Saturday, April 26, 2008

The greatest video game in the world

Couple of things; Look up there. No, not that high. A little bit lower. Lower still. Thats it.. look! A funky new Myxomatoasties logo. Thats brightened up both your page and your life a little, hasn't it?

Some new blogs linked over to the right that are a cracking read. My good friend Paul (Many of you may know him as rhcpaul on the website b3ta and lament the passing of his famed 'link of the day') is writing the blog 'Plinx' which I strongly recommend. The gentleman of the worldly wide web Robin Johnson also has a blog that is a fine read, and finally Sexy Videogame Land is a cracking videogame journalism blog. It of courses goes without saying that every blog linked to on this page is both entertaining and life-enriching. If you go without clicking on any of them, you're a poorer man/woman for it.

Right, the point of the day. Videogames. I LOVE videogames and am actually giddy with excitement over the impending release of Grand Theft Auto IV. I'm a little annoyed that I didn't pre-book it in time so have had to order the special edition of it to be able to play it on release date, but that's purely down to my own lack of pre-planning. I'm sure a GTA bag and safety deposit box (!) will bome in handy somewhere down the line. It had BETTER arrive on release date, at any rate. I have to get my daily kill of running over hookers, drive-bys and drug deals and if I can't do it in GTA IV I'll end up doing it for real and Amazon will be to blame - (Or at least that is what the Daily Mail Editorial will say).

To celebrate the bleep bloop bing majesty that is the world of videogaming, I'm going to force my opinion on you on what I judge to be the greatest games of all time over the next week. Just imagine that its like one of those channel 4 talking head "best of" shows albeit with considerably less Stuart Maconie and Rick "Get an adult haircut" sky.

I'll set the ball rolling with the best of them all. "The best videogame of all time?", I hear you cry in your masses (or, judging by the dearth of commentds that this blog ever seems to get, your ones and twos at any rate), "That is certainly a bold claim to make and a very audacious statement. I'm astonished that you can state such a thing."

The best videogame of all time took place on one low resolution screen, had crudely animated single colour characters (the animation consisted of two frames at most, I seem to recall) and is the single most fun game I've ever had the joy of planning.

I speak of the Spectrum classic "Chaos: Battle of Wizards". As a teen there was a neat gap on a Tuesday afternoon between sixth form and attending a local college to do RSA typing classes - This time saw me and my friend Jon going to my house and playing Chaos for hours. This happened every single Tuesday. For a year.

I had a PDA a few years back, and the first thing I did was seek out a decent spectrum emulator so I could play it again. It was also the first thing I did with my current mobile phone.

For those of you who don't know about it (of which I suspect that there are many - it wasn't a great seller and I haven't met any people who've played it), it is a simple turn based strategy game. Between 2 and 8 wizards (which can be any combination of human or computer players) battle for supremacy over a single screen. A random selection of spells are dished out at the start of the game ranging from fireballs to the ability to conjure up creatures to assist your wizard. Players take it in turns to use their spells in either an offensive or a defensive capacity until only one wizard remains. The state of play can change in an instant; an unlucky player can find himself taken out on the first turn, and even a dismal initial draw of spells can be used to turn the game around.

There are plenty of decent emulators out there and even some decent online java versions to play - The game seems to have a decent underground following on the web, and it's good to see many loved the game as much as I did.

If you decide to play it, have fun. The web has all manner of instructions and strategy guides for it. If you like it, remember the halcyon days of gaming when we didn't need huge cinematic cut-scenes and film budgets to make playable computer games. If you don't like it, you're wrong.

..and finally, using the wikipedia reference above I've just found an excellent remake of Chaos for the PC - completely authentic but a lot easier to understand and play - It's called ChaosFunk.

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