My top 5 pre-console video games

Back in the eighties, video games weren’t really very much fun. You had to load games from a cassette tape and you could have your tea or watch Newsround while you waited for it to load.

  1. Elite on the BBC
    Back in 1984, nobody had invented the concept of free roaming adventure. When space game Elite came along and you could visit any planet in an enormous galaxy, my brother and I were most impressed. It didn’t matter that visiting different planets was just visiting the same circle with a spinning hexagon shape to dock in and that, the only difference between one planet and another, was the name. The most I got to was ‘dangerous’.
  2. Amok on the Vic 20. 
    Looking at the screen above, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this game was not very good. In 1981 however, this was the cutting edge of entertainment. In Amok you were a stick man who got to shoot other, slightly fatter stick men. It was awesome.
  3. Skooldaze on the Spectrum. You can play it here:schooldaze.png                                  This was the original verson of ‘Bully’. You played a tiny 2D figure running around a school. You had to attend lessons and follow a strict timetable of moving from one class to another, but, you could do all sorts of mean things to other students and teachers.  Everytime you did somethng wrong you got ‘lines’ and when you got more than 10,o00, the game was over.
  4. Chuckie Egg on the BBC B. Play it below:chuckie.png                                  The premise was simple, control a fat bloke around the screen to collect eggs and avoid the ostiches, or, on a harder level, a huge flying chicken. Awesome.
  5. Ace on the Commadore 64.  
    A rare two player feature of this flying game was that one player could fly whilst the other one did the shooting. I spent a long time with my gunner, John, from across the road, engaged in air battles. I remember that John had a poetic edge to him and once asked, ‘Is there any point in war?” after we’d had a particularly heavy battle with some russian fighter planes. A fine thought.

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