From Weird Dreams to Granny's Garden: a brief history of cursed video games

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    From The Guardian:

    From Weird Dreams to Granny’s Garden: a brief history of cursed video games
    They were weird and obscure and no one else remembers them – here are the old computer games that still give us the chills

    It was Caverns of Khafka for me. Discovered one rainy afternoon in a Debenhams bargain bin, this weird Commodore 64 dungeon exploration game totally freaked me out with its funeral dirge soundtrack and horrific screeching bats. When I tried to tell my friends about it, they looked confused and concerned – no one else had ever heard of it. I started to think I was the only person in the world who had explored this disorientating adventure – it took on a sinister air.

    In the pre-internet era of gaming, it was common to stumble upon these hidden oddities. The industry was more disorganised with smaller publishers distributing games that were often programmed by eccentric loners, and there was only a handful of specialist magazines to call them out. Games were snuck onto the shelves of newsagents and video rental shops, or into car boot sales and computer fairs, and you often had no idea what they were until you bought them and loaded them up. And by then it was far too late.


    I think the author forgot one scenario… the parents saw it was a “game”, made no distinction about quality of the game as long as it was “cheap”. You wanted a game, you got a game, there are children in Afrisa who don’t have computers, so be grateful.

    “All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925

    • This topic was modified 8 months, 4 weeks ago by ZLothZLoth.
    • This topic was modified 8 months, 4 weeks ago by ZLothZLoth.
    Steve WSteve W
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    I knew about Caverns of Khafka, it was by Cosmi. Cosmi back in the day used to put out games made for multiple computers on one cassette, I had three of them bought from my local Montgomery Ward’s – Spider Invasion, Aztec Challenge, and Slinky. That’s all the games I know of that they made for the TI-99/4A, but any time I’d see a Cosmi game I’d get excited until I saw that it wasn’t TI compatible. Just the name Caverns of Khafka sounded cool, but alas, it wasn’t ported to the TI. Sure, a stock TI with Extended BASIC couldn’t handle the C64 version, but that never stopped them from making similar themed games like that before. Each version of Aztec Challenge was different, playing to the computer’s capabilities rather than straight ports. The TI could have hosted a “flick-screen” version of Caverns of Khafka.

    Sorry for the ramble, Cosmi games do that to me. Great cover artwork really amped me up to play their games and their lack of support for the TI really stung me.

    I actually have a copy of Weird Dreams, boxed. Bought in a thrift store in south Louisiana, I believe the IBM version. I remember playing the Amiga version back in the day and thought it was ten pounds of weird in a five pound bag, never made it too far into it.

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    I was glad to see Polybius got a mention. It’s kind of the original creepypasta. 😆

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