Friday, November 16, 2007

Ah, sweet nostalgia...

Eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mass Effect for the X-Box 360, I remembered a game that all the demos for ME have reminded me of: Starflight.

I don't even remember how I ended up with this game. I assume I got it from a store, but for the life of me, I can't tell you which one, when, where, or what made me pick it up. Maybe a friend loaned it to me, and I forgot to return it? Who knows (and the statute of limitations has run out on claiming it back, dudes). This game is everything today's standard video game addict hates. It doesn't have a first person shooter element, there isn't massive mega weapons, the enemies don't rip off your limbs when they beat you.

Trust me when I tell you that this ad makes the game seem WAAAAAAY more exciting to the ordinary gamer than it would be. Rather than exploring a deserted space station with a freeze grenade gun hunting evil slime covered aliens lurking around every conrer waiting to gnaw your face off, this game has grander, yet simpler goals. The ultimate goal is to save the universe from the Uhlek, an evil alien race who are destroying systems by making their suns flare up and destroy planets. The more general goal of the game is to explore planets, mine them for precious minerals and exotic life forms, and then sell what you take in to buy upgrades for your starship. There are other races out there, but it is almost entirely up to you whether or not you fight them (in some rare cases, conflict is unavoidable). You converse with other races, you mine for Endurium, you recommend suitable planets for your race to colonize. You visit 200 systems, and can explore 700 worlds. With the online guides you can download, you could probably beat the game in one sitting, or if you just methodically explore every system, you could be entertained for months.

This game ate up a bunch of my time back in the late 80s early 90s. And in seeing similar elements in the Mass Effect demos, it made me nostalgic for this old classic. I managed to dig out my old Genesis, and pop this cart in. It still works. And once again, I'm lost among the stars, searching for new worlds to colonize, and barring that, plunder. Once again, I'm 15, and the world is a little brighter than it was just a few days ago.

Top of the Line iMac: $2800
X-Box 360: $450
Blowing dust out of an 8-bit cartridge and having to tape cables together to play an old classic: PRICELESS.