Two Years of Classic Computer Gaming
Screenshot: Finding scenes of celebration in video games is harder than you think…this one is from Grand Theft Auto IV
Written by: Elijah Moon Blackwell
There are so many games in the collection. Who knows what’s all there.
Even I, the guardian of outdated media, have no clue what’s actually in the archive. I frequently find myself discovering games when tidying up. Soon I am going to force the staff to help me log everything into a spreadsheet.
This year, instead of spouting stats about the site, I am going to showcase some of the games I own. Two years of collecting means thousands of titles. To keep this post from becoming a novel, I chose a select few and broke them down into three categories.
Before we begin to dive into these pieces of gaming history, I want to give a huge thanks to everyone who has supported CD-ROM Fossil thus far.
Thank you Patreon supporters and other monetary donors for keeping the website alive! Every penny goes to paying for the domain and acquiring retro hardware or software. In the famous words of PBS, this website is made possible by contributions from viewers like you! Thank you!
Secondly, thanks to those who have checked their local area for computer games and acted as liaisons. Because of them I have received packages from all over the United States!
Lastly, whether you are a fan or a visitor (or accidentally ended up here) thank you for reading! Everything we produce is for your entertainment. As always, do not hesitate to let us know how we are doing and what video games you’d like to see covered!
Now, on to the retro computer gaming showcase.
This first category is dedicated to the video games that are super pricey. I do not collect for the sake of monetary value, but that doesn’t mean I don’t own some expensive titles.
I haven’t price checked every single game in the collection. So, these are some of the most expensive games I own…that I know of.
All prices are gathered from eBay listings.
Castle Wolfenstein – $170
It’s currently behind glass in a curio cabinet. Floppies are temperamental little suckers. Look at them wrong and all the data is erased. So yeah, this bad boy gets to rest in nice protective care.
Castle Wolfenstein was developed by Muse Software. ID Software drew inspiration from this classic 8-bit game to create Wolfenstein 3D.
Ultima III, IV, VI – $150 Each
For ease I am grouping these three together. Yeah, it’s because I don’t want to go through the effort of taking them out of the curio cabinet. Each game is complete. Every bit of paperwork and extra trinkets are present.
If you don’t know, Ultima is a series of RPGs that are super in-depth. Any Ultima game before VII is ultra inaccessible. Due to dated technology and the lack of quality of life game mechanics, Ultima will kick your butt. You can find the whole series on GOG. I recommend VII as a starting point. It is the earliest game that is the easiest to get accustomed to.
Don’t take that $150 too seriously. The price varies wildly. They put Ultima on just about every computer and console at the time, so price is determined on what particular version you are looking at.
If you are curious, I got each game for roughly $50 from three separate sources.
The Depths of Doom Trilogy – $275
I mean…it’s Doom. So…what more do you want me to say?
I got this collector’s set from a huge bundle of games I bought off a local resident. You can see the whole bundle here.
Half-Life 2 Collector’s Edition – $160
Kind of like Doom, I don’t think Half-Life 2 requires much of an introduction. I got this game from the same source as the above trilogy as well. The cool thing about this edition of Half-Life 2 is that it comes with a shirt!
$160 is the mean value of the eBay listings I found at the time of writing this post.
Beneath a Steel Sky – $130
I’m not really sure why this point and click adventure game fetches such an extreme price. However, I will not deny the game’s rich history.
Point and click games were huge in the 90s. Beneath a Steel Sky is among the titans of that decade. They’re still made today, but unfortunately they do not receive the same amount of press as, say, the latest shooter. A new game, Beyond a Steel Sky, is releasing sometime soon. Until then you can play Beneath a Steel Sky by visiting GOG. It’s free!
There are much more expensive titles out there. But the only way I get games of this caliber is through lucky eBay deals or through friends of CD-ROM Fossil.
The second category is dedicated to the most covered up video games in history. If you have heard of all these games then I applaud you. I didn’t know many of these existed till they were in my hands.
It’s important to note that this list could go on for an eternity. So I decided to narrow it down to my favorite few.
None of these games have digital re-releases.
The Dark Eye – 1995
This game is based off of various works by Edgar Allan Poe. It is unnerving. The claymation style adds to the eerie atmosphere.
I will say, if you aren’t a fan of Poe’s version of horror then this game might not be for you. It’s not the cosmic monsters of H.P. Lovecraft, nor is it psychological like a Stephen King novel. Instead, it is more focused on the human soul. Poe combines traditional American literature with his life experience to create horrifying character studies.
The Dark Eye is just that. A giant character study. It’s awesome!
If you are a fan of Poe’s work then I recommend tracking down this game. As of writing this article there is physical copy for $8 on eBay. The game does not work on Windows 10, at least, not on my machine. If you do not have retro hardware, I highly suggest watching a play through on YouTube. Preferably someone who isn’t giving commentary. This video is my recommendation.
