When I was a kid me and my brother loved video games but due to coming from a single parent family with little money we never had the latest consoles or the latest games. Instead, we usually had to trawl through the bargain bins of second hand game shops to find a new game to master for the 5 or so 'new' games we got a year. We played 'Fifa 98: Road to the World Cup' for about 4 years and by the end could easily win a world cup on world class mode playing as San Marino using only the mouse, yes, we were that cool. Anyway, here are some of the more obscure games I ended up becoming a little obsessed with.
1 - Toki: Going Ape Spit (Megadrive).
I have mentioned this game previously on my blog. You are a monkey that spits at other animals. Firstly, that is the greatest gaming concept I have ever heard of. Secondly, it was a brilliantly annoying game. It was irritating for a number of reasons; I remember that it took me ages to complete it but it refused to give me the 'proper' ending until I had completed it on hardest difficulty. If you completed it on easy or medium you were simply told something like 'well done, try a harder setting'. Back in the days of 8/16 bit games you were given such little reward for all your time and effort. It taught us a valuable lesson though, don't try.
2 - Ignition (PC).
Ignition cost us about £5 brand new and was sort of a rip off of Micro Machines. It was also very easy to complete. However, that didn't stop us from playing it to fucking death. Me and my brother mastered every track to the point of when we raced two player there would be about half a second in it. I'm pretty sure the track selection was limited to about 6 tracks and there was very little to unlock. One of my friends convinced me you could unlock a car that was a stick of dynamite on wheels, he was lying.
3 - Blades of Vengeance (Megadrive).
This was your standard hack and slash adventure game. You could be a wizard, a man in pants with an axe or a woman in a bikini with a sword. I always chose the scantily clad woman which was probably a sign of things to come. It was so bloody difficult that I sometimes used to shout in frustration and my Dad would have to have a word with me about "taking games to seriously, if your not having fun there's no point in playing them". I never took heed of his advice though. I would hit the restart button and settle myself in for another 3 hours of anger management failure.
4 - Time Lord (NES).
This game really was a pile of shit and I'm pretty sure I never actually got past level 3 but that didn't stop me from wasting hours of my life on it. You played a generic hero who travelled through different periods of time to collect some red orbs. I think the first 3 levels were the future, medieval times and the wild west. I was desperate to know what time period level 4 was going to be so I just spent hours wandering around in the limbo of the wild west level 3. The controls, graphics and music were all completely terrible. I've just had a quick Google and level 4 would have been the Caribbean in 1650. What the hell.
5 - Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (PC).
There were lots of classic first person shooters back in the mid 90's, this isn't one of them. I'm debating to myself as to whether the cover art for the game was worse than that of 'Time Lord'. On both you have the archetypal camp hero posing next to some sort of generic monster. Nowadays, being a gamer is the norm and kids would probably be considered a bit weird for not playing them. However, all you have to do is look at 'Blake Stone' or the 'Time Lord' to realise just how uncool video games were back then. This is pretty much why I love games like 'Blake Stone' and hate 'Call of Duty'.
6 - Batman and Robin Cartoon Maker (PC).
I spent so many hours of my childhood making cartoons on this. I was even sad enough to rope my Dad and sister into providing some of the voices for me. You could record them into a microphone to play alongside the different parts of your episode you had created. This was one of the early starts of my interest in creative writing although having Batman walk onto a screen followed by The Joker then there being lots of explosions and shouting probably isn't particularly creative. My lucky Dad would always be the first person to watch my masterpieces. He was always fairly honest, "I like the explosions but there doesn't seem to be much of a storyline Freddie".