Gaming with friends in the 90’s

Walking the nostalgia path tends to raise good vibes, although sometimes it makes me feel old when I surprise me thinking “How far times have changed…”. It remembers me of my grandfather saying things like that.

But it’s true: The times they are A changing.

Today, (and especially in this COVID-19 days) when we play “together” with friends, we are each on their own home, sharing voice or video and playing over our own devices via the Internet. But back in the ’80s and ’90s, we didn’t have the chance. Playing together meant going to the same place and playing on the same computer or console.

Well, we also had the chance of going out of home and spend on the arcade machines. I remember playing countless hours (and pesetas) of Tetris, Double Dragon, or Bomberman.

But at home, we started with some different kinds of game parties. Even if the chronology of the games is not exactly like this, we were moving from one to another as we were growing up. Certainly, we can still play some hot-seat or a soccer match even today, but not frequently.

1.- Hot seat games

Games where you would play a whole game each other (sometimes only one life each one), and then compare scores (or not, just for fun).I remember doing this on:

  • TetrisTetris screenshot
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Blues Brothers
  • Titus the Fox
  • Prince of Persia
  • 4D Sports Driving (aka Stunts).

2.- Multiplayer games

Games where more than one (usually two) people could play at the same time, one against the other.

  • Italy 90 (soccer)Super off road screenshot
  • Super Off-Road
  • California Games (and II, and Winter/Summer Games)
  • Street Fighter ΒΏII?
  • Worms

But as we were growing up, we were playing more cooperatively and began playing one next to the other, taking turns on the keyboard, with the other(s) giving tips, finding solutions…

3.- Single-player games, multiple players

  • The Lost VikingsSupaplex screenshot
  • Lemmings (and 2, and Christmas…).
  • Supaplex

And finally, we got ourselves into the golden age of graphic adventures. We could play them the same as these last games, sitting around one mouse and keyboard, but when we were back at our homes, we could playback up to the same point and try to push the story further. Being the one who solved THAT puzzle was amazing. We could even keep playing on days we wouldn’t see each other at home, because we could exchange tips at school or by phone. In some kind of sense, we were already playing together in the distance, even if we didn’t have modems yet.

4.- Graphical Adventures

  • Maniac MansionLoom screenshot
  • The Secret of Monkey Island saga
  • King Quest saga
  • The Legend of Kyrandia
  • Loom (OMG, using music to cast spells, what a weird and marvelous piece of art).

Out of the list, I remember our first “LAN parties”. We didn’t even have a LAN. Imagine carrying your heavy as hell CPU and a CRT monitor to a friend’s house. Before you are old enough to drive so… walking. Once there, you start soldering some cables to make a Serial or Parallel connection between your friend’s computer and yours and… DOOM!

We weren’t too good at soldering, but the cables would usually work for one or two sessions before we needed to start fixing the soldering points.

As the ’90 were fading, we began to get our modems, most of us left our hometown to study, and things changed a lot. But the memories are there, we had good times playing together and most of us keep hanging out now and then.



Comment (1)

  1. So happy to see someone else mention Legends of Kyrandia πŸ˜€ I mostly did backseat gaming in the 90s, except when playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES

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