Guardians of Infinity to Save Kennedy – 1988
Yes indeed. You are not hallucinating. This is very real and very weird.
Unfortunately the game isn’t as trippy as you might think. In actuality it’s your standard “change the past to save the future” kind of deal. Think Terminator but…boring. It is essentially a visual novel. There isn’t much interactivity.
Fun fact, this is not the only Kennedy related game I have in the collection. I’ll let your imagination run wild.
Surface Tension – 1996
It’s not very often that a game is this obscure. I recently did a video on this game. Other than a really compressed trailer and the intro in German, my video is the only one detailing the actual gameplay.
I find this extremely insane. After all these years and millions of YouTube videos, Surface Tension doesn’t get a gameplay video till 2020? So yeah, this game is pretty obscure. As of writing this there is one eBay listing for a sealed copy.
Shoutout to my mom for getting me this hidden relic.
Cutthroats – 1984
Text based adventure games were kind of the norm in the 70s and into the early 80s. Unlike Guardians of Infinity to Save Kennedy, this game has no graphics.
A black wall with white text. Now that is a video game in it’s purest form.
Cutthroats made the list because I haven’t personally heard of it nor seen it before owning it.
In the Pursuit of Greed – 1995
Plagued with development issues and technical bugs, this shooter is bad. When you got Duke Nuke’em (which released the same year) there is no reason to settle with this slog of a game.
However, I believe everything should be archived and saved. This game does have an amazing soundtrack with some impressive ahead-of-its-time visuals.
This game isn’t the most obscure game on the list, but I have had my fair share of friends gawk at it on the shelf. So I think it blurs the line between “well-known” and “forgotten.”
I have plenty more obscure titles but this article has to end sometime! Maybe one day I’ll do a whole article dedicated to the forgotten games in the collection.
The third and final category is dedicated to the games everyone loves. These boxes will spark a wave of nostalgia. Each title has received wide critical acclaim. To this day these games still move digital copies on Steam and GOG.
These are the PC gaming essentials. Best of the best! Must haves! Fan favorites!
Half-Life – 1998
This is the first retail box of Half-Life. This was before the game won all the awards a game could win.
What is there to say about Half-Life? It’s revolutionary, one of the best games of the 90s and it challenged gaming trends of the time. It’s all been said before a million times and gamers will never stop talking about it. Valve made a game that will stand the test of time.
If you haven’t played Half-Life then grab a steam copy and discover the secrets of Black Mesa!
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six – 1998 to 2003
This is the row of big box Rainbow Six games. Therea are more games, obviously, with the latest being Siege which released in 2015.
However, these classic titles are the best. Yeah, I like Vegas 2 but it doesn’t quite compare to the hardcore tactical shooters shown in the photo.
If you like difficult shooters that require a methodical approach to each enemy encounter, pursue these games. The first game is on GOG. The third game is on Steam. Why the second is nowhere digitally is beyond me. Why Ubisoft? Give us Rogue Spear and all of it’s expansions!
At least I have the CD-ROM. Multiple copies. I’m just lazy and want a digital re-release.
Duke Nuke’em 3D – 1995
I have to put this on the list or Kris, our hardware guy, may kill me. It’s probably his favorite retro computer game. Whenever a new computer comes in it’s “Will it run Duke?”
It is a fantastic game all jokes aside. It is full of reference humor and intense action sequences. Unfortunately, Duke is somewhat of a licensing nightmare. The only digital copy as of now is World Tour and it has a lot of issues.
My advice? Buy the World Tour Edition just to get the legitimate game files then download Eduke32. It has a better graphics and audio options.
Regardless, this box art is amazing and looks nice on a shelf!
Unreal Tournament – 1999
Arena shooting action at it’s finest! I think Unreal Tournament 2004 is a better game but it did not come in a big good looking box such as this!
Unreal Tournament is high octane, adrenaline fueled, intense competition. Grab a few friends for a LAN party and settled scores on the battlefield. Okay maybe I take Unreal too seriously. Don’t settle scores…have fun…I guess…
Command & Conquer Red Alert II – 2000
Often considered the best Command & Conquer game, Red Alert II is a strategy game that has endless amounts of content. It’s hard to sum it all up in a few paragraphs. The FMV scenes are funny and self aware. The gameplay is challenging.
Only issue is the overall age of the game. In my opinion, few strategy games stand the test of time. Red Alert II has a lot of poorly aged mechanics and controls that might turn away a newcomer.
But, if that newcomer manages to stay they are treated to one of the best strategy games ever made.
That’s a Wrap!
Alright, we are about two thousand words in so it’s about time to wrap this up! Thank you so much for sticking with us! I (or whoever writes next year’s article) will see you next year.
Some cool content is on the horizon! To make sure you stay in the know follow the website as well as the YouTube channel.