Know Your Gaming Roots

thiosk

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Sep 18, 2008
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This is like the third article I've read on the escapist today that involved some mention of kids getting of lawns.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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Sir John the Net Knight said:
It's sad how few people can recall a lot of these old hat names. Or can even see Activision as anything more than Bobby Kotick's satanic institution that constantly screws the industry.

Activision did some damn good games back in '84.
 

Andronicus

Terror Australis
Mar 25, 2009
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If only my history teacher in high school was as awesome as Shamus...

I demand more history lectures!!
 

RandV80

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Oct 1, 2009
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Yah I still remember EA back in the 16-bit days being an outstanding developer that always put a little extra detail into their games. I'm guessing they must have gotten rich off their sports franchises and turned evil from there.

For the missing companies, Interplay is definately #1 for me. Not just for the RPG's, they made other quality titles like Die by the Sword and Carmageddon. It always bugs me to see how big a franchise Grand Theft Auto has become while Carmageddon remains forgotton. I don't want to be some stupid thug or gangsta, just give me an overpowered car and let me at that over the top carnage on those big open ended maps!
 

EmeraldGreen

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Mar 19, 2009
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Fensfield said:
What of Maxis? All those simulators they churned out over the years.. I still love SIM Tower to bits (A-Train, too, but that was a license, and a franchise still going strong in Japan. 'Wish someone else would hurry up and license A-Train 4 and all >.>;)
Actually, SimTower wasn't a Maxis original either. It was developed by another company and later published by Maxis.

Irridium said:
I still play Pitfall from time to time...
Me too. It's amazing how well it still stands up, but Activision was making a lot of great games then. (Let's draw a veil over the fiasco that was Barnstorming.) It's sad to think that both Activision and Electronic Arts were founded specifically to not be evil, and now...
 

Worgen

Follower of the Glorious Sun Butt.
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Apr 1, 2009
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Whatever, just wash your hands.
where is sierra? where is... toys for bob... oh well it looks like they are technicly still around but its been along time since they made starcontrol 2
 

RonHiler

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Infocom.

You are about to be eaten by a grue.

I mean, comeon! How can you have a history of game companies without mentioning the inventers of the grue? :)
 

beema

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Aug 19, 2009
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Man, Looking Glass and Westwood were solid gold. I loved so many of their games and still play some today.
Really interesting about Activision.
I can't believe I'm so old that Westwood is ancient history!
 

mjc0961

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Nov 30, 2009
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God dammit you said Microprose. Now I have to re-install RollerCoaster Tycoon. Thanks a lot Shamus. :p

Also, RIP Westwood. I miss you guys. I might have to re-install Red Alert 2 as well.
 

Wuvlycuddles

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Oct 29, 2009
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Veterinari said:
I miss Bullfrog so much. Great article, made me all nostalgic.
Totally dude, oh the hours i pissed away on Syndicate and Theme Park, i thought it couldn't get any better then Dungeon Keeper came out, which is still one of the greatest games i have ever played......

Maybe i should start pestering Mr. Molyneux to make a DK3.
 

Count_ZeroOR

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vxicepickxv said:
Count_ZeroOR said:
Well, TSR was never really a PC or Console game developer. Instead other companies licensed their work, like SSI, Interplay, and Capcom. Now, RPG publisher FASA did build their own Game development studio, FASA Interactive, which was later absorbed by Microsoft.
FASA Interactive, after being bought by Microsoft was named FASA studios, originally was a subsidiary of FASA Corporation. All of FASA Corporation's Shadowrun games that made it to the US were done by different companies. Beam Software/Data East for the SNES version and BlueSky Software/Sega for the Genesis.

FASA went out of business, and the rights for Shadowrun were bought up by Wizkids, who licensed the game for production through FanPro(Germans love it so much they have more material than everyone else), then through Catalyst Game Labs.
Now that bit I do know - my main confusion was on the state of the video game rights for the various former FASA properties - Earthdawn, Shadowrun, Battletech, etc.
 

Falseprophet

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Jan 13, 2009
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What, no love for Troika?

All kidding aside, thanks for the look back.

Sgt Pepper said:
I remember Microprose more for their sim games in the 80s - F15 I think it was and that stealth bomber one. I also remember they did a game where you were a US ranger.
Microprose basically introduced me to home computer gaming, since their flight sims for the Commodore 64 were the first games I ever owned. I believe it was a three-game bundle of Hellcat Ace, Mig Alley Ace and Air Rescue.

Blind Sight said:
EA's got a similar history to Activision, they were the guys in the past claiming to be 'video game artists'. Bob Dylan's 'the times they are a changin' seems to be the video game industry's theme song.
The_root_of_all_evil said:

Activision did some damn good games back in '84.
Two of my favourite Commodore 64 games of 1984 were H.E.R.O. and an early EA sci-fi combat flight sim called Skyfox. Activision also introduced me to console gaming, as Pitfall II was the first Atari 2600 game I remember. It's hard to believe those two generally fringe studios became such potent (and frequently evil) pillars of the industry.
 

Retardinator

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Shamus Young said:
What made them important: Before Activision was a multi-billion dollar publisher it was actually a feisty little indie company. Strange, I know. Back in the 1970s, a number of programmers became upset with Atari. They made games for the Atari 2600, but didn't get any credit or receive any additional compensation if they produced a blockbuster. Like the movie stars of just a few decades before, they became aware that they were worth many times what they were being paid. They realized this, and their employers didn't. In these situations, things rarely go well for the employer.

These programmers jumped ship...
Oh, my! What a strange twist of fate this seems like now.
 

Playbahnosh

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Dec 12, 2007
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Hey! What about Maxis? Or Sierra? Bullfrog? You left out a bunch of huge developers with iconic games. Really Shamus, if you are going to play Obi-Wan Kenobi at least try a little, because you just came off as an old man wanting to look smart. Doesn't become you...
 

Kimarous

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Sep 23, 2009
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Does nobody else remember Sierra? They hold some of my deepest, fondest memories... ;_;
 

Agiel7

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Sep 5, 2008
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*shakes head in disappointment, along with "tsk, tsk" Shamus, you've seem to have forgotten the OTHER thing Microprose is known for, COMBAT SIMS.

Sure the genre has been displaced by FPSes today, but 10-20 years ago, they were the "it" thing. They had a cover on practically every other issue of Computer Gaming World, with stuff like F-19 Stealth Fighter and Silent Hunter under their belts. And who can forget Falcon 4.0 with that magnificent 600 page manual bound in a binder?