Video Games Thread!

Good morning everyone!

On occasion, in the comments, I talk about video games. Sometimes people join in! Last year, at the recommendation of some jackal here, I picked up Horizon Zero Dawn, which was just great, so thanks, person.

What are your most favorite games ever? Mine are Metal Gear Solid 3, Final Fantasy VII, Breath of the Wild, and the Fallout series. And Minecraft, I suppose, as a perennial favorite.

What are you playing that you are enjoying? I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XV and Stardew Valley lately. I played through most of Subnautica in April, which was also great.

Really though, I wanted to ask this question: The Minecraft aquatic update is out, and I want to play it socially, but not with jerks. If I set up a little Minecraft server for friends of the blog, would anybody be interested in joining?






254 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    I never got into video games. Kind of feel left out now.

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  2. 2
    EBT says:

    I recently got La Mulana 2 and have suck 65 hours in to it, trying to decipher it’s mysteries. Fucking amazing game.

    And MMM if you like Horizon Zero Dawn, Steamforged Games is making a 4 player cooperative board game for it.

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  3. 3
    Cookie Monster says:

    I’m bad at “favorite” lists, I’m old and I’ve been gaming since it was black and white. Recently, been playing Vanquish, and messing with emulators — there’s finally an OG Xbox emulator that can run Jet Set Radio Future, which never had any ports. I’ve been playing through that, almost finished it. Glorious!

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  4. 4

    @EBT: I really enjoyed Horizon Zero Dawn! The story leaned a little too heavily on Fallout 1, structurally speaking, but it was a fresh mashup of a bunch of different things I really like in games. And I love Lance Reddick. I don’t think it got as much attention as it could have, but that year had a very crowded field.

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  5. 5
    Keith P says:

    Jump man, Project Space Station, Ninja Gaiden, Zak McKracken

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  6. 6
    Edmund dantes says:

    Been sinking what little hours I have to play sinking hours into No Man’s Sky Next update.

    Favorite games? So hard. So many good ones.

    Fallout series, Mass Effect, bioshock. Red dead redemption, secret of mana, chrono trigger, and a ton I’m forgetting.

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  7. 7
    Pharniel says:

    Top List as it stands in the Year of Your Lord, 2018:
    Ultima VII pt 2 – That game made me feel things.
    Star Control 2 – Ditto.
    Final Fantasy VI
    Titanfall – Just a perfect FPS shooter; Spot previously held by Team Fortress Classic
    Sword of the Stars – The last epic space 4X that really did it for me.

    Honorable mentions to: Bravely Default, Shin Magami Tensu, Witcher 3, World of Warships and Starflight.
    Currently I’m playing Monster Hunter World, and it’s everything right with the MH franchise w/about 80% of the bullshit excised. It’s really, really, really that good.

    I’m looking forward to completing Persona 5, Battletech, Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Pillars of Eternity 2 once my contract ends. It keeps getting extended, which is good, because $$$, but bad for my (extensive) back catalog.

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  8. 8
    West of the Rockies says:

    Um, so I’m pretty good at Panda Pop. I’m a mama panda trying to free her baby pandas from the clutches of an ill-tempered babboon. Sometimes it gets pretty intense.

    What can I say? I’m a very maternal man.

    Back in the day, I dug Sea Wolf, Joust, and Ms Pac-Man.

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  9. 9
    Keith P says:

    Anything by Epyx could probably make my top games list

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  10. 10

    @Pharniel: I think my husband spent like 80 hours on Persona 5, lol.

    I forgot about Star Control 2–that’s a wonderful game! Isn’t a (real) new entry in the series coming out, like, right now?

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  11. 11
    PigDog says:

    I reinstalled Alpha Centauri last month (basically Civilization 2 IN SPACE) and it’s still a great game.

    Horizon Zero Dawn sucked 82 wonderful hours out of my life last year. No regrets. Way better than the time I wasted on FFXV.

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  12. 12
    MP says:

    @EBT: I don’t play games any more, but back in the day, Adventure on a Data General mainframe blew my mind. Once the Commodore 64 rolled out, I enjoyed most of the Infocom games. In the arcade, I loved Pleiades and Galaga, and Joust was up there too.

    Now you kids get off my 8-bit but mapped lawn!

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  13. 13
    lurker dean says:

    in a way i’m glad i never got into video games, they’re such a time suck. the atari 2600 was my peak, lol.

    not exactly a “video” game but i’ve been playing this with my nephew and niece and they love it :o)

    http://www.taipangame.com/

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  14. 14
    NCSteve says:

    Wolfenstein II has been cathartic. I don’t know if I would have made it this far through the Trump regime without it.

    Still in it because I had a death in the family that kinda put me off violent video gaming and then an injury that made it impossible for me play any video games for a while, so I still have a couple of levels left and then I realized I’d been rationing them, saving them for weekends when the prior week’s creeping fascism was choking me.

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  15. 15
    MomSense says:

    Legend of Zelda seems to be the favorite for my kids but last time they were all home they played Rocket League. They were having fun but there was whisky involved.

    Rocket League seems to be a soccer game played by cars in a dome.

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  16. 16
    WarMunchkin says:

    Missing Final Fantasy XI’s heyday. I miss the cooperation and community. Never found anything like it again. I go back from time to time, but it’s different to keep up with the modern gen.

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  17. 17
    Schlemazel says:

    I never really got into video games. I used to play Q-Bert at an arcade over lunch until it took more than an hour to use up my quarter. The kids I worked with got me hooked on Portal so I played them & learned the cake is a lie. What got me hooked was the puzzle aspect. I am intrigued by things like Skyrim for their puzzle-like qualities but never tried them. The shooters bore me to tears but always seem to be the big attraction

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  18. 18

    My Minecraft server question isn’t getting a lot of traction here…

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  19. 19
    M31 says:

    Portal!

    Best combination of fun gameplay and physics with a great mindfuck of a story, lol.

    Just started going through it again for the first time in years and it holds up so nicely.

    The cake is a lie!

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  20. 20
    EBT says:

    @MP: I’ve beaten collossal caves funny enough. I may I my be 35 but I was an avid game collector in my youth, having systems and carts back to the early 70s.

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  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @lurker dean: Right. Who has time for video games and Balloon Juice?

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  22. 22
    Old Dan and Little Ann says:

    When I first discovered youtube the first videos I watched were of old Nintendo games from the 8o’s. I haven’t played many video games since. I did try a virtual reality game early in the summer. Some zombie shit. It scared the fuck out of me and gave me nightmares for weeks. And i love horror movies.

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  23. 23
    EBT says:

    @MomSense: that is rocket league. It’s fast, no way to pay to get better stuff (all the unlocks are cosmetic) and even when you lose it’s fun.

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  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major: If I end up retiring in the next few months, I’ll do it.

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  25. 25
    Another Scott says:

    @Baud: I think the last one I played semi-regularly was Centipede.

    Never the time nor inclination since then. I don’t know how people do it these days.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    :-)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

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  26. 26
    M31 says:

    @MP:

    Adventure! now that was a great game.

    “You are in a twisty little maze of passages, all alike” fuuuuuuuu

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  27. 27
    dmsilev says:

    Favorite ever, probably the Cuvilization series. IV on top, and then V as a close second. Current heavy time wasters are Kerbal Space Program and Factorio.

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  28. 28
    EBT says:

    @Schlemazel: there has been a moderate resurgence of point and click puzzle games too, recently.

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  29. 29
    Tim C. says:

    I’ve been mainlining Stellaris the last few months. Giant huge strategic sci-fi game that you can mod the crap out of you like. Paradoxplaza game so if you like deep economic and political models more than tactical combat, you’ll love it.

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  30. 30
    Another Scott says:

    @Another Scott: Grr. Linky got eated.

    Centipede.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

    ReplyReply
  31. 31

    @Baud: but you don’t play video games.

    ReplyReply
  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I’m going to ask the monumentally dumb question of what does the gameplay of Minecraft consist of? I mostly play building and simulation games (like SimCity etc), and it sounds like there’s a building component to Minecraft, but I don’t know what else it involves.

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  33. 33
    M31 says:

    Game nostalgia time — I loved me some Ambrosia games back in the day! Especially Escape Velocity, the original choose-your-own adventure (join the Rebels or the Confederation? hmmmmm).

    They had a brilliant side-scroller called “Ferazel’s Wand” which was great — anyone play that? Just a little guy jumping through all these levels, killing spiders and jumping over pits, to save his people from some evil bug fiends. There were some killer hard timed levels in that.

    I need to go dig out an old Mac and play it (PPC only, sadly, and didn’t make the transition to OSX).

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  34. 34
    dmsilev says:

    @Mnemosyne: Some people like to build Big Things in it, basically LEGO sets without any limit on how many pieces you can afford or have space for.

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  35. 35
    Schlemazel says:

    @MP:
    OH YEAH! Loved Adventure! You can still find it online these days.

    There was also a text-based Star Trek game that was good for killing a couple of hours

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  36. 36
    EBT says:

    @Mnemosyne: mostly building and digging, with killing things as a option. You can change the settings so you just generate the blocks you want like an infinite Lego kit too, if you would prefer.

    And people have made some impressive mod packs you can download. Including a nice binary logic set that you can use to make a computer powerful enough to run Minecraft, inside Minecraft.

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  37. 37
    debit says:

    Too many favorites to count, but Suikoden 1 and 2 are at the top, along with pretty much all the FF series (except X – what a shit show). Chrono Trigger. Currently replaying Dragon Age Inquisition and contemplating re-playing DA 1 and 2 for the umpteenth time. Getting ready for the Valkyria Chronicles 4

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  38. 38
    MisterForkbeard says:

    I don’t see these mentioned yet, but the Dragon Quest games are fantastic if you like chill/retro RPGs. The newest one in particular is puntastic and the game is just incredibly charming. It’s currently consuming all my free time.

    Obligatory mentions to Fallout (especially the older ones), Mario and Breath of the Wild. And the… FTL is incredibly worth playing.

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  39. 39
    Schlemazel says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    I took the long route to answer. Not me . . . as soon as you ruled “no jerks” I was out

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  40. 40

    @Mnemosyne: @dmsilev: Although you do have to acquire the pieces, by mining and crafting. Depending on game mode, there are enemies and some minor adventure plots to deal with if you want, too.

    If I set up a server it would have different areas with different rule sets, so you could pick and choose. If you like building towns and stuff, there’s usually a pretty big ‘city’ that gets built at the universal spawn point.

    @Schlemazel: Jackal jerks are allowed!

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  41. 41
    NineDragonSpot says:

    These past few months I’ve been reacquainting myself with the chess world, which has changed a lot since my schoolboy, competitive days. Broadcasts of games with illuminating analysis by grandmasters, video lessons, the latest findings in opening theory, endless puzzles, a whole wealth of chess lore, all within easy reach. A lot more speed and bullet chess, too, so the pace has quickened considerably.

    Also trying to level up my Chinese (elephant) and Japanese (shogi/general) chess. Chinese chess is very positional, and still difficult for me to feel very comfortable with. There’s a lot of literature on the subject and I should just knuckle down at some point. Shogi is quite exciting and very bloody. Alas, English-language shogi theory and analysis is pretty hard to come by (and the time controls in professional games can be excruciatingly slow).

    Ok, these technically aren’t video games, but I’m old school.

    ReplyReply
  42. 42
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I’m in!

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  43. 43
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Cookie Monster: Vanquish is super good. I applaud your taste

    @debit: Those are all classics. Valkyria 4 looks very promising too.

