Game On

When I was very young, aliens invaded Planet Earth.

Oh OK, not really. But they certainly invaded my family holidays, where little gaming tables sprang up in lounges and lobbies all over the country. If you managed to obtain 10p from your mum, you could challenge your sister to a long round of this:

Space Invaders table game

This is a mini replica of the orginal tables, for sale in Japan. Apparently.

Space Invaders.
Reader, I shot at those aliens. I obliterated them. Though sometimes the pixelated blippy things destroyed my defences and got me first. Either way, my love of computer games was born.

Here’s another childhood game:

Asteroids arcade game
Asteroids. One of my best friends from school had a proper computer at home. (It was pretty rare back then. Ssh, yes, I know, I know!) This was my favourite of her games. I developed a technique whereby I could clear the screen in seconds, simply by continuously spinning my little ship and shoot-shoot-SHOOTING. I was invincible! Apart from when I wasn’t.

Fast forward a few years. Bring in the Sims. I spent a good long while playing this:

Sim Tower
Sim Tower. Don’t ask me why I preferred this to other Sims games, as I don’t understand it myself. The aim was to create happy workers in your office building. If your people had to wait too long for the lift, they got angry. They turned red. You failed. You wept. You – ahem, I – loved it.

Years have past since these heady, lift-filled days. Games have moved on. They’re more complicated, visually more stunning, ever more engaging. Sims have moved on. You can create entire villages now, you can populate them with characters. With personalities. You can make your characters fall in love. It’s almost a tiny bit like writing a book. Nowadays I’m usually too busy writing books to find out, though you might find me dancing in front of the Wii instead, because that’s probably my favourite kind of computer game now.

I’ve written a book about a Sims-style game, though. My main character creates profiles for all her friends and finds that anything she alters in the settings comes true in real life. And she’s in control of their looks, their lives, their loves… What could possibly go wrong? Kiss Date Love Hate is out in February 2012.

Do you like computer games? Which are your favourites? I’d love to know.


P.S. I’ve included links to free downloads of the games above, in case anyone’s in a retro gaming mood…

34 thoughts on “Game On

  1. I still love those old games.

    I grew up with Pacman, games on the PC and table tennis and, Hokey on the table that you had to block the other person from getting that ONE more Point then you.

    I feel old even though i’m only 21. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. OMG Me and my sister are obsessed with sims 2. First she got sim city, and it was really funny to create natural disasters like whirlwinds and here the angry villagers ;D and then we moved onto sims to (although sims 3 is out now) and created all our friends, us our families and completely random people with different personality traits. It was brilliant, although you could find yourself sitting staring at a computer screen half the day, living in a virtual world, when you could be outside in the sunshine….. us and our friends all had it, and we would bring our laptops round eachothers houses, and swap depending on who had a laptop and who didnt’ Myself and my friend maisie didnt have laptops so we were always either with someone else or sharing a different one each time, but it was always so fun! Your book sounds absolutely amazing, amde me very excited for feb next year….. of course now my sisters 17 and im 14, and she lives with my nan through the week to go to her sixth form, we don’t play on it much anymore, but ive really enjoyed reading your post, and looking back on the memories of our computer adict days, love from leah xox

  3. Aaaah, Space Invaders. Thanks, Luisa, you’ve just taken me back more years than I care to remember. If I finish the proofs I’m working on today, I’m going to treat myself by following your link to the past.

  4. I was a Spectrum 48K girl, myself. ‘The Hobbit’ text-based-adventure (‘You wait. Time passes. Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold’) and Manic Miner consumed vast hours of my childhood, mostly waiting for the games to load while the screen went stripy and a hideous EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE BIP BIP BIP EEEEEEEEEEEQSQSSQRSRRRSQRRSRRRSRRQRRR noise happened. Good times.

    I cannot wait for Kiss Date Love Hate. Such a gorgeous cover!

  5. We actually KNEW people who had that tennis game for the television. Pong, I think it was called. Two white lines went up and down the screen and a white blob ponged back and forth between them. Brilliant. I was also once addicted to a game called Macpipes, where you linked up pipes and then, um… (this isn’t sounding great, is it?) you turned the tap and water ran through the pipes. If the water went down the drain, you WON.

    I shall now creep quietly away, but not before saying that I am SO reading Kiss Date Love Hate. Fabulous idea, GREAT title, cool cover!


    • Thank you very much, Kay! Ooh, I remember Pong! Wow, people who had that were so LUCKY. I don’t know the pipes one but it sounds fiendishly difficult and I can tell you were a Macpipes Mastermind. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Between your posts and some of the comments I’ve been completely transported back to my childhood, so many happy memories! I’m so pleased that you’ve included links, when I got to Sim Tower I felt like I’d missed out and now I can download it and enjoy it – thank you!

    Love the sound of Kiss Date Love Hate, the cover is so cool!

    • I hope you enjoy it – watch out for those angry workers near the lift! Ha, I never thought I’d be encouraging people to play retro games… ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment!

  7. Brill post!

    When I was in Year 5 we did this pacman tournament and it was really cool-Pacmans a great game. We also played this cool game called the telescope game which was really fun.
    I used to play Club Penguin and games on Miniclip and I absolutely love the games on Friv- especially the one called Power Pamplona-it’s really good. I still play loads of computer games and I still find them fun-I don’t think people are ever going to stop playing computer games and stuff.
    I also play on a Nintendo Wii as well.

  8. I have to say –
    I’ve never liked computer games.
    Arcade games are just not me.
    However, I like worlds on the computer – I never get too carried away, I’d never give away personal information.
    gosupermodel.com and fantage are all firm favourites of mine.
    But for me, its books over games ANY DAY!
    Oooh, but I adore dress up games!

  9. I’m not really a a huge fan of computer games! But Sims Tower sound great! My friends are always talking about Sims, and I’m like what??? But I think I will download it (thanks to your link!). I can’t wait for your book to come out!

  10. I always loved ‘Rollercoaster Tycoon’ the original was the best. I also played Sim City and ‘Monkey Island’ games – Escape From Monkey Island is my favourite, and I recently found a re-release on PS2 so I can play it again.
    I did play Sim Tower – it was strangely addictive
    These days I don’t have much time for games though – I tend to just do a bit of solitaire if I need to rest my brain from writing.

  11. I love computer games! Our family just got a Wii the other day and now we are addicted to all the Mario ones! I love Mario Kart the best, even though it came out a while ago. I haven’t got into the Sims quote yet, but I went on my friend’s at a sleepover the other day and it is quite cool! It is fun creating new worlds for some reason!

    I cannot wait for Kiss Date Love Hate to come out, technology + books = ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. I hate technolgy (apart from my beloved phone and computer!!!!!) I have to say, I espeically hate computer games, they’re so addictive, you never see the outside world!!
    My brother has a WII and DS but i’m just not into it all!!
    Books are my thing!!

    Brill post!!!

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