domingo, 31 de maio de 2015

Celebrating 30 Years of the Amiga: My Top 26 Games - It's a Pixel THING - Ep.#52

July of 1985 was when it all began for the Amiga family of computers. It was so ahead of its time that everyone seemed to have a problem to categorize it, even Commodore!
Its 4096 colors, 8-bit stereo sound, multi-tasking capabilities and an attractive starting price were features that could take the Amiga to the very top and simply crush the other players on this game. But Commodore insisted that the Amiga was a business machine and not to play silly computer games.
In one of my first videos I’ve already pointed out Commodore’s mistakes regarding the Amiga family, so, if you haven’t already watched it, do it now!

My personal experience with Amiga computers began around 1989 and went on through late 1993, time when I embraced the PC, mainly because of my academic choices.

So, regardless of the model of the Amiga, it was hard to make a Top 26 list with my favorite titles, ‘cause I enjoy the number 26 as much as the one I’ve placed in number 1! So, let’s not waste any more time and jump right into the 26 video games that, even today, I still relish playing on my Amiga!

- North And South (26) 
North & South was my first experience with a strategy game. Developed and published by Infogrames in 1989, it’s based on the American Civil War but with a twist of a series of Belgian comic books named the Bluecoats or “Les Tuniques Bleues”.
This strategy and action type of game is extremely fun and with a lot of comical situations that really grabs us and takes the player right into the middle of these awesome and hilarious battles trying to conquer one more state!

- Pipe Mania (25) 
Extreme caution when playing Pipe Mania! It’s so addictive that you’ll certainly find yourself playing it for many, many hours!
It was originally developed by The Assembly Line for the Amiga and, later, ported by LucasFilm Games to all other home systems who changed its name to Pipe Dream, without any plausible reason!
So, in this game we just have to connect those pipe pieces that popup randomly on the left side of the screen and assure that the nasty yellow goo passes through a number of pipe pieces for us to advance to the next level! It’s that simple!
The music kind of reminds me of the 1978 arcade original Space Invaders, ‘cause it speeds up as the liquid flows towards the end of the pipe line putting a bit of pressure onto the player! Brilliant stuff!

- Stunt Car Racer (24) 
Geoff Crammond is a legend in simracing video games development, and Stunt Car Racer was the first game to offer me a realistic driving experience with its impressive physics engine. In this game we’re invited to perform some crazy stunts on a bunch of roller-coaster-like elevated courses and be rewarded for doing so!
It was originally released by Micro Style, in 1989, and in its cover we can read the sentence “games for adults”, what, back then, made this fourteen year old kid feel like he was a grown up just for being able to finish every single course present on the game!

- Pang (23) 
I’ve played Pang so freakin’ much at the arcades and couldn’t wait for it to be released for the Amiga! So, by the trustful hands of Ocean Software came, in 1990, the home versions of this highly addictive game!
Also known as Buster Bros and Pomping World, this two player action game takes us through 50 levels at 17 idyllic locations with some amazing graphics, sound and music that just invites the player to keep on going, busting more and more balloons and save those threatened cities and their important landmarks!

- Pinball Dreams (22) 
The first pinball game I’ve played on the Amiga and, just when that intro was loaded, I was immediately blow away by its high quality music!
Developed by Digital Illusions and published in 1992 by 21st Century Entertainment, we’re offered the chance to try four different tables: Ignition, Steel Wheel, Beat Box and Nightmare… or is it Graveyard? On the menu says Nightmare, but on the table itself is displayed Graveyard… Hummm…

- Ivan “IronMan” Stewart’s Super Off Road (21) 
Converted from the arcade game, Ivan “IronMan” Stewart’s Super Off Road is extremely fun and addictive to play with up to 3 players simultaneously, plus 1 more controlled by the computer!
There’s several off-road tracks with jumps, bumps, holes, water splashing, you name it! And those figure 8 circuits just look like destruction derby death matches! So much fun!

 - Sensible Soccer (20) 
Simply one of my favorite soccer games ever! Sensible Soccer brings some awesome memories of long sessions with friends during school’s summer vacations!
Developed by Sensible Software and released in 1992, it still has legions of fans all around the world.

- Puzznic / Plotting (19) 

Puzznic is an awesome Taito arcade original converted, back in 1990, by Ocean Software to the Amiga and all other home systems and is one hell of a truly addictive little game!
It’s a turn based tile-matching puzzle arcade game highly influenced by another great puzzler, also from Taito, entitled Plotting, again converted and released, a year earlier, by Ocean Software.
Both deserve to be on this list, so, in the number 19 I’ve placed these two extremely addictive puzzle arcade games!

- Fury of the Furries (18) 
This Kalisto platform and puzzle game was so damned enjoyable and addictive that, when I moved to IBM PCs, I just had to get also the DOS version!
Published by Mindscape for the Amiga in 1993, we control 4 colored furry creatures, each with their own special abilities, across eight main locations, like the desert, forest, mountain, etc, each with 10 levels and also bonus levels. The main goal is to kill the Wicked One. Simple, huu? Never finished it! The game is simply enormous! And I like that!
With awesome music, graphics, gameplay and references to other video games and even movies, everyone should try it, if you’re into some relaxing puzzle platform type of stuff, obviously!
While we’re at it, the CD32 version is the best option, for a couple more audio tracks and faster loading times.


- SuperFrog (17) 
My favorite Team 17 game, recently made available also for Windows through the digital platform.
In SuperFrog we control a frog with this cape thing and we must guide it through six different environments which contains, in total, 24 levels. To advance on through the next, we need to collect enough coins for the exit to be usable. In the end, there’s a witch to be defeated and a princess to be rescued!
The Amiga version of SuperFrog features a bonus level that functions as a kind of an homage to Team 17’s own Project-X game! Neat stuff!

- Super Scramble Simulator (16) 
I’m almost certain that the members of Red Lynx, the company behind the Trials franchise, played Super Scramble Simulator a lot when they were just youngsters!
It’s an extreme and, most of the times, slow paced bike trial kind of game in where we must navigate through these treacherous terrains filled with all kind of obstacles. And we get this awesome feeling of accomplishment for every successfully concluded level!
Developed by Magnetic Fields and published by Gremlin Graphics in 1989, it became my second favorite motorcycle game, just after Enduro Racer, firstly on the arcades in 1986 and later on the ZX Spectrum, in 1988.

- The Secret of Monkey Island (15) 
It was the first and only point-and-click adventure game that I’ve played on the Amiga. Because of that dreadful disk swapping that, in my opinion, just ruins the whole experience, I promised myself to only play these type of games on the PC!
Nonetheless, The Secret of Monkey Island is one of the best in the genre! So amusingly funny and highly entertaining!
It was developed and released, in 1990, by LucasFilm games and was because of this title that I became addicted to PC gaming and to point-and-click adventure games by, around, 1993.

- LionHeart (14) 
Exclusive to the Amiga, Lionheart is a platform and hack and slash type of game developed and released, in 1993, by Thalion Software.
The game features amazing music and graphics, with a superb parallax scrolling effect, and has a pretty nice touch regarding the difficulty level chosen by the player in the beginning of the game, meaning that, if you choose the harder setting, not only you have to defeat tougher opponents but also a different environment is generated granting an also different gaming experience! Awesome thinking!

- Fuzzball (13) 
Already reviewed on my channel, Fuzzball is another Amiga exclusive title that is highly addictive and fun to play!
In this puzzle & platform game, developed by Scangames Norway and published, in the beginning of 1992, by System 3 Software, we have to carefully plan every move, ‘cause touching an enemy means instant death.
With amazing graphics and enjoyable music, this is one of those games that Amiga owners should be proud of! At least, I was!!

- Katakis/Denaris (12) 
An obvious R-Type clone, but it’s one of the best shoot-em-ups ever released for the Amiga.
It was developed by Manfred Trenz, also responsible for the Turrican series and an obscure Japanese Super Famicom release entitled Rendering Ranger R2, recently made available for western players by the name of Targa, and recently reviewed, also, on my channel.
Katakis was originally released, in 1987, for the Commodore 64 and, a year later converted to the Amiga. Finally, in 1989, Katakis was re-released, but now under the name Denaris.
Despite all this, this amazing shooter takes place on this human colony named Katakis that was overtaken by machines. So, our job is to destroy these machines and retake the planet.
Where it differs from R-Type is on the two player mode, where the second player controls that circular orb creating a strategic type of approach to this awesome game.

