Catharine's Gaming Page

One of the things that my husband Peter and I really enjoy is playing computer games together. Most of the games on this list are ones we've done together; a few are ones that I've done independently.

The vast majority of these games were played under various emulators running on a 233-mHz Macintosh G3. Here's a list of the emulators we use, and links to information or the emulators themselves:

Games Completed
Game Platform Review and Notes
Final Fantasy III (VI Japanese) SNES One of the nicer RPGs in the series from Square.
Secret of Mana SNES Cute but repetitive RPG. Not much plot. About the only plusses are the cute monsters and the fact that one to three players can play. Not highly recommended.
Final Fantasy II (IV Japanese) SNES An RPG from the Squaresoft series, not as interesting or involved as III or V.
Myst Macintosh Groundbreaking graphics when first released. Hey, they're still very pretty.
Riven Macintosh The sequel to Myst - and it has real honest-to-goodness *people* in it! Gorgeous graphics.
Shining Force II Sega Genesis Adventure game with strategy turn-based battles. It even has a plot with some cute side bits. (Be a miniature for a while and battle chess pieces!) Recommended.
King's Quest VII Macintosh Inventory item-based adventure game from Sierra. Follow the princess as she sings in search of adventure, and the queen as she follows her daughter. Patch available - check Sierra's site; we don't actually know what it fixes. Maybe makes final chapter smoother.
The Beast Within Macintosh Another inventory item-based adventure game from Sierra. Features Gabriel Knight in his second mystery. One unusual (and pleasant) aspect of the game is the use of video footage and photos, so you control Gabe and Gracie (as humans, not 3D figures) as they walk around Prinzregentenplatz and Ludwig II's fairy-tale castle (photos, not computer-generated backgrounds). This gives a really nice sense of realism to the game. There's a patch available for this game too - it corrects a bug that allows the player to complete the fourth chapter.
Blazing Dragons PlayStation Utterly delightful adventure/inventory game, voiced by Terry Jones and Cheech Marin. Many puns, and clues within puns, and puns within clues...
Final Fantasy V SNES An excellent RPG for the Super Nintendo in the series from Squaresoft. The class system allows for a level of strategy not frequently available in an RPG. And has a good plot, too. Recommended.
Space Quest 1 (VGA) PC/Windows/DOS The first in the series of 7! Roger Wilco, janitor extraordinaire, dies in waaaay too many ways in the process of trying to save his planet from the evil Vohaul.
Space Quest 2: Vohaul's Revenge PC Vohaul tries to get revenge by sending insurance salesman clones to Roger's home planet. Roger dies a whole heck of a lot trying to stop him. I'm sorry, but falling off a set of stairs that only goes 3 feet off the ground should not constitute death... Frustrating.
Space Quest III: Pirates of Pestulon PC Not quite as lethal as I or II. But it's often REALLY HARD to figure out how to solve puzzles. E.G. there's a spaceship nearby, kinda half-buried in some piles of space junk. You can't climb into the ship. You can't even pile up junk to climb into the ship. Being able to stick a ladder in one's pocket is just weird and nonsensical.
Space Quest IV: The Time Rippers PC We actually gave up on this one. It's extremely lethal, more so than usual. Although slowing down the processor supposedly makes it possible to solve some of the puzzles, we found that it was no help at all. Furthermore, the save files provided on Sierra's site were unreadable by our version of the game. Totally unrecommended.
Final Fantasy VII PlayStation All of a sudden, Square starts doing 3D graphics! Engaging story, good monsters, interesting magic system. There are more pages than you could whack with Cloud's sword on the web regarding FF7, so I won't bother to give much detail here. I enjoyed it. :)
Chrono Trigger SNES Another cute little game by Square. And yes, 'cute' is definitely the operative word here. Amusing and a nice change of pace from the angst of Final Fantasy VII. Be a Hero. Travel through Time with your companions. Whack cute monsters, mostly at your own discretion - the vast majority of fights are avoidable simply by walking around the monsters.
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure PlayStation Released by Atlus. On the surface, it's another turn-based strategy game where you're trying to save the princess - I mean the prince. But there's a charm in this game that I've never seen elsewhere. Cornet loves the Prince. After a few misadventures (and some sultry advice from Cornet's puppet and best friend Kururu), he likes her pretty well too. But then bad girl Marjoly turns up and - whoops - turns the attractive Prince into a statue, making the player wonder why her three cronies are so devoted to her. Amid song and dance, Cornet must rescue her Prince. While the plot is very cute, the gameplay is a lot of dungeon crawls, requiring mapping. Fun once.
Final Fantasy iNES Yes, the *original* Final Fantasy, from when SquareSoft thought it was in imminent danger of death. Very D&D style of game - I prefer the later ones, but it's still pretty fun. I'd say for the diehard fanatic only. (I guess that makes me one: scary....) LATER: I gave up on it; too many monsters and not enough reward in terms of gp or XP. And very little plot.
Curse of Monkey Island PC LucasArts' #3 in the Monkey Island series. Very much in the style of Sierra inventory adventure games, with an amusing sense of humor and pretty good story. BEWARE - some puzzles (we did the Mega-Monkey version) are very poorly designed. And the ending could have been better.
Myst Exile PC Number 3. They just keep on getting prettier and prettier. Unfortunately, the plot in this leaves a little to be desired: the puzzles are (mostly) very good, but they are presented basically as puzzles for the sake of puzzles. There's a lot less 'if you solve this puzzle, the plot moves along 'cos you can discover something about how the people thought' as there was in Riven. Still quite good.
The Fool's Errand PC/Mac This is a marvelous game, available for FREE DOWNLOAD (check out the link above). (Warning: on Mac, I could not get it to play properly in OSX, had to boot into Classic.) It's a huge set of little puzzles, all linked up to tell the adventures of the Fool in the land of Tarot as he seeks the fourteen lost treasures of the land. Originally released for the 512K Mac, it still has loads of charm. I really enjoyed, it and intend to buy "A Fool and his Money" when it comes out.
Final Fantasy Tactics PlayStation Squaresoft FINALLY released this under its 'Classics' label. A friend of mine had been talking about it to me for a couple of years, and so I picked it up as soon as I saw it. Very nice turn-based strategy game, with many character classes and abilities to learn - half the fun is building weird combinations of jobs and abilities. (If only my Flying Ninja Death Squad had worked out...) Good plot and characters too, of course - this is a Squaresoft game, after all! By the end, of course, my characters were way too Munchkinized and powerful, and the last boss was subject to Slow magic. Ah well!
Escape from Monkey Island Macintosh LucasArts' #4 in the Monkey Island series. Storyline: not bad. Graphics: 3D, and a HUGE mistake. The movement controls are very poorly done, and it doesn't help that the viewpoint occasionally switches to basically 'zoom in' on an area of a given room - often in such a way that Guybrush ends up running effectively the wrong way from what you intend. Puzzles: There are some decent ones, but an overabundance of REALLY stupid ones. Conclusion: I'm not buying the next Monkey Island unless it gets really good reviews. NOTE: FMV movies do not display in OSX, even under Classic. Ya have to boot into OS 9 to get them to play.

