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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Top 5 calculator games

After several years of browsing and playing hundreds of games on ticalc.org, the largest compendium of TI calculator lore on the Internet, it became apparent that calculator games were growing in complexity, detail and depth. They had become more than just boring levels of horrible graphics. They had become more than just temporary playthings. There were games worthy of attention outside of school, games entertaining enough to spend hour after hour button mashing. This is all due to the avid devotion of programmers — people willing to devote several years of programming to a single game. Some students are still playing Block Dude, Falldown, Pegs and Tetris. It is unbearable to see great games sit unnoticed on ticalc.org. For this reason, I selected five games to represent the pinnacle of calculator gaming. These five are by no means all-inclusive — it was tough to select only five — but they have all the characteristics of great games: good gameplay, replay value, nice graphics and originality. In every aspect, these five are truly outstanding and show an immense devotion to detail and quality. They are games to treasure and play again and again on your calculator. 5. Gran Tourismo Gran Tourismo began as a simple project to adapt the original Gran Turismo for TI calculators, but ended up earning ticalc.org’s 2003 Program of the Year award. Gran Tourismo is much more than just a basic racing game. The movement of the car depends on make, weight, tires, horsepower and gears, among other factors, which are all fully customizable with money earned in-game. Tournament mode features 4 different difficulty levels and 8 maps, and multiplayer mode allows friends to be challenged across a link cable. 4. Civ89 Civ89 is the best (and most ambitious) strategy game on ticalc.org. Like Civilization (or more closely, Advance Wars), two empires battle each other by amassing armies, researching technologies and building cities. The multifaceted technology tree and levels of upgrades provide for hours of interesting gameplay, but the calculator’s limited resolution makes for a tiny game screen and tedious controls. 3. Super Mario 68k Many attempts at a coherent adaptation of Super Mario have fallen short. Featuring 8 worlds and more than 70 original levels, Super Mario 68k is the definitive version. In addition to familiar mushrooms, coins and Goombas, programmer Lack Asderity includes lots of creativity with his own monsters, powerups, special mini-games and secret areas. A level editor allows for the creation of custom worlds. Beautiful backgrounds and carefully drawn graphics earned this game the title of 2007 Program of the Year. 2. CalcRogue My first complete run through CalcRogue took over 20 hours — a sharp contrast to the brevity of most calculator games. Based on the 1980s game Rogue, CalcRogue is a graphical role-playing game. As an adventurer, one travels the fantasy world fighting monsters, talking to characters and finding items. Jim Babcock’s creation is highly original in its character system and rich storyline. Randomly-generated dungeons (most having over 10,000 tiles) guarantee replay value. CalcRogue is by far the most complex and detailed calculator game. 1. Phoenix Patrick Davidson’s Phoenix is a classic and perhaps the most popular calculator game of all time, downloaded over a million times. In the style of Space Invaders, Phoenix is an intense space shooter with multiple weapon upgrades and skill levels. Pressing “Apps” automatically saves and exits the game, making for quick escapes from teachers. Phoenix remains the only game I have never removed from my calculator.

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