Why they're on the list: They're all in Rare Replay; I figured if they're good enough for Rare to recommend, they're good enough for me to play.
How I played them: On Xbox One
When I played them: October to November 2016
How far I got:
Probably no further than 15 minutes into most of them, polishing off some of their Snapshots and challenges.
Played a fair amount of Jetpac.
What I thought:
On the disc of Rare Replay, a collection of titles from the developer Rare exclusive to Xbox One, there exists a cluster of early games that I could make neither hide nor hair of. They're mostly ZX Spectrum games with weird neon-colour graphics on black backdrops. They don't seem terribly user-friendly, as old games frequently aren't. As someone who has grown up with games that are - shall we say - kinder, this can be tough to deal with. Hence the use of save states to get through Zelda and Mario (we'll get to that).
My favourite of these games is Jetpac. The rest sort of blur together, honestly, and I can't remember enough about them to write anything interesting. Jetpac is a fun arcade-style 2D shooter where you survive as long as you can against waves of aliens. And I probably would've given up on it just as quickly as the others, if not for one thing: the rewind function.
You see, despite the inaccessibility of the games, Replay does a really good job of adding some fun stuff around them. In what seems like an acknowledgement of how outdated they are, they've been updated with save state functions and a nifty feature which allows you to rewind the gameplay pretty much as far back as you like. This allows you to just straight-up undo your deaths.
This feature is present in the other games on the disc, but for some reason it was Jetpac where it made the most difference to me. If the version of Dig Dug I played had included a feature like this (as much as I wasn't the biggest fan of the old Dug, I think it's better than most of these games), I might have played a lot more of it.
Another thing they added was Snapshots, which have you play little remixed segments of the games, and in-game challenges, which go towards (gasp!) Achievements. So, I guess this ends up being sort of an ad-hoc review for Rare Replay: I think it's super cool, even if a lot of the games don't hold up to my oh-so-delicate modern sensibilities. The stuff they've done around the games is really interesting, and I'm definitely going to have more to say about it as I move to the later games.