I spent a mild amount of time trying to find something interesting for
the first actual post, but the deluge of potentially blog-worthy
material can be a bit daunting given that I could probably look at
anything I find here and pull some sort of grand theory out of it (I'm
all about grand theories). Regardless, this post is dedicated to an
early Sid Meier game, which no one seems to remember (maybe not even
Mr. Meier), and early Microprose packaging.
The first item
pictured below is the original contents of the game "Formula 1" by Sid
Meier, apparently distributed by Acorn Software in 1982. This game is
absent from basically every list of Meier's work, his first games
usually cited as Hellcat Ace (a combat flight sim), and Chopper Rescue
(a side-scrolling arcade), both also released in 1982. Apparently it
was a busy year. Formula 1 Packaging: Memory ExcellenceFormula 1 Close Up: Nothing but Disk
only direct, well, internet-direct, reference I found for this title
was a posted comment on Kotaku talking about Sid Meier's first game
actually being "some sort of racing game". So apparently this is
"that" game, but the assignation of it being his "first game" is pretty
useless considering he initially started making simple games on mainframes
in the 1970s. Perhaps, "first game released with the intent of making
money" would fit it, but that is also questioned by a Sid Meier
interview from Gamasutra (link
he describes his first game as a Space-Invaders clone that sold five
copies. Thus, Formula 1 is actually positioned between his two "first"
games, maybe his "second first" or "previous first" game is the most accurate description available. Anyway, its
actual physical presentation helps me, and my terrible writing, segue
into the next paragraph about packaging.
One of the mildly
cringe inducing, though also enjoyable, aspects of this cataloging
venture is the necessity of removing the plastic packaging from old
games. This is vital to help protect against dangerous static build up
and to intentionally reduce the market value of the object (since this
is a library). Sadly, due to being sealed in a box for 26 years there
is probably a low chance that this disk, or any program cassette from
that time, is still readable. The packaging for Formula 1 follows a
standard method for early, and I'm assuming self financed, computer
games, basically just shrink wrapping a game to a piece of cardboard
with an added insert, bam. There are actually no instructions for the game
either, the back of the title pamphlet is just blank. I guess if you
had an Atari personal computer, and you were in 1982, you would just
"know" what to do with it.
The second title I found is the
third of the three initial MicroProse Software titles released in 1982, the
other two being the aforementioned Hellcat Ace, and Chopper Rescue.
Apparently "Floyd of the Jungle" (great title) was MicroProse co-founder
J.W. Stealey's favorite because, "it was the first game to allow you to
hook up four joysticks on the Atari 800." Floyd of the Jungle: Much Better Than Tarzan
copy of Floyd was simply a disk and an insert dropped into a ziplock
bag. Being from 1982, this represents the original MicroProse packaging, the
second version gained a box type enclosure after Meier and Stealey
gained money. I feel that this style of distribution helps to highlight
the initial homegrown nature of some modern gaming giants, and a
glimpse at Sid Meier and Microprose nine years before "Civilization". The artwork on both games is also intriguing and pedestrian, though I'm confused by the Floyd cover considering that everything seems to love him; even the snake holding the damsel-in-distress (DID) seems to enjoy Floyd. I guess you just run around hugging things, sounds awesome.
There are many more MicroProse games floating around here, I'll be sure
to post them if there's interest.
I've realized that my email
is not showing up, so if you want to contact me with suggestions and
such, feel free to email cabrinetyATgmail.com. Also, due to the general
flow of the job, I can't really do requests right now, I can only post
what I find as I go along.