Games in progress
Game Platform Review and Notes
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee PlayStation Scrolling side-to-side puzzler. Jump and run and stuff like that. Beautiful movies, but high lethality and not enough save spots.
Legend of Zelda III SNES Go around. Whack monsters. Very lethal and frustrating. I have doubts whether we'll ever finish it, but I don't care.
Secret of Mana III SNES Cute sequel to the original Mana. Better graphics, a little more plot, identical gameplay. There really isn't anything to do besides whack monsters - pretty brainless, but amusing.
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny Apple IIe How very retro of me! Looks like a large, fairly complicated plot, and world to explore. Be the Avatar. Find and rescue the True Lord of Britannia and (presumably) overthrow the usuper. Watch the merchants and farmers go home for lunch, and go to bed when night falls. It's pretty fun! (I'm playing it on an Apple IIe emulator that runs on Windows, which itself is being emulated; all the Mac-specific emulators either hung on a particular command or were unplayably slow.) LATER: Most of the plot seems to be finished, and I have a lot of dungeons to crawl. Gotten to the 'boring' point.
King's Quest Apple IIe The first in the series! Cute, not too lethal (though there's a set of stairs that's a pain in the neck), and we have reason to believe there might even be a plot somewhere.
Vagrant Story PlayStation At its core, a dungeon-crawler game. BUT, being by Square, it's both really pretty (in a brown sort of way) and has a great plot (the little of it that we've seen thus far). The 3D forms are not complex, but the texture mappings are. Ashley stands there and *breathes* if you don't tell him to do anything special. Gameplay good thus far. Looks like it can get pretty complex later on.
Chrono Cross PlayStation The supposed 'sequel' to Chrono Trigger, though the two worlds seem to have little to do with each other. Visually quite lovely; lots of bright colors and pretty music. Magic system needs work, as does the item use function. Good plot, pretty good gameplay. LATER: Plot not moving quickly enough to make up for the really really bad magic system.
Bahamut Lagoon SNES A Squaresoft game never released in the US; now playable through the virtue of emulators and fan translation. Turn-based, board-orented strategy RPG. With cute dragons. And a pretty good ratio of battles to plot: you do a 'random' battle to powerup only when you choose to - a nice change in and of itself.
Xenogears Playstation Squaresoft again. Way cool plot. Playing in the big robots is booooring, though. And the 3D environment can be stupidly tricky to navigate in. Game begun summertime 2003.

Thanks to many hints and walkthrus on the Web!

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