Coded gray.

Saturday 14 January 2006


Pic of the day: "Brighter than all that's real". Since I don't have screenshots from the games, I insert a screenshot from the end credits / end song of the anime Shuffle. I know I took this screenshot to remember something, but I no longer know what. I like the text though.

Final(?) slaughter of games

Wouldn't you think I found another trove of old games in a cupboard. If you're fed up with this topic, imagine how it must feel for me who actually have to dismantle them. Contrary to popular belief, karma is not reserved for the next life. In fact, its application in the hereafter is open for dispute. But it certainly starts to work in this life. Hopefully my future self will read this and learn from my mistakes. Failing that (either failing the surviving or, quite possibly, failing the learning) perhaps someone else will.

Star Wars X Wing had the most awesome feeling of really flying in space. Of course it wasn't really real, but it made me homesick for the stars more than any other space game I have played. It was ultimately too difficult for me, and not as beautiful as the Wing Commander series, but it holds this special place in my heart for the sheer thrill of space flight. Sadly for it, that's not enough.

Wild West World was something as strange as a personal strategy game set in the Wild West. Take over a ranch or whatever and grow powerful. It wasn't very good, but I did get some fun out of it for a little while, back in the early 90es. (c)1992.

Caesar was a really good strategy game, blending the genres of Sim City and Civilization. Most of the focus was on the city building really, but you could not neglect defending your countryside either. I believe there has been at least one successor to this game, but I haven't heard about it for a while. I guess it just didn't stand the test of time? Or perhaps just lacked the marketing muscle.

Crisis in the Kremlin. This disturbing political strategy game was set in the USSR during the Glasnost era. You basically oversee the dismantling of the Soviet Union and then Russia itself. Or you can try to stop and reverse the trend, but you will definitely be swimming against the current in that case. It was eerily realistic, almost prophetic, except it was pretty obvious what way things were going at the time. Today, of course, its time has come and gone a while ago.

Dune II Battle for Arrakis. I didn't like it. Then again, I wasn't overly impressed by the Dune novels either.

Entrepreneur: The creator of this program was quite active on the strategy games newsgroup and had a great dialog with his future customers. The game may look simple but it is fairly deep. "World domination through corporate warfare" specializes on the production, marketing and economic wheeling & dealing. It is a bit like RISK only with salespeople instead of armies, visually. It was also one of the early adopters of Internet play. But ultimately it ran out of the "just 5 more minutes" effect for me, turning repetitive as my business empire grew.

Industry Giant: Like Transport Tycoon but with more focus on the business part compared to the actual transport part. In the end, it could not measure up to TT deluxe. Still, I enjoyed taking small villages and making them into bustling cities. Usually I started with universities when I could afford it, I seem to remember. Don't need this when there is TT deluxe though.

Sid Meier's Colonization: Not nearly as good as Civilization, it was still good and different enough to be worth it. I am not convinced that I will play it again, but I am not sure I won't either, and I already bought a new one once before. (The one I'm holding here is clearly a "value" re-issue.) So in order to save my future self (if any) the expense, I'll keep just the disks. I am pretty sure I remember the play. Failing that, there's always Internet and its Wayback Machine.

Dungeons & Dragons: Stronghold, not to be confused with a couple other games called Stronghold, is graphically pathetic by today's standards. But it was awesome fun back in the days, and for 10 years I have had it lying near at hand for the purpose of playing it really soon now. But I never did, and tonight I realize that I never will. The time is gone when colored dots represented your characters.

Gazillionaire, "the game of intergalactic wheelin' and dealin'", isn't really intergalactic but just interplanetary. It had a strong comedic bent, but was also a decent economic competition game. The name of the creators was "LavaMind", and it is safe to say this is as in lava lamps. Pretty trippy. Too old now, and not that original except for the comedy.

Silent Service II would presumably be a later version of Silent Service, the submarine emulator. From MicroProse, and graphically advanced for its time. But it was a war game of sorts, and I could not get myself to play it much. I certainly won't start now.

Realms is, in this case, a strategy game. I am sure there are other Realms as well. Sierra had an online RPG with roughly that name, I remember. Anyway, medieval strategy without the sorcery. I know this thing kept me awake and excited when it was new. That's really long ago though.

Global Effect was a futuristic ecology game. On a new planet, balance the need for economic advances with the need to preserve nature, which is quite unforgiving in this game. The only game I have played where you could not scroll the map in pause mode. And the game required quite a bit of scrolling. I soon grew to hate it. Leftists, like Christians, seem to have a kind of natural block or taboo against making their games actually fun.

EverQuest Deluxe Edition (includes The Ruins of Kunark and The Scars of Velious). Who am I kidding? At the time, even if I had been an atheist I would have been convinced that Something was out to stop me from playing this game. The problems escalated from minor computer troubles and ended in a life-threatening illness. Do you think I'll try to even install the game again, when God has made it abundantly clear that he'll rather see me dead than in Norrath? I may be a sinner, but I prefer staying alive. And it is not like any computer would run it anyway. Probably spontaneously self combust or something. Dude, that was quite a bit of money too. Oh well. HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS, GOD!
(Also I used the serial number or whatever so it would not be feasible to sell it, I think. As long as I had my email I would occasionally get friendly reminders from them to come back to Norrath where my friends were waiting for me. Thanks but no thanks.)

Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven. An awesome intro, cheerful music and cute graphics. Shame about the gameplay. Perhaps I was just spoiled by playing Daggerfall, but the idea of having to trawl the lands to find the one NPC that trained you in one particular skill... no. No. No way. I played it until I outgrew the original starting town, and then quickly gave up. I did it again once or twice later. But with The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion just around the corner, I cannot imagine installing this game ever again. I'd be interested in the soundtrack CD, though...

Capitalism, the original. There is at least one successor, Capitalism Plus. Anyway, as an economist I did enjoy it. But not enough. It just cannot compete with new breed of games that hold my attention these days, like The Sims 2 and City of Heroes. Personal, lifelike, immediate. I doubt I will play semi-abstract games like this again. The real capitalism still interests me though, but as an observer rather than a participant.

The 3rd Millennium was a strategy game with great promise. I know I have written about it in my journal a couple times. Sadly it did not follow up on its promise. The unchanging speed that forced me to let it run overnight while it constructed the buildings I had started. The memory bugs that did not release RAM cleanly after running. The sudden "you lose" with barely any explanation and no warning. No, I'm not sad to see this one go. I guess the French really suck at making games. I guess they should stick to wine, food, art and romance and leave games to Norwegians and Americans. We know how to have fun with computers. We know it almost too well.

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Mobile phone day
Two years ago: Split in two
Three years ago: Temporary pain
Four years ago: Worlds of light & darkness
Five years ago: Fluff
Six years ago: Fluffy Friday
Seven years ago: Stories and shoes

Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.

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