VOGONS


Best CGA & Hercules monochrome games

Topic actions

Reply 120 of 140, by StefanGagne

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Wow. I mean... wow.

I found this thread randomly googling for good CGA games and wow, this forum is so far up my alley I should be charging rent! Thanks for the great game suggestions, everyone!

Are there any you’d recommend for excellent CGA artwork, specifically? Not down sampled from EGA pr ported from another system, but designed originally for CGA? I got a hankering for the light blue and magenta paradise of the 80s.

Reply 121 of 140, by OldCat

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
StefanGagne wrote on 2020-07-25, 22:53:

Wow. I mean... wow.

I found this thread randomly googling for good CGA games and wow, this forum is so far up my alley I should be charging rent! Thanks for the great game suggestions, everyone!

Thank you for the kind words!

StefanGagne wrote on 2020-07-25, 22:53:

Are there any you’d recommend for excellent CGA artwork, specifically? Not down sampled from EGA pr ported from another system, but designed originally for CGA? I got a hankering for the light blue and magenta paradise of the 80s.

I am not sure, CGA is not my area of expertise (that's why I started this thead, among other things), but I would first check this video to understand more about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niKblgZupOc Then I would check if I have composite output on my card - if so, I would give 8088 Corruption and 8088 Domnation demos a try and then proceed to check early “Ultima“ games, Ancient Art of War, Bard’s Tale, Maniac Mansion and Battle Chess, then Paku Paku and MagiDuck. If not and/or it's really cyan and magenta that you are after, then I would probably try Karateka by Jordan Mechner, Manhattan Dealers and other Silmarils games (Colorado, Starblade, Targhan, Metal Mutant, Crystals of Arborea), Mach 3, Life & Death, Electro Body (also know as Electroman), Heartlight PC and Robbo. As a cherry on the cake, I would try some modern PC games with faux-retro aesthetic and CGA palette: You Have To Win The Game (free), Homesickened (free), Retro City Rampage DX (not free, but usually fairly cheap). I would also check CGA Jam results on Itch, organised by Kronbits - most games are fairly simple and short, but cyan & magenta are featured a lot.

I hope this helps.

Last edited by OldCat on 2020-11-06, 09:00. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 122 of 140, by OldCat

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
cybrasty wrote on 2020-07-14, 02:29:

Love the small form factor of the Tandon - wish those were more common, because I would love to grab one of those somewhere down the line. Was that a Point of Sale, or an industrial computer? You seldom see PCs with those specs in such small form factor.

I'm not really sure, but I think it was equivalent of these small business PCs that you see in every corporation.

cybrasty wrote on 2020-07-14, 02:29:

I was already looking at the T3100 after researching laptops with an amber screens. They get pretty pricey on ebay, but I will keep looking. How is the plasma screen compared to the CRT? Does it have a similar "glow"?

It is slightly different than a CRT, more like LCD with quick response time, but you can still see the dots that make up the screen.

cybrasty wrote on 2020-07-14, 02:29:

Also, got your PM - can't respond as I am too new on the forum to have PM privileges, but you guessed right; I am originally from Poland, although I live in US now.

No worries! I would suggest where to buy T3100 is Poland, but in US you have got all the trift stores, goodwill, FB marketplace and Craigslist - you'll be able to get one infinitely faster than here.

Reply 123 of 140, by pan069

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

The first game I ever bought was called Storm. At the time we had an Olivetti M24 at home. So I played in CGA. You had to boot the machine from the game disk and you couldn't read the disk if you just booted into DOS. Some sort of copy protection:

storm_6.png

Storm: https://www.myabandonware.com/game/storm-96

Another game I purchased was called Arac. Again, played this in CGA on the M24:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arac_(video_game)

arac.jpg
Filename
arac.jpg
File size
32.47 KiB
Views
611 views
File license
Public domain

And there was Shard of String, which I also purchased. I spend a lot of time in this game, again on the M24:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shard_of_Spring
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGT4yD78e9g

Reply 124 of 140, by digger

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

🤣, it baffles me how there has been a resurgence of nostalgia for those ugly and depressing 4-color CGA palettes. 😂 I remember resenting them on my Dad's M24, especially once I had visited a schoolmate in his home and seen Space Quest ][ in its full lush 16-color glory as we played it on his Dad's PC. Yes, that EGA PC had scanlines in 320x200 mode and the M24 in our home did not, but I gladly would have chosen 16 color graphics with scanlines over 4 color graphics without.

