Friday, May 16, 2014

Desert Island Games

This post brought to you in that grand tradition of seeing something that someone else has done and thinking : "Hey ! That gives me an idea !"

Desert Island stuff is usually all about the music. I bet you know what would keep me happy : a steady diet of Cardigans, All About Eve, Bat For Lashes, Alisha's Attic, Garbage and Kate Bush plus a few more thrown in for variation.

But how about the games to keep the mind busy ? Here's a few of mine :

(And I'm curious about how many I share with the lady who gave me the idea. Here's a link to the vlog that mentions the site, here's a link to her list)

First and always the fallback game : Master Of Orion 2. It's from 1994 but stands that test of time. It's a turn based strategy that shares a lot with Civilisation, except it's set in space and you design your own space ships. Available on and it'll run on anything.

Mass Effect - the whole thing. It's an epic sci fi series set about 170 years from now. You are Commander Shepard (best voiced as Femshep by the wonderful Jennifer Hale) and you an elite special forces marine bombing around the galaxy in the Normandy. It's played mostly as a first person shooter but has very strong story elements that make it a compelling game. I've just started another play through of the third game.

Talking story first person games ... Deus Ex Human Revolution is a game I've completed a bunch of times, have all the achievements on Steam and have apparently sunk 208 hours into. It's worth it. It's a bit tunnelly when it gets to the action parts but manages to hide that pretty well. The gameplay doesn't have everything ... but everything it does it does incredibly well. It's on sale on Steam right now and if you haven't tried it, you're definitely missing out.

(DO NOT BUY DEUS EX THE FALL! It's so bad they may start paying people to play it)

Something different ? Another genre I'm liking more is Tower Defence and my current favourite is Defense Grid : The Awakening. I've sunk 116 hours into that ... This genre has you setting up your maze and then watching the monsters try and get through. You can mostly watch it do its own thing and intervene as required. It can get frantic but can be a chilled out way to absorb a couple of hours.

And thinking of games where you sit back and watch it happen, Banished is a recent cult hit. You have a small number of people who have been banished to a valley with no exits (how did they get in ?). The challenge is to survive in that medieval world. There are no threats from the outside (except natural disasters) but it's a brutally hard game. I feel real bad when my people die off because I didn't assign enough people to getting food.

I'd go back to the Dungeons and Dragons games. These range from the party based Baldur's Gate games to the solo based Neverwinter Nights (the old one with Aribeth). I dunno how many times I completed Neverwinter Nights. It benefits from the range of classes that exist in the Dungeons and Dragons system and a game engine that lets you get through the encounters differently according to class. Highly recommended, also available on I actually need to do a full and proper run through Baldur's Gate as that's a game I've never finished.

Faster Than Light. Oh my. This game is incredible. The premise is that your Federation has lost cataclysmically against the Rebels and you have to take your starship on a race through 7 sectors to get crucial information to your remaining base. On the way, you upgrade your ship and fight through encounters. This game is also brutal. But a lot of fun. You get a genuine sense of earning the win.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic are games I'd add here too. They have that Bioware story thing going for them, plus the translate the D20 Star Wars role playing system into a game pretty well.

Talking of translating a pen and paper system well, how come I haven't done the Dragonfall campaign in Shadowrun Returns yet ? I see my weekend activities planned out ...

Any more ? I put a good few hours into the original Settlers and even more into Civ. For Civ, Moo2 is my favourite equivalent now. But I'll also play games of Settlers IV. I know what I'm doing there, I have my build order, it's pretty good, it lets me turn the brain off, relax and be absorbed. Which lets me chill out. I'd take along the original X-Com Enemy Unknown too (the DOS based one)

KERBAL SPACE PROGRAM ! Mad Rocket Scientist Must Have.

That's it for the games I know lots about but there are a few more I'd take :

Dishonoured - started this, got distracted away. I hear that within its different setting, it's better than DXHR at what it does. Must try it more.
Final Fantasy VII - another one I collected meaning to play it. A truly legendary game ...
Don't Starve - a survival game I bought but am yet to try out.

But what would I avoid like the plague ?

Anything sport based. Yep. I'm a nut for things like cricket in particular but sports games tend to be incomplete or incredibly frustrating. They'll throw you random stuff that drives you nuts. Or they'll get mind numbingly boring. Yep. Keep the sports games away.

Multiplayer repetitive games. Things like Worms are ok, it's all about doing crazy chilled out stuff with your mates. But games like Battlefield, Counterstrike, nah. The gameplay of the Online FPS tends to be anti-chill out and anti-social. I don't find that fun.

I did find World Of Tanks fun (considering trying that again) but that also got very grindy. Good for short doses ?

How could I forget this one ? Last one for this post - OpenTTD. It's a modern free version of an old classic called Transport Tycoon Deluxe and is another chilled out builder game.

Oh I'd also like an infallible method of getting to Youtube videos, cos I'm enjoying watching gameplay videos more than I am enjoying gaming. The commentary definitely makes them compelling.

PS This is hopefully also me distracting away from feeling truly awful. Had a great night last night but ended up feeling incredibly shredded, which got worse overnight (another no sleep night). Survived through work today and looking forward to chilling out over the weekend. Feeling a bit better now, I must be remembering a hug !

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