The Commodore 64 (C64) was a game-changing computer and gaming system that revolutionized how we played and enjoyed video games over the past 40 years. Here are a few games that changed the gaming world and put the C64 on the map.
Mychess II was arguably one of the best-made games of the time. Released in 1984, you could play against another person or against the computer, which had many strategies to beat you. Not only did the game demonstrate the power of early AI, but being able to replay particular moves or historic games made it the go-to for chess and strategy fanatics. It was a vital cog in the evolution of gaming and how computers were used as opponents.
Zak McKracken & the Alien Mindbenders
Released in 1988 by Lucasfilms Games, Zak McKracken & the Alien Mindbenders is regarded as one of the best adventure games ever. With massive success in Europe, particularly Germany, the game still exists today. While the game limits itself in ways it doesn’t need to, many still believe that the strong story, action, and adventure-filled gameplay was far ahead of its time, cementing itself in the genre and as a benchmark for games to come.
While many may think Bridge is a traditional game reserved for their grandparents, back in the 80s, it was one of the most-played C64 games around. This simple, highly pixelated game tests your bridge skills against a friend or the computer. Bridgemaster is similar to chess in that it brought famous card games to the computer and used the computer to play competitive games where victory was never guaranteed.
Sid Meier’s Pirates! is another legendary game for the C64 and the vast range of Sid Meier’s titles. Pirates! is set in the Caribbean, and you can take on the role of a pirate, privateer, or pirate hunter in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. This was one of the first games that combined terrific graphics for the time, and the adventure story style was many associated with earlier point-and-click titles.
An incredible title by Lucasfilm Games, Maniac Mansion, is a 1987 adventure game that sees you take control of the protagonist trying to rescue his girlfriend from the clutches of a mad scientist whose mind has been taken over by a sentient meteor. The game received massive acclaim on the first day it was released. It was praised for its high-quality graphics, brilliant story, and character development and has been named as the inspiration for many adventure titles that followed.
Turican II: The Final Fight
Turican II is an intriguing title, as it didn’t receive the best reviews from critics but quickly gained a cult following. It was part of a more extensive Turican series and was also ported to the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, a sign of its popularity. While it missed a few aspects, it was a delightful action/adventure game still played and spoken about today.
Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic
Another game that received a mixed bag of reviews but was generally loved by the gaming community is Sentinal Worlds I: Future Magic. Set in the year 2995, you take on the role of a team leader, taking their fellow troops into the abyss of space to stop raiders from destroying their solar system. The game was criticized for being a bit slow and having clunky AI, but the gameplay and graphics received tons of praise, with one reviewer stating that the game had the best EGA graphics they had ever seen.
Red Storm Rising
Dubbed a “must” for Tom Clancy and war simulation game lovers at the time, Red Storm Rising is based on the Clancy book of the same name. You play as captain of an SSN submarine as you control it through the waters, completing missions and tasks. The game received praise for its realism but was also good at the parts that deviated from this without breaking the barrier. It was immersive, enjoyable, and another game that set the tone for future war simulators.
Set in a post-nuclear, apocalyptic world, Wasteland is seen by many as a predecessor to similar, modern games such as the Fallout series. The game shows you and your company trying to survive this wasteland by gathering supplies and defeating enemies. The game was a massive success commercially and received critical acclaim from across the board. It was the best survivor-style game of the time and set the tone for future titles.
The Commodore 64 and the games spoken about were a giant leap forward in gaming. Without them, it is hard to imagine where gaming would be; there’s a possibility some genres may not even exist.