    @Tim C.: Stellaris is too good. There are a couple of Star Wars total conversions that are mindblowing, as well. Did you ever play Sins of a Solar Empire? It’s a nice mix of RTS and light 4X strategy.

    @NCSteve: Agree. I played Wolf II when it came out and it’s good to see unapologetic attacks on racism and nazism. And sad that it feels so neccessary.

    ReplyReply
  44. 44
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Baud:

    Come sit by me.

    ReplyReply
  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Schlemazel:

    I think he means jerks we don’t already know. 😜

    ReplyReply
  46. 46
    Manxome Bromide says:

    @EBT: I just finished La-Mulana 2 last night and I am incredibly jazzed about that. It’s… definitely not a game for everybody but if it’s in your wheelhouse there’s nothing like it besides, well, La-Mulana 1.

    My gametime clock says I spent 42 hours on it, but that doesn’t count deaths, one-off mapping/experimentation/exploration jaunts that I didn’t save, or the hours I spent making and poring over the 30 kilobyte text file full of notes.

    According to those notes I got megastuck about five times. In each case I needed a hint but it was a case where I’d uncovered the relevant clues but failed to put them together. The other places I needed nudges were mostly places where I’d mistaken open passages for walls, and I’m mostly blaming myself for those.

    Not sure what modern game to play next. (What do you drink when you’ve just finished drinking the sea?) I guess I never actually finished Rez. I guess that’s not actually modern, either.

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  47. 47
    dmsilev says:

    @Mnemosyne: Also, mentioning SimCity reminds me of all the SimOtherThings games that Maxis put out. SimAnt was probably the weirdest, but SimEarth was pretty neat. Start with deep geologic time, evolve life and eventually intelligence and civilization. Notable for introducing man-made global warming as a game mechanic. For the time (1990), that was pretty advanced.

    ReplyReply
  48. 48
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Does the on-line Backgammon I’m obsessed with count?

    I was once very very good at Pong…..and the Duck Hunt thing that used to be in bars in the late ’70’s.
    * shrug * I’m old.

    ReplyReply
  49. 49
    MP says:

    @Schlemazel: It has been a few years, but at one point, I found a lot of the old Infocom games (Zork I, II and III, Starcross, The Witness…but not Hitchiker’s Guide sadly) online as well.

    ReplyReply
  50. 50
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I’m willing to learn.

    ReplyReply
  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I might be in, then. My niece and nephew will be very impressed that I’m only 10 years behind the times!

    ReplyReply
  52. 52
    EBT says:

    @Manxome Bromide: my steam time includes a lot of dead time, bathroom time, and preparing weed for myself and Mistress time.
    I’ve only used a handful of hints this one and am particularly proud of figuring out the Dark Star Lord’s footprints by myself.

    ReplyReply
  53. 53
    weasel says:

    Too many games, played too slowly and over too many years for anything definite (example of too slowly, still spending the occasional hour or two on Skyrim). Memories start with some ancient Apple and PC games (Bilestode and Loderunner). Next the Infocom games and the early Ultimas (think I started on II). Onto Bard’s Tale, Might and Magic, nearly all the SSI D&D games. Also things like Civilization (came late to it, started with 3 maybe?), Starcraft and Warcraft – Orcs & Humans. Then into some of the early FPSers (Duke Nukem 3D especial blew my mind) and am still playing CS – GO and TF2. Lost a few years in MUDs (EOTL) and then MMPORPGs (Everquest 1 & 2). Am spending most of my limited time on Elder Scrolls: Legends; my first strategy card game, but I like being able to play on both phone and PC. Also did consoles, from Atari 2600 to NES to Sega Genesis to Playstation 2 and finally stopped with the Gamecube, which I still play on occassion (Wind Waker and Mario Cart especially).

    In the spirit of giving thanks for good game tips, my hat is off to Cole for his Sunless Sea recommendation a few years back. And finally another geeky gamer song to share. Walkthrough by Debs and Errol

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  54. 54
  55. 55
    John Cole says:

    FAVORITE ALL TIMES:

    KOTOR and KOTOR 2
    Deus Ex
    Baldur’s Gate
    PoE 1 and 2
    DoS 1 and 2
    Vampire the Masquerade
    WoW
    The Witcher 3

    ReplyReply
  56. 56
    raven says:

    Go Dawgs!

    ReplyReply
  57. 57
    Damien says:

    I’ve been playing a lot of Sniper Elite 3 recently. That whole series is intense bouts of sneaking combined with shooting Nazis in the head, and call me crazy, but putting bullets in them feels like the right thing to do.

    I hope my game will grace your guys’ best of lists in a couple years when it comes out

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  58. 58
    Mary G says:

    My ex-husband brought home a Pong in the 70s, and I loved it and beat him most of the time. Later I had the first Nintendo and played Mario Brothers all the time. Then my arthritis got worse and worse and I had no money, so that was kind of it. When I got my first PC in the 90s, I played Myst and loved it.

    I play casual games now, mostly time management of farms and building things, but there aren’t very many good ones. I’ve been thinking of trying Stardew Valley, since it sounds like one of those. I don’t like shooting things and my hands don’t work very well, but I love figuring things out.

    ReplyReply
  59. 59

    @Mnemosyne: I should note that you build things block-by-block. Worth watching a couple videos.

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  60. 60
    EBT says:

    @EBT: I did spend six hours circling Icefire Treetop and Roots of Yggdrissl because the Eye of Divine Retribution in Loki’s room scared me off from trying to hit the beast head.

    ReplyReply
  61. 61
    Brent Pitts says:

    @weasel: Oops, Star Control 2 was what I was thinking of when I said Starcraft. Remember it was one of the first PC games I could play head-to-head, over a serial cable!

    ReplyReply
  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    Speaking of my niece and nephew, apparently if you like old-timey animation, the two Steam games for you are Bendy and the Ink Machine and Cupheads. Cupheads looks adorable (like an old 1930s Max Fleischer cartoon), but it seems to be quite fiendishly difficult even for experienced gamers.

    ReplyReply
  63. 63
    weasel says:

    @lurker dean: Oh wow, I remember that game from the Apple II days! Thanks for the link :)

    ReplyReply
  64. 64
    dmsilev says:

    @John Cole: KOTOR 2 was such a shame. Pushed out before really being finished made parts of it (the ending especially) such a mess. 1 was great though, especially if you hit the big plot twist cold without any spoilers.

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  65. 65
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Ah, I wish you’d picked another game. Starbound, maybe. :(

    @John Cole: Vampire is SO GOOD. So long as we’re talking Bloodlines and not the diablo clone Redemption. Did you ever play a Malkavian run? It’s amazing, changes every piece of dialogue in the game.

    Witcher 3 is also one of my favorites, especially if you’ve played the first two and get the additional story payoffs. But those games aren’t for everyone.

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  66. 66
    Schlemazel says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    OOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo, that different.
    Still, I am not a video game guy

    ReplyReply
  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mary G:

    Have you tried Monument Valley? It’s a puzzle game for mobile devices that has no time limit and no way for the character to die. You just keep working the puzzle until you solve it.

    And you only need to touch the path where you want the character to walk, so you don’t have to crunch your hands up to hit multiple keys at once. Great music, too.

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  68. 68
    dmsilev says:

    @Mary G: Stardew Valley is great. You can play completely at your own pace, and choose what you want to do. There’s a plot of sorts, but if you want to ignore it and just grow flower beds and the occasional crop of pumpkins, the game is happy to let you do that. Very relaxing.

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  69. 69
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @Mary G:
    Now that you mention it, I enjoyed Myst, and also found it mildly creepy. ☺️

    ReplyReply
  70. 70
    MisterForkbeard says:

    Also, I’ve been playing a ton of games on my Switch. Super useful for semi old games like Skyrim, Wasteland 2, etc. In addition to the other new games it gets you.

    @weasel: As an aside, theres a new Bard’s Tale game out in like… 3 days. It looks amazing, is getting some good prerelease buzz.

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  71. 71
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Mary G: Stardew Valley is fantastic and your love it. You can also play it cooperatively with another player as of about a month ago.

    You can opt out of all combat if you want, and it becomes an excellent farming game.

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  72. 72

    @Mnemosyne: Cupheads looks amazing and I’ve also heard is pretty good to play.

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  73. 73
    eddie blake says:

    hi- longtime lurker.

    too many faves to really list but right now i can’t get enough of titanfall 2. both the single player campaign AND the multiplayer are an AMAZING experience

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  74. 74
    Crashman says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I’d be down for Minecraft.

    I know I’m a few years late for this but been playing The Witcher 3 lately and man that game is right in my sweet spot. Gonna take me a long time to finish though.

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  75. 75
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dmsilev:

    I had SimEarth for my old Mac Classic, I think. I love sim games, but I can only play them until the world gets up to a certain level of complexity, and then I lose track of all of the threads and get frustrated.

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  76. 76
    opiejeanne says:

    @MP: Hello Sailor!

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  77. 77
    weasel says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Thanks for the tip! Might add it to my xmas list :)

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  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    My niece and nephew are 18 and 15 and they find it challenging, so I think the gameplay is pretty good. I can only watch them play it, because I suck at any game that requires a controller.

    I know people who know the creators of the game. They actually did it with hand-painted animation cels, which is freakin’ amazing.

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  79. 79
    RandomMonster says:

    Red Dead Redemption
    Skyrim
    Far Cry series

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  80. 80
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @MisterForkbeard:
    Stardew Valley sounds like my hometown area.
    I think I might like it.

    ReplyReply
  81. 81

    Without a doubt, Bioshock was my favorite game EVAH. Followed by the Borderlands and all the Fallouts. Mass Effect, especially 2 & 3, was also in the realm of total excellence.

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  82. 82

    @Mnemosyne: wow, I didn’t know that! If you’re for real about Minecraft btw email me, I would love to play with you.

    @Crashman: my only complaint about Witcher 3 is that the combat controls (PS4) are… bleh.

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  83. 83
    nwerner says:

    No time to play video games with any regularity, maybe 10 hours a year or so. But when I do, it’s usually designing a city or region in SimCity or, if I am feeling like I have some real time to invest, Dwarf Fortress. If you’re a programmer/gamer geek type, it’s a must to attempt (game motto “Losing is fun!“). The graphics are just multi-colored ASCII characters but there’s a big engine running in the background. Every game generates thousands of years of history and characters (I’m not sure there’s any way to access this data, it just sort of lives as part of the game). It’s been an influence on a lot of game creators (including the Minecraft inventor).

    I plan to build a new computer in the next couple months and treat myself to a real processor/graphics intensive game. I’ll look over the recommendations in this thread to see if any look interesting.

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  84. 84

    And I forgot the Dark Souls games (including Bloodborne), which were brutal but uniformly excellent. Skyrim was great also when I finally did a play though as a Khajit Thief.

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  85. 85

    @nwerner: the Dwarf Fortress guy has a new book out on procedural game generation I’ve been meaning to look at.

    Oh, just saw the last paragraph—-Subnautica!

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  86. 86
    debit says:

    @nwerner: If one has some time to kill and appreciates long, drawn out hilarity, this accounting of a Dwarf Fortress playthough is well worth the time.

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  87. 87
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @debit: Is that the Saga of Boatmurdered? Collaborative storytelling at its finest. :)

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  88. 88
    Rob Eberhardt says:

    I would love to play Minecraft with a community of non-jerks

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  89. 89
    sixthdoctor says:

    @RandomMonster: Red Dead was awesome and im psyched for RD2.

