Eras of Gaming: 1985 - 1989

Eras of Gaming: 1985 - 1989


The late eighties was a wondrous time for gaming, so join us as we reminisce about a time when a game commonly came on 13 floppy disks!

King Willy

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Broderbund Software - 1989 Commodore 64 & Apple II

Eras of Gaming: 1985 - 1989

A game where you only meet the title character on one occasion, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? was a detective game that had gamers circling the globe in search for the head of an international crime syndicate the elusive Carmen Sandiego. The difference with this game is that it was primarily an educational tool used to teach geography and history in primary school (elementary school). It was the only game my school had on their mono green-screen Apple 2E computers, but it was one that my friends and I played all too often on those rainy days at school.

Subjects such as various national currencies, national flags, various heads of state, national capital and major cities were covered, as well as being able to identify the criminal of the current case. Gamers were tasked with obtaining a warrant and being able to capture the culprit by Sunday 5pm.
In essence, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? made learning fun. I also played the colour version on Commodore 64, which proved to be even better.

Airborne Ranger, MicroProse 1987 Commodore 64

Eras of Gaming: 1985 - 1989

For me, this era in gaming was dominated by MicroProse. They certainly changed the gaming landscape with titles such as Sid Meiers Pirates, Railroad Tycoon and a number of high-quality flight sims.
But one of my favourites during the era was definitely Airborne Ranger, an isometric top-down shooter. You played the role of an airborne ranger (obviously) and could select one of about 15 different missions in a variety of locations. After selecting the mission, you would then select your payload and the fly over the drop zone, dropping off three bags of valuable weapons and medical supplies. After parachuting down, it would then be your aim to reach the mission goal, normally at the top of the map. Along the way, you could choose to pick up your dropped supplies to boost health or ammunition. Once the mission was completed, you simply called for a chopper to pick you up, often hiding until it arrived.

You could choose any style of play to complete missions, from all out attack to super stealth hiding behind bushes and in trenches. And even if you got caught, some missions even allowed you to liberate your characters. And, as with many Microprose games of the era, the manual was a wealth of knowledge and served as the copy protection.

Well there you have it, I hope you have enjoyed this look back at gaming from the late eighties and remember there's still more to come! Up next: Eras of Gaming Part III, 1990 to 1995 coming soon!