Retro Essay

Abstract: Nostalgia for an assimilated nation haunts public debate on national identity and nationhood, as well as related issues of race, ethnicity, indigenous rights and immigration. Commentators on both sides of Australian politics deny that the Prime Minister is turning the pages of government back to the assimilation policies of the 1950s. They are right, of course. We celebrate cultural diversity and acknowledge indigenous rights, cultures and histories. Yet, although the word 'assimilation' is rarely mentioned, there is more than a hint of its essence in official pronouncements on national values, citizenship and the practical integration of Aboriginal communities. The paradox of public denial of assimilation and hidden allegiance to its tenets can be explained as 'retro-assimilation'.

To cite this article: Haebich, Anna. Retro-assimilation [online]. Griffith REVIEW, No. 15, Autumn 2007: [162]-[172]. Availability: <https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=397175710763677;res=IELLCC> ISSN: 1839-2954. [cited 14 Mar 18].

On the Origins of Survival Horror
 

System: Sinclair ZX81
Year: 1982
Developer: Malcolm Evans
Publisher: J.K. Greye Software / New Generation Software
Genre: Survival Horror

A monster from savage prehistory;
A machine from the dawn of microcomputing;
A man pioneering the concept of survival horror.

There are many classic retro games, but only a select few are truly system-defining; 3D Monster Maze, by far my favourite ZX81 indulgence, is one such title. A full third of a century after release, Malcolm Evans’ undisputed masterpiece remains genuinely, thrillingly playable, without recourse whatsoever to rose-tinted eyewear.

Contrary to popular conception, Monster Maze is not the earliest three-dimensional maze game released on Sinclair’s diminutive micro; that accolade goes to Axis software’s 1981 3D Labyrinth. The earlier title, however, is a stripped-back affair lacking in many features so integral to its more famous counterpart, not least of which is the critical addition of a bloodthirsty opponent: the inimitable Tyrannosaurus Rex.

3D Monster Maze’s concept is deceptively simple, tasking the player with locating the exit of a randomly generated labyrinth, the view of which is convincingly presented in first-person perspective. Upping the ante is the presence of the titular monster, a beast who is not about to let his human ready-meal escape.

The genius of the game lays in a sublime, immersive combination of engrossing gameplay and pervasive atmosphere. Allied to the intellectual challenge of besting the labyrinth is the engagement of the player’s primal fight-or-flight instinct; stranded and weaponless, for this is no first person shooter, fleeing is the hapless adventurer’s only option.

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