I am about to embark on a quest to learn about different types of video games. The four quests will include narrative games, action games, simulation games, and other categories. Stay tuned because as I play through these quests, I will add my thoughts and ideas about each type of game I play.
Zork 1: The Great Underground Empire
Written between 1977-1979, Zork was one of the earliest fiction computer games created according to Wikipedia. Just by looking at the game, one would have no idea where it takes place or what the game is about. I only found out the plot and setting of the game by reading about it on Wikipedia. All you see when you play is a black screen and words telling you what you see and what is taking place in the game. Everything is pretty much left up to the imagination. The player then inputs commands in order to move along in the game such as “go east” or “turn lantern off”. I also learned only through additional reading that the objective is to collect the Twenty Treasures of Zork and install them in the trophy case.
While playing Zork, I had to remember that for its time, this was probably a pretty fun and inventive game to play. Players probably enjoyed the trial and error aspect. They probably also weren’t looking for a lot of flash or graphics or even sound like one would find in the video games of today. Even with its lack of detail, Zork provides a lot of mystery and intrigue for the player. It also provides humor especially when you try to open boarded doors and windows and tell it to eat garlic!
I played the game for close to half an hour. I made it into the house, picked up a sword and lantern, ate some food, had some water, and then couldn’t figure out what to do next. I tried all directions, but couldn’t get any real information, so I gave up and quit the game. There were cheats online that I looked at later that made the game a lot more fun, but I only made it through because of the cheats. This type of game would be a lot more fun if you could actually see something on the screen rather than picture it all in your head. Maybe that is why the fictional games of today also include graphics so that the player can envision themselves in their role. It might take away from the mystery and imagination involved in the game, but it makes it somewhat easier to maneuver through it.
Traditionally, in a “Shoot’em Up” game, the characters are generally a type of spacecraft, but in a few of the more recent games I found online, there are other types of shooting games. In The Gun Game, my character was a shooting gun shooting at moving targets and in Stealth Sniper 2, I was a sniper shooting bad guys. In many “Shoot-em Up” experiences, players need to have quick reflexes and good hand-eye coordination. They also need to develop some type of strategy and quick response thinking. Although, I found with most every game I played, that really those qualities didn’t matter. Eventually so many things come at you, that you can’t react fast enough (or at least I couldn’t) and your character ends up dead. Typically in a game, your character is moving from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen or from left to right to shoot at the enemy. Galaga is an example of a “fixed shooter” where your character is moving from left to right as the enemy comes from the top down to attack. The Gun Game is also an example of a “fixed shooter” because my character moved up and down as the targets moved from left to right toward me. This differed in Stealth Sniper 2. This game would be considered more of a “rail shooter”since I was trying to aim my rifle at the enemy and shoot.
In my opinion, the significance of “Shoot’em Up” games is that they provide an outlet for an individual to play in a realm that they might not normally encounter such as combat or flying, or even hunting. It may not be the most accurate setting for the shooting, but it is an experience for the player.