I’ve always had a love for retro video games since my early teenage years coincided with the birth of the first games. I still clearly remember discovering Pong on an arcade machine in a seaside cafe. Then followed trips to the amusement arcades where you could play games such as Space Invaders, Asteroids and Pac-Man. After that, I bought a Commodore 64 home computer to play titles like Colussus Chess and Turrican II. Later, I acquired a console to play Super Marios Bros games and many others.
I was always into playing games even before the video generation transformed so much. I had a particular interest in board and puzzle games. Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, Mousetrap, Trivial Pursuit, Rubik’s Cube, Chess, Battleships and so on. You name them I’ve probably played them, endlessly. I like to try and discover some modern versions of classic games.
What I particularly look out for now, are video games that in some way mimic these classics that predated the video era. I love both the nostalgia of the original and finding a new twist on the game.
I recently discovered a site that took me to my happy place from playing board and puzzle games.
The first I came across was the Kingdoms Wars game which has been inspired by the daddy of all board games, namely Monopoly. As in the original game, it’s about accumulating as much money as possible and trying to bankrupt your competitors in the process. You start this after a roll of a pair of dice and arriving at a vacant circle. Then you can purchase the land it represents and the circle changes to your colour. If you buy three circles (land) in a row you can put houses on them, up to three on each.
Every time you land on an opponent’s circle you have to pay duty as they do when they land on yours. The more property on the land, the higher the duty that has to be paid. You can also buy and sell land that is occupied, at a fixed price. You will have to make a sale if you don’t have enough cash to cover a duty debt. There are numerous other challenges and forfeits along the way to negotiate too. Ultimately, the last person standing is the winner. Sounds complicated but you’ll soon get the hang of it and it’s a lot of fun!
The next one that deserves a special mention is Merge Blocks which is a puzzle and strategy game. I’m not sure of the history of this one but it does have a classic feel to it. To begin, you simply lay a basic blue (building) block on a grid where there are already a few random blocks. You have to lay the same blocks into a line or ‘L’ shape of at least three, it then becomes one evolved larger block. The process then continues, but there are ten different blocks in all which are randomly presented and you only see the next four coming down the line.
It starts off easily enough but as the squares start to fill it becomes more challenging. If you get stuck you can go into demolition mode and use the hammer to remove one building. However, you have to earn the hammer strike and you’ll only receive one each time you reach 1000 points. The ultimate goal is to fill each square with Block 10 before you get gridlocked. The game is fun but really challenging and I’ve got nowhere near completing it yet. But I like a challenge! It’s a game that’s likely to take you several attempts to fully understand and develop a strategy. I wish you luck!
There are loads of other games on this site too, many are educational using maths and money. All very handy for keeping your mind sharp! There are also some useful calculators if you have a real-life financial query you want to solve.
Whether you’re motivated to play these kinds of retro games due to nostalgia for the originals or you’re discovering them for the first time, you will find it is often their clever simplicity and playability that is the key to making them so engaging. You don’t need days to learn the formula. If they are also based on timeless classics such as Monopoly then you know you’re on to a good thing.