Anything you can do……….
- 17 Mar, 2022
After my last article about retro games to chill out and encourage calm in the neuro-diverse such as my son and me I got thinking about challenges. Sure, if you have autism, routines can be calming and pleasant but that’s not to say that we don’t want to get creative and achieve some hard to reach goals (Mr Musk has done pretty well with pushing the envelope). Enter yet another good reason to pester David at 8bitbeyond and find games that can get your head scratching and stroking your beard in no time.
Discworld (PS1, Saturn, PC):
Who said a game is just a game? Fantasy novels are great to encourage not only a bit of escapism but a passion that can spill over into a worthwhile profession. As this game is based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel Guards! Guards! You and your younger chum can read this novel together and compare it to the point and click adventure game. It can also be a great way on encouraging the wee one to write and express their ideas. I know a few autistic students who struggle with writing as it can be a huge, intimidating demand (not only for the neuro-diverse), but find an interest they’d like to explore and watch their pen or keyboard catch fire. One last thing, the puzzles in this game are more insane than Donald Trump after a pot of coffee however, if you can solve them, why not come together and create a guide, even if it is just to brag about your success.
Oddworld Abe’s Oddysee (PS1, PC):
To me, being creative is making a new world of weird and wonderful; Oddworld, really does live up to this mantra. This is another great game to co-op on as playing as Abe the alien, a Mudokon looking to rescue his buddies. Taking turns to complete puzzles can keep the fun (and to be honest the stress), at the right levels. Like Discworld, if you can master its tricky elements (in this case, those dreaded jumps to avoid mines), then create a guide and share your secrets. I’d recommend doing a visual how-to as it’ll give you the excuse to draw or cut-out pictures of Abe who is as we all know, creepy and cute all at the same time. Disagree with this and you’ll feel the wrath of my mini me.
Theme Hospital (PS1, PC):
As I mentioned in my previous article, Theme Park can be a nice gentle meander through an amusement park with log flumes and teacups however, it’s a different story for its successor. Rather than a controlled stroll through some white hallways it’s more like doing a level one first aid course at a church followed by a triple heart bi-pass in a basement with no lights. Well, we’re after a challenge here and that’s what Theme Hospital will give you. Not only are you trying to save lives but you’re wanting to make some serious cash too (obviously Boris has based his model of the NHS on this game). If you really fancy a family challenge why don’t you each draw up a blueprint of your hospital and do your best to match it in-game.
Road Rash 2 (Mega Drive):
One of my favourite games of all time. In fact, if I had my way, my son would be named after one of the racers (how cool would it to be called Viper…); anyway, this classic will make your eyes melt. Not only are you trying to win a race, you’re hanging on to your white leather trousers (really bad colour choice considering the circumstance), whilst avoiding cars and baseball bats. Once you find your rhythm though I bet you’ll love this game as much as we do. Plus, if you need a break to change your pants why not design your own mean machine? Just another way to inspire the little ones and make them think of what they want to do in the future. Although, I would refrain from buying a motorbike from my son, I doubt all the spikes would pass the MOT…..
So, there we have some ideas that go beyond gaming and provide ideas for people like my son and me that love finding out information and being crazy creative. Let me know how you all get on and have a go at making your own retro projects - 90s style Top of the Pops magazine clippings welcome, just make sure you swap out the boy bands for something well, pixelated therefore better.