GOING AVERAGE

Turrican + a BASIC game = ?

We’re introducing a new section of our web: Average Stuff. Here’s how it came to be.

A while back, at a staff meeting (well, yeah, we’re an online project, but we’re based pretty much locally, the advantage of which is that we can convene in the flesh), I asked Akio Tenshi, “As a retro gaming site, knowing what’s ever been hot and what not, do we have any kind of right to review average games, or should we just focus on the best of the best?”

His reply was ingenious in its simplicity. “‘course we do. Actually, we have to!” he said.

“Why?”

“Because no one else is doing it. Plus, you could say that there are many average games that are great to someone. Take me, for example. I’ve never been into those huge, complex, endless games. RPGs? Turricans? Strategies? Text adventures? No, siree. Cookie, Jet Pac — those are my games. I grew up with those, and they’re the best!”

“Well, maybe, but you’re a freak of nature,” I thought. But then I remembered Jeep Command.

Jeep Command is a great game. In spite of its simple principles (it’s just an extremely well done clone of Moon Buggy with a few improvements) and simplistic graphics, its playability is polished to the last bit – the game teaches you how to play it and continuously makes you learn more and more tricks until you make it. It practically wants you to go through it, and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Yet, no one seemed to notice Jeep Command. It never left its home platform of Commodore 64, it wasn’t converted even to the Speccy, on which usually every good game appeared sooner or later. And today, it doesn’t even has its own page at Wikipedia. If you’re a game and Auntie Wiki doesn’t know you, it’s like you’ve never existed. So, even though Jeep Command is on my list of, say, top 100, or even top 50 C=64 games, maybe it’s not a tops game. Maybe it’s average. Well, yeah, probably it is.

But you know what? I bet there are other people like me: people who would find Jeep Command great, if they ever learned about its existence. Nowadays, even more people could appreciate Jeep Command, because we’re living in the blessed (and cursed, but that’s a topic for a philosophical and religious discussion) times of 8-bit emulation. It needs just one thing: spreading the word.

Average games won’t blow you away. They’re bad by no means, but they don’t stand out like the most famous games that everyone remembers do. No unforgettable graphics, no stellar music, no incredible technical feats. But we’re always happy to go back to them.

So we’re happy and proud to tell you that, among others, we’ll review truly average games.