Obscure but brilliant old-school gem
If you're a fan of obscure but inventive games, then Mission: Mainframe is one that you should definitely check out. It might be relatively simple but it's certainly ambitious and packed with clever ideas so if you've ever played and enjoyed the likes of Wizard's Castle, it should be right up your alley. In essence, the game is something like a cross between an RPG and board game, with several elements that will be familiar to both kinds of game. It's set in a bizarre but highly imaginative world which is a mix of sci-fi and contemporary stylings, with a plot which revolves around a company's mainframe computer which has somehow gone mad, taken control of its operator and is now spreading its dark influence to other employees. Your task is to enter the building, locate the computer and shut it off before it can wreak too much damage. You start the game by creating a character in familiar fashion and then buy a few items to help you on your quest before setting out. Now, visually, Mission: Mainframe is incredibly crude, with each level of the building depicted in simple fashion by a grid which contains things like employees to rescue, your main task, or cabinets containing useful items. The clever thing about the game is its open-ended nature, with multiple ways to deal with employees depending on things like stats, their type and so on and with options including bribery, combat and evasion. While obviously dated, this really is a gem of a game. It's inventive, varied and challenging, while also possessing a neat line in humour. If you can get past the truly old-school visuals you will find an addictive and enjoyable game that deserves to be played.