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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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computer games

My question about computer games on Jan. 16 certainly seems to have generated some discussion on blatherchat! Some people mentioned games that I had completely forgotten about. So I've done more thinking about my list of "all-time fave computer games", and here it is, in very rough chronological order:

Colossal Cave
The beginning of interactive fiction games. Remember "You are in a twisty maze of passageways, all alike"? I discovered this game on a Computer Day at the University of Waterloo when I was in high school. Back then, they let us play games all day. I was astounded and delighted by Colossal Cave as well as Eliza, and this game was largely responsible for my choice to major in Computer Science in university. Up to then, I had figured computers were only good for crunching numbers; I hadn't realized how interesting the results could be. Later, I got hooked on the various Infocom games as well. I've always preferred well-written text adventures to ones with fancy graphics...more is left to the imagination, and there's more of a feeling of participating in a "book".

Despite the fact that the graphics were simply a handful of ascii characters, I spent waaaay too much time playing this game while in university. I blame my friends Michelle and John.
A "god" game, where you basically oversee the growth of a civilization. I tended to like focussing on building cities and improving living conditions rather than on warfare and conquering and pillaging. Reminds me of an incident where Jeff introduced me to a game called Warcraft. I really got into the part of the game where you could build towns, raise sheep, interact with the peasants. I was upset when Jeff sent his army over the hill to stomp all over my nice little village. He gently pointed out that the game was called "Warcraft", not "Nurturecraft".

Another nurturecraft-type god game. Since I played SimCity, I've started seeing all cities and neighbourhoods in terms of the game, scarily enough. Love the little ant-hill farm aspect of the game. Speaking of ants, I did buy SimAnt but didn't like it nearly as much as SimCity (the company sent me a SimAnt poster when I reported some bugs (no pun intended)).

How can anyone not like Myst? I loved the graphics, loved the sound effects, loved the mystery and exploration aspect, and the fact that it was completely engrossing without monsters leaping out at you from nowhere or civilizations to conquer. I never did finish it...I think exams came up before I did, and I got distracted. Now, of course, I'd have to play through the entire thing to remember what was going on. I'd still like to do that someday, when I have a large chunk of spare time. Jeff and I have Riven, but I haven't really played it at all yet.

Paul Kwinn (of Puzzlebox fame), helped design the first version of this game! And you can even hear him sing on the CD. Taunya Shiffer did some of the voices in the game.

The most bizarre computer game interface I ever used was when I played some Star Trek game at the University of Toronto on DEC-10s. No screens; we read printouts of ascii star maps.

Today's Blatherpic: my friend Luisa, on the last day of the Real Millennium party, while packing up.

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