With the computing power available today, video games have never been so immersive. Not only that, if you’ve got a solid internet connection, you can compete against gamers from all over the world at a moment’s notice. Before the surge in technology that made all the gaming goodness of today possible, there was a time where playing video games was mostly a solitary activity between you and a primitive AI. This is a look back at that time.
When the Commodore 64 hit the market, it instantly became one of the most popular gaming platforms as it blew the Atari 2600 out of the water. If you remember the C64’s blue screen and lengthy loading times, there’s a chance some of these games might flood you with a warm feeling of nostalgia.
1. Archon: The Light and the Dark (1983)
Electronic Arts has been on a roll for decades and this gem of a game is one of its earliest hits. Almost like chess, each piece on the board has certain abilities where players can battle for control of squares in the arena. The one-on-one combat is fun and 2-player mode with a friend is a blast. There was even a pretty interesting sequel to Archon, which resulted in a board redesign and some additional action. Still, the original takes the cake.
2. M.U.L.E. (1983)
Electronic Arts has come a long way since the time of the Commodore 64, but this nifty game is worth a replay. Note: the planet the action takes place on is Irata (Atari backwards). Maybe a slight dig there. Nonetheless, there’s some action and some strategy involved in M.U.L.E. Make sure you catch the wampus!
3. Aztec (1984)
This Indiana Jones knockoff is confusing and riddled with awful gameplay but when your not sifting through piles of bones and rags, you’re likely to die terribly. Maybe you’ll survive long enough to find the machete and slice an alligator to ribbons. Either way, Aztec was a colossal waste of time, yet it still hits the nostalgia bell.
4. Gateway to Apshai (1983)
One of the original dungeon crawlers, this engaging almost-RPG is addictive. Grab scrolls, swords, armor, keys and a bunch of other goodies as you hack and slash your way through level upon level of adventure trying to figure out the mystery of the Gateway to Apshai.
5. Beach Head II: The Dictator Strikes Back (1985)
This ridiculous game was actually pretty decent 33 years ago. The best is at 6:02. “You . . . Can’t . . . Hurt . . . Me . . .” as the villain is falling to his certain doom. Beach Head II: The Dictator Strikes Back had some elements of popular games like Tron and Commando, but it was a beautiful mess.
6. The Standing Stones (1984)
The Standing Stones, yet another entry by Electronic Arts, is a wacky and incredibly complex game. If you did not create maps of the dungeon levels, you had no hope in getting to the end of this game. Even if you did, it’s quite a task. There’s definitely some tension in The Standing Stones, but there’s also a host of zany monsters and weird encounters.
7. Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (1985)
Lord British is back and this complex RPG is sure to suck up oodles of your time should you dare dust off the floppy disc or tackle Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar on some clunky emulator. The music alone is enough to suck you into a nostalgic vortex. Travel from town to town using the Moongates and make sure you have a pen and paper ready to write down clues . . . and the Words of Power.
8. Defender of the Crown (1987)
With all the cool modes integrated into the game, it’s no wonder Defender of the Crown became such a big hit. Originally launched on the Commodore Amiga in 1986, it reached the C64 a year later and to much fanfare. Even after its lifespan on the Commodore 64 platform was reached, DOTC was ported onto other systems where it continued to be popular with gamers.
9. Bruce Lee (1984)
The avatar for martial-arts legend Bruce Lee in the 1984 Commodore 64 game Bruce Lee looked more like a boxer than a martial artist, but that didn’t stop this game from providing hours of fun. It didn’t really make much sense and everything was kind of random, but the action was solid and at least the ninjas looked like ninjas.
10. Mail Order Monsters (1985)
It’s pretty astonishing that this Electronic Arts game hasn’t been rebooted. It has all the makings of a great MMORPG. In Mail Order Monsters you were able to customize various creatures and test your monsters in combat. In a sense, it’s a progenitor of games like Call of Duty, minus the multiplayer component.
What other nostalgic Commodore 64 games do you think should make the list? Let us know in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add them in.