On 1953, a naval intelligence officer, journalist and writer debuted as an author with what would become the first of eleven novels: Casino Royale. Deeply connected to historical events and his biography, most of Ian Fleming’s books became legendary, especially because of his seductive lead, James Bond. Fleming himself had a codename – “17F” – when he worked under the Director of Naval Intelligence throughout the war. He eventually found the inspiration to give the agent of his creation a code of his own: 007. In any case, since 1962, 26 Bond movies have been made and 12 actors have portrayed the secret agent, although we might remember just about half of them. But in addition to this, 007 has also gone down in history through video games, and here’s a look at them.
Shaken But not Stirred, which Richard Shepherd Software released on 1982 for home computer ZX Spectrum, was only available in the UK. The game was text-based and in it, Bond’s mission was to prevent Dr. Death from dropping a bomb in London. Overall, it received good reviews, especially based on its consistency with the original novels. In 1983, James Bond 007 by Parker Brothers and for Atari 2600 and Atari 5200, among other platforms – including SEGA SG-1000 in Japan – was released. The levels of the game were based on Bond missions and it received mixed reviews, unlike its predecessor. However, it was in 1997 – and after nine other versions – that the best Bond game so far saw the light: the first person shooter video game for Nintendo 64, GoldenEye 007, has often been considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time. As a matter of fact, it was thanks to this game that the Nintendo 64 became popular. Tomorrow Never Dies (inspired by the MI6 agent movie starring Pierce Brosnan) followed, and this third-person shooter game was only available on PlayStation.
In 2000, The World Is Not Enough (based on the movie of the same name) was released and the game, known as TWINE, became almost as famous as GoldenEye 007 as it was pretty similar to it. A year later, Agent Under Fire – which wasn’t inspired by a Bond book or film – was released for GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It received mixed reviews, being considered fun and full of action but not creative enough to become engaging.
Everything or Nothing (2003), with Tajikistani and Egyptian locations, was the next best Bond game. With a third-person perspective, it was great for multiplayer and featured an original story. Two other great adaptations followed, these being James Bond 007 From Russia with Love – the first of a 007 series – and 007: Quantum of Solace, which was the first one starring Daniel Craig as Bond and it also used the famous first-person perspective that worked so well for the video game version of the spy saga. Players could choose between a mission in Quantum of Solace or Casino Royale. In the case of the latter, one area that 007 games have failed to capitalise on to date are the classic casino games associated with the series. For instance, the agent’s game of choice in the movies is baccarat, while he also lends his name to a roulette strategy; the James Bond method can often found alongside other roulette tips online including the La Bouchere. How cool would it be to experience the thrill of the casino as 007 himself?
In 2010, and based on the still famous 1997 version, a reimagining of GoldenEye 2007 was developed for the Wii video game console by Eurocom. This “reloaded” version received positive reviews based on its well-crafted story – a mission set in Russia – and multiplayer option. In 2016, a fan-developed updated and free version was released. Blood Stone (2010) – including the original voices of Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, and Joss Stone – was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS and Xbox 360 and in 2012, 007 Legends became available in PS3 and Xbox 360. These were the latest video games of the spy saga to have been made so far.
Although no new games have been announced, what we do know is that both Curve Digital (Stealth) and Telltale, responsible for The Walking Dead game series, have shown interest in continuing the Bond video game saga, which has proven to be one of the most successful in video game history. We can only hope to play a new release one day, but to be honest, GoldenEye 2007 – just like when you feel like re-watching a Bond film and go for the oldies – is still fun, engaging and above all, already a classic.