Rei's Random List of Computer Games
Or, How to waste a lot of time with FRPs
No longer recent, but hey
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My sarcastic version of a Generic
- Alundra. A good, solid Zelda-style action RPG: your own reflexes
matter most, but you do collect improved weapons and such. Very much
like Zelda, but perhaps even more tough dungeon puzzles, of very good
caliber, and with a stronger (still linear) plot. The dungeons and
their puzzles can be frustrating, even nigh-impossible for those
lacking in dexterity (try to kill all four Murgg in Olen's dream
within the time limit). The game could have used a more interesting
character for our Hero, who so far seems pretty personality-less.
Still, addictive. The end has a nice little anime short. Just don't
get this if you hate having to be manually precise. Ugh. Cool
feature: some of the puzzles and dreams.
- Breath of Fire III. Good, solid RPG, with some neat little
features. The plot revolves around the survivor of a race of dragons,
who normally appears just like a young boy. Standard linear plot and
too much combat in dungeons, but again, nice little features like no
random combat when moving across large distances, a side-game of
fishing for fun and profit, and other such things. Nice 3D effects
(though the sprites are 2D), plus some innovative (though irritating)
sound. Alas, the ending is dissatisfying.... Cool feature: No
combat on outside landscape.
- Final Fantasy Tactics. Square. Another tactical game (like
Vandal Hearts), in which laying out battles are the most important
part of the game. Intense and intricate plot, interesting systems to
master, but combats can be incredibly irritating if you have to repeat
'em. (Nifty: Apparently you can get Cloud as a character....) Cool
feature: Jobs system.
- Final Fantasy VII. Squaresoft/Square. Another solid Square
game, at least the first half. Rendered graphics in many scenes work
very well. The plot hardly ever lets up in the first half, the
characters are very strong and memorable, the music is good, the
graphics are gorgeous. There's also a lot of humor. In FFIII (FFVI),
remember how a character had to sing in an opera? Wellll, in FFVII,
your poor macho guy has to dress up in drag (there're some very funny
scenes in this area, if you can get to them --- too bad some are
mutually exclusive). The American version suffers a bit from some
obscure (in some cases mistaken) translations ... save often and be
prepared to try alternate actions. This is the first imported
Japanese RPG in a long time to break the mold of traditional Japanese
RPG (at least in the beginning sections). Oh ... don't go chasing
the "incomplete ending" rumor. I spoiled quite a bit of fun by
checking into that, and found out it may be false, to boot.... More
comments: The latter parts of the game can be a bit dull (not nearly
as plot-dense as the beginning sections). Still, chocobo racing for
fun and profit is enjoyable. Ending can be too easy under some
circumstances, depending on what Materia you have, and I found the
very end somewhat unsatisfying. Cool feature: Materia system.
- Final Fantasy VIII. Square. Flashy, intense, good-looking,
standard-setting, but poorly balanced so far as I can tell. The plot
keeps going at a very good clip until near the end, the characters are
pretty good, the NPCs actually aren't the completely mechanical
train-on-a-track type they were in FFVII. Unfortunately, combat is
long and tedious and balanced strangely. The Guardian Force system is
a tad contrived; FFVII's materia system was by far more intuitive.
Oh, and the FFVIII GUI could use a real overhaul. The irritating SeeD
levels mean that "wasting too much time exploring" can hurt you; this
also means people who like to take their time and experiment are
penalized. For all its flaws, though, it'll be hard for anyone to
beat the resources and development time that Square has pumped into
the latest of its flagship series. Cool feature: the sheer production
power that went into this game is amazing.
- Granstream Saga. Well, the graphics are more modern than Tales
of Destiny, but that's not hard to do. And so far that's the best
thing I can say. The animations are slllooooowwwww; the game reeks of
programming shortcuts to save on development time. The game is also
annoying linear, in that you can stumble on things that force the plot
the advance before you're ready. Combat sucks, so far as I can tell
(I'm not the most arcade-capable person, though). There's a reason
this had bad reviews. Cool feature: Apparently, you don't have to
fight everything; unfortunately, since you don't gain experience, you
can't get better at fighting "in-game."
- Guardian's Crusade. Isometric but 3D rotatable-world FRP. Not
bad, not great. The premise is that you have become the caretaker of
a mysterious pig/hippo-like critter that you must take to location X.
