Retro Sci-Fi Games: Solarquest

Posted by Guest Author on Mar 18, 2008 in Videogames |

Retro Sci-Fi Games: Solarquest

It seems almost impossible to fall over in a game store without knocking over a few dozen sci-fi themed games, so we wanted to take a look at the ten best examples of the genre. Our twist? Retro! So here’s one glimpse of the future from the past:


It is a rare thing to find a game that is not only a ton of fun, but also quietly educational. Built on Monopoly’s core mechanics, Solarquest adds a bit of depth as well as a lot of polish and eye candy to the otherwise dry franchise.

The basic idea is that you’re zooming around the solar system buying up every major rock (mostly moons) you can find. Instead of moving in a fixed path, players may choose to orbit around the home planets for as long as they wish, building up fuel and cash. Once a player has bought up a planet’s surrounding moons they essentially have a monopoly and gain more money for rent and fuel when another player lands there. There are also special rules to allow cutthroat laser battles that are sure to end friendships and destroy marriages.

While the basic game-play is, well, pretty basic, it adds a layer or two to the well-worn Monopoly formula. Plus the game is just damn beautiful. Each planet and moon has its own photographic look, making them even more desirable. The game comes with a huge number of shiny metal fuel pods and multi-colored spaceships. Each property card has a list of facts about the moon or planet it represents on the back. Sure, it may be a little dry, and some of the information may be, well, wrong, but it certainly makes the few long hours it takes to finish a game much more tolerable.

Zac Bentz is a regular contributor to the Japanese culture blog Japanator, runs his own Japanese music review blog ZB’s A-Z of J-Music and plays crazy electro-rock in The Surfactants. He lives in Duluth, MN with his wife, pets and a closet full of adventure.

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