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  91. 91
    Manxome Bromide says:

    @Mnemosyne: Cuphead’s an amazing achievement and the soundtrack is also absolutely top-notch. I found I didn’t enjoy actually playing it though because I seem to have some very finicky attitudes towards run-and-gun games.

    I don’t shy away from challenging games as long as they aren’t too gigantically dicks about it – I liked Super Meat Boy a lot, for instance – but I’m usually happier if it’s not being a jerk about it, or if it’s at least being a jerk about it in amusing ways.

    My 2018 platformer of the year so far is Celeste, and it just might end up taking the spot for best game in that genre of all time for me. It’s willing to test the player to destruction but it’s also willing to let the player dial things down a great deal if they’re stuck or just want to explore. I never turned on assist mode, but I also gave up partway through the postgame bonus levels.

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  92. 92
    Mary G says:

    @Mnemosyne: I actually have that on my Kindle – I think I got it after the Guardian said it was the top game of 2014, and it’s one of Amazon’s “actually free” games where you don’t have to pay for extras but I’ve never opened it. I’ll try it. Another one I have and like is the Bridge, which is kind of a mechanical puzzle game where you have to get a little figure from point a to point b. Also Portal is fun, but sometimes my hands don’t move fast enough.

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  93. 93
    nwerner says:

    @debit: Oh awesome. I love these stories. My favorite, and the one that really put the hooks is me is Bronzemurder.

    @Major Major Major Major: Subnautica? Alright, it’s on the list!

    ReplyReply
  94. 94

    Sounds like there’s enough interest to justify setting up a 12-person Minecraft server tonight.

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    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Sigh. Post the login info somewhere we can find it.

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    nwerner says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I hope the DF guys are able to monetize their work without losing any integrity. It would be sad to think of them as the Pere Ubu of gaming. As of a couple years ago, the two were living in an apartment in Silverdale, WA, subsisting off alms from their loyal fan base and sending out hand-drawn art as a thanks.

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    @MisterForkbeard: twist your arm why don’t I? Sheesh! But yes, of course.

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    Anotherlurker says:

    Does anyone remember “Nanosaur”? It used to come with Apple Computers. It was loaded on my candy colored I-Mac.
    I had fun playing it.

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    Jamie Grimm says:

    My current time waster is Slay the Spire. It’s a card based battle game, so yes a niche that lots of folks won’t take to. But it’s addictive as hell if you do enjoy that sort of thing.

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    Crashman06 says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Yeah I get that complaint. I seem to be doing well enough to muddle by. Previously I was playing a lot of Dead Cells on my Switch.

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    Cookie Monster says:

    @Major Major Major Major: re Star Control sequel. Very, very “sort of”, and doesn’t involve the Toys for Bob guys. Stardock bought the Name from the smouldering remains of Atari, ended up in a law suit with the original authors and is basically making a game of that name with no rights other than the name. Meanwhile, I think there another sequel that does have story etc. But not the SC name…

    It’s a huge IP mess.

    Still not as bad as the one that prevents the No one lives forever games being released tho, which is a shame, they were great.

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  103. 103
    khead says:

    M.U.L.E. for the Atari 800 is the greatest video game of all time. An Ozark Software game distributed by EA LONG before they became a behemoth.

    Starflight, Civilization and Railroad Tycoon 2 all had to be deleted from my hard drive (or hidden if on disk) at times so I could finish semesters of college.

    Bioshock.

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    M31 says:

    @Anotherlurker:

    Nanosaur was great! The opening narration I can still remember, lol, (deep sci-fi intro voice) “In the Year 3426, a sole nanosaur . . . ” hahahahaha

    I remember some other iMac freebies, Bugdom (fun cartoony game where you walk around as a bug saving ladybugs trapped in spider webs), and Tony Hawk skateboarding games. All pretty fun.

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    @Cookie Monster: I knew it was a mess but (possibly-wrong cached knowledge from a few months ago) am under the impression that Origins is going to be fine.

    ETA I am of course more than capable of keeping an open mind about both games!

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    HarlequinGnoll says:

    Can’t let a video game thread go by without mentioning Darkest Dungeon.

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    PenAndKey says:

    Lately works been insanely busy, but when I do get time to play it’s any of the following:
    – Stardew Valley: I played it when it first came out but forgot about it, only to rediscover it about a month ago. It’s a pure joy to get away form the grind of running my lab and pretend I’m a vintner instead.
    – The new Shadow of the Tomb Raider that just came out: because the last one had some of the best stealth mechanics I’ve ever played and this one’s even better.
    – Minecraft: I’m technically a member of a few Patreon servers but haven’t played recently since something’s got to give.
    – Subnautica: I will manage to build my void base some day
    – Stellaris: When I want to lose time in a giant galaxy I’ll throw this on and assimilate another empire or two into my collective.
    – Playing through the Dishonored series again, because it’s the best stealth series ever made.
    – Surviving Mars: Since it’s as close as I’ll ever get to fulfilling my childhood ambition of living on Mars.

    All of this is done when I’m I’m not busy trying to teach myself C# and Unity to make my own unholy fusion of Stardew Valley and the world-style, size and RPG feel of Ultima Online, even if that overly ambitious project is still years from fruition.

    Favorite games ever? Huh, let’s see:
    – The entire original Mass Effect trilogy
    – Earthworm Jim 1 & 2
    – Super Metroid. Any game with a similar play style on Steam will at least get me to try it once.
    – The Dishonored series, as mentioned above.
    – The reboot of the Tomb Raider series, for the same reason
    – Stardew Valley, Viva Pinata, and pretty much any other chill open-ended farming game.

    As for a Minecraft server for Jackels? I’m game. I’m not terribly enamored with the Phantom as a mechanic to force sleep, but the Drowned are definitely an interesting new addition. What version would you plan on running?

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    @HarlequinGnoll: this also reminds me to mention every Tim Schafer game. So good!

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    Crashman06 says:

    @HarlequinGnoll: I got that game for my Switch and I really did enjoy it. But I didn’t get that far and haven’t played it in a bit because it really is stressful! It stresses me out every time I play! I’m a wimp I guess but I just couldn’t handle it!

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    Bobby Thomson says:

    Assassins’ Creed; Valve (TF2, Portal and Portal 2, Half-Life and Half-Life 2); Bioshock Infinite; Skyrim; Zelda (Skyward Sword, Twilight Princess, Wind Waker).

    Go Vacation and Lego City Undercover are fun to play with the kids.

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    Ferdinand says:

    Even my username is gaming derived! Plus I got in a couple hours of Fallout 4 this morning while my wife slept in. Heh.

    I was an old school Dungeon Master in high school in the 80s, and got into video games with my kids when they were young. Still play even though the youngest is now 18.

    RPGs mostly. All time personal favorites? Fallout 4, Skyrim, the Mass Effect series, the Dragon Age series, Jade Empire, Baldur’s Gate. Gonna finally give Civilization a try. I’ll get very into a game and play nothing else for long stretches. I’ve put well north of 500 hours this year into just Skyrim and Fallout 4 on Xbox, though I’ve got a high end laptop I could also game on if I wanted to diversify.

    Now to read comments! A good non-Trump topic for a Saturday.

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    RandomMonster says:

    @sixthdoctor: I’m right there with you. I’d even like to reply RDR just to whet my appetite for this sequel…

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    Bostondreams says:

    Horizon Zero Dawn is my own current favorite, though Fallout 2 is all time. Enjoying Destiny 2 and the new Spider-Man. And just starting Divinity Original Sin 2. The first was incredible.

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    Ferdinand says:

    @M31:
    Hah! My kids and I still get each other going over “the cake is a lie!”

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    @PenAndKey: oh Super Metroid was great. Have you played Hollow Knight?

    I want to do the aquatic update, so a fairly recent Minecraft version. Plus Bukkit or equivalent. I’m sure I can turn phantoms off. Although don’t they only attack individuals who need to be in a bed? (Still nonsense in multiplayer)

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    PenAndKey says:

    @Ferdinand: Just as long as they don’t start telling you what they’ll do with your lemons ;-)

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    PenAndKey says:

    @Major Major Major Major: They’ll attack any playing above ground who hasn’t slept in a set amount of time, with an exponential increased chance of spawning as the “time since last sleep” increases. They’re useful but I’m still annoyed that they were included because they won an idiotic popularity contest at MineCon. If you’re going to set up a server management platform I’d recommend getting a One Player Sleep module to go with it.

    And no, I haven’t had a chance to play Hallow Knight yet. It looks amazing but I’m already going on 5-6 hours of sleep too many nights as it is. Someday soon, hopefully.

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    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Ferdinand: as is the grief counseling.

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    J R in WV says:

    @MagdaInBlack:

    Yeah, there were first person shooter games where you actually held a gun in your hand and had to pick whether to shoot to kill or not, when people who might be other shooters OR might be hostages popped up. That was big fun.

    Whatever happened to those?

    Once a very long time ago I got a little bit into Myth. It was a puzzle game, not much action that i found. After a while I quit, probably the only game I ever bought, wife may have got it as an Xmas present… Long time ago.

    Evolution of the universe sounds fun, as does star faring civilizations… I may be too old to start tho.

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    Ferdinand says:

    @John Cole:
    John have you tried the remastered BG and Icewind Dale games? I’m going to give Planescape: Torment a whirl for the first time.
    I wonder how dated the KOTOR games seem. I think BG gen RPGs aged better than Neverwinter Nights (my kids modded) gen RPGs. Which is partly why I never got hooked on the Witcher games. Can one start with the third easily enough?

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    mac8 says:

    Favorite of all time is the Zelda series. I think Link to the Past still holds top spot for me.

    Currently obsessed with Skyrim (missed it when it came out), interspersed with Stardew Valley and a couple other switch games. As a mobile time-sink, have been playing Marvel Puzzle Quest for a few years now.

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    RandomMonster says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I worked on a Schafer game. The guy is legitimately funny.

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    Ferdinand says:

    Fallout 4 is basically post-apocalyptic Sims, which is good training in Trump’s America. :)

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    J R in WV says:

    @J R in WV:

    Myth = Myst…duh, a long, long time ago… was mildly creepy, where did everyone go?

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    Evil Paul says:

    @weasel: Glad to see a vote for ‘Sunless Seas!’ Really simple mechanics and text game made great by a delightful story, and a eerie + challenging world.
    Bioshock & Bioshock: Infinite are both awesome too.
    If you want something new with an emotional gut punch to it, check out ‘This War of Mine.’ It’s a basic survival/crafting/base building game except instead of being a high-powered hero in some grand adventure epic, you play as a group of ordinary civilians trying to survive in a war-torn city (that bears a certain resemblance to Sarajevo). Every night you creep through the ruins to scavenge, trade and steal, every day you slowly work at rebuilding the bombed out building that’s your home.
    It says something about the game that it’s moments of triumph can come from a situation as simple as ‘everone’s fed, we got makeshift beds to sleep in, and we found some tobacco so the character who’s a smoker can have his first cigarette in a week!’

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    @PenAndKey: Huh, how the heck does One Player Sleep work? No more consensus nighttime? What about monsters?

    I haven’t finished Hollow Night because the final bosses are really hard and I’m playing on my computer which is harder to control.

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    Bobby Thomson says:

    Those of you who play Portal for the puzzles might like The Thalos Principle. It’s fairly meta-, as is The Stanley Parable.

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    NobodySpecial says:

    Gaming is an old and dear friend. All time top games? Stellaris, Skyrim, Nobunaga’s Ambitiion, FF VI, Half-Life (and various mods), Allied General, and I have way too many hours in Overwatch not to put it on the list.

