Our faculty members prepare students every day for careers in in the game industry, where they’ve gone on to help launch popular new titles like Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and Dishonored. But we were interested in going back in time a little bit to find out what some of our faculty’s favorite old-school games are. (For the purpose of this blog post, “old school” is anything released before 2000.) Check out their picks below, and then tell us your favorite old-school game in the comments.
- “Grim Fandango is definitely one of my favorite pre-2000 games. The aesthetic mix of Film Noir, Art Deco, and Day of the Dead gives this game a clever style. Its humorous writing and Casablanca-like plot propels this point and click adventure game by Lucas Arts to the top of my list.” –Roy Papp, Course Director, Game Design
- “People who know me pretty well would be shocked if I didn’t put down Galaga as one of my favorite old school games. The gameplay is simple, but it takes skill to be awesome. It is a game that I still talk about for simplicity as well as other mechanics. The fact that I am an expert player doesn’t hurt either. I could go on and on, but that should be enough. I have tons and tons of games that would be well to bring up in old school-ness, but Galaga has to top the list for me.” – Liam Hislop, Game Project Department Chair
- “My pick is NetHack – it’s an ancient Rogue-style game where you run a critter through levels killing varmints and taking their stuff. What makes me reinstall and play it every few years is the sheer randomness of it – in one game your innocent fresh new character might take their first step and trigger a trap which instantly kills them. The very next game you find a Wand of Wishing right next to the entrance stairs and things go considerably better from there. It’s that hope that keeps me coming back for more!” – Arthur Johnson, Programming Department Chair, Game Development
- “My favorite “Old School” video game is Silent Hill, which was released in 1999 by Konami. I’m a huge fan of survival horror games in general, but Silent Hill 1 and 2 and the first Fatal Frame are my favorites. Silent Hill was so atmospheric, and had such a rich story and cast of characters, that it was easy to get wrapped up in that terrifying world. The game also had a great use of suspense as a horror technique (the fog, the radio static), which, to me, is much more satisfying than blood and gore. That’s not to say the game didn’t have its disturbingly disgusting moments, there was just a solid balance of the two. The non-superhero protagonist, multiple endings, and the hilarious Easter eggs also made this a favorite of mine. Who doesn’t love a good UFO abduction?” – Robin Koman, Department Chair, Game Design
- “I would have to say that my favorite old-school (pre-2000s) game would have to be Duck Hunt. The basic design is so simplistic, but intuitive, and the color palette was really defined for games of the NES era. The user interface was a bit on the cluttered side, but it was functional.” – Jeff Parrott, Course Director, Game Art
- “One of my all time favorites is Galaxian. There’s nothing special about it, I simply liked the game play and it was a good excuse to get out of the house when I was younger and hit the arcade. When I played the game regularly, the arcade was the only place to find it. Talk about ‘old school.'” – Steve Akehurst, Course Director, Computer Animation