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My 1980s Gaming: '84-'85

On 09/20/2019 at 08:59 PM by KnightDriver

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I strangely didn’t notice the release of the NES in ’85. Instead, I had access to an Apple computer and went to the arcades.

An Apple IIc appeared in my house in ’84, and I played Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord. I used to play it after my verger duties at a local church on Sundays. In Wizardry you had to draw your own maps on graph paper. You goal, with a team of six medieval fantasy characters, was to beat the monsters in the dungeon and get to wizard Werdna on level 10. You moved step by step through a wire-frame environment until a random encounter put you in a battle screen that pictured your enemies. You fought in turn-based combat. It was not easy. One too many encounters could easily get you a party wipe. Your characters would be lost in the dungeon and you’d have to roll new ones to take over or rescue the bodies for revival at the temple. I was very into it. I played the next two sequels as well, but I only beat the first game. I’ve replayed it on NES several times.

The music in the game is burned into my memory for all time. 

In the arcades my friend Mark and I played a lot of Hat Trick. It was a one-on-one hockey game.  Another friend, the one whom I played Dragon’s Lair with, played Marble Madness with me. We’d challenge each other to see how far we could get. You used a trackball to manipulate a marble through a labyrinth of tracks full of enemies. It required some skill to master, which is why we were into it. 

Scifi soundtrack to this game. It creates an interesting atmosphere. 

 In the arcades of 1985, it was all about Gauntlet. It was my first action RPG and maybe my first co-op gaming experience. The cabinet could handle four players at once. “Your wizard needs food” is a line from the game I still use to this day. Not many games back then had voices in them. Oh, how far we’ve come.



Cary Woodham

09/21/2019 at 09:24 AM

I had an Apple II PC as well as a kid back then!  It was our first home computer and my first 'game console' as well.  

I LOVED Marble Madness!  I even had the NES version.

I also liked Gauntlet, but I didn't play it as much in arcades because usually the bigger kids hogged it.


09/21/2019 at 07:00 PM

I had some trouble the the NES version of Marble Madness. It needed that trackball. 

I've been interested in the Koroinpa series for Wii. I still haven't tried it though. 

Cary Woodham

09/22/2019 at 09:01 AM

Yeah the controls were not as good on the NES version, but otherwise it was a pretty good port.  Did you know Rare programmed the NES version?  It's just a testament to how much I liked Marble Madness if I had the NES version.

I reviewed both Koronipa games on the Wii.  Hudson made those games, may they rest in peace.


09/22/2019 at 08:43 PM

Maybe I still have the game over at my friend's place. I'm going to have to check now. I would love to have that in the box and maybe frame it. I think I just had the loose cart though. 

I saw one of the Koronipa games at my local Gamestop for cheap. I ought to go and get it. 

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