I spent yesterday afternoon at the Game Masters exhibition at Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland. It’s a touring exhibition with over 100 games to play from early arcade games to the present day. A range of game designers are represented, from large companies to small independents. This includes UK talent like Peter Molyneux and Rockstar North.
The event is really popular with families and I didn’t get to try every game out, so will need to return at a later date. The exhibition runs here until April 20 2015.
Unfortunately no photos are permitted within the exhibition, so images below come from other credited sources.
Games I enjoyed playing
I got past level 1 then failed miserably. Those darn barrels that slide down the ladders!!
Managed to complete one level. The power pills are nice as they give you the chance to gobble up ghosts, but they don’t last for long.
Super Mario Bros.
I remember many a day playing this classic. The jumps were harder than I remembered – Mario has a tendency to slide more than expected. As I result I jumped into oblivion.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Never got the chance to play the original, so it was good to have a go at the Sonic games. Often times I didn’t actually feel I was controlling the character as he has a tendency to soar away, which is fine as long as I didn’t hit any enemies or obstacles.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge
This is a mystery/puzzle adventure game with a pirate protagonist, Guybrush Threepwood, in search of treasure. The gameplay is point and click on objects, people and locations. Monkey Island 2 is available now for modern platformsincluding PS3, Xbox 360 and iPad, so I look forward to trying it out further.
Child of Eden
I’d never heard of this game, but it is just gorgeous to look at. You try to save a space girl from a computer virus by shooting at objects. It’s a lovely balance of colour, pattern, rhythm and music. Check out the Child of Eden website to see more.
A clever game, this one. You control Biggs, a round furry creature with a long tongue. You have to clear the board of critters by feeding the little ones to the bigger ones, which eventually explode. There are some fun power-ups along the way. See the gameplay and buy the game at Steam’s Critter Crunch web page.
What makes a good game?
Well, it depends on the type of game, but in my opinion, the following are important:
- Strong narrative, for games with a story.
- Compelling characters, both playable and non-playable. Funny dialogue always helps.
- Just slightly harder than you were expecting, to keep you playing when you miss out on completing a level or reaching a checkpoint by a whisker.
- Power-ups and special abilities that give you an advantage, but are not too liberally spread throughout the game.
- Rules and controls that are not too difficult to master. I don’t mind button combos, but I don’t like fiddly jumping levels in games.
- Atmospheric music. Great game music can really enhance the mood and emotion of a game.
- Achievements. It’s really rewarding to see your progress through a game and check these off.
What games were missing?
Despite the large number of games in this exhibition, there’s a number I would have liked to have seen that weren’t there. I know they couldn’t have everything, but the following are on my wish list:
- ZX Spectrum games. Game Masters is Australian in origin, so I guess the Spectrum never made it Down Under, but it was huge in the UK. So many games… Chequered Flag, the Dizzy series, Feud, Kane, War Cars Construction Set to name but a few. World of Spectrum has a comprehensive listing.
- Text adventures/Interactive fiction. I was never very good at these, but enjoyed playing them. There’s a number to play here at the Text Adventures site.
- Survival horror. I’m thinking of Alone in the Dark here, which was the first 3D animated game I can remember. It looks incredibly clunky now, but it was groundbreaking for the time.
- First person shooters. What, not even Doom?
- Beneath a Steel Sky. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, this used the same game engine as Monkey Island and had hilarious dialogue at times. Some of the puzzles were ridiculously hard though. A remastered version of BASS is available on iOS.
- Might and Magic series. I spent a lot of time playing on these fantasy quest/strategy/dungeon-based games in the 90s.
- Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. Great co-op play on the PS2.
- Bomberman. Who doesn’t like blowing stuff up?
- Final Fantasy series. I was really hoping to get the chance to play Final Fantasy VII, since everyone raves about it, but no such luck. FF7 is coming to PS4 this spring though (now I just need a PS4…)
What computer and video games do you enjoy playing? Have you been to Game Masters in Edinburgh? Let me know by commenting below.