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Your favourite 90s PC games reborn

Alan Martin
27 Jul 2018
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They do make ‘em like they used to: The Microsoft IntelliMouse is back and so are the games you knew and loved…

Rejoice gamers, the Microsoft Classic IntelliMouse is back after a 15-year hiatus. It’s the same mouse you remember – right down to the same long-life Omron switches, customisable buttons and ergonomically pleasing shape. Change comes only where it makes an improvement: sensitivity can be customised between 400 and 3,200dpi; it works on glass surfaces; and it’s capable of a 1,000Hz polling rate. In an age where everything is wireless, this is one mouse that has kept its tail, keeping latency down when it really counts.

The games, though... they’ve changed a bit, haven’t they? Well, yes and no. Just like Microsoft, it turns out that some companies are making them just like they used to…

Civilization (1991) / Civilization VI (2016)

The original Civilization was a top-down DOS-based affair. Five sequels on (six if you count Alpha Centauri), the graphics may have changed, but the aim is the same: to dominate the world with culture, wealth, technology or weapons. Reach for the mouse!

Wolfenstein 3D (1992) / Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017)

The first three-dimensional Wolfenstein was all about keyboard gymnastics, as you used the arrow keys to help BJ Blazkowicz avoid being filled with lead by the Nazi army. In 2017, Blazkowicz is still dodging Nazi bullets – but at least you now have the IntelliMouse to help you line up that perfect headshot.

Doom (1993) / Doom (2016)

If you thought Nazi soldiers were a handful, then you may want to sit this out: both the original Doom and its 2016 reboot are as high-octane and fast-paced as they come. You may not have needed a mouse – let alone a good one – in 1993, but if you want to complete Doom on its hardest setting in 2016, you’ll need one you can rely on.

Frontier: Elite II (1993) / Elite Dangerous (2014)

Elite II was a phenomenal achievement for the time, managing to pack an entire procedurally generated galaxy onto a single 1.44MB floppy disk for trade, exploration and space battles. 2014’s Elite Dangerous is no less ambitious: it will take you ten days to drive across some of the planets in the game’s 400 billion star systems. Best pack a mouse that will last the journey, I guess...

Secret of Monkey Island (1990), Day of the Tentacle (1993), Full Throttle (1995) & Grim Fandango (1998) / Remasters (2009, 2015, 2016, 2017)

George Lucas’ games studio wasn’t just a Star Wars games factory. LucasArts made some of the greatest adventure games ever made, including Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. No need to struggle getting the originals to run under Windows – every one has been remastered from the original artwork to look and feel just right, even on modern PCs. Sam & Max and Indiana Jones & the Fate of Atlantis next, please!

UFO: Enemy Unknown (1994) / XCom: Enemy Unknown (2012) and XCom 2 (2016)

The original UFO: Enemy Unknown gave turn-based strategy fans a brilliant science-fiction tactical battle to get their teeth into – and 18 years later, XCom: Enemy Unknown reimagined the game for a new generation of gamers. The reception was so universally positive that it got a sequel just four years later, just in time for you to save Earth all over again with the new IntelliMouse.

Quake (1995) / Quake Champions (2018)

The FPS that made a generation reach for the mouse in the first place. Using just a keyboard may have been fine for Dark Forces or Duke Nukem 3D, but when facing someone else on the end of a 33.6k modem (hello early adopter!), you needed a mouse to give you the advantage. Currently in Early Access on Steam, Quake Champions brings the brilliant, classic multiplayer back to a new group of players ready to reach for the nail gun.

Age of Empires (1997) / Definitive Edition (2018)

Of course, Microsoft wasn’t just perfecting the mouse in the 90s: it was also working on its own timeless real-time strategy game. Age of Empires was just that, and had a whole generation of gamers rushing to build catapults, trebuchets and galleons, while listening out for that iconic horn that signalled an attack was underway. The Definitive Edition, released this year with all-new graphics, remastered music and sounds, and a completely rebuilt UI experience, will let you pick up right where you left off.

StarCraft (1998) / StarCraft Remastered (2017)

If an RTS were to kickstart the online gaming scene in the same way Quake had, it was StarCraft. The science-fiction RTS managed to sell a whopping 9.5 million copies, and saw Blizzard’s Battle.net online multiplayer service growing by 800%. The 2010 sequel may have gone down well with reviewers, but it’s the remastered version of the original that reminded gamers just how brilliant an RTS could be, 19 years after its original release.

Baldur’s Gate (1998) & Icewind Dale (2000) / Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition (2012) & Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition (2014)

Go for the eyes, Boo! Still one of the finest role-playing games ever made, Baldur’s Gate was a breath of fresh air when it arrived in 1998, providing a great story, interesting characters and absorbing gameplay. Icewind Dale offered a similar, more combat-orientated experience. Both were owed a remake, and both duly received them with all the addon packs, alongside a graphical lick of paint.

BioShock (2007) / BioShock Remastered (2016)

Does a game from 2007 really need a remaster? Not necessarily, but when it’s a game as great as BioShock, we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Like the best remasters, the new version of BioShock looks exactly how you remember, but view them side by side and you realise that the visually stunning game of 2007 doesn’t look quite so flawless any more. It still plays brilliantly – especially when paired with a new and improved IntelliMouse.

The Microsoft Classic IntelliMouse is available now through the Microsoft Store and select retailers for £39.99.

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