Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Top 10 Best Mini Golf Games

The first mention of modern miniature golf was in The Illustrated London News (June 8th, 1912) where it was referred to as Gofstacle: at once transforming Golf from a sport of mild privilege overrun by leaden headed pragmatists to a preposterous world of fantasy that requires only one club, numerous windmills, dinosaurs and barely an acre of space. If you ask me it was a huge improvement (like adding milk to tea) and the onerous slog that was once golf lost it's pretensions and became laugh-a-minute fun. In this digital age mini golf games abound, having transformed the venerable sport yet again (requiring even less space, patience and skill) and appearing in crude form on some of the earliest Pong hybrid consoles. They've always been a favourite genre amongst tea-break gamers but a select few have rightfully been elevated to classics. This list is my personal ranking in order of pedigree from Pebble Beach to the exalted shores of the Royal and Ancient. I've played many but this is by no means a comprehensive list and should act only as encouragement to other digital mini golfers to venture forth and find their favourite front nine.


10: Putt & Putter - SEGA Gamegear / SEGA Master System

Putt & Putter. Three little words. "You can't even say them you emotionally stunted bastard." However, one additional word beginning with P would make its description complete. 'Pinball'. Yes! Bumpers, switches, warp zones and other pinball contrivances are located creatively throughout the game. It's interesting to note that pinball is one of the most common digital mini golf themes: appearing to various extents in many games. Offering reasonable depth, a satisfying difficulty curve and an intuitive control system - this is mini golf game polished to a sheen. P&P was released for Game Gear in 1991 and again for Master System in 1992. Despite getting a lukewarm reception upon release both versions are respectively the best mini golf experiences on these systems and hold-up well today.

One from each nostril.

9: Mario Golf - Nintendo 64

Everyone knows Mario Golf 64 is a bona fide classic, with courses so phantasmagorical as to qualify as crazy, but less appreciated is its built-in mini golf simulator. It utilised a somewhat unimaginative alpha-numeric course design that presents a serious putting simulator with added edutainment value. Despite the perfunctory course design the putting system in Mario Golf is so well implemented that gameplay in these simplistic courses is greatly amplified: making for some truly rewarding multiplayer battles. The courses can also be set to fast or slow greens which is a nice touch. Overall a great game for honing your putting skills whilst mastering the alphabet.

Now I know my ABC's.

YouTube playthrough of the front 9.
Learn to count with Sesame Street.
Download from Emuparadise.

8: Wonderputt - iOS / Web

Wonderputt presents a beautifully compact golfing universe: containing everything from ancient megaliths and giant squid to submarines and space ships. The entire history of mankind played-out by means of mini golf. Thematically this is a tour-de-force: the BBC Civilisation of mini-golf games if you will. Play is solid and rewarding but slightly restricted by the compactness of the golfing domain. Nevertheless few golf games offer the variety, polish and constant thrill of discovery as Wonderputt.

That lily could not support the bulk of Ian Woosnam.

7: Gopher Golf - Apple II

Every golfers nemesis, the gopher, makes his unwanted presence felt in this shareware classic from 1989. The ingenious groundsman has decided to forsake golf with its immaculate lawns and opt for mini golf - perverting the gophers dark intentions - making his former hazards a desirable obstacle. I would like to believe this game was loosely based on the film Caddyshack. First released for the Apple II, Gopher Golf is a true pioneer of the genre. A perfectly realised simulator with many classic mini golf features and the added zest of a level editor. It seems poetically satisfying that golfer and gopher are such similar words. Gofer Golph anyone?

Bill Murray confronts a gopher.

Download from Macintosh Garden.
Watch the Best of Caddyshack!
Bob Mancarella's followup game Goofy Golf Deluxe.

6: O.B. Club - SNES Sattelaview

A richly detailed, competitive mini golf experience with a profusion of characters, course designs and gameplay not typical of the genre. The twist here is a croquet like ability to thwack your opponents ball out of bounds (OB) by bumping into it. OB Club was only available in Japan on the SNES through its Sattelaview broadcast service and as such was mired in obscurity for many moons. Thanks to the modern emulation scene this game is now playable and eminently worth your time.

Playing cautiously from out behind the emmental she spots a weener.

Passionate review from RVGFanatic.
Satellablog a resource for everything Satellaview.
Play English patched version online.