    What am I playing lately? I’m learning Europa Universalis IV. I’m about 50 hours in, so it’ll probably be another 200 before I think I’m beginning to get a handle on it.

    Of course, that doesn’t count RPG time or the Magic: The Gathering Arena time, even though that’s technically on my computer and therefore a video game.

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    Bobby Thomson says:

    Half-Life (and various mods)

    @NobodySpecial: I really liked Black Mesa.

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    Years ago, I used to play a lot of puzzle or adventure games. I actually played old Infocom games. Myst. Sam and Max. Then games changed and I lost interest. I am old.

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    dnfree says:

    Off-topic, but WOW. The current ad at the top of Balloon-Juice is from the Trump Make America Great Again Committee. It has a quiz (which I’m not going to take) asking if I trust the mainstream media.

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    PenAndKey says:

    @RandomMonster: if you tell me it was Psychonauts I may geek out more than a little. That game is amazing even if the final ladder climb level was kick in difficulty curve teeth.

    @Major Major Major Major: The only times I’ve seen OPS modules they were on Spigot servers I was on. They tend to work by adjusting the clock based on either a single player, percentage of online players, or all players sleeping. I’ve also seen them with a “kick the sleeper out of bed” option, so if set up right you can still do your nighttime grind.

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  133. 133
    WarMunchkin says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    Then games changed and I lost interest. I am old.

    I’m not as old as most people here, but I feel this. I was raised on the older generations of games, and they have changed. I think there’s something smart to say about how the personalities attracted to GamerGate and the alt-right happened and how games changed, but I’m not smart enough to articulate it.

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    PenAndKey says:

    @Evil Paul: if you want a game that’ll gut punch your feelings check out Hellblade: Sensua’s Sacrifice. That game is both amazing and heartbreakiethe same time. The trailers alone will show you why, and the game is so much more.

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    MisterForkbeard says:

    @NobodySpecial: FF VI is Best FF. It needs a proper HD/3d remake, where they don’t actually CHANGE anything. Sort of like they did for FF IV.

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    Bill Murray says:

    Favorite

    The Elder Scrolls series
    Championship/Football Manager series

    Darklands — best character creation mechanic ever
    The Temple of Elemental Evil
    Dark Tales: Edgar Allen Poe’s The Gold Bug

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    Bill Murray says:

    @Bill Murray: I should also have thrwn in

    Wing Commander
    Red Baron
    Over Flanders Fields

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    PenAndKey says:

    @WarMunchkin: I’m not sure if it’s that games changed, or if they are finely mainstream enough that even the worst toxic subgroups have a presence in the gaming community. Unless I go searching them out I have no trouble avoiding the trolls and toxicity.

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    RandomMonster says:

    @PenAndKey: Psychonauts is a classic, for sure. I worked on Brutal Legend.

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    Jay says:

    A long long time ago, I invested every spare moment for over a year, climbing the levels of Dark Castle on a Mac,

    Until I finally got to the top with all the booty, faced off against the Dark Knight in an epic battle that lasted all of 30 seconds before all my saved lives were dead.

    Never played another video game until the IT Crowd rigged a multi-player version of Doom up on the Company Servers. We’d play after work, mostly with the goal of killing other players. I’d snipe the IT crew with a BFG.

    Rented Call of Duty a couple times, just to snipe people.

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    Kdaug says:

    Imperia Online.

    Just celebrated it’s 13th anniversary.

    Deep rulebook, fully multinational (probably want to find an alliance that uses your prefered alphabet), long term – each “round” lasts ~165 days.

    I play on my Android. After the beginning of an era, it’s very much a “check in once or twice a day” kind of game.

    Unless you pissed someone off. Or your alliance has declared war/another alliance has declared war on you. Or you have a ranking position. Or are really rich.

    Like I said, deep rulebook. But nice, tight, portable, and complicated.

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    The Reverend Lowdown says:

    I recently got into Subnautica. Incredible. Factorio and Prison Architect are also favorites. Another that I would recommend but wouldn’t call it exactly fun…This War of Mine. It will mess you up a little.

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    PenAndKey says:

    @RandomMonster: Sweet. Just thinking about the headbangers again is enough to make me laugh. I don’t even care what part of that game you worked on, thank you. We could use more like it.

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    Evil Paul says:

    @PenAndKey: Yes!
    I’ve heard of it, and it’s totally on my list!

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    PenAndKey says:

    You know, I’m starting to suspect we’re all just a bunch of geeks here. Not sure why.

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    Kdaug says:

    @KdaugETA: free, optional ads and powerups

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    RandomMonster says:

    @PenAndKey:

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    Schlemazel says:

    @MP:
    HA! I had forgotten about Hitchhikers. Apple IIe almost came to a bad end because of that game. It was infuriating. The only one worse was “The Prisoner”, based on the old BBC series. You played the prisoner & had to escape but the game lied to you & caused things to happen like ignore the keyboard entries for minutes at a time.

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    David Evans says:

    I spend almost all my game time on World of Warcraft. I like the interface and you can wander freely and notch up achievements. I tried Skyrim but couldn’t get on with the interface. Should i persevere?

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    NotMax says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor

    Sam & Max was cute. Ditto for Grim Fandango. Ran through Myst and its sequels over the course of two long evenings.

    Shooter games leave me colder than cold. There’s something intrinsic to the graphics in Minecraft that gives me an instant headache. Watched a two minute intro to Minecraft video while reading through this thread and had to lie down for nearly half an hour until the pain went away.

    Used to lose many hours on Sims 2. Not so much with the ‘people’ as time eaten up designing (and re-designing), decorating and landscaping houses and other buildings in virgin geography. Elder sausage fingers not nimble enough to play using a keyboard; don’t have a joystick or trackball, any game I play must be readily playable with a mouse. And not require a fancy-schmancy graphics card.

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    RandomMonster says:

    @PenAndKey: I was a Sr Producer on the publisher side. I did lots of stuff to keep that project rolling, but the soundtrack licenses took up most of my time. 100 songs!

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    WarMunchkin says:

    @Kdaug: Ooooh I used to play one in that genre called Utopia many years ago. I miss it sometimes.

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    MisterForkbeard says:

    @RandomMonster: In that case – I loved that Brutal Legend. You guys did amazing work on it – bravo.

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    MagdaInBlack says:

    @J R in WV:
    There really wasn’t much to Myst; I think the sounds and the aspect of creeping around an abandonded structure made it mildly “creepy.
    Evolution does interest me too.
    I’m noticing renewed interest in board games, where people actually get together and, you know…..converse.

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    MagdaInBlack says:

    @RandomMonster:
    Yes, I CAN spell abandoned

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    MagdaInBlack says:

    @MagdaInBlack:
    Omfg at this constantly reloading page.
    Wrong reply
    I quit.

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    Mnemosyne says:

    @WarMunchkin:

    I’m not as old as most people here, but I feel this. I was raised on the older generations of games, and they have changed. I think there’s something smart to say about how the personalities attracted to GamerGate and the alt-right happened and how games changed, but I’m not smart enough to articulate it.

    I turn 50 next year, so I was raised with the first generation of video games but dropped out when first person shooters got insanely popular and basically took over. I think the current generation of games is the third generation (at a minimum) and the GamerGaters are reacting against the increased inclusiveness. There’s not just a single kind of videogame — the kind that they mastered in high school — and that enrages them.

    Plus, of course, the fact that videogames are a little like marijuana — no problem for the vast majority of people playing them, but harmful to a small minority that has a predisposition to addiction or other mental health issues that get masked by their gaming habits. Not really sure what we can do about that other than having better mental health services available.

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    opiejeanne says:

    @J R in WV: I bought Myst for my older daughter for Christmas when she was about 13. She played it for a while, got stuck on one of the puzzles and asked for help so I started from the beginning, solved the puzzles until I caught up with her, then we worked on it together for a while until she lost interest. I hit one puzzle that I knew what the solution was but couldn’t find the lever that would make the lake drain or maybe it was to submerge the thing you just climbed into but it leaks, or something. It’s been a long time.

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    For my money, the absolute greatest video game of all time (that I’ve played, at least) is Super Metroid. An absolutely perfect match of level design and gameplay, though it’s somewhat misleading to call it “level design” since, like most Metroidvanias, it doesn’t actually have levels. It’s one continuous world, and it genuinely feels like one. There are a few separate settings, but they piece together more or less seamlessly. The game also is a masterclass in “how to teach people to play a game without a freakin’ tutorial”. There are several skills you need to learn, but the game more or less shows them to you without actually saying “press button X to do Y”.

    Other aspects that I look for in video games are also close to flawless. Apart from an opening narration, the game’s story is told without a single word, and there’s a famous moment in the final battle that I won’t spoil for anyone who hasn’t yet played the game, but it’s one of the most powerful moments in any video game I’ve ever played. The atmosphere is peerless; the music isn’t the best I’ve ever heard in a video game (that would probably be one of Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, or Hiroki Kikuta’s soundtracks), but it’s still great. The graphics are probably top ten for the 16-bit era (my vote for best 16-bit graphics would probably go to either Seiken Densetsu 3 or Yoshi’s Island).

    Some other favourites:

    Suikoden 2. This whole series is fantastic, but this is probably the peak. It certainly has one of the most terrifying and badass villains in any video game ever created. The game nonetheless maintains a complex political story where, despite Luca Blight’s unrelenting evil, none of the remaining factions are clearly in the right, which is par for the course in this series – there are a few outright monsters, but all the other factions have both flaws and redeeming features. Gameplay is strong for a console RPG, with a highlight being the major battles featuring, sometimes, hundreds of participants, and the music and graphics are both solid for the era. For completists, there’s a “recruit 108 characters” aspect to gameplay that lends the game a solid replay value.

    Final Fantasy VI. There are games in this series with better gameplay (of the numbered entries, V gets my vote for the best), and there are obviously games with better graphics and sound quality. But for my money, this has the deepest story of the entire series, thanks to some incredibly nuanced characterisation and fantastic worldbuilding. It also has the finest soundtrack in the series, thanks to tracks like “Dancing Mad”, which any prog rock band of the ’70s would have been proud to have written. However, once again, I think atmosphere may have been the decisive factor for me. The atmosphere in the final act of the game is stunning; it genuinely feels like you’re exploring a wrecked world. This game is also a rarity in this series in that it opens up and becomes completely nonlinear in its final act. At this point, the player can do almost any quest in almost any order. I appreciate that.

    Chrono Trigger. Much has been written about this game, and I don’t know if I can do it justice. It’s Yasunori Mitsuda’s first soundtrack and remains one of his best (he worked so hard on it, in fact, that he developed stomach ulcers, leading Nobuo Uematsu and Noriko Matsueda to contribute a few tracks here and there). It has an incredibly charming cast and features some fine humour that manages to translate well across cultural boundaries (no doubt helped by the skilful localisation of translator Ted Woolsey). The graphics are some of the finest in the SNES era. It features a fun time travel plot that manages to avoid inducing headaches. I won’t spoil too much about the story for those who haven’t played it, but almost uniquely for a game, the final boss is simply a destructive force seemingly brought to power by humanity’s greed. This was also, I believe, the first game to implement a “new game plus” mode, which provides a tremendous amount of replay value. There are at least a dozen endings, I believe. I still haven’t found them all.

    Portal. Discussed above, so I won’t duplicate the comments too much. An incredibly fun puzzle-solving game with a mechanic that was genuinely groundbreaking at the time. For those who don’t have too much time to spare on video games, it’s also not all that long. It probably won’t take you more than ten or fifteen hours to complete on your first go-round. The sequel, which is just as good, is a bit longer, if memory serves, but every bit as good.

