Waypoint Weeklies: Games Only You Remember

When you’re a kid, the way you play games is constrained by a lot of things outside of your control. Lack of access means its tough to keep up with all the new games. At the same time, you’re also freer to enjoy the games you can get your hands on. Being free of (or even uninterested in) the zeitgeist gives you more time to find the weird stuff!

So, this week we’re asking what game do you feel like only you remember? Is a strange flash game made by a solo developer? Did you spend countless hours with your friends in a cool Minecraft mod? Was there a hidden gem in one of those CD compilations they sold at the front of grocery stores? Let us know below!

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I thought C&C Renegade was one of these until I learned about the RenegadeX fan remake.

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Oof, so many flash games, but I think most were pretty popular with the flash gaming crowd. Sword and Sandles and Age of War were particular favorites. Tried to play some of them semi-recently.

I also played a lot of licensed games, but those probably were actually pretty popular. Nicktoons: Battle for Volcano Island, anyone? Apparently that game isn’t great, but as a child I liked it a lot. Probably one of the first games I beat.

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This absolute gem of a NES RPG. It got so many things right that crpg’s didn’t catch up until the late PS era, had some reasonably positive characterization of middle eastern myth (I mean, it also had some fairly poor bits, but it was trying). I think I played it at least 3 times. (one for myself, and twice helping my younger sisters through it).

But I’ve never met anyone else who remembers it.

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I’m going with Stunts, an early 90s racing simulator that my dad had. I used to play this game before I even knew how to read, so I can’t say I knew what I was doing or if I played it correctly. Really I loved the racetrack builder part, where you had this map view where you could fill the world up with all kinds of scenery and wacky turns, like loops and stuff. Fun time, looks downright Flinstonian thirty years later.

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This game made me absolutely fascinated with loops and corkscrews and I never forgave any driving game afterward that failed to include them. Absolute gem.

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Hardwar from 1998. Basically Elite but with ‘moths’, solar-powered ships flying around the craters of Titan. The expected blend of trading, ship-to-ship combat, bounty hunting and so on. The main story used FMV cutscenes (for some reason, I still strongly remember mission briefings from ‘Psycho Bob’, a weapons dealer who has you acquiring nuclear weapons for… well, I forget that part).

I’ve essentially never seen anyone else reference it, though I did learn a few years ago that even after the dev or publisher (or both) folded one of the original designers continued releasing patches for fans. I remember it appearing in print magazines around the time but I don’t know what the contemporary reception was. Looking it up again now, I was surprised to learn the devs, Software Refinery, were based in Leeds, the UK city where I now live.

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Battle Bugs, its an early turn based strategy game

Very of the era soundtrack as well Battle Bugs OST - Battle Theme E - YouTube

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God, I miss level editors being a somewhat normal feature in video games.

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It’s not super obscure but I played the demo of SoulTrap over and over, to the point I can still more or less conjure back the ‘clown-ish’ soundtrack of the demo in my mind. This is a mix of 3D platformer and shooter and well over 25 years later, I have no recollection of the original plot but aparently “it centres on Malcolm West, an executive director who has suffered nightmares since childhood. The nightmares have now come back even worse and the only way to defeat his phobias is to fight his way through obstacles and mazes defeating various enemies to win back his soul.” I guess it was kinda ambitious for a 1996 game but the game mostly amounted to trying and failing to jump over bizarre floating platforms and really weird enemies.

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The original packaging is probably the most memorable thing about it, with the protagonist trapped inside a plastic box:

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Toy Commander is a game only me, my brother, and ex childhood friends knew of I feel. This was a Dreamcast ass Dreamcast game about toy vehicles and the celebration of the scenarios you would come up with in your head about how you should be playing with your toys that day. Was entirely mission based with replayability being trying to get better times. Game was incredibly imaginative and forgiving in mechanics for the sake of fun. Where as other games would say if you crashed your plane full speed into the wall your plane would be destroyed Toy Commander would just let you bounce off of it.

The missions were varried and had a lot of thought put into them. My favorite for example was one called Chuck Run Amok which had a Godzilla knockoff in a bunny outfit rampaging through a toy town in a bedroom and you had a helicopter and a truck that you needed to use to kill him at which point he deflated and flew around the room before exploding. But my follow up was a labyrinth challenge where your car really needed to use the restroom and the only way to do this was to drive it off a ramp into a toilet bowl but in order to do that you had to figure out said labyrinth which involved a series of buttons that you needed to hit to open up some gates. If you took too long your car would have an accident and just leak a huge puddle of oil. Some missions would feel massive such as the one that took place in the garage where UFOs have kidnapped all of your blocky peg looking people and are performing experiments on them. You had to use your combat vehicles to break in and kill the alien toys before sending in a rescue vehicle to pick them up and return to your base.

Just a lot of really incredibly imaginative scenarios and all around love letter to being a kid and coming up with absurd situations for your toys when you were 8.

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I had a demo disc with Toy Commander on it that I played over and over. By the time I had the money to buy a full copy the Dreamcast had died and I could not find it anywhere. I should see if I can get a copy now, it was such a cool game!

So, it’s Psychonauts?

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Did anyone else play Clan Lords? It was a tiny mac only MMO that I only played because a friend’s stepdad knew the developers.

I only played 30 mins of Psychonauts back in the day but you might not be entirely wrong lol

I remember thinking this game was alright but looking back at these screenshots and the gameplay, it now just strikes me as 1) a fake video game some movie/tv character is playing in the background or 2) what the idea of a video game looked like at the time to someone who never actually seen one, with the guy jumping on some garish and nonsensical platforms while shooting a gun for some reason.

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Deep down I know people remember this game but it certainly feels like I’m the only one that remembers The Legend of Dragoon.

I played tons of Toy Commander on Dreamcast, loved that game

Unreal. Nope, not that Unreal, the 1990 Amiga one…

I played a lot of it on our first PC and never got far into it, but for some reason it’s always been lodged in my memory. The dragon parts were pretty cool.

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Ubi space Soft. Incredible.

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