Said pig/hippo is a bit like a Tamagotchi, as he needs to be fed
snacks and needs some attention. This game had potential but somehow
came up short.
- King's Field II. First-person slow-moving 3D world. Actually,
once you get into it, pretty fun. Somehow manages to be an order of
magnitude more compelling than Granstream Saga, but that's not saying
much, is it? Anyway, not a bad game, but almost everything about it
is depressing: music, colors, characters, plot. Cool features: The
various gadgets like the truth mirror and map-maker are pretty cool.
- Legend of Legaia. Isometric, 3D non-rotational FRP. Reasonable
plot, OK graphics, good music, but the much trumpeted combat system is
actually just another menu-driven system with less to distinguish it
than many other RPGs. However, whoever did the visual monster design
did a good job. Unfortunately the heroes themselves are a trifle
flat. Fans of the "perky and excitable simpleton" type of female
character (a la Nagisa of manga series Nagisa Me Kounin) will enjoy
Noa; others will wish they could delete her off the CD. Mostly
uninspired, with occasional plot twists that make this game OK but not
really worth writing home about. Cool feature: monster visual design.
- Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. Isometric, non-3D FRP. Cool
game, after a number of bland and boring 3D games. i.e., plot is more
important than flashy graphics. Re-make of an old 1992 game. Older
is better? Working Designs brought it over (late as usual), with
their characteristic excellent translation that is almost ruined by
overdone innuendo and occasional massive spoilers. Cool feature: the
story and characters and events are well done. Just someone kick
Working Designs into being a little less inspired by their gonads.
- Parasite Eve. Square. A cross between FFVII and an action RPG,
but set in modern-day New York. Not bad, though the movement speed is
irritatingly slow and it's too easy to die. Unfortunately less than
20 hours of gameplay, and lacking ... well, something. Now, what
happens when chloroplasts decide to take over plants just like the
mitochondria? Cool feature: Personally, I liked the scenery.
- Saga Frontier. Square. Part of the very popular Saga game
series that has not made it to the U.S. til now. Some interesting
plots, spiffy graphics, but irritating combat - too many and too
variable. Save early and save often, for you may find your party
unexpectedly destroyed by an encounter that was trivial last time.
Plot: You get to play out the stories of a number of different
characters, all living in the same pretty big world, but who (at least
at first) don't interact much with the other characters. Which order
you play the characters appears to be up to you; some (such as
Asellus) have more plot than others. Alas, all the investment in time
and energy in other characters is all wiped away with every new story.
Overall the game is centered around a neat concept, but unfortunately
is not well executed. I think I'll stop after playing Emelia and
Asellus.... Cool feature: Asellus' story.
- Star Ocean 2. 3D environment, 2D sprites. A lot of involved
game design makes this a game that feels surprisingly non-linear for a
Japanese RPG -- which isn't saying much, but which is still an
improvement over most. Supposedly provides lots of different endings
depending on (the ton of) in-game decisions. Plus, it features "trade
skills" that let you create items. The dialogue scripting is, alas,
maddeningly slow at times, and the translation is wooden but mostly
tolerable. Cool feature: the multiple ending theory.
- (Gensou)Suikoden. Konami. Rave reviews in the US and its native
Japan. So far, the best combat system I've seen. This is one game
that doesn't try to make up for lack of plot with lots of extraneous
combat. The plot is fast, continuous, entertaining; the scenarios are
short, simple, and non-frustrating; combats are fast, short, and fun.
(Notice the recurring words: "fast" "short.") Sort of the opposite of
Beyond the Beyond; in terms of pacing, possibly better than the Final
Fantasy series. Owning your own castle and "waging war" is loads of
fun, too (well, OK, Might and Magic did the castle bit too). The
second half of the game was, unfortunately, weaker in plot, and the
ending (at least the one I saw, even with all 108 characters) was a
tad disappointing. But it's still a "must play." Cool feature:
number of characters available.
- Suikoden II. Haven't gotten far, but the fast combat is
such a relief after the tedious slowness of FFVIII.... The
familiarity of the world is nice, too, but if you haven't played the
first one, you may lose out on some of the subtler parts of this game.
Plot starts off well and continues at a good clip; hope it doesn't do
what the first one did. I hear Clive's plot is nearly impossible to
fulfill ... oh well.
