I play a lot of games. I’m in the process of preparing for my trip to MEPAcon as I write this. When other people aren’t around, however, and I don’t have the spare gas and snack money to hang out with other people, and my desire to play tabletop games goes unfulfilled for other reasons, I hit up the video games. This is a habit I’ve had for many years, and in that time some of the games I’ve really enjoyed have faded into the background, or disappeared entirely. Two in particular stick out in my mind, and they both involve spacecraft shooting at aliens and monsters.
One is the shoot-em-up. Space Invaders and Asteroids are arcade games as old as I am and pretty much set the standard for “here’s your ship, shoot what comes at you” games. Galaxian, 1942, Gradius, the list goes on. My favorites were always one lone ship against an alien horde and their staggeringly huge motherships. I hear the genre has a bit of niche appeal now but is being overshadowed by the ever-expanding scope and budgets of AAA games. Still, it might be a good starting point for someone looking to get into game design.
The other is the space sim. A lot of time when I was young got devoured by Wing Command and TIE Fighter. The knowledge that I’d die long before we got into the sort of universe we see in Wing Commander or Mass Effect was apparently already with me, as slipping into the persona of a daring space pilot in the cockpit of a starfighter was pretty much my favorite form of digital escapism. Even when later Wing Commander sequels gave the protagonist a face and a name, I was on board for the experience, because that face belonged to Mark Hamill. I mean, back when I was a lad and Star Wars hadn’t been pissed on by Lucas, being a more seasoned Luke Skywalker was the next best thing to self-insertion.
What are genres of video games that you miss?