- Pinball Fantasies (11) 
I just love pinball games and Pinball Fantasies is still my favorite after all these years!
From the same guys that, a year earlier, brought Pinball Dreams, this new game offers another four amazing pinball tables for us to enjoy! Ball physics is spot on, graphics are simply amazing and the music is just brilliant! What else can I say? Well, I can say that I’ve also played the DOS version for many, many years! And I still do!!
An amazing game and a must have to all pinball fans!

- WolfChild (10) 
Another game that I’ve already reviewed on my channel from the creative mind of Simon Phipps, the designer behind the also amazing Rick Dangerous franchise.
Published by Core Design in 1992, WolfChild is a fast and amazing multi-directional platformer with some outstanding graphics and smooth scrolling. The musical score, from musician Martin Iveson, is also of extreme quality and fits perfectly into this frenetic shoot-em-up platform action game!
Just click on the rectangle for more info about this great game!

- Apidya (9) 
The first immediate impact is the awesome soundtrack by Chris Huelsbeck.
Developed by Kaiko and published, in 1992, by Play Byte, Apidya is another master piece exclusive to the Amiga and one of the best shoot-em-ups ever with amazingly colored high quality graphics!
We control Ikuro who transforms himself into a bee to go and rescue his wife that has been poisoned by this evil black magic lord. Besides the Japanese Manga-style obvious visuals present in the game, it was totally developed in Europe and by a European team, with Chris Huelsbeck himself along with a couple of friends. Also interesting was that many people saw the game as a sequel, ‘cause the “II” was on its cover. But, apparently, that was just for laughs!

- APB: All Points Bulletin (8) 
Here’s probably where Rock Star games drank the inspiration needed for the Grand Theft Auto series, mainly because of its open world and overhead top-down view of gameplay!
APB was a 1987 arcade game by Atari that was ported by Walking Circles, in 1989, and published by Domark for the Amiga.
We play as officer Bob and must drive a police car around the city trying to reach a predetermined quota within a limit of time. This quota is met by, for instance, arresting thugs that are committing crimes and, as well, do some writing applying some traffic tickets to law-breakers.
Pay much attention to the gas level and time limit! For the first, just pull-up on a gas station and, as for the second, just collect some donuts and you’re good to go!
The arcade cabinet was complete with a siren button and lights on top that would flash when officer Bob was on pursuit of a criminal!
Completing a level successfully, you’re congratulated by the chief, otherwise you’re fired!

- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game (7) 
I also have the Kixx re-release of the point and click graphic adventure, but, again, I prefer to play these type of games on the PC.
So, on my ZX Spectrum and, later, on the Amiga, I’ve played a lot the Action Game, developed by Tiertex and released, in 1989, by US Gold, finishing it over and over.
Based on my favorite Indiana Jones movie, the action game of The Last Crusade is a basic platformer that received really poor reviews… and I agree! ‘Cause there are a lot other way better platform games, miles away from this one! But, as a huge fan of the man in the hat, I, somehow, got right away overwhelmed by it: its difficulty, the puzzles, the exploration and the simple crack of Indy’s whip with the raider’s march in the background. Suddenly, I’m transported to that adventurous setting! What a feeling! Sadly, no modern game can do just that.

- Frontier: Elite II (6) 
The idea of doing absolutely anything and go anywhere was just mind-boggling back in those days, and David Braben’s Frontier: Elite II was just that, a space trader and combat simulator that really showed what the Amiga was capable of.
Published, in 1993, by GameTek, Elite II features awesome and extremely well modeled galaxies that completely obey the laws of physics!
So, in this game we explore space, trading legal or illegal stuff, taking people from one planet to another, do some military missions, etc, etc, and it’s a game where there is no ending sequence or a final boss to take down!
As amazing as it may sound, the game came in only one disk! The entire galaxy, and beyond, in just one floppy disk! This was possible ‘cause it was written in assembly language and the game’s universe was procedurally generated by the game’s own engine. An outstanding piece of programming history!