I guess it's the games that were designed for 16-color graphics that looked particularly bad in CGA mode if they even supported it, since the CGA mode was often an afterthought in such games, with some kind of dithering algorithm to get it working without requiring artists to redesign the graphics for it. I guess I would have done the same thing, had I been a game developer or publisher back in the day.

I guess games that were designed for CGA (or at least optimized for it) looked considerably better, but even in those games those colors got boring quite quickly. Digger, Alley Cat and Frogger come to mind. Even though the rapid background color switching trick in Frogger that effectively gave it 5 simultaneous colors was pretty neat, it didn't work properly on the M24, since that routine was hard-coded for 4.77MHz computers.

Reply 125 of 140, by konc

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

That's true, games that were originally designed for cga do have their charm (if you have some kind of nostalgia about cga of course). Most games that were designed for EGA/VGA but also have a cga mode look like... I don't know, a cheap counterfeit. There are very few games that have original art for cga too, but they are the exception.

Reply 126 of 140, by digger

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
konc wrote on 2020-07-27, 17:41:

That's true, games that were originally designed for cga do have their charm (if you have some kind of nostalgia about cga of course). Most games that were designed for EGA/VGA but also have a cga mode look like... I don't know, a cheap counterfeit. There are very few games that have original art for cga too, but they are the exception.

Indeed. Funny how we both picked a screenshot of a prominent "native" CGA game as our avatar, by the way. And each with a different palette too. 😉

Reply 127 of 140, by chyron

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

@digger
Well, looks like at last i have good motivation for some screenshoting and image trimming ahead 😉
...sadly the only game with not "already taken" palette i remember right now is Popcorn - and red looked so much better than magenta 😉

PS Sopwith...never thought about it before - why did Entente plane bombs Entente tanks? Only tanks with now-classical look during WWI were Renault FTs 😜

Reply 128 of 140, by Dhigan

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
OldCat wrote on 2020-05-05, 11:11:
Dhigan wrote on 2020-03-21, 08:32:
https://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/169-the-ancient-art-of-war-dos-screenshot-title-screen.gif How could you guys not be ta […]
Show full quote

169-the-ancient-art-of-war-dos-screenshot-title-screen.gif
How could you guys not be talking about The Ancient Art of War in it's CGA glory ?

It's a lovely game, thank you for sharing. How does it look in monochrome? Can it be emulated on Hercules?

I used to play it with my monochrome CRT on my 286 with CGA/Hercules card. Was it in CGA or Hercules ? I can't remember. I think you can emulate.
https://www.mobygames.com/game/ancient- ... reenshots

Win 3.1 : HP Omnibook 425 + Toshiba T2130CT
Win 9x : Dell Latitude Cpx H500GT + Dell GX1
Win XP64 : Asus P5B Xeon

Reply 130 of 140, by digger

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
chyron wrote on 2020-08-08, 13:20:

@digger
Well, looks like at last i have good motivation for some screenshoting and image trimming ahead 😉
...sadly the only game with not "already taken" palette i remember right now is Popcorn - and red looked so much better than magenta 😉

Fun fact: the Olivetti M24 that I played games on as a kid back in the day didn't support the undocumented cyan/red/white CGA palette. Games that tried to use that palette would be shown on that machine in the cyan/magenta/white palette instead. I didn't even learn that the original IBM CGA card (and sufficiently compatible clones) supported such a palette, until much later.

It might be interesting to create a list of CGA games that made use of that palette (either the dark or the bright variant of it).

Reply 131 of 140, by konc

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
digger wrote on 2020-10-18, 23:31:

Fun fact: the Olivetti M24 that I played games on as a kid back in the day didn't support the undocumented cyan/red/white CGA palette. Games that tried to use that palette would be shown on that machine in the cyan/magenta/white palette instead. I didn't even learn that the original IBM CGA card (and sufficiently compatible clones) supported such a palette, until much later.

It might be interesting to create a list of CGA games that made use of that palette (either the dark or the bright variant of it).

