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The Vault №18

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The Vault

joyeIt's almost Thanksgiving! Well, in the United States. Canada already had their Thanksgiving back in October, as by late November pretty much everything is dead in Canada and the people cling to survival by a combination of willpower and hockey, trufax. And most of the rest of the world doesn't have this holiday at all. But still! No matter where you are, you can be grateful for at least one thing: a trip down Nostalgia Lane in search of the greatest games of yesteryear. It's a Wonderful JIG!

  • Dolphin OlympicsDolphin Olympics - Okay, granted, the sequel to this dolphin-flipping, action stunt game more or less blew the first out of the water, pun totally intended. The basic premise of using the keyboard to shimmy and flip your dolphin to rack up points through tricks, like an underwater Tony Hawk, is the same, but the sequel had more detailed background, more things to see up high, more interaction from sea creatures. So why would anyone play the first game? Well, there's a pureness, a simplicity of the first Dolphin Olympics that appeals to me. Whereas Dolphin Olympics 2 inspired manic button-mashing marathons in my attempt to reach the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the first game is much lower pressure. Somehow, I feel pretty good about myself just doing a flip or two in the first game. "I loved this game, I found it very easy to put down" isn't a common praise of games, but I think it's the charm of this one. In this hectic holiday season, I like something that relieves my stress and that I can close the window on to go rescue an oven-full of cookies without even a twinge of regret. It's just a sweet, friendly game, and sometimes that's just my speed.
  • GatewayGateway - It was difficult for me to believe that this point-and-click masterpiece did not win its Casual Gameplay Design Competition, but it did earn an honorable mention and the Audience Prize. The test of time has more than proven Gateway's worth. Some games are like a snowglobe: you look at the scene, and you know that that's all there is to see. (And then you pick the game up and shake it really hard.) Other games are like peeking into a window into another world. You know there's more at stake, more to the story, than the little glimpse you're allowed, and it really fires up your imagination. Gateway is in this coterie. It's all the more enthralling because of the way the plot sneaks up on you, when up to that point it's just seemed like a plotless series of puzzles. It's too good to spoil, so if you haven't played this game yet, please do, and also check out the sequel.
  • Ayiti: The Cost of LifeAyiti: The Cost of Life - This life sim game is just as relevant now as it was in 2006. However, since this game is about grinding poverty in Haiti, that's not necessarily a good thing. Reading news articles about the cholera outbreak, I couldn't help but think of playing game after game of Ayiti. One game, I'd manage to eke out a pretty nice existence for the family; the next game, I'd watch helplessly as family members succumbed one by one to cholera, tuberculosis, and overwork, then died either from the illness itself or because with no one working, there was no one to buy food. And yet, the game never succumbs to cynicism, clinging indomitably to hope. The message I came away with is to open your eyes and really take a look around you at all the opportunities you've taken for granted, and to think about how to help people who haven't had the same opportunities. I can't think of a better message for the Thanksgiving holiday.

While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!


repairmanman November 23, 2010 6:59 AM

How do we suggest games for the vault?
I wanted to suggest cave story, but I doubt anyone will see what I posted on its page.


Please use our online form for suggestions. But for the moment we're only doing browser based games from 2006 or earlier, so Cave Story wouldn't qualify. :) We just have so many games going back over so many years that we're sticking to games everyone can immediately play (IE, Flash, java) at the moment. Currently, myself and other reviewers are just going back through the archives and selecting games we feel are deserving of another place in the sun for a while. Maybe when we do a special download edition of the Vault?

[Edited. -Jay]


Ok, please use our online suggestion form for your suggestions, as usual. Thank you. :)

We'd prefer it if these Vault threads didn't turn into suggestion threads. Thanks for understanding. :)


Nice selection you've got here! I loved Gateway and Dolphin Olympics back when they were released, and still love them now. I mean, how could you not love a game about backflipping dolphins!?.

Ayiti, on the other hand, is a completely new game for me. I usually don't like sim games, because I'm so awfully bad at those, but I figured I'd give this one a shot. Sure enough, my entire family was dead before the first year even ended =P

On an unrelated note, please wait a couple of days before opening this spoiler ;D

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone!


Neat, a Vault where I've at least heard of all the games. I always feel slightly accomplished when I already know of the great vintage games of JIG. I love Gateway (and especially the sequel), I've played Dolphin Olympics before but never got the hang of it, but looking at it again it's starting to grow on me, and I've heard of Ayiti but I've never played it.


Ayiti is incredibly difficult.


I tried the submission but it didn't work back then, I am trying again because I found a game worth downloading, hope it gets through.


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