5: Kirby's Dream Course - SNES

Everyone's most loved / detested pink globular hoover is back to drizzle joy and star dust on the sad face of golf. With a rare whimsy in his eye Kirby invites you to his Dream Course - golf re-imagined by a marshmallow. Not surprisingly it's a vast improvement and here Kirby gallantly plays the role of the ball himself: propelling his bulk around strange daemon infested landscapes: there are even boss fights. Imaginatively designed and offering a welcome change of pace for jaded mini putters this is a deep and enjoyable offering from that loathsome puff.

If you were a blob would you play golf with yourself?

A potted history of Kirby games.
Download from Edge Emulation.
A remarkably bogus psychological evaluation of the colour pink.

4: Will Harvey's Zany Golf - Amiga / SEGA Mega Drive / Atari ST / DOS / Apple II

When crazy just isn't crazy enough it's time to go 'next level'. Hence, Zany Golf. The first hole starts out mundanely enough with the tried and tested windmill. Little does the player realise what's in store: an exponential curve of madness. Zany rating is officially reached by hole two which features a hovering burger that must be kept aloft by rapid mouse clicks. Further on we discover faeries, magic carpets and the logical conclusion of the pinball trope: until we reach the final outrageous level that seems more like Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday than a typical afternoons golf. There are many versions; with the Mega Drive offering the most polish but sadly lacking the secret hole and mouse control. The Amiga version offers a decent mix of graphics and control mechanism but the Apple II version just seems to have that certain je ne sais quoi. The Will Harvey in question also ported Marble Madness to the Megadrive and designed the excellent Music Construction Set for EA.

Simply touch the fairy then approach the burger.

3: Hole In One Miniature Golf - DOS / Amiga

If the last game was zany where is there left to go? I'll tell you. Directly into worlds of total physical and thematic abstraction. Ever played golf on the event horizon of a black hole? Ever played golf through the legs of majorettes under the shadow of a colossal floating mouse? Ever sunk a ball by smashing it off a cat's jaw? Some may see these levels as crude and the ball physics as primitive but where this game shines is in its total disregard for all tablets of stone. Gone are the primitive tropes of mini golf and even the laws of physics and in their place a bizarro realm where sometimes the only thing reminding you of golf is your checkered trousers.

Treasure of the Sierra Madre meets Mini Golf.

2: Minigolf Maniacs - Windows XP

What happens when you have played a hundred mini golf games and still want more? Well you should probably play this. A mini golf masterpiece salvaged from the scrap heap by a coterie of die-hard enthusiasts. When Sierra started going-under this was one of the first projects to be canned, but fortunately they'd already done enough to allow modders to complete the developers intended vision. And what was their vision? Well more mini golf than you could shake a stick at, all lovingly rendered in 3D, and played by a pack of wild animals. With a variety of level design, modes of play and sheer amount of content that elevates it far above the pack.

A canine on a dogleg.

1: Fuzzy's World of Miniature Space Golf - DOS

Fuzzy's World of Miniature Space Golf excels on every level. Of course reinterpreting any sport in a sci-fi context is a recipe for improvement but Fuzzy's exceeds all expectations. The marriage of sci-fi trappings such as laser beams, hover boards, teleportation and meteor strikes with mini golf is so natural you would think the game had originated in the 23rd century. Not forcibly supposited with gimmicky features like so many lesser games. The course design is elegant with just the right obstacle to clutter ratio and the potential for creative stroke play is enormous. The music is a perfect blend of screwball chip-tunes and atmospheric space melodies. Every hole is satisfying. Fuzzy's is not only the greatest mini golf game but a contender for the best alternative sports game of all time: ranking comfortably alongside Shufflepuck Cafe.

These days, the title says it all.


Well, it's been quite a journey. It's amazing how many artistic styles, locations, traps and obstacles are represented in the world of digital mini golf: at times transforming that most tedious of sports into something unrecognisable. Now all that remains is to severe all remaining links with golf; get rid of that last club (perhaps replace it with a gun), replace the ball with a bullet, ignore the stupid hole in the ground and aim for a monster. Could DOOM be the greatest mini golf game of all time? Have we all been playing mini golf our whole lives and not realised it? It's a mind bending twist worthy of the worst Twilight Zone episode never made. And with that I'll see you at the 19th hole, adieu!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

EPOCH Electrotennis

Look on my Pong, ye Mighty, and despair!

This hulking orange plank was the first video game designed and produced in Japan, setting in motion a cultural realignment, that even in 2016 still hasn't peaked. Electrotennis was undoubtedly a bold entrance into the world of video games for the Japanese and its designer Epoch. Staying true to the cliche of import and improve, this console dominates its puny gaijin brethren through technological wizardry and sheer audacity of design. When compared side by side with other Pong clones they adopt a rather emaciated, dishevelled look: lacking in belief, suddenly unsure of themselves, mere husks of Pongs! Indeed only the original Magnavox and a select few Pongs can rival it for magnificence.

Contrast with these execrable Pong runts.

Not content to out-bling the opposition Epoch jumped ahead of the game by roughly ten years and made the Electrotennis the worlds first fully wireless gaming console. Just plonk down the antenna, shove in some batteries and you needn't give a tuppeny fart for the inconvenience of a wire. The final coup de grace of the design process was to make the scoring system analogue: while other consoles strained to incorporate this feature into their limited chips, Epoch made their console retro before the term in computer gaming circles even existed.

Limited edition console.

Encyclopedic Pong Resource
A Brief History of Early Japanese Video Games
The Pong Story
Electrotennis Simulator

Despite these mouthwatering looks and technological innovations; when it comes to gameplay the Electrotennis is just another utterly plebeian Pong rip-off. But what a rip-off.

Monday, 14 April 2014

John Conway's Game of Life: PC / Mac

Can a universe of meaningful complexity emerge from a set of simple rules? In 1970 a cellular automaton caused quite a stir and appeared to lend support to this argument.

Beginning with a simple configuration of your choosing and by letting the rules run their course in an iterative sequence. A bewildering array of forms emerge: explosions, contusions, movements, self-replication, predators, prey, oscillations, stasis; to quote Darwin, 'endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful'.

What's more, the implications of any given configuration over a certain number can not be plotted with complete mathematical certainty. The Game of Life is insoluble. And it is only one of hundreds of similar cellular automaton programs that can create their own universes with boundaries infinite. What can be learned from these phenomena? In one sense the proliferation of rule-sets for these games is itself a Game of Life. Some spawn fascinating universes such as John Conway's while others amount to little or nothing.

It was proved at great length that the Life Universe could function as a universal computer or Turing Machine. This along with its production of emergent, unpredictable phenomena gave it a certain mystique. I am unsure of the significance of this, but it certainly raises interesting questions. Q. What is a game? A. Doesn't matter. Q. Is life, just a sequence of logical operations? A. No. Q. Isn't the Game of Life just a logical system, and doesn't it only tell us about the nature of other logical systems. A. I would say, yes. Q. Is the universe a logical system? A. No. Q. Is the Game of Life truly infinite? A. No. Q. What constitutes emergence? Q. To what extent can entropy be reversed? Q. What is the limit of complexity? Q. Where can I download Game of Thrones Season 4? Q. What answer remains satisfactory while alien to the word 'cause'?

Overview at The Wonders of Math
Excellent Game of Life program for PC and Mac
The Recursive Universe. A seminal book dealing with The Game of Life, entropy and modern physics.
The Life Lexicon. A taxonomic database of life objects.
Numberphile: John Conway explains why life is overhyped.
Breaking News in 'The Life Universe'

Whether you think life, the universe and everything is merely a sequence of logical operations or whether Game of Life and its philosophy is just naive computer science tosh: mucking about with the program is certainly diverting. And when someone next enters your foul smelling boudoir and asks irascibly "WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STOP PLAYING THOSE COMPUTER GAMES AND GET A LIFE?!" you can respond "WHEN I CREATE A LIFE BY PLAYING THIS COMPUTER GAME - NOW LEAVE MY BOUDOIR!!!"

Friday, 9 November 2012

Wet Attack: The Empire Cums Back - PC

This game is so superior to Sim-City and its uptight, educational and starch collared cronies I hardly know where to start. Your goal: to create and manage an intergalactic brothel even Barbarella would blush at. Your resources: a stolen space jalopy known simply as The Tit. Your team: a foxy ensemble of female mechanics - who, frustrated by the sterility of space - must be kept amused! For Lula and her franchise, things were simply not salacious enough here on Earth, so naturally there was nothing for it but to up-shop and ejaculate into the cosmos: in search of new alien members and an array of farcical sexual experiences.

    A female Colossus of Rhodes . . . and why not?

   The masterpiece Norman Foster wished he built. Tits are evident at every
   structural level, from the outline of the building to individual door handles:
   constantly emerging like some randy fractal.
    I trust there's a nearby Sim Hospital with functioning STD clinic.

