Friday, July 07, 2006

Time Wasters

I'm something of a video game fan. I'm not die-hard, at least not like I was in my youth, but I enjoy a good game as much as anyone else. I'm more of an RPG/strategy guy. FPS is just not my thing, and puzzle games piss me off. Although I've bought the Madden games every year since 2000 this last offering soured me on them. Besides, baseball is my sport of choice. Baseball games leave me cold though. I like all the aspects of the game, the game on the field, as well as the analysis provided through the stats, and even the aspects of roster management. When EA combines with Baseball Prospectus to release EA Sports: General Manager 2007 I'll be the first in line. Until then though I have to settle for having my 3 hitter rack up 70 homeruns by the ASB.

Here is my Top 10 Video/Computer games I've ever played.

10. Final Fantasy. 8-bit sprites, no personalization of the characters, and it required more dedication than my Nintendo Power reading self could manage. Still, it planted the RPG seed in me.

9. Vampire: The Masquerade: I liked the story. It spanned centuries and featured a main character I really felt for. The combat system was interesting to me as well with an emphasis on hack and slash, as well as stealth and planning.

8. Halo: One of the two shooter games I like. I get raped in multi-player though. Raped hard. Oz-raped.

7. Command and Conquer: I bought it at a discount when I worked at Electronics Boutique. The first RTS I'd played was Dune, and C&C did Dune better than Dune did. Crushing people with my Harvesters gave me a naughty feeling.

6. Final Fantasy 3 (in the US): Best Final Fantasy game. FFVII gets more positive press because of its graphics and the Sephiroth-cult, but as I was playing it I couldn't stop thinking how much more I liked the story in FF3. My friend David might think that using a Phoenix Down on the undead train boss is "cheap", but he's wrong.

5. Grand Theft Auto 3: For all the whining and hand wringing about the corruption of America's Youth people see to overlook the fact it's a pretty sweet game. Taking a baseball bat to a hooker, waiting for the ambulance, capping the medics, and running over their corpses in the ambulance is probably the most vicious, realistic act one could perform.

4. Civilization and Civilization 2: Two games, I know. But they're the same game, just one is better looking, and they're both awesome. I loved being able to unleash tanks at 1AD.

3. Baldur's Gate I & II: It's really one, very large and long game. Awesome, involved, detailed storyline. Thought and planning involved in the combat system. A wicked variety of characters, each of them with a well-thought out back story. And it has Minsc and Boo.

2. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: I'd thought about cheating and lumping I and II together here too, but although the mechanics of the games are alike, the original had a better story to me. Revan, Bastilia, Carth, and T3 works for me. The truth about the main character (which is telegraphed, but still something of a twist), the fall of the noble warrior, the family man's revenge, and plucky robots.

1. Star Control II: This is the game I'd choose if I could have only one game to ever play again. Story-based space adventure games reached their pinnacle back in 1992 when this game was released. The owners could repackage it and rerelease it today and it would be the best game on the market. It's available for a free download here. Get it, play it. Between the story, the resource gathering, and the combat engine it's still super-awesome. It's almost 15 years old and it remains one of the best games ever. I have the game downloaded and I'd still pay them money to buy it again.

I guess looking back at my list a story is what drives me. I can tolerate a good bit of glitching and stupid action if you can make me care about what I'm doing. So, I guess I'm now curious what games take up the attentions of my seven readers (Hi mom!).


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