Nostalgia Lane: 7 favorite DOS games from the ’80s

Seeing as how the 1980s were so long ago now, my memory of what computer games I used to play on our family’s old IBM are starting to fade. However, I was looking through lists and screenshots to recall these, and came up with six titles that I experienced back then on MS-DOS.

Thexder was about the closest thing I got to playing a great Transformers game. In it, you’re this robot who’s exploring a Metroid-like base and can transform back and forth between a robot and a spaceship. It was pretty cool, and I loved how my laser attack would automatically target enemies.

Karateka was a decent beat-em-up with (I think) different moves. I was never very good at it, but that’s the story of my life.

Since we never got an NES, I eagerly leaped at the opportunity to play pretty crappy PC ports of console games like Shinobi here. I mean, at least it was something.

Test Drive was a huge hit among my circle of friends, probably because hot cars was a big thing for teenage boys in the ’80s. The game itself had a great concept but was tough to play, what with all the crashes, the cliffside venue, and police chasing you. At least your car came with a fuzzbuster.

Sopwith was a silly dumb game where you got to do all these stunts as a WWI-era biplane and also shoot and bomb things. I crashed so many times with this, guys.

Silpheed was a great-looking shmup that I struggled to get working on the aging computer. That was the story of a lot of the games I tried to get running in the late 80s.

I didn’t really like sports or sports games, but I played the latter because I was limited to whatever free games I could get. Olympic Decathalon was one of them, a series of badly drawn minigames where you compete in the Olympics. That shotput game was the death of me.

3 thoughts on “Nostalgia Lane: 7 favorite DOS games from the ’80s

  1. pkudude99 May 29, 2020 / 12:46 pm

    I played Thexder on a monochrome green screen…. When that monitor died, we got a monochrome amber screen to replace it. And only after that one died did we get a 4-color CGA monitor 😉

    I played Karateka at friends’ houses on their Apple computers, but never on my own pc. I’ve heard of Silpheed and Test Drive but I don’t think I ever actually played them. Shinobi…. I know I played it, but I wanna say it was in the arcade only, not ever at home.

    Can’t say I’ve ever heard of Sopwith or the Olympic Decathlon games.

    My go-to games from the 80’s were things like Mail Order Monster, the “gold box” D&D games from SSI (and also the DragonLance ones, and the Buck Rogers ones too), BattleTech, MechWarrior, Bard’s Tale, Wing Commander. A lot of those were on a friend’s Commodore 64, but some were on my “IBM Compatible” at home too.

    Good times!

  2. Wayne's Books May 30, 2020 / 6:31 pm

    I remember in Sopwith if you flew upside down and released a bomb, you’d destroy your own plane.

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