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GamesRadar’s 100 Best Games of All Time – OH REALLY

The folks at GamesRadar threw down their list of the top 100 games of all time, and while I’m not going to comment on every game (I haven’t played all of them), I’d like to point out what I think they got right and what they missed.

  • 99.  Ducktales – Excellent pull here, actually, as this game was fantastic.  You don’t want to admit to your friends that you played this, but it was really that good.
  • 92.  Quake 3 Arena – Meh.  It was fun, but top 100?  Let me see where the other games end up.
  • 81.  Kingdom Hearts 2 – I’ve tried to play this several times, and it’s like the beginning is some impenetrable wall of text and zzzzzz….
  • 77.  Star Wars:  Knights of the Old Republic – Man, this low?  Not sure about these guys.
  • 72.  TeamFortress 2 – Pure entertainment.  Love this game.  Even if I suck.
  • 64.  Braid – Just a beautiful experience.  Try it out.
  • 58.  Counter-Strike – I came to this late, but had tons of fun with this.  Hours spent at Cyberjocks when it was open here in Buffalo, and many more online.
  • 54.  Sim-City 2000 – THERE BETTER NOT BE ANOTHER CITY BUILDING GAME ABOVE THIS although a Caesar game would be OK I guess.
  • 40.  The Sims 3 – So much better than the first game, as I can manage to get these Sims to stay alive.  With the first game, it was a race to see how my Sims would die (usually trying to cook).
  • 39.  Diablo 2 – On the front of my mind, thanks to the Diablo 3 beta.  Burrows into the part of your brain that likes getting stuff, and then getting more stuff, and more stuff…
  • 38.  Mega-Man 2 – Jesus this game nearly killed me, but I kept the fuck at it and finally triumphed.
  • 30.  Skyrim – Interesting it’s up here.  Is Morrowind not on the list?  I still go back to that.  Maybe because it’s my first Elder Scrolls game.
  • 29.  Super Mario 64 – Agree 100% with this one.  All the different ways to interact with the environment, yet not so complex that you needed a cheatsheet.  Just played great.
  • 27.  Deus Ex – Yes yes yes.  Might’ve been over my head at the time, but still a ton of fun.
  • 26.  Civilization V – I need to give this another shot.  Civ 2 forever!
  • 24.  Final Fantasy X – Never played this one.  But I will smash these guys in the face with a shovel if FFVI (or FFIV) are not above this.  No way this is the only FF.
  • 19.  Starcraft 2 – You’ve read my thoughts on this.  SP is good enough, but MP is a whole bunch of rabid clickers with meticulously mapped-out build orders.  Just not fun for me.
  • 17.  The Legend of Zelda:  A Link to the Past – Still the best in my book.  Worth busting out the SNES for.
  • 14.  Final Fantasy VI – THANK YOU I will not get arrested for shovel-based assault.  Great story, great villain, replay it in whole or in part every year.
  • 12.  Half-Life 2 – Will the original be above it?  Either way, if you are reading this, I probably don’t have to tell you why HL2 is so good.
  • 4.  Super Mario Bros. 3 – The ultimate Mario game, ever.  No equal.
  • 2.  Tetris – We all have a favorite version, whether it’s the Tengen NES (or Arcade) game, the Nintendo version, Game Boy…EVERYBODY has played it.
  • 1.  Portal – Portal 2 was on there too, but I want to replay the original before I comment on the new one.  Portal remains one of my all-time favorite games, and GLaDOS is simply the best villainous AI there is.

WoW is on the list, but I’ve never been big on MMOs, if you are wondering about that.  I think they’ve done a solid job on the list, but there are some glaring omissions to my eyes.  In no particular order:

  • 4X games – What, no Master of Orion?  Stars!?  Galactic Civilizations?  Sins of a Solar Empire?  Anything?  Tough room.
  • Flight Sims – Another genre that isn’t ‘cool’ right now, but so many games here that are worthy.  X-Wing?  X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter?  No Wing Commander games?  Elite?
  • Combat Sims – Microprose needs to be here somewhere.  Gunship, Silent Service, Red Storm Rising…heck, there still isn’t a tank battle game to beat M1 Tank Platoon.
  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri – No Civ2 AND no Alpha Centauri?  How does this happen?
  • M.U.L.E. – How many games did they miss from this era?  Still fun to play today.

And with that, I’m sure I’ve missed some games.  What would you add?  Hate any of my choices?

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Console Games Featured PC Games

Gaming Is Good For Your Brain

I saw this article pop up on my Twitter feed (my apologies if you tweeted it and didn’t get credit), and I have to say, I can definitely see it.  Although since I’m kind of bad at most games, I wonder if it really helps me that much.  Heh.  The main thrust of the article:

A growing body of university research suggests that gaming improves creativity, decision-making and perception. The specific benefits are wide ranging, from improved hand-eye coordination in surgeons to vision changes that boost night driving ability.

People that play ‘action’ video games make decisions up to 25% faster, and they can also pay attention to six things at once – two more than your average non-gamer.  Sounds good, right?  Playstations for everyone!  NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND:

Electronic gameplay has its downside. Brain scans show that violent videogames can alter brain function in healthy young men after just a week of play, depressing activity among regions associated with emotional control, researchers at Indiana University recently reported. Other studies have found an association between compulsive gaming and being overweight, introverted and prone to depression. The studies didn’t compare the benefits of gaming with such downsides.

Though I always wonder if the second half of that has anything to do with gaming specifically.  A person who is compulsive in one aspect of their life may have similar problems elsewhere.  Anyway, the story goes on to say that the most violent games are also the ones that seem to generate the most beneficial effects.  There’s a lot of interesting information here, with a bit of hyperbole, but I think this is my favorite part:

The vast majority of the research did not directly compare gaming with hours of other intense, mental activities such as solving math equations.

Yeah, mostly because you can’t convince a whole mess of 20 to 30 year olds to stop playing WoW to do math problems for 8 hours.  However, there is a large scale study of Starcraft II players ongoing via the University of Vancouver in BC.  It will be interesting to see what comes of that.

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PC Games

We need to talk about Starcraft 2

I kind of hate Starcraft 2.  There, I said it.  That feels better.  I guess, I should be more specific – I don’t hate the game itself, as it seems like a perfectly good (probably an all time great) RTS.  I had fun with the single player aspect.  What I hate is what it’s turned players into.  You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an SC2 player studying build orders and worrying about their lackluster ‘macro’.  It’s almost impossible to find someone just playing for fun, and if they say they are, they are probably taking it easy on you.  Not much fun for them.

My time with Starcraft is some of the best gaming I ever had, but I should’ve seen the cracks even then.  I played Bunker Command and Bunker Command 2, a ‘Use Map Settings’ map that pit you in a fast-paced game against the other players where you got points for blowing up their dudes, which in turn earned you new units.  The trick being you had to defend your bunker while you went after theirs.  Simple and fun, and it didn’t take 2 hours to play out.  But as SC aged, people stopped playing it.  It was all about improving their rating.  No one had time to play a game that ‘didn’t count’.  SC2 has jacked that up ten times at least.  Sure, there may be a few holdouts like me, but I don’t have time to find them.  It’s honestly one thing that has driven me away from multiplayer gaming and back to things like Skyrim and Dragon Age.

If anyone finds a working SC2 version of Bunker Command, I’d be interested.