First of all, I want to offer my readers a small overview about the Projekt #52Games from the guys over at the german blog http://zockworkorange.com. A few days ago they announced the idea to blog about games around a weekly theme for a whole year. You can find the complete information site for #52Games here! The first topic is: A fresh start!
For me, my first idea in my head when I read ‘Neubeginn’ (german for ‘fresh start’) was: What game was it, that made me decide my current career path. And ultimately the only answer I could give to this question is this:
Jagged Alliance 2 was released in 1998. I played Jagged Alliance – the Metavira Conflict before I heard of JA:2. JA:Metavira was the first part of the series and got released in 1994 for MSDOS. I got it from a friend of mine, who already owned it and sold it to me for 5bucks, together with the gaming magazine in which it was on a CD.
Jagged Alliance 2 caught my attention with the release of its one level demo nearly 1.5years before the release of the game. I played the demo together with my brother for weeks and months. We found different ways to beat it, found ways to play with less mercenaries, found ways to play on for hours and hours on the same small level. It was a great time. That was the time I started thinking about Game Design – about what could’ve been done better and what really made this the outstanding game I still love. Sir-Tech made one of the best games of the 90s.
To give you a small outlook on how much I loved this game even before it was released:
My brother and I pre-ordered the game nearly a year before it was released. We constantly check with our local game retailer if he’s got news about the release date, since we didn’t have reliable Internet at home that time. Both of us were under the age of 16, when the game released – but since we were that enthusiastic about it, we couldn’t wait and already asked our parents if we’re allowed to buy it, even though the game is from Age 16+. They agreed and we saved up money long before the game was in stores. Imagine how shocked we were, when the game was released in germany and the first rating had it rated at 18+. The game of our dreams was suddenly out of our reach, because we knew our parents wouldn’t let us buy the game now. We were desperate and on the release day we went to our local store, but he wouldn’t sell it to us – despite the fact he already tried the game himself the night before and said he’s not thinking it deserves a 18+ rating. So my brother and I went home and asked our parents if we could still buy the game. They declined and came up with ‘you can do better with your money’. The next day we did the craziest thing I ever did for a game. We had the written permission from our parents to buy the game if it’s 16+, but not for the 18+ game – so we asked passers-by to buy the game for us. We explained to them how long we wait for this game and how we really really really need this game. Well, the third guy we asked helped us. He went into the store with our money (100bucks was a lot for two kids around 13years of age), told the shopkeeper that he’s buying it for us, but he still sold it to him. That’s how we got our game, which was re-rated to a lower 16+ rating a few weeks later after the german publisher appealed.
To this day, there is no other game I have loved more and still consider it one of the best made games of our time – it’s a classic and I started my game programming studies with the hopes to build something that awesome myself. The ‘sequel’ Jagged Alliance – Back in Action (Game Preview in German) is about to be released on Steam after years and years of fighting over the rights to the series. Sadly Sir-Tech (the original game studio from canada) went bankrupt and the rights to Jagged Alliance were sold all over the world (from Australia over Russia to Germany). German Gamestudio bitComposer Games now finished the ‘sequel’ nearly 15years after Jagged Alliance 2 was released – I’m curios if they can keep the high standard and can give me as a veteran player the same feeling I had with Jagged Alliance 2.
I hope you had a nice read and I look forward to get your feedback.
To add the Words of famous russian mercenary Ivan Dolvich: Doswidanja!