Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cover to Cover: SSI Summer 1986 Catalog (pp. 4-5)

Our journey through Strategic Simulations Inc.'s summer 1986 catalog continues, with these pages featuring military strategy simulations, i.e., wargames:

There's a clear link here between the tabletop pencil-and-paper war games published by companies like Avalon Hill and the computer gaming era -- almost all of these games feature hexagonal maps and straightforward movement and engagement rules.  But we can also see glimmers of change ahead -- Computer Ambush focuses on soldier-vs.-soldier field combat, with significant performance improvements in this updated release, and in the 3-D first-person era this has become the dominant style for military-themed games.

There's no doubt such strategy games were popular in the mid-1980s -- SSI published a lot of war games:

Four of these titles make up a series known as When Superpowers Collide, postulating hypothetical military conflicts circa 1985; the timeframe-specific nature of the games may explain why the brand didn't survive beyond the 1980s.  Wings of War is more of an arcade-style game than a traditional simulation, though the rudimentary graphics probably limited its audience to fans of combat aviation.

Tomorrow, we turn the page and find... yet MORE wargames from SSI!

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