That would be interesting and tricky at the same time: I know at least one game (King's Quest 4) that used mode 5 but substituted black for blue displaying cyan/red/white/blue. So apart from the standard undocumented mode 5 we should also look for the tweaked undocumented mode 5 😀 I've always found this mode easy on the eyes, probably because it uses less harsh colors (especially the low intensity one) and I played lots of Grand Prix Circuit back then which is probably the most famous game using it. Other games I know are Infograme's Prohibition, the breakout clone Popcorn and Life and Death. Games I think they do use it out of my head are Digdug, Spectrum Holobyte's Tetris and Falcon, Rush 'n Attack/Green Beret, Tower Toppler, Space Quest III, Hero's Quest, Alcatraz, Police Quest II, Avoid the Noid and some events in California Games but I might be very wrong for some of those

Reply 132 of 140, by VileR

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

The mode 5 palette was actually not that rare. It seemed particularly common in French games, for some reason (maybe because it's as close as CGA gets to the tricoleur? 🇫🇷) 😉
It was also seen in a lot of earlier games, say pre-1986 or so, which actually used mode 5 for its documented purpose - support for B&W TVs or composite monitors. In these cases the red (on RGB) wasn't really intended, but they're usually recognizable by the fact that it's an optional setting.

I should make my own list of games for this thread, especially since I seem to have inexplicably missed it until now.

But yeah, cyan-red-white is probably the most pleasing CGA color set in my book. The darker version of palette 0 wasn't bad either (green/red/brown) - gives a nice "earthy" set of colors, without that retina-scorching neon effect.

[ WEB ] - [ BLOG ] - [ TUBE ] - [ CODE ]

Reply 133 of 140, by digger

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Wow, there are even more games that supported that resolution than I thought! I remember playing many of them on the M24, aways thinking that cyan/magenta/white was how those games were supposed to look in CGA mode.

Also, M24 monitors didn't have the integrated circuitry to display brown, so that color would be shown as dark slightly-greenish mustard yellow instead.

But software-wise, the CGA compatibility on that thing was 100%. I never ran into a game with CGA support that wouldn't run.

At least the low-res 160x100 16-color mode used by games such Moonbugs and Paku Paku worked fine on that system. 🙂

Reply 134 of 140, by OldCat

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
VileR wrote on 2020-10-19, 12:11:

The mode 5 palette was actually not that rare. It seemed particularly common in French games, for some reason (maybe because it's as close as CGA gets to the tricoleur? 🇫🇷) 😉

Could you list a few? I have a soft spot for French games (Silmarils, Kalisto, Loriciels etc.).

VileR wrote on 2020-10-19, 12:11:

I should make my own list of games for this thread, especially since I seem to have inexplicably missed it until now.

Please do! All games welcome, but the main goal was the ones that look good on monochrome screens.

VileR wrote on 2020-10-19, 12:11:

But yeah, cyan-red-white is probably the most pleasing CGA color set in my book. The darker version of palette 0 wasn't bad either (green/red/brown) - gives a nice "earthy" set of colors, without that retina-scorching neon effect.

In old "Lord of the Rings" you could choose the palette you prefer - see attached images.

lotr1.png
Filename
lotr1.png
File size
5.63 KiB
Views
248 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
lotr2.png
Filename
lotr2.png
File size
5.64 KiB
Views
248 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
lotr3.png
Filename
lotr3.png
File size
3.65 KiB
Views
248 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
lotr4.png
Filename
lotr4.png
File size
3.71 KiB
Views
248 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Last edited by OldCat on 2020-10-30, 13:58. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 136 of 140, by OldCat

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
Dominus wrote on 2020-10-23, 08:10:

Please do not post links to pirated software.

Duly noted. My apologies, they had images that I was to lazy to copy here.

In other news, here is interesting case of a CGA game totally relevant to this thread - Rockford. Its creators didn't care about the colour mode, but focused on "how is it going to look on a monochrome monitor?"

ROCKFORD.jpg
Filename
ROCKFORD.jpg
File size
342.59 KiB
Views
190 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Reply 137 of 140, by Grzyb

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Recently I got back to playing PC-Man (1982), probably the first Pac-Man variant for IBM PC.
Very addictive game, with nice CGA graphics - doesn't use the awful default palette, and makes use of fill patterns to provide each of the ghosts with a different "color".
A CGA-only game, of course - later games, designed primarily for EGA/VGA, don't care about such details in CGA mode.

pcman_000.png
Filename
pcman_000.png
File size
2.46 KiB
Views
129 views
File license
Public domain

Reply 138 of 140, by Grzyb

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
OldCat wrote on 2020-10-27, 08:34:

In other news, here is interesting case of a CGA game totally relevant to this thread - Rockford. Its creators didn't care about the colour mode, but focused on "how is it going to look on a monochrome monitor?"

They did care about the color mode - on EGA.
On CGA, however, the colors are indeed so ugly that it's better to use a monochrome monitor.