Construction Company

Designed by psychologist Peter Favaro and released by Activision, this fascinating life simulation gave players control over either a male of female character as they progressed from childhood to grave. Designed around a series of key decision points, the mostly text-led experience was based on hundreds of interviews conducted by Favaro, and was hugely critically acclaimed at the time. Alongside David Crane’s Little Computer People construction company laid the groundwork for modern era “virtual soap opera” The Sims. Alas, the sparse presentation and offbeat concept meant that the sim sold poorly and a proposed sequel, based around rearing a child, was scrapped. You can play the original game online.
Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Altered Beast… Plenty of Sega’s classic side-scrolling beat-’em-ups have gone on to become legends of the genre. But somehow this beautiful early Saturn release has been over-looked, perhaps thanks to the console’s untimely demise. Banished from Earth by an angry goddess, the eponymous hero must return to rescue the girl he loves. Okay, forget the horribly trite story and revel in the gorgeous hand-drawn artwork and interesting attacks, which allow Astal to blow construction company enemies over or wrench trees out of the ground to chuck at them. There’s also an innovative but tricky co-op mode which puts player two into the role of Astal’s bird sidekick. Watch this play through for a taste of the wonderful character and landscape designs.
The “interactive movie” genre of the mid-90s brought us plenty of nightmarishly unplayable dross as game developers fell in love with the idea of using full-motion-video to create, ugh, “cinematic” experiences. But there were some fascinating examples, too, like this cyberpunk adventure, set on a moon base governed by religious maniacs who believe man must evolve toward a machine-hybrid state. The player awakens as a cyborg and must escape the lab, piecing together the plot from PDA diary entries and using security and computer equipment to hack defenses. Elements of Deus Ex, Bioshock and Dead Space all combined to create a tense and interesting adventure.

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