This was an earnestly ambitious game - with numerous modes yet one overarching objective - much like life. One moment you're engaged in Elite style battles against hardened space pirates, then thrust into a Monkey Island style point n' click adventure, then supposited into Sim Hospitalesque brothel management and finally an oral sex simulator. If combined with Battlecrusier 3000AD this could have been the space faring epic all previous attempts have been mere allusions towards. Like Battlecruiser, Wet Attack is blighted by minor errors, though these are trivial when compared to the towering vision that inspired them: nothing less than mankind's future in the cosmos; economical, political and sexual.

Looking back over the last twenty years of computer gaming, we are confronted with a frightfully barren, unromantic, unerotic Mordor of a landscape: so much for software as an artform. In fact the lack of sexual content is remarkable. Tetris you can perhaps forgive but in the case of many RPG's (games expected to push the boundaries of character development and immersion) the lack of sex seems almost pathological. Even in this day of inane X-box Halo pap catered to the FHM crowd there's hardly a sexual encounter on display, and where it rarely surfaces (GTA perhaps) it's as if it has been coded by a barely pubescent g-rap fan. System Shock II, again, I can forgive since there was not another human being in the game (but ctrl-F12 . . . couldn't this have been an onanistic short-cut?) It seems the onus is on games like Wet Attack: The Empire Cums Back to push things a little too far in order to redress this unusual imbalance, one not evident in any other medium.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Top 10 Best Cyberpunk Games

The altogether post-modern phenomenon of cyberpunk is defined by these key concepts; its infatuation with technology, its occurrence in a dystopian future (or at least some bleak parallel universe) and its ironic perspective; embodied by the central protagonist . . . your typical anti-hero. Rising to prominence in the 1980's and heavily influencing the movies and science fiction literature of that period: it became an established counter-culture movement. It was of course during this time that computer games were becoming an established form of entertainment: you could say the two grew up together. It is then no surprise that the general ideas, themes and situations suggested by cyberpunk found arguably their most relevant host in the technologically fuelled and suitably ironic medium of computer games. 


10: Syndicate Wars - PC / Playstation

Syndicate Wars - essentially a real-time squad based strategy game - presents a highly evocative urban dystopia; where thugs, brain addled junkers, religious zealots and amoral law enforcers all prowl the streets in a desperate power struggle for the hearts, minds and credits of  a soma-sodden public. Pulling the strings are the ominous Syndicates - with the money to invest in superhuman cybernetically enhanced agents - tools to carry out their often unscrupulous objectives. You control a crack squad of these agents and must manage their affairs as they traverse the major cities of Earth in a bid to quash the Church of the New Epoch (or visa-versa). Not relying purely on RTS the game offers a research tree, resource management, engrossing geo-political plot and a non linear approach to completing missions . . . as well as some truly mind-boggling weaponry. A cyberpunk classic in every sense (the original game Syndicate is also highly recommended).

When just one Robocop just isn't enough!
9: Snatcher - Mega CD

Something of a paean to the film Blade Runner, Snatcher manages to articulate what is a very similar story in a manner that is both fresh and immensely enjoyable. Play switches from standard point and click adventure to Virtual Cop style shoot outs (a Menasor light gun is necessary to extract the complete experience), which certainly helps maintain a sense of urgency (unsurprisingly rare in point-and click-adventures). The graphics and characters are in the anime style of the late 1980's, reminiscent of cyberpunk shows such as Bubblegum Crisis and Cybercity OEDO 808. Expertly developed by Hideo Kojima, who would later continue his cyberpunk trend with hugely successful Metal Gear Solid, this game is also noticeable for one of the best computer game soundtracks of the era. There is a spiritual successor (of sorts) entitled Policenauts for the Sega Saturn which riffs from the film Lethal Weapon (not such illustrious source material) and maintains a distinct tech-noir feel.

Has it comes to this? Nights out in fantasy bars with Sparkster the Possum?!
8: Shadowrun - SNES

Although something of a lightweight thematically this action RPG, based on the ever popular FASA pen and paper campaign setting, is certainly fun. Not concerned with just your typical cyberpunk fare: Shadowrun lumps in the whole of Tolkien as well. Ancient dragons are in charge of conglomerates and elves seem to make great computer hackers. You start off as your typical RPG amnesiac who needs to get his life back together; with nothing better to do you soon become a runner, hacking his way through cyberspace and failing that, blasting your way through a sprawling megalopolis in search of your lost identity. There was a game of the same name on the Megadrive which is somewhat truer to the original role playing system and offers a more substantial RPG experience; I have been meaning to play it for a while but have never found the time; although deep I would be surprised if it was as enjoyable as this.