- Tail of the Sun. Essentially, a simplistic caveman simulation.
Aimed at a niche market for those who like to explore terrain. Overall
pretty boring and repetitious, and the scenic locations you can find
are non-interactive. Moreover, what game designer decided forcing your
character to fall asleep at near-random intervals was fun gameplay?
The endings are ... short and silly and weird. Cool feature:
Uh ... size of world.
- Tales of Destiny. Namco. A blast from the past ... playing this
game after, say, Xenogears, is like going back 3 years in technology.
Your characters can't even walk diagonally! Anyway, also compared to
Xenogears, it's fairly fluffy, less absorbing, and hence less
stressful. And, again compared to Xenogears, the coding is complete
and the entire story is told properly. BTW, the game FAQS site has a solution
to the screwed up password in Helraios (the answer: GIFT first, and
then FATE). Cool feature: the end is predictable, but cool.
- Vandal Hearts. Konami. Revised opinion: Can be good if
you don't expect a normal Japanese RPG with this one. It's a
"tactical game with a very linear plot." Like reading a book, but
with interactive combat. The tactics are also a bit obscure at first:
for example, most characters can only attack along two perpendicular
axes (even archers!), and "treasure chests" in combat must be attacked
before the end of combat in order to gain their contents. The
tactical combat is fun after a while, but it's where almost all the
gameplay lies. If you don't like tactical combat, don't bother. The
plot, once you get used to the format of the game, is actually pretty
darn good for an RPG --- though most of it is pretty familiar to
people who read lots of manga. Cool feature: the plot.
- Wild ARMs. Sony. Standard Japanese console RPG, but with nice
3D effects. There's a lovely little anime intro sequence. Bits of
humor and cinematic effects are cool, but too rare. Unfortunately,
75% of the story is about as stereotypical and
predictable as they come (really), but the play is good, solid,
classic RPG play. The gameplay near the beginning and toward the end
is at least a little more original. Overall pretty good, if often
stereotypical and ho-hum for long-time gamers. Cool feature: solid
- Xenogears. Square. It was the best of times, it was the worst
of times.... What had the potential to be the coolest imported RPG in
years ... darn near ruined by what looks to me like severe
mismanagement of the production schedule. The first CD is great! ...
the second CD looks like someone tried to piece together a film after
half the main actors have died in the middle of filming. Luckily, the
very end of it and the sheer strength of storyline combine to make it
OK (though still far less immersive than it could've been). Review of
the first CD: Starts off stereotypical, rapidly gets very cool. Many
shades of Gunnm, and some hints of
"Laputa: Castle in the Sky." Many people have compared the game to
the series "Evangelion" for both its dark psychological elements AND
the stupid sit-in-chair-and-talk narrative style of most of the 2nd
CD. Down side of first CD: The English version contained
dubbed anime. Cool features of first CD: rotating around lets
you see around you (whoo, single-sided textures!); gear (mech)
switching is fun, too; plot is intense. Down side of second CD: the
whole tell-instead-of-show approach that just reeks of
scheduling problems (I suspect they pulled programmers/artists off to
work on FFVIII). The resulting lack of immersion of the 2nd CD is
tragic. Only the sheer strength of story in CD 2 helps make it
somewhat tolerable.... This is one product I wish they'd done right.
The shame, the shame.
- Beyond the Beyond. A dull standard SNES-style Japanese fantasy
RPG game. I've seen piles of reviews, including Japanese ones, that
rate this as one of the most slow and boring RPG in a long time; I'm
inclined to agree. Full of glaring design flaws, probably caused by
the project getting shipped before it was done, or something. Like,
how do land creatures appear on your ship to attack you? Once you get
in the pyramid, why can't you ever go back to the upper levels to
clear it out? Why is combat so frequent, long, and tedious??? Badly
balanced and not at all original. Does improve a bit after you get a
flying transport and character "teleport," but it's too little, too
late. Hint: One button "code" to increase likelihood of good attacks
is to hit the top right button (triangle?) rapidly 4-6 times before
each attack. Cool feature: The game was out when nothing else was.
