Access Software, the studio formed in 1982 by Bruce Carver brought the early computer game world numerous gems including the Links series and two Tex Murphy games. There’s an entire history of the studio, including their acquisition by Microsoft and their name change(s), on Wikipedia if you’re interested. I just thought it would be great to look back at some of their best early games.
I’m going to side step the Links golf games… They were great, of course, but probably also quite familiar to many players of the era.
Here then, is a little sampling of a few great Access Software titles.
Amazon: Guardians of Eden
Released in 1992, this 1950’s serial style adventure game was probably one of the first I can recall to truly embrace a narrative and visual style and extend it into each aspect of the game – even the menus. It was an early look into Access attempting to create an interactive movie – something they’d re-visit with Under a Killing Moon.
Amazon: Guardians of Eden was an Indiana Jones style adventure as if it were made as a movie in the golden age of Hollywood. A great game to play.. and totally available now.
Beach Head II
It was 1985 and this was the game to have. Access released the sequel it’s unique action tactics game Beach Head about 18 months after its predecessor and it was a great, varied game all the way around – better, in nearly every respect than the original.
Beach Head II came out on most of the systems du jour in 1985 including the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Apple II. For my money nothing beats manning the turret whilst enemy troops are encroaching during the attack sequence.
Mean Streets (Tex Murphy)
This was the first entry in the Tex Murphy franchise and arrived on the PC in 1989. Like many fans of early games of this style, Under a Killing Moon was my first taste of Tex Murphy but Mean Streets is not to be missed as well. The game features some action segments and, though it was rough around the edges in parts, pushed the graphics fidelity forward as it was one of the earliest titles to work in the full 256 color VGA palette.
If you’re up for stepping into the early days of Tex Murphy, Mean Streets can be played right now.
1988’s Echelon was a very early entry in the space simulator genre and featured some audio effects that were cutting edge at the time.
It’s a fun early glimpse at where the origin of titles like Wing Commander came from, and you can grab it right now.