Today's gaming machines allow for experiences that we could only dream of decades ago, but nevertheless, the early years of gaming were a time ripe with innovation. While gaming at home was no longer a new concept by the time the 80's came around, the decade was still a time of creativity as developers experimented with genres and art styles that wouldn't hit their heydays until years later. Others were just weird by design, such as Deus Ex Machina, an interactive movie released in 1984 that has now found its way over to Android.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a retro revival, a sickeningly cute jumping game, an appealing escape title, and a Flappy Bird clone with zombies.
The golden age of PC role-playing is coming roaring back on mobile devices. After releasing the enhanced edition of Baldur's Gate earlier this year, developer Beamdog has kept its promise to bring Icewind Dale to Android. This game was released in 2000 and had a lot in common with Baldur's Gate, though some would say it was even better. Now it can be yours on Android—all 2.6GB of it.
Square seems to have run out of Final Fantasy games for Android (and no, you can't have FFVII, so stop asking). The company has been going to its Enix side for mobile re-releases as of late, publishing Dragon Quest VIII, then Dragon Quest IV, then the original Dragon Quest to the Play Store. And since Square Enix is apparently ready to start counting in the right order, you can now play Dragon Quest II in non-emulated form for the not-so-low price of five bucks.
Android is becoming a veritable haven of classic RPGs, and Square Enix's mobile ports and re-releases are a big part of that. In addition to no less than six of the original Final Fantasy games, Chrono Trigger, The World Ends With You, and the fourth and eighth entries in Enix's Dragon Quest series, the company published the original Dragon Quest to the Play Store last night. You can get the 1986 NES title for a reasonable $2.99.
Want to travel back to the golden age of fantasy strategy games? Well, maybe "golden age" is a bit dramatic, but the 90s brought all manner of well-crafted strategy games that focused on gameplay in place of graphics. Conquest of Elysium II was released in 1997, but the third incarnation came to Steam a while back with the same traditional vibe. Now it's on Android, but it won't come cheap.
Defender of the Crown was an oddity when it debuted in 1986: a highly-polished game with impressive visual presentation (for the time), but one that didn't fit into any established genre. Civilization players of today might recognize a sort of proto-strategy in the slightly fantastic Medieval England setting, where you raise an army and conquer Britain in bits and pieces. But the actual gameplay requires real player interaction with the pre-rendered background, including various forms of fighting, jousting, and management.
If you couldn't get enough of Dirk and Daphne from the original Dragon's Lair, they're back in the arcade sequel. Dragon's Lair 2 was originally released back in 1991 on arcade laserdisc machines, enabling the beautiful 2D art from master animator Don Bluth to shine through. Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp is five dollars on the Play Store (the same price as the original) and is compatible with Android 1.5 and up.
We don't have Tekken. We don't have Street Fighter. We don't have DOA. But Namco just gave fighter fans one hell of a reason to celebrate: the original SoulCalibur is now available on Android. The Dreamcast port of this arcade fighter favorite has long been considered one of the gems of the genre, and you can play it on your phone right now. It's a pricey $6.67 and compatible with Gingerbread and up.
There's something strange going on with SNK's The King of Fighters. Way back in March of 2012 an Android version of the classic 16-bit 2D fighter series was published, with a frustratingly short list of supported devices and no small amount of technical problems. The app disappeared from the US Play Store before too long, only to reappear this July. Now there's a brand new version, The King Of Fighters-A 2012, available alongside the original Android release.