As my Gran always said "just run it under a cold tap".

Epic Article at Hardcore Gaming 101
Shrine at RPG Classics
Download from Edge Emulation
Compilation of FASA Publications

7: I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream - PC / Mac

In what is usually a child friendly genre there are few point-and-click adventures which deal with such dolorous subject matter: albeit not in any great depth. Based on a short story by Harlen Ellison (who plays the main vocal role in a feat of supreme hamminess), the plot revolves around the rogue A.I theme (a la Cyberdyne, Tron et al) but this time it succeeds in its mission and exterminates all human life (one may ask: "where the hell was Arnie?"): save for five emotionally complicated individuals. These last vestiges of humanity are taken beneath the Earth to the nexus of the artificial intelligence and subjected to 109 years of physical and psychological torture. Eventually the ennui plagued mainframe tells them of a way to end this suffering: by each completing a simple test of character . . . and so our story begins. There are five quests and each is unique to the protagonist; each one a voyage of self overcoming, forcing the survivors to face their own deepest fears or forever live in torment. This is a reasonably-intelligent and relentlessly-gloomy adventure that leaves an indelible impression long after it has been completed.

It might not look it, but this is probably the least bleak screenshot in the game.

The Short Story - Available Online

6: Neuromancer - PC / Mac / Amiga

Based on the quintessential cyberpunk novel by William H. Gibson, Neuromancer is a graphical adventure in which you play the role of an everyday sort'a hacker who unwittingly uncovers the overtures to a sinister cyberplot. The game mechanics are smooth, the locations evocative and the juxtaposition between the real world and cyberspace has never been bettered. The future cityscapes are superbly detailed with; information, tip-offs, hints, clues and leads coming at you in abundance. With no electronic journal or notepad to keep track of them - keeping your own memos become essential (making the detective work seem all the more satisfying). Garnishing the cake is a soundtrack by DEVO - a band ideally at home in a 1980's interpretation of the future. Of all the games on this list Neuromancer is arguably the truest conceptually to the cyberpunk genre.

I remember when Body Shop used to sell loofahs and bath oils . . .
5: Beneath a Steel Sky - PC / Amiga

This is another classic of the point-and-click genre. The eponymous steel skies are in fact the roofs of self contained cities under which the majority of the human population is crammed. Serving an uber-totalitarian robot master-brain, life beneath a steel sky is unsurprisingly gloomy. Luckily your character, Robert Foster, grew up in the wastelands (colloquially known as the Gap) outside of the states civilizing influence. At the games onset you are abducted by the military and sent back to a life in the city; however your flight is hijacked by an unknown terrorist group and lo much adventuring ensues. What is essentially a typical cyberpunk / dystopian setting is made more engaging by the superb interface, good sense of humour (provided mostly by his sardonic robot sidekick Joey) and all round excellent scripting, pacing and plot.

In the year 3000 they finally decided to remake Frasier.

Download the ScummVM Version
Detailed Walkthough
Dedicated Page at Abandonia
Writer Dave Gibbons' Website

4: A Mind Forever Voyaging - PC / Mac / Amiga

The antechapel where the statue stood
Of Newton with his prism and silent face,
The marble index of a mind for ever
Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.
(Book III, The Prelude, William Wordsworth)

Perhaps Infocoms finest text adventure, AMFV presents a techno-political chiller as seen through the PRISM of the worlds first sentient computer. Circa 2031, the United States is a technocratic republican hell-hole where teens are dying of over-stimulation and nuclear weapons the size of a deck of playing cards are making things just a little unstable. Your role as PRISM (aka Perry Simm) is to gather local data for an experimental political simulation: where outmoded cold-war values are to be replaced with new and improved cold-war values. Your research takes place in the small town of Rockvil, South Dakota, where the wealth of data uncovered as you explore town is used to extrapolate ever more sinister totalitarian futures with the aid of your powerful on-board CPU. As with most Infocom adventures a trove of feelies were included with the original game (advertisements, a local Rockvil publication, a corporate pen etc): an experience too bloated for the miserly, famished, DVD cases of today. Superbly written, realised and produced: A Mind Forever Voyaging achieves in three megabytes what few games can achieve in three thousand.

>Insert< Generic joke about graphics.