    Yoshi’s Island. This one is a bit of an odd duck in the Mario series, but to my money, its gameplay has never been topped. There have been a few sequels to this game, specifically, and while they remain charming, they fall short in the level design department. This is just one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. It also has one of Koji Kondo’s best soundtracks and some of the greatest graphics ever to appear on a 16-bit console. For completists, getting 100% on every level in a given world (you need to find 20 red coins and 5 flowers while maintaining perfect health at the end of the level) will unlock a bonus level and a bonus game in each world. Plenty of replay value to this one as a result.

    Seiken Densetsu 3. For whatever reason, this one wasn’t ever even officially released in English, to my knowledge, though since Square Enix recently remade its predecessor, Secret of Mana, we can still hold out hope that they’ll finally wise up to what they’re sitting on and make it more widely available to the English world. It is playable through emulation in a fan translation. This game earns top ratings in just about every aspect I can fathom. It’s incredibly fun to play, and the game’s party mechanic, which was almost unique for the era, gives it incredibly strong replay value. The player selects a party of three at the start of the game from a possible six characters; based upon the player’s choice of lead character, the entire first and last acts of the game will vary. There are six possible first acts and three possible last acts. Additionally, depending upon who is and is not in the party, the game will show different interactions between the six possible player characters. The soundtrack is one of Hiroki Kikuta’s finest; the graphics rival Yoshi’s Island for the finest I’ve seen on a 16-bit console. Overall, a lost masterpiece of the 16-bit era.

    Last, but not least: the Marathon trilogy, which I suspect has probably sucked up more of my gaming time than any other series. Despite this being a mid-’90s FPS, it’s doubtful that any other shooter except maybe Deus Ex has ever had a deeper story. The game’s text features William Gibson levels of ambiguity, with subtexts that players continue to debate to this day; there is a gigantic website (simply called Marathon’s Story) literally devoted solely to the story of the games. The games’ portrayal of AI goes to Person of Interest levels in terms of its complexity and factual accuracy. The gameplay is no slouch, either, though as they’re mid-’90s FPS games, you can’t expect super intelligent AI, but that’s part of their charm. Since there five difficulty settings to choose from, you can build up your skill if you’re not great at video games. There are a few oddities to the gameplay; the physics are fairly floaty, but the first game took place entirely on spaceships and the remaining two took place on combinations of spaceships and an alien world, so I think we can overlook that. From an atmosphere standpoint, these games are stellar. There are several moments that are genuinely terrifying on higher difficulty settings. The sound effects are excellent, and the first game has a strong soundtrack (the latter two dispensed with the background music in favour of ambient sounds).

    The games introduced several aspects to the genre that are now taken for granted, such as dual-wielded weapons, the mouselook control scheme, vertical aiming, multiplayer modes other than deathmatch, swimming, AI-controlled allies to the player, and so on. A few of the game’s contemporaries may have had these, but none had them all. They are, however, frequently forgotten in gaming history because they were Mac games, so very few people played them at the time.

    Luckily, you’re not out of luck if you don’t have a Mac and haven’t set up an emulator, since Bungie released Marathon 2’s source code in the late ’90s. As a result, intrepid fans of the series have now ported it to Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X (the original games ran in OS 7-9, meaning that Intel Macs can still only run the originals under emulation). Search for “Marathon Aleph One” and prepare to discover one of the deepest video game universes ever developed. These games are all freeware, while the engine is available under the GNU General Public License, so you can play them without paying a cent.

    And that’s still not it, because the final game, Marathon Infinity, was so named in large part because it shipped with Bungie’s in-house editors, Forge and Anvil, thus enabling fans to create their own games based in the engine. Some are, if I’m honest, just as good as Bungie’s. Bungie may be professional video game developers, but amateurs can spend several years developing one scenario, while Bungie had to develop their games in a limited time, since they depended upon game sales to feed themselves and their families. (Bungie’s editors have actually been supplanted by new editors in the intervening time, since most people can’t run the original editors without an emulator, and in any case, they were subject to engine limitations that Aleph One has since removed. There are aspects of the new editors that aren’t as intuitive – notably, Forge’s Visual Mode hasn’t been replicated in any existing editor, though there are plugins for Aleph One itself that duplicate most of its features – but on the whole, most people use Weland, Vasara, and ShapeFusion to build scenarios these days.) A few particular highlights:

    Tempus Irae. The plot to this one is fairly silly, but it takes the player to Renaissance Italy, and the setting is superb, including some of the best textures and sound in any third-party Marathon environment. The level quality varies a fair amount, since it was designed by several people, but none of the levels are bad, and the best are stunning. There’s also a sequel called The Lost Levels (a shout-out to the Mario game, no doubt) that features more of the same, though the plot is essentially non-existent. The atmosphere is superb, and the gameplay is usually well balanced and fair. (The player will, however, need to get used to a few quirks, such as having only a finite amount of shield recharges in each level, and “rear-admiral” attacks where enemies teleport in behind the player in several locations.)

    Rubicon X. Perhaps the best all-around title that’s currently in final release. This one features a disturbingly prescient plot about biological warfare, greed, and treason. Given that the original release was in 2001 and the X release was in 2006, the similarities to modern events are a case of life imitating art rather than the other way around. The level design is almost uniformly superb, with only a couple of outright bad levels, and the graphics are about as good as anyone can expect from a mid-’90s FPS with a few modern facelifts. The atmosphere in this game is second to none. This game also has superb replay value, since there are three different endings the player can see, depending upon decisions made during gameplay. I can’t sing this game’s praises highly enough.

    Phoenix. The plot of this one is serviceable rather than great, and it’s one of the few scenarios released in past 2000 that doesn’t feature HD textures. The gameplay is also, at times, frustratingly difficult; I’ve found myself having to turn down the difficulty setting below what I’d choose for other scenarios just to avoid ragequitting. I have no other complaints with this game, though. The scenario’s creator, Alex Bolton, has a degree in architecture, and it shows. There have never been more beautiful levels created for a Marathon scenario. Plot-wise, this one is a prequel to Rubicon, so you may wish to play it before you play Rubicon. It also has a short sequel called Kindred Spirits, which essentially leads directly into the events of Rubicon. This is equally superb, though it is also very difficult. Bolton is also responsible for several superb Marathon net map packs, including Starlight, Paradise Lost, and Red Spectrum, as well as another scenario, The Gray Incident, which effectively serves as a dry run for Phoenix (note that all of the levels are completely different).

    Eternal. I’ll disclose my bias up front here, since I’ve done a colossal amount of work on the forthcoming 1.2 release of this game. There have been several releases of this scenario, and each has proved to be a major improvement upon its predecessor. 1.2 will, hopefully, make this game almost perfect. It features a major graphical upgrade which will probably give it the most impressive graphics of any Marathon scenario. The gameplay has been rebalanced in many parts, especially in the fifth and final chapter, which was universally agreed to be far too difficult. (This is probably what I’ve spent the most time on.) A number of frustrating aspects of the levels (slow platforms and the like) have been overhauled, and in many cases where levels were essentially unfinished due to engine limitations that have since been removed (mapmakers ran out of polygons and the like), the new revisions now take advantage of those limitations being lifted.

    But that’s simply telling you how 1.2 is an improvement over 1.1. The scenario itself is worth playing because, firstly, it’s a superb story. Perhaps only Rubicon surpasses it, but in either case, it’s close. This scenario is a case of time travel done right. It takes you to several key events in the backstory of the original trilogy and brings them to life in stunning detail. It also, ultimately, tells a political allegory that remains disturbingly relevant about terrorism and crackdowns on civil liberties. It may help first-time players going in to understand that this scenario’s portrayal of the W’rkncacnter is specifically modelled after al-Qaeda, and its portrayal of the Jjaro government is specifically modelled after the Bush 43 administration. We’re not supposed to like either of them. The game also features a complex, somewhat sympathetic villain who is nonetheless a fundamental threat. I’ve seldom seen such a character pulled off better.

    Regarding other aspects of the game: the level design isn’t as consistently great as Bolton’s, but it’s always at least good. The scenario features some of the finest remixes of the original game’s music that have ever been created, plus a few original pieces that are also excellent. The atmosphere rivals the original trilogy’s and Rubicon’s. The gameplay was unbalanced in the past, but I can personally vouch that it’s now usually fair even on the highest difficulty setting; I’ve completed each of the levels at least once without dying. (You can find my videos of all the levels that have combat on my YouTube page, linked below, although a few have been updated substantially since I last filmed them.)

    In any case, once Eternal 1.2 is done, I think it has the potential to be the best Marathon scenario out there. Of course, as I said, I may be biased.

    I’m also developing my own game based in the engine (fans refer to them as “scenarios”), which is entitled Marathon Chronicles. I’m going to avoid saying too much about it, as it’s in nothing remotely approaching a completed state, though it is out in alpha and completely playable from start to finish. It will ultimately be a sequel to both Rubicon and Eternal (it’s complicated, but I’m attempting to thread some knots between the two scenarios in order to resolve Chekhov’s guns that never fired). I intend my game to be, amongst other things, a look at what causes democracies to fall; how to win a peace after a war; why the freedom to fail is necessary for any society to be truly free; the impacts mental illness and trauma can have on the human psyche; and how to overcome the aforementioned. However, much of this remains to be addressed; many of the terminals are currently entirely blank, as I was dissatisfied with what I’d written in the past.

    Players who have never played a Marathon game before should be forewarned that my game and, for that matter, several of the other scenarios assume that players are already familiar with the trilogy’s gameplay, and thus sometimes require advanced knowledge of the engine to be completed successfully. For instance, players may need to strafe-run (that is, run forward and sideways at the same time, which gives the player additional velocity, but results in the player moving at an unusual angle) in order to make certain jumps, or may need to turn mid-air to round certain corners (while this would be impossible in the real world, it is counterintuitively possible in the Marathon engine).

    You can grab the Marathon trilogy and several of the major scenarios, including Rubicon, Tempus Irae, Eternal, and Phoenix, here. You’ll need to go to the “most popular scenarios” link towards the bottom to get those specifically. You’ll also need to click the “download the Aleph One engine” link. (All of Bolton’s projects are hosted on Simplici7y, so you can find Kindred Spirits and the others by searching on the site where you’ll find Phoenix.)

    For Eternal, I recommend going to the development page and grabbing the latest beta, though certain aspects may not function on all machines. Should you have difficulty, contact me and I can kludge together a solution between alpha 5 and the latest beta until I figure out why the plugins aren’t functioning properly.

    Additionally, the Rubicon website sometimes goes down. If it’s not showing up properly, you should still be able to obtain the scenario from links in the Rubicon playlist on my channel.

    My own scenario is available through a link on my YouTube channel. The Chronicles playlist isn’t currently linked on the main page, but go to “playlists” and you’ll find a playlist with videos of it, probably somewhere near the top. That playlist will have links to everything you need to play my scenario. Should you wish to contribute, go to the Pfhorums or simply leave a comment on one of my videos and we can work something out. (I’m not providing direct links to Chronicles, Eternal, Kindred Spirits, etc., because I seem to recall that if you have more than two links in a comment, you go straight into moderation hell, no matter how long your comment is.)

    I’ll try to monitor this thread for responses over the next few days, but I’ll be fairly busy the rest of this weekend, and of course comments will close after a certain amount of time. I think I’m going to email Major⁴ and Adam fairly soon so that they have my email address in case anyone needs to contact me.