- Final Fintasy III (Final Fantasy VI in Japan). Fantasy RPG. Squaresoft
(Japanese) and Square USA. Take
your cast of memorable characters on their long quest to stop the mad
Kefka from destroying the world! In between all the battles for cool
items, your characters do everything from singing in operas, to having
bad dreams, to meeting long-lost relatives, to falling in love
(nothing mushy, sorry). Format: you move your Anime-esque
"super-deformed" character around, and you watch from above. Graphics
were pretty good; the music was truly excellent. I'm buying the music
on CDs, it was so good. Plot was cool! Could have used even more of
it; could have also used more flexibility in the dialogue. The ending
sequence was great ("Now I know why I have all these stupid muscles!"
--- Sabin to his twin brother, King Edgar). Translation was a little
weak; I want to play it in the original Japanese. Final Fantasy III
here is Final Fantasy VI in Japan. (Final Fantasy V looked rather
similar, replete with same instruction-book artist). More FF III info.
- Final Fantasy II (Final Fantasy IV in Japan). Fantasy RPG. Much
raved about, even by people who've played the later FF series. If the
music in FFIII was good, it's because a lot of it was based on the previous
games' music --- like FFII's. The graphics are primitive by today's
standards, but the plot and characters are pure FF quality. You can't
find this game anywhere except through used game resellers (check the back
of some game magazines for companies).
- Secret of Mana. Fantasy RPG. Squaresoft (Japanese). Take your
nameless character (well, OK, you can name him) on a quest for ...
well, whatever. Format: move your Anime-esque character around from
place to place, watch from above, and hope the putzes (his friends)
following him around don't get killed in the meantime. Reasonable
plot, frustrating combat and controls. Graphics are pretty good.
Music is so-so. Real-time reflex combat. Don't play it by
yourself; it's so much more fun with *2* players, and is *much* easier
to play. If you and a friend want to play a fun fantasy action game
together, this is it. Just remember to build up to 11th (or higher)
level before going up against "Spikey."
- Chrono Trigger. Fantasy/SF RPG. From Squaresoft. Like all the
other Japanese RPGs (move your character around the scenery).
Character design and artwork are done by the author of the popular
manga Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump. Pretty fun, pretty
fast. Time traveling in this game is lots of fun --- go back to one
time, tweak an event, and see how it affects things in the future.
Apparently there are a whole plethora of endings, depending on when
you defeat the final evil, including an ending in which the 2 lead
female characters critique all the various male characters ("Look,
it's Mr. I'm-so-cool Cyrus!"). For this, the (cool) New Game+
setting is usually key; New Game+ is the mode in which you can start a
new game with the stats and (most) items from a saved game (may only
work if you've won once; not sure). According to Jump and
confirmed by people who've sent me email, there are also hidden secret
rooms with comments from the game authors (supposedly also true of the
Final Fantasy series).
- Secret of Evermore. FRP. Squaresoft, but with a Western design
team. The interface is just like Mana's. The story is about a
boy and his dog (or sometimes dog and his boy) trapped in a made-up
world, from prehistoria to an alas! boring space station. The
beginning was better than the end. Overall a fun play, but the end is
still pretty lame. It does occasionally convey a neat atmosphere, but
things go downhill after getting the dog out of the ventilation
system. It's fun when you've named the characters "r" and "!t"....
- Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. FRP. Squaresoft. Ancient game
(i.e., fairly primitive).
- New Horizons. Semi-historical roleplaying. Japanese. Dunno how
to describe this one. You can play one of a bunch of unrelated
characters that must earn a living in 16th-century Europe. One
character is trying to build up enough money to go find Atlantis.
Another's job is to map the world. From what I've seen, most of the
play time is spent in buying and selling goods at different ports (for
the trader/adventurer types). Wow, we found one major plot
development! Some of the main characters actually ran into each
other. 1 piece of plot in 6 hours of play is pretty sad. There must
be something more to this game.... OK, new advice: play a pirate.
There isn't much plot to this game; it's a pseudo-simulation. At
least pirates have it easier than traders.
- Ultima VI. Fantasy RPG. Origin. Not Japanese (!). I couldn't
get Ultima VI for the Apple IIe or Mac, so I had to get it for SNES.
Its main flaw is the interface; the menu system is slow and
awkward. Clearly it was converted to SNES from a "real" computer
system. But otherwise, the plot and conversations are very good.
