Games: Computer games

Sex, violence and a good deal of fun. William Hartston reviews computer games

Around 30 years ago, a plastic box with some electronics inside appeared in the shops. You could plug it into your television set to produce an image of a white dot blipping from side to side on the screen. A controlling knob enabled you to slide a white line to and fro and try to get it to meet the dot before it rushed past. This was tennis for couch potatoes, and we loved it. Then came Space Invaders, when crudely shaped aliens twitched their way inexorably down the screen as we tried to shoot them down. We loved that too, but this was only the start of a new era in the history of games.

As computers became faster, the games became ever more complex. The advent of CD-Rom drives and multimedia systems has let them take the last giant step for gamekind - to a land of sex, violence and creative ingenuity now available at a budget price in the new "Premier Collection" range from Eidos, which has disastrously interfered with my sleeping and working schedule in the past week..

On the boxes of such games, it has become conventional to rate the games according to their suitability for different age groups, whether they are one-player or two-player, DOS or Windows, and joystick or mouse. What they need as well is a rating for sex, violence and anorak thickness.

Championship Manager 2 is a no-sex, low violence, high-anorak game for football fanatics. If your idea of a nice evening at home is to spend your time picking football teams ("including season 96/97 updates, English, Scottish and Italian Leagues"), buy and sell players, and conduct fantasy matches, then this is the game for you. I did not get as far as a game of football, because I found the business of team selection and transfers so tedious. To judge, however, from the number of people who were stomping through Highbury last Saturday chanting "Ar-se-nor-orl, two ni-il", there are people who might enjoy this sort of thing.

I suppose much the same applies to Links LS the computer golf game (Alt- S for a straight swing, Alt-D to hook the ball slightly to the left, and Alt-F to slice the ball to the right are among the options). Unfortunately this required more RAM than my feeble machine could offer. That's a good thing to check before buying anything of this type.

For real computer gamers, who don't want just to pretend they are playing golf or football, there is a wide choice. Try Under a Killing Moon (sex and violence moderate, anorak small) if you fancy your skills as a private detective. You can talk to the characters, offer bribes to them, and get killed by them if you're unlucky. I found it difficult to get the hang of the instructions. Over-complexity is always a potential problem in such games.

Duke Nukem (alien sex high, violence very high, blood and gore terrifying) is the adults-only version of other shoot-'em-up games. You control the good guy in a post-apocalyptic alien invasion scenario; and if you can work out where your spare ammo and health packs are lurking, then survive the attacks on you by any number of disgusting-looking aliens, it's a lot of fun for anyone with latent psychopathic tendencies. I enjoyed it, anyway.

Finally, there is Tomb Raider (original game plus four extra levels of "Unfinished Business"). For anyone who has not sampled the delights of the heroine Lara Croft, or heard her delicious grunts as she climbs obstacles or gets bitten by wolves, this will come as a revelation. Utterly addictive and beautifully designed, with problems to be solved at every stage that are just difficult enough to challenge without being too frustrating, Tomb Raider (high sex, high violence, anorak optional) is quite simply the best game there has ever been in the entire world - until the next one comes along.

All games mentioned in the Eidos Premier Collection pounds 12.99 each, except Tomb Raider pounds 14.99.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Ashdown Group: Payroll Administrator - Buckinghamshire - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?