    One final request: While this comment discloses more than enough info for you to link my screen name to my real name, I’d request that you kindly not mention it here. I’d prefer not to make it too easy for people to link the two. Thanks in advance.

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  160. 160
    opiejeanne says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: We played Infocom games and my husbands and I laughed our heads off. Got an Apple II+ just before Christmas and bought Zork because we read a review of it. I was expecting baby #2 and was pretty responsible about eating right, getting enough sleep, etc but it was damned hard to tear ourselves away from that game in the evenings, and not to play it while he was at work was torture, although he didn’t care if I solved the twisty maze part by myself, which I didn’t .
    There was one night pretty far into the game when we were quitting for the evening, when I ran into the bathroom while he was in the tub and shouted, “I got into Hell!” Still cracks me up imagining what the neighbors might have thought.

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  161. 161
    PenAndKey says:

    @RandomMonster:

    IP rights management and negotiation? No thanks, I’ll stick to art design and coding, lol. I can only imagine the headache that game, in particular, caused.

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  162. 162

    …FFS, I forgot the Zelda series in that wall of text. My vote goes to either the first game or Link to the Past, though I admit I haven’t played Breath of the Wild or any of the other recent ones yet. I liked the exploration aspects of the series, and paradoxically, the more open the maps got, the more restricted your movements were. You could do the first game in almost any order, but Ocarina of Time was frustratingly linear, no matter how many Skulltulas there were out there to find. Breath of the Wild, in that respect, seems to be a highly welcome return to the series’ roots. A Link Between Worlds seems to be pretty good too. I have neither a Wii U, a Switch, nor a 3DS, so I haven’t been able to play either of those yet.

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  163. 163
    opiejeanne says:

    @opiejeanne: Husband, singular, not husbands. I’m still on the original model, nearly 49 years now.

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  164. 164

    @Mnemosyne: This seems accurate. It’s the same deal with the Sad/Rabid Puppies, I think, though those asshats also have the deal that they seem to think shows like Star Trek and The Twilight Zone weren’t political, even though, IIRC, Harlan Ellison himself (who wrote for Star Trek) flat-out stated they were wrong.

    In any case, the GamerGaters are equally wrong, since they seem to think gaming was at one point an exclusively male space, while in reality, probably at least 75% of people of my generation (I’m mid-thirties) played video games growing up regardless of general. These people are just terrified of women, so they never had enough contact with women to realise that they played games too.

    And it’s not like games haven’t had female protagonists going back decades either, Samus Aran and Lara Croft being probably the most famous examples. Of course, Lara was highly sexualised in the older games (the more recent ones seem to be less ridiculous about this), but Samus was basically the Ellen Ripley of video games. It was actually a twist in the first game that she was a woman, and she was only ever sexualised at all in the endings, at least until the train wreck that was Other M.

    I might have more to say later. I’ve spent long enough writing comments in this thread; I should get some school work done.

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  165. 165

    @(((CassandraLeo))): …played video games growing up regardless of gender. Stupid lack of edit button.

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  166. 166
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): That was an essay and I have to say I agree with almost every bit of it. I’ve seen some of your Marathon scenarios, but I haven’t tried them yet. Time to give it a shot. :)

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  167. 167
    NotMax says:

    Anyone played Donut County?

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  168. 168
    khead says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I turn 50 next year, so I was raised with the first generation of video games

    Yeah, pretty much the same here – 50 in a few months. I’m a little surprised that arcade games are barely mentioned. So I started thinking about my history:

    Pinball at the local bowling alley
    Pong home machine
    Atari 2600
    Intellivision
    Arcade games take over the bowling alley
    Atari 800
    IBM PS/2
    NES
    Sega Genesis
    First pentium PC
    Got a real job so I had to work
    More PCs, but not gaming machines
    Wii
    Xbox
    Imac
    PS4

    Pong. Fucking pong. To the PS4. Pretty amazing.

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  169. 169
    PenAndKey says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): “Lara was highly sexualised in the older games (the more recent ones seem to be less ridiculous about this)”

    The new games are not only less ridiculous in that aspect, it’s missing pretty much entirely. The only way someone can claim Lara Croft is sexualized in the new games is if they think a bare shoulder is scandalous. since some of her lower-level outfits are, that don’t include parkas, combat jackets, or armor have T-shirt tops.

    And I always get a kick out of the “games are for guys!” mentality. I met my wife at a wedding and we bonded later over Halo LAN tournaments at our friends houses. She ended up playing less as we get older and have more responsibilities, but lately I’ve been only half joking when I tell her I’m going to build her a gaming computer of her own so I can actually use my computer in my free time. It doesn’t help that the newest Tomb Raider came out just the other day. The same thing happened when Surviving Mars came out and again when she discovered Stardew Valley. The only reason I’m on my computer now is she’s at work for the next hour. This has been our dynamic for basically the last 13 years

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  170. 170

    @MisterForkbeard: Whoa, didn’t know anyone here had already seen any of my stuff. Cool, thanks. Be sure to let me know what you think; I’m very willing to implement changes in response to constructive criticism, as it’s by far the best way to improve a creative work.

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  171. 171

    @opiejeanne: I totally understand! Those games were fun.

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  172. 172

    @PenAndKey: I hedged my language as I haven’t actually played any of the newer Tomb Raider games, but I did get the impression that the sexualisation was basically entirely missing. Good to have confirmation my impressions were accurate.

    And I completely agree on your latter paragraph. My ex-girlfriend, with whom I remain on excellent terms, was and probably still is a much more devoted gamer than I am. My interest in games waxes and wanes (I barely played games at all for about 2013-2017, and I’m pretty sure a large part of the reason I’ve gotten sucked back in is because gaming provides me an escape from the unrelenting bleakness of the news), but gaming seems to have been one of her primary interests for most of her life.

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  173. 173
    ByRookorbyCrook says:

    Currently playing
    WoW- although BfA is gorgeous, the story and gameplay seems flat right now
    Conan:Exiles survival/construction game set in a condensed R.E. Howard world. Do not recommend multiplayer as it is a swamp of the lowest of gamer stereotypes
    Mechwarrior:Online Big stompy robots

    All time faves:
    Baldur’s Gate
    Neverwinter Nights
    Privateer (Wing Commander spinoff)
    Aces over the Pacific (You just shot down Sakai!)

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  174. 174

    @NotMax:
    Yes. Donut County is very short and very fun.

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  175. 175
    Leto says:

    Pretty much all my game time since ’04 has been World of Warcraft. I’ve taken occasional breaks from it for various reasons (usually deployments) but always come back. Though with the current expansion (Battle for Azeroth) I’m probably going to let my sub expire in November. The changes that they made from the previous expansion are really underwhelming and the recent response to the majority of the feedback (Ion gave a Q&A yesterday on Reddit) is simply, “Wait for a patch.”

    @PenAndKey: My wife and I met at a college freshman mixer (I the freshman, she the older sophomore come to check out the newbies) where we both discovered that we liked playing SNES games. She proceeded to boast about how she’d never lost an NBA Live ’95 game, whereupon I rightly laughed and challenged her on the spot. 3 hours later, upon my N+1 loss, she let me win by 1 point so she could go to bed (it was 3am by this point). 23 years later we still laugh about that, and she still proudly proclaims her dominance in all things pertaining to NBA Live ’95.

    She’s also a crazy Stardew Valley and Minecraft fan. If you can build it, she will play.

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  176. 176
    Avalune says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I periodically go through a big Minecraft phase. I have gotten very spoiled by playing with mods though.

    I really love Stardew Valley. Always love a Zelda game. City Skylines is a good city builder. Rimworld is love and hate. Prison Architect is amusing to play sometimes. It’s hard to just pick a few.

    I’d be interested in a nice Minecraft server though. I’ve had one periodically but no one plays much. :(

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  177. 177
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Leto: My wife and I met on OkCupid, but we bonded pretty significantly over WoW – that was back in the Wrath days. She was touched that I leveled a mage to 80 to play with her.

    My sister married a man she met playing WoW, too. Lots of women play games these days, especially in the under 40 demographic but one of the best WoW healers I ever aged with was in her mid 60s. Awesome lady

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  178. 178
    Lyrebird says:

    @West of the Rockies: Ms. Pac-Man and Tetris were my faves.

    Enjoyed some D&D-inspired games when they came on giant floppy disks and had barely understandable graphics. Don’t like ones where you hear the death cry of the orc you stab or what have you.

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  179. 179
    batguano says:

    Civilization V has a Steam Linux version, so that. Master of Orion 2, via dosbox. Pokemon Go on mobile. CoD WW2 on xbox. Used to be a big fan of role-playing on Ultima Online.

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  180. 180
    MisterForkbeard says:

    Is anyone else kind of psyched that they’re putting most of the recent Final Fantasies on Switch? 7, 9 10, 12 and some of the spinoffs.

    Should be a nice excuse to pick them up again.

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  181. 181
    Leto says:

    @MisterForkbeard: My wife played in the vanilla open beta and subsequently convinced me to give the game a try. 14 years later we’re still putzing around in it. Agreed, tons of women play games. It was maybe a novelty thing back in the mid 80s but it’s just commonplace today.

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  182. 182
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Just got a FB post from my former next door neighbor. She posted a picture of Beechtree Hollow the street above our street. It is flooded up to the mail boxes. My guess would be four feet. If Beechtree is at four feet I would guess that mine and my neighbor’s houses are gone being under about 8 feet of water. I could have perhaps survived because I have a second story that I could go up to, if need be. My neighbor has a single story house. She has lost everything. Absolutely everything for the second time. She, like me, lost everything during Hurricane Floyd. She now has to go through it all again. And for what? How does she know that she won’t have to go through it again in a year? Or another year? I am so shook up right now I don’t know what to do. I know I would not have evacuated because of the animals. (Two dogs, two cats, and a bird). If worst came to worst we could have put the animals in the back of the truck (it had a canopy) with some belongings and taken off when things started getting dire. But where would we have gone? Sorry I am rambling. I am just shook up.

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  183. 183
    weasel says:

    @Bill Murray: Oh wow, how could I have forgotten Red Baron! I liked their Aces of… WWII flight sims even more.

    Now that I’m thinking of flying games, the X Wing v TIE fighter games were some of my absolute faves at the time

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  184. 184

    One word: Frogger.

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  185. 185
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    Two words: Castle Wolfenstein. Schweinhund!

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  186. 186
    EBT says:

    @Mnemosyne: much like dark souls, the difficulty comes from people not used to looking for patterns being thrust in to pattern filled games.
    Patterns were a bit part of game design once.

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  187. 187
    Mike in NC says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: We’ve never seen a storm like this, and I grew up in New England where blizzards and nor’easters and hurricanes were no big deal. Tomorrow I’ll head out and try to find a functioning service station, since most are out of fuel and/or have no electricity. Might need to wait about 48 hours until the highways are open. Looks like a minimum of a week until things are “normal”. Even phone service is messed up…

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  188. 188
    EBT says:

    @Major Major Major Major:@khead: yeah you were playing games back when they were made from discrete parts, instead of programmed.

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  189. 189
    Rick Taylor says:

    I was a big fan of Everquest 2.

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  190. 190
    EBT says:

    @MagdaInBlack: cooperative board games are really big now. Look at The 7th Continent, Gloomhaven, or Mysterium.

