Retro Monday: “Silent Hunter”

Title: “Silent Hunter

Developer: Aeon Electronic Entertainment

Publisher: Strategic Simulations

Release Date: 1996

            Reviewing this is definitely  going to show my age. Or show the fact that I played video games from a really young age. When “Silent Hunter” came out I was only 6, so it’s probably the latter. Thinking of the list of games I played when I was a kid, many of them came out in the 90’s. Mainly because when the family got a ‘TIME Computers’ PC (I’m amazed they are still around), we got a huge stack of games with it. One of them was “Silent Hunter.

            “Silent Hunter” is a subsim game. As in submarine simulation game. I didn’t know sibsim was a word either. I’ve talked about simulation games before and regulars will know that me and simulation games are on a rather ambivalent agreement. They don’t bore me and I don’t play them. But as my non-existent psychologist would say, ‘we need to find ze root of ze problem.’ I think this is it.

            Considering the last time I played this was when I was a kid (No, I’m not going to dig the game out and replay it for this), I wasn’t very good at it. My single digit-aged mind couldn’t wrap itself around the controls probably. But I remember watching my dad play it and he wasn’t very good at it either. And he’s good at these sorts of games. One thing I remember is that he always ran out of torpedoes. Thinking about it, so did I. We were either terrible shots or the game was too complicated. Well this was 1996 and a simulation game that didn’t use the whole of the keyboard was not complicated enough.

            I think if I played the game today, I would think it was alright. But I would still be terrible at it, so I won’t. There where many sequels to the game, all following the increasing numbers rule. Some used numerals to make typing them that little bit harder. There’s “Silent Hunter II,” which made you ze Germans and wasn’t very good according to Wikipedia. “Silent Hunter III” again as ze Germans, but was good according to Wikipedia because it was made by Ubisoft. “Silent Hunter 4” went all Hollywood in the effects department and made you the Americans. And most recently, “Silent Hunter 5” made you ze Germans again and was declared ‘mehhh’ by all involved… according to Wikipedia. If you didn’t notice, this section was sponsored by Wikipedia. This is how advertising works, bitches! Now where’s my money!?

            Even though I don’t like them, it’s good to see that a simulation franchise has lasted this long. Well, one that isn’t “Microsoft Flight Simulator.” Or should I say “Microsoft ________ Simulator,” because nothing seems to be out of the range of Microsoft Studios making a simulation game out of it. I’m expecting ‘Microsoft Universe Simulator’ any day now. Or they could just make ‘Microsoft Father Simulator’ and shoot right for the demographic that plays their games.

            In the end, time has not been good to Silent Hunter. By that I mean when it came out it was good but better games have come out since. Like the third one. Or their (in beta) free-to-play iteration, “Silent Hunter Online.

Retro Score: 3.5/5

Modern Score: 2/5

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