Graphics are good. Music is all right. Movement is awkward, but
tolerable. Hey, it's a fun game so far, and since it's not
translated, the dialogue is much easier to read. And there's a lot of
dialogue. Yay for Ultima. The funny part about Ultima VI is its
insistence that wine is "juice" (we think the Nintendo review board
got to it).
- Lufia. Fantasy RPG. ?. Yet another Japanese game. The graphics
are cheesy (they overdid the Anime-super-deformed look; your main
character looks like a very cute little short-legged octopus when he
moves). The music is OK. It's cute, and has reasonable dialogue and
plot, fairly fast combats (though too many of them). There's a
reasonable plot twist involving Lufia, but the ending is sooooo
- Lufia II. Fantasy RPG. A better version of Lufia. This version
got rid of many of the annoyances about Lufia, like much better speed,
cooler toys, and so on. The ending was a bit of a surprise, mostly
because I didn't remember the names of the characters from Lufia I.
If you recognize the names in Lufia II, then you'll know the ending
(mostly). But overall, a pretty fun game. (I did find a bug, though.
- Brainlord. Fantasy RPG. A somewhat primitive Japanese game whose
plot was (alas!) forgettable, and which had nothing to do with brains
at all (go figure). They did cheesy things with the so-called "friends"
of your main character. Overall, it was OK, nothing more.
- Illusion of Gaia. Enix(?). Yet another Japanese game. Wow, talk
about annoying flaws. The translation sucks. Surprise. The plot
jumps from place to place, often without giving you the option to save
in between. It has Zelda-style real-time reflex combat. One of its
stronger points is the graphics. But why, oh why, does the main
character fall for the spoiled princess? Ick! Hm. I've now finished
playing it. My opinion has dropped markedly. It's more of a bad,
linear story with lots of arcade action sandwiched in. Blah.
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Fantasy RPG. Nintendo?
Yet another Japanese fantasy RPG game. Not a whole lot of plot, but
it has pretty good music, nice graphics, vaguely arcade-like real-time
reflex combat (especially when you're facing the dungeon masters), and
is overall a nice, solid game.
Just in case you're interested: Anime/Manga info... Many of the Japanese video games are similar to Japanese comics.
- Baldur's Gate. I enjoyed this fantasy RPG -- isometric view, with
lots of quests. I just wish the walking speed were faster....
- Black & White. A few flaws make this otherwise much-hyped
game disappointing. Training your personal creature is fun, but
don't expect a genius. I know some people really enjoyed this game,
but many others did not.
- Creatures (III?). A fascinating premise -- "living" creatures
who learn and breed. Alas, they are still too "stupid" to learn
how not to drown -- hence, leaving the thing run without
supervision is risky. Still, it's a fun toy.
- Deus Ex. Got rave reviews, good rewards ... alas, makes me
extremely motion-sick. Ugh.
- Diablo. Angled top-down view of your character walking around and killing
gory creatures. Blood, gore, creepy sound effects ... if you want to
descend into the darker realms of exploration, this is probably for you.
Actually, I recently played it again and was pleasantly addicted, though
I could do without all the gore in the bottom levels. (I also turned off
- Dungeon Keeper II. It's fun, but fluffy. Not a whole lot of
tactics, so far as I can tell. Your creatures do the hard work of
building your dungeon as you direct, and at some point you just
sit back and watch them win.
- EverQuest. At long last, I played the competition. The wide
variety of spells is very nice, and there are some lovely vistas. The
character classes are (at this point) well balanced (and having worked
in MMP I know that there's no such thing as perfectly balanced), and
each class provides a very different kind of gameplay (to an extent,
of course). Yes, I can see why it's also called "EverCrack."
- (The) Last Express. Apparently, this 1997 game had rave reviews
and bombed like a rock. Maybe the "look" of cartoon-like people
over rendered backgrounds was partially to blame. Interesting
premise and good immersion. Great to play while reading, say,
Murder on the Orient Express.
- (The) Longest Journey. An adventure game -- well done, good
reviews, and even decent voice acting. The game crosses back and
forth between a realistic future and a fantasy realm. While the
premise is somewhat stereotypical, it's still enjoyable.
- Majesty. A fantasy kingdom sim, it looks somewhat like Warcraft
or Age of Empires, but you can't control the individual units. I guess
trying to herd adventurers may be like trying to herd cats, but the
inability to do it was frustrating. I don't know why, but the music
also was very depressing to me. It was fun, but it's not a favorite.