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  191. 191
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Leto: Ha, nice. Yeah, I played on a friend’s Beta account for Vanilla too. So did my wife, though we didn’t meet for another 9 years or so. Good times. :)

    We played a lot of Star Wars: The Old Republic together too, though that’s gotten a bit harder with the kids. My Dad (late 60s) still play Flight Sims and simple tablet games, and my mother plays a lot of solitaire and Hearts. My brother plays his Switch (and sometimes PC) but like me he doesn’t have a ton of free time with young kids.

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  192. 192
    Thursday says:

    So, at the moment I’m playing Hollow Knight. If you like the Metroidvania style it’s basically a must play.

    For the favorite game list…

    Legend of Legaia. It’s not the best RPG I’ve ever played, but it was the first. As a kid I played whatever my parents or grandparents bought for me, so lots of Mario and then random things I saw at the store or advertised. Then a friend got the Legend of Legaia disk, and let me borrow it. I was blown away. To see what games could be, that they could tell these complex stories with real characters… it was literally life changing.

    Final Fantasy Tactics. To this day I can pick up and start this again at basically any time. The mechanics of it, janky as they are, are perfect in my eyes.

    Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Still my favorite Zelda. The first game I played where the world actually felt real. Not just a representation of a world, but an actual living location. And the 3 day cycle lets the game do some other amazing things.

    Spec Ops: The Line. If you’ve never played it, and know nothing about it, I don’t really want to ruin it by saying anything. Pretends to be a Call of Duty clone, but has something to say about the very nature of those games.

    Undertale. Like Spec Ops: the Line, it wants to examine the very nature of an RPG based upon the normal mechanics and tropes. Has the most fulfilling and thrilling climax of any media I’ve ever experienced, bar none. It’s $10 on the system of your choice and will take about 10 hours, and you owe it to yourself to at least see if you’ll enjoy the unique charms it has to offer.

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  193. 193
    Thursday says:

    Oh, sorry, forgot one –

    Dark Souls. The first Dark Souls is still my favorite, due to a rewarding combat system and a map that gives the most consistent and powerful sense of space I’ve ever felt from a game. And the story, which you discover piecemeal, is great.

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  194. 194
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Thursday: I don’t know too many other people who’ve played Legend of Legaia. I agree, I really liked it. It and Wild ARMs (the first) are just fantastic games. My first RPGs on the Playstation, though I’d played a lot of SNES RPGs before that.

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  195. 195
    debbie says:

    I play Qatqi, mostly to keep my brain from going to mush.

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  196. 196
    Schlemazel says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:
    This is the world we live in now, sadly. You were lucky to have moved. Sorry that you are suffering for them.

    In high school I volunteered with the Red Cross to move people back into their homes in Lilydale (the flats across the Mississippi from St. paul). Their walls were marked with every flood year. I could not understand why they stayed as there were 5-6 marks. Eventually the government bought them out & those that remained had trailer homes they towed up to the high grounds every spring. We may reach a time when this sort of thing will be the way things are on the barrier islands all up and down the East Coast

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  197. 197

    @The Midnight Lurker: I was gonna call you “Alligator!” in German but it turns out that Alligator in German is “Alligator!” Kinda ruins the joke.

    Schlange!!

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  198. 198
    Schlemazel says:

    @weasel:
    I had a pretty neat WWI flight simulator but it would not run after Win3.1. I saw that someone posted a 3.1 virtual machine &, if i can find the disk for that game I might load the VM.

    It had pretty realistic flight characteristics. You had to fly the SE5 slightly nose up or it would continually ‘sink’. The real plane was nose-heavy & if you tried level flight you lost altitude.

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  199. 199
    EBT says:

    For anyone who likes Metroidvanias I sank 330 hours in to Rabi Ribi.

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  200. 200
    Schlemazel says:

    @John Revolta:
    Yeah, a lot of German words are easily identified. Elefant Uber alles is a phrase I use & it does not take a linguist to figure out what ‘Elefant’ is

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  201. 201
    Aleta says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Understandably. Losing a world puts you in shock, even if you’re not there now.

    @Mike in NC: Hope you’re Ok.

    Maybe readers in a different thread, like John’s previous one, would like to hear from you, if either of you feel like it.

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  202. 202
    Thursday says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Funny thing is, I’ve still never beat it. As a kid, I honestly can’t remember why I didn’t. Now, as an adult with very limited free time, I find it hard to justify jumping into an RPG that I know will absorb 100 hours.

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  203. 203
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Mike in NC: At this point I think my neighbor might need to just cut her losses and leave. The house the other side of us sold for 100K in 2011 and just sold for 54K. I think at this point Meredith has to figure whether or not it is worth the hassle to keep having to replace all their belongings every 20 years. But then again, I know they have refinanced several times so they probably owe more than the house is worth so what are their options? All I know is that me and DH made the right decision to walk away. This latest hurricane would have killed the both of us.

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  204. 204

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Sadly, at this stage of the game “every 20 years” seems optimistic.

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  205. 205
    Boussinesque says:

    Waaaaayyyy late to the thread, but FFXI, Super Metroid, Symphony of the Night, and Persona 3 are probably the games that had the most impact on me. HZD and P5 are probably my two favorite recent games, although the new Spider-Man is surprisingly enjoyable as well.

    As far as Minecraft goes, I’ve never been *super* into it, but I’ve enjoyed playing it when I have, so if there was a blog server, I’d probably jump on from time to time.

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  206. 206
    eddie blake says:

    as other people have said, skyrim is pretty incredible, sunk DAYS into that game. though ultimately, it feels like no one else in the world really has a job except you.

    jade empire and KotOR were great games, as was the sadly never finished half-life series.

    still gonna push titanfall 2. the gameplay is SO fluid and SO multifaceted, SO groundbreaking in the combination of the high-speed 360 degree mobility of the pilot mixed with the brutal weight and sheer firepower of the titans.

    just CAPTIVATING.

    @weasel have you ever played crimson skies (pc or xbox version) or any of the ace combat series? (i’m eagerly awaiting ace combat 7. 6 was just EXCELLENT.

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  207. 207
    Leto says:

    @MisterForkbeard: We played TOR for about a year. The story was awesome, a lot of the follower stuff was good, just the end game wasn’t there. I know that we’re still “Life members” but I haven’t even though about it in a long time. Last time we played was around 2012? Our son grew up with us playing games, so he also plays WoW. We had most of the systems, at least up until the last generation of consoles. He plays a ton of XBox1 games, but we’ve been eyeing a Switch. That might be this years Christmas gift because we still love Zelda and they have a good number of games that just look interesting/fun to play.

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  208. 208
    J R in WV says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))):

    Wow, longest B-J comment by pages!

    All those wonderful sounding games… when I was beginning my computer career, Colossal Cave was up on the Vax Cluster but you needed an account on the Vax Cluster. Too old to have picked up much gaming experience, had to keep my nose to the grindstone, but your discussion makes it sound really good.

    But we run Linux, so if you could break out the games that can run on Ubuntu. vrs those that don’t, that would be interesting.

    Plus, comments probably close after a couple of weeks… I’ve never seen them close on me, though I stay current pretty much. I need distraction from the Trumpoziodism of daily life… fiction is working OK, but once you buy a game, you get to play it for a while, but a book is only prime that first time through.

    Thanks again!!

    JR

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  209. 209
    raven says:

    Good morning everyone!

    jesus

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  210. 210
    trollhattan says:

    They threw a soccer match in Portland and a hockey game broke out. 35 fouls, 5 yellow cards, Portland comes back from 0-1 to take it 2-1 and are on to the finals next Saturday.

    For which I just happen to have tickets so soccer kid and I will be there to cheer her favorite team. PT. FC!

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  211. 211
    trollhattan says:

    Oh yeah, used to like Sim City and still enjoy Forza on XBox.

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  212. 212
    TheronWare says:

    Dark Souls 1, 3 and Bloodborne to name a few.

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  213. 213
    rikyrah says:

    Just watching AMJoy, and they are talking about Dolt45’s response to the 3000 dead in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Rubin says that he has killed them TWICE….that’s what deniers do👏👏👏👏

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  214. 214

    @J R in WV: From my list, all the Marathon games should run fine on Ubuntu, though I must admit I haven’t worked with Linux (any distro) in a couple of years. Beyond that, I’m sure you can emulate all the Nintendo/SNES games, though this isn’t strictly legal (though, in any case, I don’t think you can play Seiken Densetsu 3 through strictly legal methods unless you speak Japanese).

    Can’t speak for most of the other games.

    As for other people’s lists, I especially need to play Spec Ops one of these days. And Deus Ex is sitting on my hard drive taunting me to finish my schoolwork. Maybe I’ll start it tomorrow night.

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  215. 215
    Lit3Bolt says:

    Favorite all times:

    Castlevania Symphony of NIght
    Metroid Prime
    Majora’s Mask
    Baldur’s Gate
    The D&D Gold Box Games, especially Pools of Darkness (ever had a party of 39/40 paladin/clerics and ranger/magic-users? It’s hilarious…)
    Wasteland and all the Fallouts
    Dishonored series
    Resident Evil series
    Final Fantasy VI, VII, and VIII After that the series got a little too weird for me, a la Metal Gear Solid.
    WoW gets a Dishonorable Mention because I hated how much time I wasted on that game

    Now for the truly esoteric:

    A MuD (Moral Decay LPMud) playdecay.com
    Dungeons of Chaos (On Steam! So Retro!)
    Dynasty Warriors series (as an MST3k fan, it gives me so bad it’s good chills for sheer ridiculousness. I keep wishing KOEI will make a Revolutionary War version of Dynasty Warriors. George Washington killing thousands of Redcoats with saber and musket? Yes please.)

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  216. 216

    …oh, and as for further omissions from my list, I don’t know how I forgot the SimCity series. I probably sunk more of my fifth and sixth grade gaming into building cities in SimCity 2000 than I did into any other game. I still enjoy it when I fire it up. I should try some of the later instalments one of these days.

    I’ve also got the first Dark Souls on my HD, but no controller, and I’ve been reliably informed that’s mandatory. I have some balance remaining on a Best Buy gift card and will probably order one soon.

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  217. 217
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @John Revolta: I agree I think these hurricanes are going to get worse and more frequent. Like I said, it was hard enough to replace everything once. I cannot imagine how it would be to replace everything twice, and then face the prospect of doing it again and again.

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  218. 218
    satby says:

    @raven: to be fair, it was still morning in PDT when he wrote that.

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  219. 219
    JR says:

    I was a big gamer as a teenager and it faded into adulthood. Having kids basically killed gaming altogether.

    If I were to pick an all-time favorite, it would be Civilization II — that was a game involving *multiple* all-nighters, albeit not consecutive ones.

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  220. 220
    dmsilev says:

    For old RPG classics, Planescape: Torment. Unusually for RPGs, especially of that era, combat was a pretty minor and secondary feature. Instead, the story and the characters dominate. And the story is …interesting. It’s one of the games that comes up whenever the (now-trite) argument about “can video games be art” reemerges.

    If you’ve never played it, it was recently re-released with some updates to make it work on modern machines. There’s also a spiritual sequel, Torment: Tides of Numenera, which had many of the same writers working on it.

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  221. 221
    zhena gogolia says:

    New thread, please???

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  222. 222
    dmsilev says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))):

    …oh, and as for further omissions from my list, I don’t know how I forgot the SimCity series. I probably sunk more of my fifth and sixth grade gaming into building cities in SimCity 2000 than I did into any other game. I still enjoy it when I fire it up. I should try some of the later instalments one of these days.

    SimCity 4 is a classic, and is still being sold IIRC. Skip the new SimCity (no number), and instead go for the spiritual successor Cities: Skylines. The latter is much better as an actual game and allows a lot more freedom in terms of building cities to the design you want.

