Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weekend Top Ten: Memorable Videogames, Pt 1

As every countdown, this one will start high and work it's way down, lest it become some weird countup. Who ever heard of that, heh?

But first I'd like to take a moment to mention a few games that, although epically spectacular did not make the cut.

Constructor, for what it taught me about landlords; Masters of Orion 2, for teaching me about aliens and the importance of scientific investigation; Harvest Moon, for what I learned about growing crops, brushing cows and romancing farm girls; Shadow of Memories, for being the most elusive game in the history of the industry (maybe not really but I wants it!). Ok, enough with that.

So, from least influential to most, here are the games that had most to do with my taste in games, my reluctance to pursue a career and the nimbleness of my thumbs.

10. Command&Conquer: Red Alert

Spewing out villagers, building huts, leveling civilizations on elephant back and cruising around on a sports car. Age of Empires had all of this to offer. And I sure did play a lot of that. But then I turned my attention to Red Alert.

I still have a few loose pages of the manual in a drawer somewhere which is amazing considering I never read it and that I have misplaced the cd itself ages ago. Which is a damn shame because I really would like to give it another whirl. I remember having finished the allied campaign but have the recollection that the red part of the game, although more exciting, presented an added level of difficulty for me.

The image of those charging Rottweilers and sparkly Tesla coils are still fresh in my mind though and after my recent dabbling in Starcraft the gash in my heart ripped by our separation stung and I scavenged for the game high and low. No luck.

C&C:RA changed me to believe that communism isn't that bad. It's actually kind of fun! Wait a minute, what am I saying? I'm not American, I never had a problem with communists. They through some serious parties.

9. Mass Effect 

After KOTOR came Mass Effect and what a massive effect it had. Mostly it had people confused between "affect" and "effect" almost as much as "your" and "you're".

The only reason why it's not higher up on my list is because it's too recent for me to know what I've learned from it or how it's changed me. One thing I can say though: I'm a FemShep groupie. MaleShep just seems a bit stiff at times. Oh, no she didn't...

Bioware has most certainly catered to both male and female audiences with its recent releases. They're disguising dating games under a lot of firing and magic and things flying in space or riding on horseback. I'm loving it.

The dating possibilities alone make the game lend itself to multiple playthroughs. Without even noticing it I had become quite adept at shooting things. Imagine my surprise, when all I wanted was to bang a different chick/alien that time around. I guess maybe males go about it the other way around or at least have that excuse to see the make out scenes.
8. Dungeon Keeper

"Your creatures are annoyed. You cannot pay them." It amazes/scares me how many Dungeon Keeper lines I still remember. I must have played that game more than I realize.

"Your creatures are falling in battle." I remember it was one of those games my mother bought for me for some reason. She had to work a lot so maybe it was simply to keep me entertained. By 97, when the game was released, I was about 12 which is, without a doubt, the best time to get a game about managing a dungeon filled with demonic creatures. It taught me a lot about organization and resource management and I'm not even kidding.

"Your gold reserves are running low." I never did play the second DK and, even though I heard say they were like spiritual successors, I never really did like Populous or Black&White. Dungeon Keeper was it for me. I lived to see those Imps dancing at the walls to fortify them while my leathery yellow hand hung close by to slap them as needed.

"The Lord of the Land approaches!"

7. Broken Sword 

Many of my friends, male and older, rave about so-called "point&click" games like Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle or The Dig. I'm sorry. I was just too young for that. And without a computer. And a girl. So it's mostly understandable that I missed out on what they call the Golden Age of point&click.

But I had my crack at Broken Sword. I'll never forget the first time I watched that intro, with the Parisian rooftops and the ballon and the absurdly low framerate my crappy computer could chug out. Good times.

With the first... come to think of it, with all of the games of the saga, I learned patience. In the first one, there was s place where you had to find the one stop on a brick wall atop a haystack where you had to stick something. Took me a few years to realize my game hadn't bugged out. The second one I had to wait to even purchase it. I'm still waiting to finish the third one as I seem to have misplaced my copy of the first CD.

Good game, though. Too bad it's taking me over 10 years to finish all of them. And maybe it's just me forgetting the plot (which I did) but I'm not sure if there are any broken swords in the games at all.
6. Theme Hospital

And here we are again, amid projectile vomiting balloon heads and snipe practicing on rats. There's not much more I can say about Theme Hospital than what I've already said.

It was a time in my life where I played a lot of strategy games, apparently. I wonder what that says about me. I was playing Theme Park around this time as well, although my computer wasn't as agreeable with that one.

Theme Hospital made me aware of the subtleties of the english accent. Especially in the word "warning" in the phrase "Warning! The hospital administrator is cheating! Warning! A cheat is in the hospital." Yeah, I heard that a lot.

If interested, check back tomorrow for the top five. Wow, that was so E! Entertainment of me, to cut you off before the top 5. For shame.

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