Fifteen years ago, there were so many cool games I wanted to play but couldn’t. We didn’t have internet access yet, and the occasional game my brother and I could get our dad to buy (like the awesome F15 Strike Eagle III) were pretty expensive. I remember that one of his work buddies gave us copies of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, along with X-Wing (with a trainer on the last disk!) but otherwise we were pretty limited in our choice of games to play on the ol’ 486.
Now we’re living in the future, you may expect me to have forgotten my love for Imperialism II and Wonderboy In Monster World… what do you think I am, fickle? Luckily, the games I loved (and the ones I longed for) can nearly all be found at Abandonware sites like Abandonia. Abandonware exists on somewhat shaky legal ground given that much of it remains under copyright (even though it may no longer be available for purchase).
While I’m not going to condone breaking the law I will say that I support the idea of keeping games alive by enjoying them long after their developers have abandoned them. There is actually a larger point to be made about the validity of the 70-year copyright longevity for software, something which is updated and superseded so quickly. But I’ll leave that argument for the dry legal experts of Wikipedia.
My first Abandonware Classic is the remarkable Shadow President. This impressive game puts you in the most powerful seat in the world: that of US President. The aim of the game is to handle your economy and your relations with every single country in the world. From a world map, you can click any country and then decide on all sorts of policy and aid issues such as trading partner status, intelligence operations, military and humanitarian aid and diplomatic coercion. You soon realise that the top job is a lot harder than just shaking hands and delivering speeches articulately. Hmm, that’s kind of worrying. Anyway, check out Abandonia’s great review of the game here and keep your eyes peeled for more classics.