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  223. 223
    Amir Khalid says:

    @John Revolta:
    In den Worten Bill Haleys:
    Bis später, Alligator. In eine Weile, Krokodil.

    More than two decades ago, I was keen on X-Wing, Electronic Arts’ F1 sim, and F-15: Strike Eagle III. I learned that I would have made a brilliant fighter pilot for the Rebel Alliance, but a mediocre fighter-bomber pilot for the US Air Force (great at bobming, sucked at dogfighting), and that Formula 1 is the ultimate expression of going around in circles.

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  224. 224
    JPL says:

    @raven: We got rain from an outer band of Florence. Did you? I have no idea whether or not we will get more because the storm appears to be stuck over North Carolina.

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  225. 225
    raven says:

    Nope and the princess is NOT happy!

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  226. 226
    JPL says:

    @raven: That is just odd, because as the crow flies we are not that far away. As the storm moves closer you will probably get rain.
    Did you go to the game?

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  227. 227
    Mandarama says:

    I’ve sunk weeks of my life into Stardew Valley, but it’s kept me calmer in the face of all the crappy news! I’ve played it on PS4 and on Steam so I could add mods.

    I want to put in a good word for Animal Crossing and my greatest love, the Harvest Moon series! I’ve been trying to play through the whole catalog, from GBA to N64 to DS and Wii. So relaxing and idyllic. Not like real farming, which I grew up doing!

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  228. 228
    raven says:

    @JPL: Yea, it wasn’t as bad as the first one because of the wind and some cloud cover.

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  229. 229
    Cookie Monster says:

    @Thursday: I’ll second that rec for Spec Ops: The Line — good stuff, and often available dirt cheap now. Can’t say too much about it tho, as River Song would say, “spoilers!”

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  230. 230
    khead says:

    @dmsilev:

    Skylines was awesome….. until the graphics glitch came along for those of us playing on an iMac on Steam.

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  231. 231
    Seanly says:

    I love the Fallout series, but have very little interest in the MMO-like new version coming out soon. :(

    I do wish EA sports would bring back the college football game, but that’ll never happen. Title IX privacy issues too big of a headache for what is second fiddle to the Madden franchise.

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  232. 232
    MomSense says:

    @NineDragonSpot:

    We still play board games and card games at my house. Chess, Go, and Chung Toi are favorites. If you have a little one in your life, Chung Toi is wonderful. It’s based on tic tac toe but with multiple moves. The pieces are nice and big which is a plus.
    For 25 years my coffee table has had Chung Toi and Shoot the Moon on it.

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  233. 233
    Bill Arnold says:

    Nothing recent; been more focused on the underlying game physics[0] of the “realities” that we are force-fed by controlling aspects of our societies, and (related) google scholar + internet has been a game-changer; ignorance is now often just in part personal laziness. (Sometimes, nobody knows, yet. Sometimes, some people know, but the information/research is not (easily :) ) publicly accessible. And sometimes, people know things that they should not know. :) )
    Back in the days,
    Fallout 1/2, though I never played as a Lawyer. Have not tried FO4 yet.
    Various fly-around-in-3d-and-shoot-things games. Including various Wing Commander games, Elite, the Star Wars 3d games, others. These had an interesting transfer learning effect to martial arts 2+-on-1 sparring, FWIW. No interest in sims of Earth aircraft; too finicky. Space is more fun.

    [0] That’s a book recommendation, BTW.

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  234. 234
    12xuser says:

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned Pokemon Go yet. It was crazily popular when it came out, and faded rapidly in the public mind. Those of us who stayed with it have been rewarded with a much larger game, with lots of types of gameplay that were not there at the beginning. I have also met lots of really cool people out playing, and meeting people really isn’t my thing.

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  235. 235
    Procopius says:

    Total War: Medieval. Only reason I still have Windows, and I’m sticking with Windows 7 because the CD version can’t be played on Win 10. Total War: Rome was good, too, but Medieval II and Rome II were not much fun. Too hard. Close second, Microsoft Train Simulator, but that one’s slowly dying. I only play individual games. I may get interested in Fortnite, but none of the paid parts.

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  236. 236
    Martin says:

    The Horizon recommendation might have been me. I got it when it came out and love it. Played through the DLC as well on hardest difficulty. Losing the aim assist makes it it much harder – HZD aim assist automatically leads the target so you can aim at a component and the shot will track the component. On the hardest difficulty you have to lead the target yourself. Learning how to lead a Trampler running at full bore is quite satisfying.

    Also enjoy the Farcry series (especially the latest one where you get to shoot religious rednecks) – my daughter and I have played 3-5, she’s also done Primal but I haven’t found time for that. Prey and Dying Light are also very good. I really really enjoyed them. We’re playing Monster Hunter World, and I keep returning to No Man’s Sky and some of my other favorites such as Fallout 4. Upcoming on PS4, I’m going to get Wreckfest because I don’t have a racing game and that’s right up my alley, and likely Red Dead Redemption 2 and Cyberpunk 2077. We’re keeping our eye on Rage 2, Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield, and Fallout 76. Rage looks like a winner, not sure about the others.

    On PC I’m pretty much always playing Dwarf Fortress. But Oxygen Not Included is really good as a less overwhelming base builder and Rise to Ruins is a really cool city builder/tower defense/god game. Both are early access and rev about monthly. The Long Dark is excellent if you like single player survival. Subnautica as well.

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  237. 237
    weasel says:

    @Schlemazel: It’s been a looong time, but I seem to recall Red Baron, maybe on expert mode, was really tricky to fly some of the earlier planes.

    Your comment about Win 3.1 reminded me of why I stopped playing those games. Think they just got too fast IIRC

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  238. 238
    weasel says:

    @eddie blake: No I haven’t but with that recommendation, and TIE Fighter Special Edition sitting unplayed in my Steam library (since 2015!), has finally convinced me to spring for a flight controller joystick so I can get back into flying. Are any of the Ace Combat games WWII era? Not the hugest fan of flying jets (but am willing to give it another try)…

    Thanks for the tip!

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  239. 239
    weasel says:

    @Lit3Bolt: Oh wow, I remember Moray Decay! Played more End of the Line myself, but will be saving that link for later. Glad it’s still around!

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  240. 240
    weasel says:

    @Mandarama: Hat tip to both Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon!

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  241. 241
    chopper says:

    let’s see,

    ultima V
    bruce lee
    lemmings
    elite
    zork (series)
    obliterator
    dungeon master

    yeah, i’m old.

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  242. 242
    chopper says:

    and maniac mansion.

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  243. 243
    catdevotee says:

    @NotMax: I adored Sims 2! In fact, my husband and our son also played it at the same time, so it was fun for us to discuss the characters we were creating and the houses we were designing. Dinner table conversation in the semi-modern age! (This was centuries ago in computer time!)

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  244. 244
    catdevotee says:

    @catdevotee: To add, all three of us also loved all the Sim City games, Sim Earth, and the Civ series. Starflight was a big hit at our house wayyy back.

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  245. 245
    Kdaug says:

    @dmsilev: Personal favorite.

    Pro-tip: Upgrade your intelligence. Conversations become much more interesting.

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  246. 246
    EBT says:

    @Lit3Bolt: Considering how many other series have Dyansty Warriors spin off games now, it’s possible.

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  247. 247
    Ferdinand says:

    @David Evans: Skyrim’s interface is lovely once learned. I prefer it’s privacy to WoW. And the excellent mods now available allow for fun customizing of your game experience.

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  248. 248
    LIt3Bolt says:

    @weasel:

    Holy shit a MD alum? Far out! What a stab in the dark on the internet actually succeeding.

    Your head is destroyed.

    Everything goes dark…

    What are YOU doing here?!?!!?!

    drink
    You can’t do that. All you can do is

    Also, here’s a bit of a sad story gaming wise. One of the victims at Benghazi was Sean Smith, an avid gamer. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him personally myself, but he was Vile Rat on EVE Online and a player, then later the wizard Kurgen (a player who makes new content for other players) in the Moral Decay community.

    It was sad because we wanted to honor him and the work he did but could only do it in our rando-text game. So we built a shrine to him in the player’s lounge and added a message board.

    Anyway, weasel, look us up on MD, it’s still around. playdecay.com port 3003 (use a client like mudlet or zmud or good ol telnet). There’s an old website too, moraldecaymud.org. It’s finicky but should work decent.

    Also, I can’t believe hardly no one mentions the modding community. Skyrim wouldn’t be Skyrim without mods, and I modded the F out of Baldur’s Gate II back in the day. My favorite mods are probably Absolute Corruption for Star Wars: Empire At War, Longer Road for Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal (which lets you redeem Irenicus!), and Brutal Doom for of course, Doom. If you’ve played the new Doom, you’ve played Brutal Doom and realized the entire game was shamelessly stolen from a modder.

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  249. 249
    weasel says:

    @LIt3Bolt: I would never have been interested enough to try getting back onto MD without that story, will do my best to get client installed (used telnet back in the day, but zmud more recently) to see the shrine.

    Far as modding goes, I know it is huge but I never/seldom get even all the way through the provided content. Though back in the day, when I had the time! That was one of the biggest MUD draws, most places I played, if you hit lvl 20 you could start adding your own bits! Skyrim is still one of my biggest time sinks and I’ve not even finished my first playthrough, but once I do I’ll check out some mods

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  250. 250
    Darkrose says:

    Favorite Games:

    Baldur’s Gate II
    Dragon Age: Origins
    Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
    Final Fantasy VIII
    Skyrim
    City of Heroes (R.I.P. & Screw you forever NCSoft!)
    Final Fantasy XIV

    Currently, I’m playing FFXIV and Stardew Valley. Despite having been sucked into FFXV fandom, I’ve only finished the Pocket Edition version of the game. I hate the PS4 controls, and my gaming laptop is three years old and can’t handle the PC version. It doesn’t matter to much because I love the characters, but find the game itself impossibly annoying in terms of gameplay and story.

    I miss City of Heroes so much. I loved playing in an MMO where I could literally wear whatever I wanted, and where the culture was mostly friendly and not toxic. FFXIV isn’t awful for the most part, but it’s just not the same.

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  251. 251
    eddie blake says:

    @weasel:

    crimson skies is MOSTLY prop-driven, but yeah, the ace combat series is pretty much ALL about jets. incredibly DETAILED jets with great cockpit- views and articulations…

    mostly it’s the CONTROLS…they let you have an independent RUDDER and throttle…for a CONSOLE game. i thought that was a BIG deal…

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  252. 252
    JustRuss says:

    Been playing Witcher 3 and it’s expansions for a couple years, don’t have a lot of time for gaming. I’m at the final boss battle, and I know it will take like 20 attempts to beat him, so I’ve kind of lost interest. Before W3 I put too much time into Skyrim, and did several Witcher 2 run-throughs. Also enjoyed Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning, another fun swords-and-magic RPG. And Half-Life, of course.

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  253. 253
    JustRuss says:

    @Ferdinand: +1 for Skyrim mods.

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  254. 254
    No One of Consequence says:

    @nwerner: Legends mode allows viewing of the auto-generated stuff you are after, I believe. Haven’t been dwarfy in a while though.

    It is hands-down, the most complicated game I have ever encountered, by magnitudes.

    Peace,

    -NOoC
    p.s. Shout out to Marvel Contest of Champions mobile game. If you every spent time with StreetFighter series, it is somewhat like that, with a whole lot more complexity. Straight-forward fighting game, but the complexity adds a (surprising) amount of compelling game play.

    ReplyReply

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