Last year, I launched a new website, Gaming Retro UK (I call it GRUK), dedicated to
handmade pasta retro gaming. Over the course of the past 12 months it’s enjoyed constant, but modest growth, but I haven’t been able to afford as much time to it as I would like.
Why start a retro gaming site? I’m a bit mad about old games, as I know many other people of my generation are. Over the past few years, it’s become one of my main interests, but I noticed there was no real “home” of retro gaming news and reviews. I’d also started a Facebook page on the topic, which was becoming popular with very little input from me.
Could I build a website that could fulfil that niche?
Well, I could certainly build the site, using WordPress. Choosing a theme took a while, but I finally settled on the current look that I’m mostly happy with. A few plugins later, and occasional contributions from others, and I’ve got a useful retro gaming site with a popular Facebook page.
Over the next few months, I hope to make some changes to the site, and bring someone in to write the news. There might be a YouTube element to things as well. But enough about that. Let’s get back to retro gaming.
Here are my top five video games for the Commodore 64.
Perhaps the best game released on the Commodore 64, Turrican has smashing graphics, an amazing soundtrack, and playability in spades. I pored over screenshots of the game in Zzap!64 magazine, saved my pocket money, and bought a copy from WHSmith.
We were away from home at the time, so I didn’t actually get to play it for a week.
But when I did… boy, I remember every inch of this game, to this day. A superb shooter with a bunch of stunning weapons.
Perhaps the best space shooter of the 8-bit era, Uridium lets you pilot a tiny space fighter to take on an armada of larger ships. They all have their own fighters that you must dispatch, before landing, planting a bomb, and then escaping.
It was several years of owning the game before I could even manage to land, so I probably didn’t make the most of Uridium. But as a shooter it was a lot of fun, and the space fighter’s spins and turns are some of the best animations on the C64.
3. Seabase Delta
The only text adventure game in this list, Seabase Delta is a pun-laden title that left me frustrated and cross when it turned out it had a map bug that meant progress was impossible.
I spent wat seemed like months on this game, charting the map, searching corridors, and trying to establish where the crew of the seabase were. It never came to fruition, but I loved the world that was created in the game.
4. Raid on Bungling Bay
This is not a well-known game, but it was designed by Will Wright who later devised The Sims. It’s an arcade military strategy title with a top-down view, putting you in control of a helicopter tasked with bombing the enemy’s factories and other facilities.
Starting pretty easy, the game increases in difficulty as you log your successes, with the enemy becoming increasinly aggressive. It’s a great game, one I was sadly never able to complete.
5. Licence to Kill
Easily the best of the James Bond games released on the Commodore 64, this was a top-down adventure based on the 1989 movie starring Timothy Dalton. I spent a lot of time on this, made it to the final level, and pretty sure I should have beaten it, but somehow that never happened.
Was there a bug in Licence to Kill? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Great fun, though, a title that merges shooting with driving and flying.
Of course, I have so many more favourite video games than this bunch. But for a kid growing up in the 1980s with no more than a Commodore 64, these are they ones that I enjoyed the most.
If you enjoy retro games, please head over to www.gamingretro.co.uk for regular news on the topic, and some reviews and guides, too.