PC Games Sci/Tech

Friday Finds – Solar Sails and LEGO

Happy Friday all!  It’s a busy day today, so I’ll get right down to it:

And a couple of quick links:

Using a solar sail to clean up space junk – or LASERS.  I’m not the only one thinking DS9, right?

A LEGO augmented-reality game that makes me envy the iPhone???

PC Games

Old Game Tuesday – Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri

Alpha freaking Centauri.  Those that love ‘Civilization’ type games often hold Alpha Centauri in extremely high regard.  The game let’s you pick up where we pacifistic Civilization players left off – with a ship landing on an Alpha Centauri planet, ready to build a new society.  Much of the game is Civ taken to a sci-fi world, with goodie huts replaced by supply pods from your colony ship, things like that.  There were a few differences, though, that really set Alpha Centauri apart.  Game-wise, the ability to custom design your troops and ships added quite a bit of depth for people who love to micromanage.

What you really notice as you play, though, is the story.  Yes, there’s a story, one rich with opposing viewpoints, classic science fiction themes, and solid voice acting.  If you are a fan of Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury or similar authors, you’ll feel right at home.  You wanted to find out what happened in the story, not JUST ‘win’ the game, which is interesting considering what kind of game it is.  You don’t see that in 4X games all that often.  If you haven’t played Alpha Centauri, it’s definitely worth trying out.

Featured PC Games

Old Game Tuesday – Civilization II

Another game that needs no introduction, Civilization II is one of the most addictive games I’ve ever played.  I know friends whose college classes suffered at the foot of it, long before Everquest and WoW would do the same for the next generation.  Civ2 is still a go-to game for me when I want something slower-paced and engrossing.  Also, it can run on just about any PC still working nowadays, with some tweaking.

I played Civ2 for hours and hours.  My preferred method of play was trying to stay peaceful and build the spaceship, though wars could be fun.  I loved researching all the techs, seeing what I could build with them, and racing the computer to get them first.  You never knew what you’d find when exploring – you might find yourself on an island with one of your competitors, or miles away from everyone.  Because of that (and many other factors) you had to plan your advancement accordingly – maybe you needed better ships sooner, or you wanted to build up troops to take out that interloper on your continent.

As would happen in many other games, I always got so focused on building and exploring that I would get far behind on the ‘winning’ part of things, but I didn’t care.  I grinned whenever some stupid warlike Civ would come at me, and break their armies against the advanced troops I had stationed in my cities.  Actually taking one of my cities was the only way to rouse me from my diplomatic slumber and have me razing the offender to ashes.

If the graphics of Civ2 bother you, or you simply want to try a newer version of the game, Civ4 is my favorite of the more recent versions.  Civ5 has a few more departures from the classic, though I didn’t play it much – I need to rectify that.  Civ: Revolutions on the DS was actually fun as well, surprising to me because of the small screen size.