Download from Abandonia
Full Short Story and More at The Infocom Gallery
Excellent Walkthrough
Interview with Writer Steve Meretzky

3: System Shock - PC

While most ninnies were happily careening their way through hordes of Martian daemons in Doom, an elite few dined at an inconceivably richer table (as a flee bitten roadside burger-bar is to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe). These lucky few were amongst the first to play System Shock by Looking Glass Studios a game light-years ahead of its time. Containing a superabundance of features (for what the less alert might deem a shoot'em'up) it transcended the genre in a myriad directions : improving combat dynamics, plot construction, atmosphere, interface and more besides - its only comparison was the inordinately brilliant Ultima Underworld - also developed by LGS. Indeed System Shock plays much like a cybperpunk version of UU: a game where interface and a deeply realised game-world promote a higher level of immersion. Imprisoned aboard a space-station and engaged in a brutal battle of wills, wits and resources against the megalomaniacal A.I. Shodan, System Shock offered an experience that has become the stuff of computer game legend. A contender for the greatest of all time, Shock's legacy is such, that without it, the only two games to rate (marginally) higher on this list would not exist.

In this brave new future the etiolated programmer look is in vogue.

System Shock Fansite Hub
Dowload from Abandonia
System Shock Intro 
System Shock Music Collection 

2: Deus Ex - PC

A roller-coaster of a first-person action RPG containing; gadgets, weapons, cybernetic enhancements, plot twists, mega-corporations in bed with technocratic fundamentalists and characters in trench-coats: on top of  which is garnished sharply written dialogue and a non-linear gameworld oozing with cyberpunk detail: basically - its got it all. Though implementing a linear mission based structure, the levels or zones allow for extensive exploration and through the sheer variety of weapons, upgrades and abilities many different styles of play are encouraged. During the first mission you can opt to duke it out with guards at the main entrance, simply hack through their security systems or use your imagination to find alternative ways to enter the building; a free-form approach to gameplay that echoes throughout. Deus Ex has cyberpunk written all over it (OK, something of an emphasis on the cyber) yet asserts itself with such panache that fans of all genres (no matter how low-tech) owe it to themselves to play this masterpiece.

I wonder if she looks good without mods . . . 

Planet Deus Ex
Visual Walkthrough 
Download from SnesOrama 
Article at Cyberpunk Review 

1: System Shock 2 - PC

Ranking amongst the very finest computer games ever made, System Shock 2 is still heralding the future of the  medium over ten years after its initial release. Alone and in constant danger, on board a vast starship trillions of miles from Earth, you alone must thwart the sinister machinations of both a maniacal rogue artificial intelligence and an unknown alien consciousness; starting out with nothing more than a wrench. You wake to find the ship empty of human life and in a disturbing series of pre-recorded messages, journals and psychokinetic emanations (ghosts), slowly the dismal fate of your crewmates are revealed. Never in any other game has fear been made so palpable, never has the desire to survive transcended into virtual reality so distinctly. Played on the hardest difficulty setting (highly recommended) every bullet, every skill point and every ounce of cunning must be used to navigate the tortuous corridors of your interstellar prison. The groans, ominous mantras and the cold whirr of defence turrets keeps you transfixed to the edge of your seat; the use of sound has never been used to such powerful effect. This is deep and involving on a level that almost no other game can match; employing the full use of an extensive range of weaponry, abundant psychic powers, skills, research trees, exotic cybernetic upgrades and gadgets. Ultimately System Shock 2 combines the depth and involvement of the best computer RPG's with the instant immersiveness typical of games from other genres. Merely describing the mechanics does not do this landmark title justice; the complete experience is one that will live on forever in video game legend. System Shock 2 gives a taste, just a taste, of what computer games could be. There can be no greater accolade.

Cyborgs in the night, exchanging glances . . .


Of the many excellent titles that didn't make it, here are some of the best that I've played through; Anachronox, Uplink, Burn:Cycle, BioForge, Blade Runner and Cyber Mage. In compiling this list I've realized that though countless hundreds of games explore facets of the cyberpunk environment, characters, technology and to some extent ethos, very few embody the spirit of cyberpunk directly. Perhaps this lack of pure cyberpunk games can be linked to the computer game medium itself; after all when engrossed in an interactive electronic art form, controlled by an artificial intelligence, with the possibility of people from all over the world beamed through cyberspace and appearing as characters on your screen, the cyberpunk setting doesn't seem such a necessary place to visit. Whatever the reason; the titles that define cyberpunk as a gaming genre are amongst the most engrossing, relevant and enjoyable I've ever played. Thanks for taking a cursory glance at this list - we may meet again somewhere in cyberspace - now it is late and I must be logging off . . .