I’m a strong believer that the medium of video games is no lesser than the media of books or movies, and accordingly, there are some video games which may be called classics. These should be passed down reverently from generation to generation, parents saying to children, “Play this; I played it when I was your age, and it stayed with me.”
The one difference, of course, is that computer games are generally built for the most powerful computer systems of their time, and they soon start to look dated. But actually…………………. screw that. Screw this arms race. Games are supposed to be fun, entertaining, enlightening, and so on, all of which can be accomplished with minimalist graphics. And screw you if you reject a classic game just because it doesn’t max out your CPU. For shame.
With this I’m building up to my central point: you really should play Lemmings.
Lemmings is a puzzle game, pretty much unique in its mechanics. Your mission is to save cute, trusting lemmings from a cartoonishly harsh landscape. To do so, you assign commands to individual lemmings, causing them to reshape the landscape and redirect the flow of their comrades.
Lemmings is a classic. Lemmings is one of the best games ever made, and there is nothing about it that will ever become lesser from the passage of time. I hope my future children will play it. I hope it never gets forgotten.
That’s the problem, though… it kind of has been forgotten. Kids are not being introduced to Lemmings. This must change.
Lemmings came to my mind recently when some memes circulated Facebook celebrating Lemmings’ 25th birthday. I resolved to play it again.
Unfortunately, everything that came up on Facebook and in all of my google searches led me to old DOS versions of Lemmings and adaptations of the same. When I was a kid, however, I had played Lemmings for Windows 95, a much improved version.
Now, I tried playing these DOS versions, but I soon became frustrated. What Lemmings 95 does is add many features that reduce gaming frustration: the ability to save your progress and skip levels which you might prefer to come back later, rather than entering annoying pass-codes; the ability to pause easily, assign commands while the game is paused, “action replay” levels to avoid having to do everything over after one tiny mistake, and a fast forward option. Basically, you waste so much less time, and this turns a slightly maddening experience into a smooth and enjoyable one.
It struck me as a terrible blow to our gaming heritage that the only easily available version of Lemmings was the maddeningly difficult version. It genuinely hurt me inside to think that new generations would maybe stumble across the DOS version only to abandon it in favour of more user-friendly games with more pixels.
Yes, we must remember Lemmings and keep it played, but we must do that with the right version of Lemmings: Lemmings 95.
Luckily for you, I found a link. You can download it for free and I found it works fine on my Windows 8 system. (If you’re having problems you can right click on the .exe, click “properties”, and change the compatability mode to Windows 95).
Here it is: