Monday, February 29, 2016


There's a spot-on tribute to Cinemaware in RPS today: What Cinemaware Understood About Cinema And Games.

I've written about Cinemaware before (at this point, I've written about everything before, haven't I?), but reading that tribute made me want to mention them again, because they were incredible.

Cinemaware cost me quite a bit of money:
$599 Amiga 500
$499 Sony monitor
$699 20 meg hard drive

That's in 1987 or so, and every single penny was totally worth it.

There were two dominant companies in the Amiga 500 era, at least for me. Psygnosis made arcade-type games (remember Shadow of the Beast?), and they were absolutely fantastic.

Cinemaware, though, made a different kind of game.

Story driven, with both strategic and action elements. Incredibly atmospheric (Lords of the Rising Sun, Rocket Ranger, or It Came From the Desert).

Plus, they were exuberant.

How many games have you ever played that you could describe as exuberant? Rocket Ranger was the first Cinemaware game I ever played, and it might well be the most exuberant game ever made. Fighting the Nazis with a jetpack? Attacking zeppelins?

It was all utterly wonderful, and far more imaginative than other, larger games with 1000X the budget.

Cinemaware games were like that--deeply involving, intense, and deeply creative.

That's all without even mentioning the sports titles, which were a decade ahead of their time in every conceivable way.

The day that I found out Cinemaware was shutting down remains my saddest moment in almost four decades of happy gaming.

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