Into the Trenches

Simon is my Homeboy
2 June 2008, 20:30
Filed under: Adventure, Gaming, Reviews, Vintage games | Tags:

Recently I’ve been playing a game that, for some reason, never really left my mind. The first time I played it was on a x286 (I couldn’t even tell you the specs on that baby anymore) using two 3.5″ floppy discs and rockin’ out to the coolness that was the midi soundtrack. I’m talking about Simon the Sorcerer. At the time it came out in 1993, the graphics were the best thing since sliced bread and the dialogue was witty and suitably dry. In playing through it again I can honestly say it is still one of the Best. Games. Ever.

Click on thumbnails for larger view.

Yes, this game is incredibly old. No, it is not 3D and the graphics don’t hold a candle to the new generation of games (or even the one before). But I defy you to find an old game that brings me this much joy after after 15 years.

Part of the first cutscene.Inside the wizard's house.The thing that strikes me the most about this game is that, while the graphics are definitely nowhere near what you find now, they are still really good. The colors are vibrant and there is a lot of detail you simply didn’t find in most games back in the day. The backgrounds may not move, but they look pretty.

Simon is waiting for you with headphones on.The wit displayed in the game is decidedly dry (notice in the picture that if you are away from your computer while the game is running Simon will take out his tape deck and listen to it). But you can hardly expect it not to be when the developer is a British-based company called Adventuresoft. Video games like this totally reflect the mannerisms and humor of the culture they are developed in and this game is no different. I love that I can get that dry humor fix while playing a game.

The sound is all midi. We’re talking old school, here. Music that loops for a little while, then stops for a bit if you’ve been in the same scene too long, then starts right back up again. And yet I never tire of it. It’s mind-boggling I tell you. This is exactly the type of thing that would make me want to hurl my computer out the window if it was any other game. And yet I’m at peace playing this one. Who knew?

The gameplay is simple: point and click. It’s a game exclusively concerned with solving puzzles. I think the lightness of it is what makes it so timeless for me. I can totally see myself 10 years from now tooling around on whatever ridiculously fast new computer I have, running across this on my hard drive and loading the latest emulator to play it.

Verdict: A. You didn’t expect any less did you? I’ve played this game exactly twice (lost the discs) in 15 years and it’s still stuck in my mind and a blast to play. So I’m flat-out ordering that you find this game and play it. Do it now!


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