- Rock’n’Roll (5) 
Here’s my favorite action puzzle game ever: Rock’n’Roll, developed and published by Rainbow Arts, in 1989, and with awesome music by, you guessed it!, Chris Huelsbeck!
This is a huge game where we control a ball with the mouse and try to reach the end of each level avoiding ventilators, magnets, arrows and other objects that simply drains the player’s energy! It’s not an easy task, but it’s a highly enjoyable one!
The ball physics are just right, so we have a good control over it and can easily anticipate annoying situations.
Check my full review by clicking on the rectangle!

- Myth: History in the Making (4) 
As a huge fan of Mythology, and all that finishes with “ology”, I was blown away when I first saw those walking skeletons just trying to kick my butt! It immediately reminded me of Ray Harryhousen’s movie Jason and the Argonauts, from 1963, that I fondly recall and still watch in 2015!
Myth, originally released in 1989 by System 3 for 8-bit machines, had some coding and design modifications that led to a 1992 single 16-bit release for the Amiga platform.
The game is filled with all kind of mythological creatures and situations that can really grab the player and almost teleports us to those amazing places that we can only envision in our dreams!
It’s an amazing experience and one of the best platform puzzle action games ever!
Check my review for more stuff about this awesome title!

- Batman the Movie (3) 
Simply one of the best movie adaptations ever, by the trustful hands of Ocean Software!
Developed and released in 1989, right after the première of Tim Burton’s masterpiece, Batman the Movie’s ZX Spectrum and Amiga versions were critically acclaimed all over the place! It’s an extremely well designed platform, driving, shoot-em-up and puzzle game! All in one, like those tab things we put into the dishwasher!
Graphically, it just have that dark and obscure feeling that the Batman universe transpires, and all the different musical pieces created for the game are also of extreme good taste and really fits like a glove into each level to which they were created!
I simply love this game and finished it over, and over again for countless times!

- Turrican 2: The Final Fight (2) 
With the most amazing soundtrack ever created for an Amiga game, by Chris Huelsbeck, and superbly designed by Manfred Trenz, Turrican 2: The Final Fight is, for me at least, the best Amiga platform run-and-gun video game!
Developed by Factor 5 and released by Rainbow Arts in 1991, we’re invited to travel to the galaxy Cobra 2, in the year 3035, fighting for peace as we’re the last survivor of a recent conflict.
There’s plenty of references to the original 1986 NES Metroid game and the 1987 arcade title Psycho-Nics Oscar that, altogether, and very well mixed up, offers this intense, beautiful and complexly detailed title that will certainly be mentioned in all future video game history books.. or not!

- Lemmings (1) 
What started being just a simple character animation made in Deluxe Paint by DMA Design employee Mike Dailly, turned into one of the best video games ever made!
Published by Psygnosis in 1991, this puzzle, strategy and action game sold, on its first day and for the Amiga only, fifty five thousand copies! That was something unthinkable back then!
Everyone knows what Lemmings is all about, it crossed practically all generations of computer systems and consoles and is known as the most widely ported video game ever. The two following sequels, Lemmings 2: The Tribes and All New World of Lemmings, are also extremely well made, but the first one, for its originality only deserves the first place for its own!
By the way, DMA Design is nowadays known as Rock Star North! You know what that means, right? It means that the minds behind the Lemmings franchise are also responsible for the continuous bestselling titles of the Grand Theft Auto franchise and the award winner Red Dead Redemption game from two thousand and ten.

So, guys, here’s my favorite Amiga games that I still play and encourage others to do so, ‘cause, 30 years ago a groundbreaking machine was born that, if marketing and development strategies were done right, would certainly be leading today’s video gaming related industry!
Happy birthday, Amiga!
And, happy 1st birthday to the Pixel THING also! A year ago I was taking the first steps into making this weekly youtube show! And I’ve achieved just that! This is the 52nd episode, that means that at least one video per week was released during the past year despite all the parenting, husband and full time worker stuff I have to do on a daily basis!

Thanks to everyone who have subscribed to the channel, commented, liked or unliked and even to the still one and only Patron that, generously, subscribed to my recent Patreon campaign! Thanks, Tiago! You’re the very first in the whole world – besides myself – to watch this video, and, for now, that’s the main perk I have to offer to Patrons! Thanks, in advance, to everyone that could take this possibility into consideration!

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