When we think about the 30 games that defined the line of computers from Commodore in the ’80s and ’90s, we want to dust off our floppy discs and look back.
1. The Secret of Monkey Island
Adventure games were around before The Secret of Monkey Island, but only when Guybrush Threepwood set sail on home computers did they start to become more well known.
In LucasArts’ swashbuckling masterpiece, point-and-click games came to the forefront. It gave us a hero we could root for and a story that could rival any tale from literature or film, not to mention insult sword fighting.
Lemming: The green-haired worker who worked hard but didn’t pay attention to what was going on around him would be the Amiga’s mascot.
Psygnosis’ classic puzzle game, despite its cute looks and simple, chirpy music, was hard and dark. Lemmings often died in horrible ways, like falling from a great height and slamming into the ground, or being crushed by a trap that springs from the ceiling, and the game was hard and dark.
3. Rainbow Islands
Rainbow Islands was a very different game from Bubble Bobble. It was a masterpiece of beauty, design, and sheer playability.
A rainbow is both a weapon and a bridge for Bubby/Bobby, who only has them. Start at the bottom, work their way up, and defeat the boss. They fight enemies and collect diamonds as they go. Rinse and repeat as things get more difficult each time you play. It’s almost too simple to be true, but the cleverness and ingenuity of Rainbow Islands is hidden by its simplicity.
The players were interplanetary traders who had an interesting choice to make. They could play it safe for lower returns, like trading agricultural goods on risk-free journeys, or they could risk more and get more money right away by stealing slaves and contraband from sinister alien territories that often led to death.
Knowing the difference between a Viper Mk II, an Anaconda, and a Fer-de-Lance was important because each ship had a very different threat. Skilled piloting, business sense, and a ruthless trigger finger were all needed if you wanted to rise through the ranks to “Elite.” The closest we’d ever come to being Han Solo was when we did what we did.
You can play two games at the same time in Sensible Software’s Wizball 2 game. This part of the game is where you play as Wizkid’s disembodied head. With the help of the red nose power up and/or a pair of teeth, you can bounce and grab blocks to thwack your enemies.
In this game, you have to think very broadly to get to the end. You get bonus music notes if you do this. It’s part arcade-platform, part puzzle-adventure, part kitten-chase, part knob-gags, and a little bit of everything else. It’s all wonderful.
6. Sensible Soccer
There were no cutting-edge 3D graphics or realistic sound effects in Sensible Soccer, which shows that you don’t need these things to make a good football game. I think it was the most simple thing I’ve ever seen, and that was its greatest strength.
People learn the basics quickly; it could take a lifetime to master the game. Sensible Software made the game live up to its name like never before. Jumpers were used to make goalposts in this kind of game.
7. Cannon Fodder
This is what happened in Cannon Fodder, a game made by Sensible Software. They took the tiny, pixelated characters from their popular soccer game, put them in helmets and tanks, and sent them into enemy territory to be slaughtered mercilessly, as shown in the game’s title screen.
The controls were easy to learn, and you could divide your platoon into pincer movements with a mouse click. The haunting sight of your named soldiers not just joining the death toll but having their tombstones appear in front of you (even X-COM isn’t that dark) was simple but brilliant.
8. Alcatraz (1992)
Alcatraz comes out four years before Michael Bay’s movie The Rock. Miguel Tardiez, the head of a drug cartel, takes over the old prison. As a commando, you must break into Alcatraz on your own. Sean Connery can’t help you.
People play a lot of sub-games that are all good in their own way. A horizontally scrolling exterior section allows both action and stealth approaches. There are many places to hide in the shadows. There’s also a rope-climbing section with searchlights and a section where you can see from your own point of view, too.
9. Conqueror (1990)
Zarch, a game by David Braben, was given to the Amiga by the Acorn Archimedes. The Amiga also got a tank game called Conqueror that used the same game engine.
Virus is set in the future, when humans and aliens are fighting each other. Conqueror takes place during World War II and has vehicles from the U.S., Russia, and Germany. You know that when you play World of Tanks, it’s fun to drive a tank around and shoot at other tanks.
There is a strategy mode and a more simple arcade mode. You have to get used to controlling the tank. It has four buttons that move the tracks forward and backward, and another four that move the turret up and down.
10. The Gold of the Aztecs (1990)
This adventure is so hard that Indiana Jones would have to stop and go back to school. There is an elephant that runs over a person who jumped into the jungle. There are many ways to die after that: snakes, dangerous plants, and tribesmen who fight.
Even if you don’t enjoy the challenge or want to get farther than your friends, it’s worth it to keep going. There is a giant octopus living in the depths of the Aztecs’ gold. One of the best parts of the game is when a scary monster chases the player through a dark cave.
A tool called Animator helped make The Gold of the Aztecs look good. It was used on a Mac that was connected to an Amiga. The game is very ambitious, but it’s hard to control.
11. Birds of Prey (1991)
This flight simulator from Electronic Arts has too many planes. Flight simulators for the Amiga usually focus on just one or two planes, but Birds of Prey has more than 40 planes. These include the X-15 rocket plane, the B-52 Stratofortress, the F-117 Nighthawk, the Hercules, and the Jumbo Jet.
In addition to air interception and ground attack, the list of mission types includes long-range bombing and bomber escorts, as well as close support and ground attack and border and sea patrols. The list also includes stealth bombing and stealth reconnaissance as well as test pilot operations.
They made a game called Birds of Prey. Argonaut was also known for making 3D Starglider games. Later, they made Star Fox for Nintendo.