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  • Kate

Videogame Graveyard

When I was working through my videogame backlog, I reflected a lot on "lost media" or games I've played previously that I cannot access today. This is my personal videogame graveyard.


I hope this is also useful as a reminder that digital goods aren't forever. Enjoy the time we have with the games, but they are not "forever" even though the medium gives an impression of permanency.


retro drawing of a graveyard where one of the tombstones is a gameboy; all in orange and white

 

Childhood Nostalgia:

  • Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing

    • Available on Steam for $30-$50.

    • Made by The Software Toolworks, released in 1987.

    • Does this need an introduction? Tons of 90s kids learned to type from Mavis Beacon and kids are still learning through her program. I had "computer class" in elementary that was just typing with Mavis Beacon software once or twice a week. There was another game we would play if we were all "good" at our Mavis Beacon and all I remember is white hair gnome sort of character and a rainbow mountain, so it might have been "Type to Learn" by Sunburst. Great psychology from the teacher there on making us think another typing game was a "treat."

  • The Magic School Bus Explores The Solar System

    • Not available in remastered form.

    • Made by Scholastics and Music Pen, released in 1994.

    • The Magic School Bus is a classic and is great. I thought the animation was better than what it looks like on Youtube playthroughs, oof! I'm surprised they haven't made more The Magic School Bus games. Especially because this one is a click and platform style game with science facts, shouldn't be too hard to update (RIP Pluto from the planet list)!

  • Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo!

    • Available on Steam for $7.

    • Made by Humongous Entertainment, released December 31, 1995.

    • Looking back on playthroughs on Youtube, I don't feel the need to buy it. I remember the talking trolley selling cotton candy, the mouse and elephant scene, and the "paint shack" but have no memory of the mini-games like the hockey game with the polar bear. I probably just drove around and didn't unlock much!

  • Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell

    • Available on Steam for $7.

    • Made by Humongous Entertainment, released March 6, 1998.

    • Looking back on playthroughs on Youtube, I don't feel the need to buy this one eithr. I never got really far in this point-and-click game. I do remember a lot of this, including the cork pull, the organ mini-game, and the narwhal with the hardware nut stuck on; but I've got no memory of the Aztec portion.

  • Carmen SanDiego Math Detective

    • Not available in remastered form.

    • Made by Brøderbund, released 1998.

    • I do wish this was available in remastered form as basic math doesn't change and this would be good math practice. There are play-throughs on Youtube and I remember the sounds and starting animation so well! The plot still holds up and escaping is still a lot of fun to watch.

  • Where in the USA is Carmen SanDiego?

    • Not available in remastered form.

    • Made by Brøderbund, released 1986-1989.

    • This is a pretty basic question and clue based game so would make a better mini-game with a larger game. Also, the animation does not hold up. Lynne Thigpen is iconic as The Chief of ACME. "Time waits for no crime!"

  • Orly's Draw-A-Story

    • Not available in remastered form.

    • Made by Brøderbund, released 1997.

    • This is a drawing and coloring game. I remember the controls being slightly difficult and looking at playthroughs on Youtube, yep that only takes the patience of a child. Then the drawings "come to life" through animated stories. I wonder if there are any videogames like this nowadays? As it's quite fun to use all the different paint patterns.

  • American Greetings CreataCard

    • Now available online for free in an updated form: https://www.americangreetings.com/cards/creatacard/

    • So this isn't really a "videogame" but I leveled up from Microsoft Paint and Orly's Draw-A-Story to use this software to create art. I remember the first time I neighbor's son showed my brother and I how to use Microsoft paint to write out names, going from wordart in Microsoft Word, to finally pseudo-photoshop with this software. I really can trace my current hobby of making greeting cards and using photoshop to these "games" as a kid.


Teenage Nostalgia:

  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fuse

    • Made by Adobe and still for sale in updated form.

    • Also not really a "videogame" but I would spend hours making art and fooling around with these programs.

  • Sims 1

    • Sims 4 is currently out on Steam, but the cost with all packs is over $500.

    • Made by EA and Maxis, released 2005.

    • I had the base game with the character editing, Vacation pack, and Livin' Large pack. I currently have Sims 4 and it's funny to think I had the first one and the newest one and still largely the same thing (decorate homes) only this time I use cheat codes instead of grinding for gold.


Young Adult Nostalgia:

  • Fashion Story

    • From Storm8 Studios, last update was in 2015 and was out since at least 2011 so no idea what state the game is in even though it can still be downloaded.

    • This is a mobile game that's notable for being my first mobile game. I was OBSESSED. Also how I learned the moment you start setting timers to collect fictional items in a fictional game, it's time to take a break.

  • Battle Nations

    • Mobile game was from November 17, 2011 to September 28, 2016 by Z2Live.

    • Community creators revived the game on battlenations.net

    • This is a mobile game that's notable for being my first MMO style game with friends. Was obsessed with the first year in the dorms in college.

  • Marvel Avengers Academy

    • From TinyCo, released on February 4, 2016 and shut down in 2018.

    • I spent a lot of money on this just for it to be shut down a few years later. Not a lot of money in the sense of how much Sims 4 Complete costs, but a lot of money to spend. It was my first lesson in how an online community can cause one to spend more because when everyone is egging on each other to unlock their favorite superhero, it can build up.

    • It had a stacked voice cast and the plot lines were fun, so I hope it's preserved somewhere to possibly be released as a visual story game. There is an archive blog: https://avengersacademyarchive.tumblr.com/

  • Wizards Unite

    • Mobile game was from June 20, 2019 to November 2021 by Niantic and Warner Brothers.

    • I had this game since it was launched and used it often. Yes, I bought items in the game and sent timers (like I said was bad with other freemium games) but it was worth it because this game helped me get out there and go walking and biking. It was a version of Pokemon Go! only with more of a plot and Harry Potter themes. I really enjoyed the game and I'm sad it was shut down. They should have at least kept it up to let people walk with portkeys as self-motivation to exercise.

 

Is there any video or mobile game that is "lost" that you wish you could bring back?

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