First post, by RacoonRider
I want you to try and remember the oldest computer game you actually like. This thread is not about how game A played an important role in the history of the genre or the whole industry, but rather about how game B managed to conquer your heart despite infinitely limited resources of the early computers. I do not wish to specify a platform here. I myself have zero experience outside PC, but I would love to hear your love stories with other platforms - ZX Spectrum, Amiga, etc.
I'll start with myself.
My adventure into the world of computer games started in 2003 when my father brought home my first computer. Therefore I have a special spot in my heart for the titles the early 2000s - GTA 3, Vice City, Max Payne, Mafia, NFS: Porsche Unleashed, Etherlords II, Gothic 2, Re-Volt, etc. I also had some older games, notably Heroes III, Fallout 2, and Turok 2, and it felt like I could not enjoy anything older than those. In 2011 I got hold of a complete 386 and dived into retro hardware and retro PC games. Throughout the process of scavaging, building, upgrading, hoarding, and sometimes even playing games, the oldest game on my list of favorites changed from Master of Orion (1993) to Lemmings (1991) to King's Bounty (1990). At that point, I thought I probably would not enjoy anything older. And then I found the Hidden Agenda (1988).
Hidden Agenda is a political strategy set in a fictional Latin American country of Chimeria. Right after the revolution, you accept the role of el Presidente of this small ruined state. Your people are starving, your military is divided into two camps at each others throats, health and education are non-existent. Foreign powerhouses of the US and the USSR offer help as they play their own dirty games behind your back.
The gameplay is a series of political decisions that you perform as you try to keep it all together. It is represented by meetings (encounters), letters from officials, council from your ministers. The attention to detail is striking. Every decision you make has serious consequences and there is no such thing as right or wrong, only a million shades of gray. Every once in awhile the natural game flow is interrupted by riots, betrayals, assassination attempts, terrorist acts, financial crises. It is your goal to lead your country to prosperity, although in all likelihood you are going to end up removed, exiled, or dead.
Hidden Agenda is monochrome, yet quite aesthetic even by today's standards. It is text-based, with real pictures of people and surroundings beautifully transformed into black and white. The game is astonishingly real and believable as if you were browsing through a bunch of 1980's newspapers or watching an old documentary. I must admit, it takes some mental effort to play, but it is totally worth it.
Ever since this game conquered my heart I spend a few evenings a year in a cozy chair with a big cup of tea and a Libretto running Agenda, reading pleas of coffee growers, plantation owners, teachers and government officials and hoping for a happy ending.