Since I’m a kid from the GDR [German Democratic Republic], I didn’t discover video games until the fall of the Wall in 1989. There was no such thing as “video games” in Soviet-occupied Germany—except one machine, which I’ll introduce later. In the early 1990s, my parents bought me my first computer, a used six-year-old Amstrad/Schneider CPC with a green, monochrome screen that came with a whole bunch of games on floppy disks. Game consoles were very rare among my friends and I back then. I remember when the first kid in school got a Gameboy—that was a huge sensation! Almost the whole class was watching the little screen yelling “Can I be next?!” The following list is based on my memories of childhood video games.
Poly-Play was the only arcade machine in the GDR, so it was very rare. You were lucky if you could find one in your local youth center. There were a handful of games on it. The first game you’ll see in the video above is Hase Und Wolf (“Rabbit And Wolf”), which was like an East German version of PAC-MAN. Another fun game on this was Wasserrohrbruch (“Water Pipe Burst”), featured at 16:00 in the clip.
Michael Jackson in a jump and run game—does it get any better? The first time I saw this was on a friend’s SEGA Master System 2. Unfortunately, I never had one of those consoles myself, but it rules! I loved the SEGA intro it played every time you turned it on. It was even sampled on Dance Mania 083: Traxmen & D.J. Lil’ Tal’s SEGA. Game intros were always very good, and Moonwalker’s is the best example of that.
Great stunt car racing game. I loved the menu where you could choose between a selection of cool cars like Audi Quattro Sport or Lancia Delta, you could even choose your favorite color. The best part about this game was the editor that lets you create your own racing tracks (see end of the video).
Prince Of Persia
Prince Of Persia must be named here—it’s an absolute classic. I remember how I played this for the first time on my cousin’s MS-DOS PC with a black and white screen. The spooky mystical vibe of the game gave me the shivers! I still get goose bumps when I hear the Arabic intro melody. Listen to the sound effects during the game; it sounds like the perfect EBM drum sample kit!
The computer in the above video was the one I first got. You always had to type in “cat” and “run disc” first and then wait for ages, but it was worth every second. Great jump and run action here with a nice soundtrack.
I played this a lot on the MS-DOS PC we got in the mid-‘90s. This is a super cool game. Skating, surfing or riding BMX under the California sun with amazing graphics and an 8-bit version of “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen as a title theme.
A car racing classic. Drive through 13 different areas with beautiful landscapes. One nice feature is that you can choose between six banging tracks on the car stereo before you hit the autobahn!
This is one of my absolute favorites, but I don’t think I ever even played it myself. I think this was the first time ever I saw an arcade machine. I was watching my older cousin play it in some bar somewhere, but I didn’t have enough coins back then to give it a try myself. Exciting jump and run action with marvelous graphics.
I love this game’s graffiti style title logo. It has like, 100 trippy levels that I never managed to finish. You have to rescue Bubby and Bobby’s girlfriends by blowing bubbles to trap their enemies. I used the design of one of the levels as inspiration for when I did the artwork for my Game Over LP.
Of course, all the games I had for my computer back then were cracked, unofficial bootleg versions of the software. So the last point on this list is about cracktros. Cracktros were small introduction sequences added to cracked software that were designed to inform the user of which “cracking crew” or individual cracker was responsible for removing the software’s copy protection. There was a big competition going on between the crackers about who had the best sound and graphics. Here is a four-hour compilation of the dopest styles and hardest chiptune bangers. Check it out!