6. Castle Wolfenstein. This game was not cartoony. It felt like serious, grown-up entertainment. The day our Apple IIe came to life and barked “halt!” at me, in a credible German accent? That day I knew fear.
7. Star Blazer. I loved Scramble in the arcade, and this was a totally playable take on the side-scrolling, shoot’n’bomb genre. Oh, the cat-and-mouse games I played with that damn tank. It’s been a long time, old friend.
8. Wizardry. Actually, Wizardry kinda sucked. I mean, it was a good idea. Combine D&D-style gameplay with computer graphics, and what do you get? How bad could it be? Well, it was actually pretty boring. But still sort of awesome. I mean, D&D plus a computer! Come on!
9. Battlezone. I spent the summer of 1981 in a pub in Oxford pumping their weird foreign coins into a Battlezone machine and yanking the bejeezus out of its double-joystick controls. How stunned was I when a couple of years later, it turned out I could get back into that weird wireframe world through the portal of our Apple IIe.
It was a strangely serene world. Everything was smooth and perfect and platonic. You wanted to hang out there even if there was no one to shoot. Later we moved onto Stellar 7, which was a souped-up clone. That was even better.
10. Archon. The idea behind Archon, as far as I can tell, was to take the holographic chess game they played on the Millennium Falcon, where the pieces fought each other for real, and duplicate it on the Apple II. It work. If I actually liked chess, and didn’t suck at it, I would have enjoyed Archon a lot more than I did. But it was still great.
Honorable mentions to Escape from Rungistan and also Bilestoad, which was a bizarre medieval combat game in which you viewed the combatants from directly over their heads. It looked unbelievably cool. For the 4 seconds before it hung on our machine. I put a lot of thought into imagining the lifelike virtual axe combat I would engage in, if I only had a little more RAM.