Some Favs

   Games are like people. They come in every size, shape, and appearance: none are ever quite perfect, yet somehow there’s “one for everyone.” Every game designer wants to make the game that every player loves, but that game is as elusive as the ideal soulmate. Just as it is often hard to understand relationship choices, it isn’t always easy to explain why one game is a favorite over other examples of apparently similar type. So take this for what it is, our purely personal lasting affection for certain games, warts and all. If you want to comment on your own favorite games (or criticize ours), there’s a nice forum to do that.


   This is the game that actually got me started in the business of making games. Although the graphics were simple, the first playthrough gave me 2 months of absolute fun. The freedom of exploration was amazing and even after completing it a few times I could still find more secrets. This game was the main prime motivator to create NEWCOMER, which amalgamated the features I liked most in Wasteland, Dragon Wars, and Neuromancer. There is no other game that left a bigger impression on me than Wasteland. It's good to see its revival at last.

   I played this game before Fallout 1 and it immediately hooked me. It had a deep and complex storyline and added a new layer of gameplay: interactive conversation. This was totally missing in Wasteland and it was the greatest improvement over its ancestor. The case sensitive situations, multiple solutions and interesting characters immediately elevated this game to the top ranks of my all time favorites. No game has dethroned these two RPGs ever since.

   Well, this is a pure shooter, you could say... but for me it was much more. I like the Alien movies and the first two AVP games did an excellent job of recreating the atmosphere of the films. I'd like to see a similarly well-made Alien-themed RPG one day.

    I've been playing this game since 2006. That says it all. Healer is my favorite role. I'm on Thelanis at the moment...


   He declines to be put in a box, game or otherwise. He used to like Tetris though...


   One of my favorite genres is “adventure” games: picking up stuff, wandering around and making use of it. Adventure activities are not the same as adventure stories, though, and can easily get to be self-evident and child’s play. Adventure stories require some kind of foray into the unknown, in my opinion, some kind of risk of failure, some hope for surprises. These two old games stand out in my mind for their excellent fusion of risky adventure stories and creative adventure activities. Another thing I like in general is long, long game play and both of these provide plenty, with a plot line that spans both episodes neatly although either one could stand alone, and a good atmosphere of suspense all the way. 

   Speaking of enormous and inventive games, it’s hard to overstate the impact Torment had on me. I could recognize it immediately as a classic tragedy, and full of classical references. But they were all cast in a logically coherent new universe of Planes with unforgettable, deep characters. For instance, the player is led to hate Ravel up until she was dying, but her ending brings out her side of things so well it’s impossible not to feel more sympathetic toward her. It has the cleverest (and most perfectly grammatical) writing I’ve seen in a game. I’ve played it over and over and never thought of a way I would change the story.

   So it’s a simpleminded Match 3 game—actually it meets my requirements of something that can be played over and over, and requires a little thought. Of all the many Match 3 games I’ve played, this is one of the few where you can pause and study the layout without the screen changing and obscuring it. And this is very helpful on many levels where the layout has obstructions. It allow an otherwise almost reflexive type of game to be played with real strategy.