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French Version

Classic games, remade!

The classic games of the eighties and early nineties had something special. Maybe the most special thing was that you were there, when new grounds in computer and video games were being broken...

If you've been using computers for over a decade, a big part of your home computing experience must have been playing games. "They don't make them like they used to," is what we all say when comparing the simpler, but more addictive games of the past with the over-sized games of today.

The classic games of the eighties and early nineties had something special. Maybe the most special thing was that you were there, when new grounds in computer and video games were being broken and when playability counted for so much because there were no digitized graphics and sampled sounds to make a game look like the 'movies' of today that are being offered as games by software houses.

The great news is that all your favorite games, even the ones you may have played in the late-seventies, are on the Internet in both original format, and usually in a PC remake format that captures the true spirit of the original; simply because they have been written by someone which experienced those magical days of gaming!

My 'adventure' started with an idea to search for my favorite games, which I used to play in the mid-eighties on my good-old Sinclair Spectrum, and what an amazing revelation it's been. For a start, I found a site called Retrospec, www.retrospec.co.uk, which includes PC remakes of classic Spectrum games that 'inject' the missing graphics and sound that the Spectrum did not offer back then to games which have to be among the best ever written. Suddenly I was busy playing, and really enjoying, games like Jetpac, Trailblazer, Chuckie Egg, Jet Set Willy, BombJack and more.

Then I moved on to the absolute best archive of remakes for all formats, found at http://retro-remakes.emuunlim.com. That's when I hit the jack pot. The greatest classics, from arcade machine games all the way up to Commodore Amiga titles have been remade.

There are over a hundred free, shareware, games to download including Space Invaders, Asteroids, Boulderdash, Centipede, PacMan (in all its incarnations), Donkey Kong, Arkanoid, Super Mario Brothers, OutRun, Attack of the Mutant Camels and so, so much more.

The best thing about it all is that these games are all small in size, because back then the focus was on game play and the remakes capture that spirit. Some of these remakes have been even made for the Gameboy Advance, so you can take them on the road.

There are, of course, other remake sites and apparently these 'remakers' are a very vibrant community and they've got large web rings and are all connected. There's an air of enthusiasm that you can sense by their discussion forums and announcements. Especially when one of them says, 'guess what I'm working on now.'

It seems, for the most part, they are all doing this for fun and that's why it takes so long for their remakes to see the light. But if you enter this scene now, you will gain the benefit of their years of work with already all the best classic games having been remade. These remade marvels are being presented as 'classic games for the next generation'. Well, I'm of the previous generation of 'gamers; and I think I'm enjoying them more.

I know I've had the most fun with my PC since I first owned one in 1993; after a decade of personal computing with other platform that were definitely more enjoyable.

The experience of owning a computer was a 'high-involvement' issue, and I've got to tell you that we used to fall in love with out computers in the eighties. Today, PCs come and PCs go and every upgrade is nothing more than a cash outlay. True we have more computing power, but it's just not the same. The Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Apple II series and other 8-bit and 16-bit computers educated a whole generation of computer professionals who now write the software you're using on your PC. Everything that we have today, started somewhere in that era with teenagers and tiny computers. You can't ignore the importance, or charm, of that.

Zeid Nasser
The Star

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