I just started be-bopping around, looking at stuff. I took a pyramid paperweight off the desk, which when upturned gives messages like the ones from a Magic 8-Ball: "In All Likelihood, Yes" and "Definitely Not." Well, I sat there clicking on it for a while, reading all the messages, when one came up saying, "Help Me." The creep-out factor rose considerably after that. Not a good game to play by yourself in the dark. Probably not as bad as "Resident Evil" or "Silent Hill," but it relies a bit more on the psychological freak-out. Plus, I'm the type that freaks out at the drop of the cyber hat.
Aspyr's Mah Jong Parlour - I didn't know how to play, so I just sat there as the thingies with the funny pictures were being passed around, and clicked on the buttons "Chow" and "Kong" and "Poong" repeatedly. Then I went and got a snack.
Wheels - a game specifically designed to be easy to operate, and geared to those physically challenged. This is my favorite first person.. uh.. I guess you could call it a shootem-up. You run around the environment collecting pies, and chucking them at clowns. Really creepy clowns. Sort of like Unreal Tournament goes to the Circus.
Fansoft's MonkeyShines - Oh my God, how fun. Any game where I'm a hung-over monkey in a haunted house is all right by me.
Soleau Games - These were my favorite: Runes, Rollem, Flaps, etc. They're simple in format and deal with strategy and thinking (and usually, strategic thinking isn't my strongest area). Luckily, my obsessive/compulsive disorder took over, and I kept playing with the hope that I would ultimately win so I could quit. 'Never happened, though. I'm now trying to figure out how I can come up with the scratch to pay the shareware fees so I can get to the damn solutions to the ding-dang puzzles and keep the few marbles that I have left.
The Sims - Barely can get this to run on a beige without tons of ram and goat sacrifices. The best part of the game is the building of the houses. I often just build the houses, and then kill off my Sims by walling them up in a room, or not letting them go to the bathroom. But I hear if you play the game right, at some point, interesting things happen to your Sims, like they get abducted by aliens or burglars come steal all your stuff.
Crop Circles - The graphics on this are really pretty good for an old game. I started the game out as this little alien in my own little alien spaceship resembling flying Pacer, and I would land on crop circles in the fields, sucking up cows for fuel, and avoiding the farmers with the shotguns. But beware; if you suck up a cow with mad-cow disease, the cow fights back. Other things happen, but I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone who may want to play it.
The one game I am still searching for is Evolution. It came on a floppy and was a strategy game where you rammed animals together until they "evolved" into a higher form of life. I really want this but, even with the resource of the Internet, I still can't find it.
I've been looking for this ever since 1998.
Yep. My wild hair is about the size of a Sequoia now.