A Conversation for Ask h2g2

What computer games should I ask Santa for?

Post 21


It took me some time to understand that by the time the Playstation rolled around (and possibly before), games were no longer put together by programmers hacking the bare metal in assembly language and exploiting odd bugs in the ROM and timing sprite updates to happen in the gaps between screen refreshes in the style of post 1985 Spectrum games. I marvelled at things like Tomb Raider, not realising that "middleware" even existed.

One thing is does explain, though, is why so many modern games look basically the same - they're all "written" using the same basic tools. In "the good old days", every game looked unique because every game "engine" had been programmed from scratch for that game only, often by a single person, and often that same person had designed the graphics. I remember it being quite a big deal that a side-scrolling collect-em-up game called "The Birds and The Bees" had been programmed by some schoolkid but (amazing!) the graphics had been designed by Matt "Manic Miner" Smith. TWO people working on one game? Unheard of.

Except obvs for the Imagine "megagames", Psyclapse and Bandersnatch, which made much of the fact they were going to be written by a team of "star" programmers. And we all know how that turned out...

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What computer games should I ask Santa for?

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