An expert offers advice on games for computers


October 17, 1990|By PETER MCWILLIAMS | PETER MCWILLIAMS,1990 Universal Press Syndicate

There's a saying about computers I've heard again and again: "If you don't know how it works, find a 12-year-old." Kids don't hold any preconceptions about these machines (such as "I'm not computer literate"), so they pick up their usefulness quite quickly.

When it comes to computer games, well, I don't know how they work. So I've found a young man, 12-year-old Noah Lehmann-Haupt, to explain them to you. What follows are his words and writing.

It was mid-1985 when Nintendo, a popular company known for its huge variety of video arcade games, introduced a compact "mini-arcade" system called the Nintendo Entertainment System Deluxe Set. This Deluxe Set included the following items: One game system or Control Deck, two controllers, the Light Zapper Gun, one R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy), and two game cartridges.

When Nintendo was introduced, only a few other game cartridges existed. The most popular of them was the game Super Mario Brothers, which starred a now-famous Nintendo character named Mario. Maro is a plumber from Brooklyn who exists in numerous other Nintendo games. His brother, Luigi, also appears.

There are many new gaming systems out on the market today, including a portable Nintendo called Game Boy. There is also a portable color gaming system called Lynx, made by Atari. The two main systems are Turbo Grafx Sixteen, by NEC, and Genesis, by Sega.

Now we'll move into the really high-tech systems -- games on personal computers. I own two PCs. One is an old Commodore 64 from a couple of years ago, the other a Packard Bell Pack-Mate IBM-compatible system. First, I'll tell you about some programs for my IBM-compatible.

The first has to be one of the best programs ever made. It's called Flight Simulator, Version 4.00 by Microsoft. It's not really a game, but for anyone who is or wants to be a pilot, this is the program for you!

It's so realistic you almost feel as if you're in a plane. It doesn't have the jagged, quick movements when you turn or the frame-by-frame slowness. It's smooth and easy, and the graphics are absolutely amazing! I'd definitely give it a high rating among new games or programs.

The other game is called Hidden Agenda by Springboard. In this game, you are El Presidente in the made-up country called Chimerica. This country is situated between two other real Central American countries. The object of this game is to appoint your staff, deal with Chimerica's problems, such as its national debt (sound familiar?), and make sure your country stays alive.

Some of the problems you have to face are the birth mortality rate, funding for education and medical care, violence, and most importantly, coup attacks on you! I find this game to be great LTC because it gives you the feel of running your own country.

As for my Commodore 64: After buying more than 60 programs for my Commodore and being disappointed with way over half of them, I've learned a lesson: You can't really have a good game for a 64K system.

That just about wraps it up for the computer games of the '90s! So, as a famous comedian said: "Th-th-th-that's all folks!"

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