- Nox. It should've been fun, since I did like Diablo, but the
way the game prevented me from going back to collect loot or finish
exploring was really aggravating.
- Quake. 3D graphical shoot-'em-up. It was all the rage for a
while at the company. Blood, gore, explosions. Not bad.
- Sacrifice. It's too easy to get into a no-one-wins situations.
Kinda interesting premise, but the gameplay had some flaws.
- Sim Tunes. This came as part of a Sim Mania pack, and I really
really liked it! The concept of music melded into colors and images
and movement is really fascinating (to me). Nice sound samples
and a two-octave scale provide a wide range of building blocks by which
to create music. I just wish the UI were better....
- The Sims. OK, I admit it, I was addicted to this for a while.
Money-making "cheats" like marrying them together or having peons working
for the military were fun to try out.
- Total Annihilation. Addictive and well thought-out. Intense battles
with plenty of tactical and action elements. Tons of interesting units and
a UI that kicks a. Plays faster when set to max speed. There have been other
addictive games at work, but this one topped them all until Counter-Strike came
- Warcraft II. Fantasy tactical wargame. As either the human side or
the Orc side, send your specialized units out against your opponent(s)!
Fun networked, fun against the computer, too. Very addictive. Our company
lost weeks of productivity to this game. We used to go around quoting
the various types of characters now, too: "Work's done." "Join the army,
they said...." "More work?!" "Zug-zug."
- Might and Magic III. Fantasy adventure RPG. Take your party
around the islands, defeating monsters and completing quests and
collecting cool stuff. 3-D view, from your characters' perspectives.
Great graphics, great puzzles (among the best I've seen in this type
of game), plenty of quests. Plenty of play-hours. The expression
on the characters' faces when they're drunk is great. Yeah, it was
a cool game!
- Might and Magic IV and V (World of Xeen). See above. It's like
III except slower, because it's on CD-ROM. Plus, so far, the puzzles
haven't been that hard. More comments: it crashes a lot. And it
- Kyrandia I. Fantasy RPG. Westwood/Virgin Games (but re-issued by
MacPlay). You play a whiny lad who must wander around Kyrandia
solving puzzles to save your land and your friends. Format: you know,
where you move your character around on the screen, and walking off
the edge takes you to the next scene. Excellent graphics (I wish real
trees might look that good), good music, pretty good puzzles, decent
plot, great whining from Our Hero. I liked this game.
- Zork I, II, III. Fantasy text adventure. Infocom/Activision.
There are various ways to get the Zork series these days (Mac users
--- I think you can ftp Zork for free, too, at sumex-aim.stanford.edu
(or however it's spelled) or mac.archive.umich.edu). This is the
classic text adventure! Collect treasure, solve puzzles, explore the
Great Underground Empire! I really liked this series back in their
heyday, and it's still one of my all-time favorites.
- Return to Zork. CD-ROM, 1st-person interactive. It was kinda
neat, the music was OK, but really didn't capture the sheer magic of
the text-adventure Zork series (except for the opening animation).
I don't actually own this game, but I played it once on a PC.
- Myst. CD-ROM only. 1st-person interactive world. Closer to
capturing the magic of Zork than was Return to Zork. Aside
from the fact that two names in the games are just like a couple of
characters' names from the series I'm writing (grr --- I was first
:-), it's a great game so far. Slow, unfortunately. Nicely rendered
images. Fun puzzles. I like the music. The atmosphere is very well
- Cosmology of Kyoto. CD-ROM only. Whoa boy, if you want to be
depressed, this is for you. This literally does depict the darker
side of the Heian philosophy, the Japan of a thousand years ago. Much
is made of the achievements of that era, but for the common person,
the world was (if you believe this game) just chock full of evil
spirits, demons, robbers, murderers and so on. There seems to be no
way out of karmic hell in this game, which is unfortunate. Very gory.
- Civilization. Strategy. Microprose. DON'T BUY THIS GAME IF YOU
WANT TO GET WORK DONE. It's really addictive. Expand your
civilization from one little city to the dominant empire of the world.
Develop technology; build chariots, build tanks; fight pollution and
irrigate your fields (never mind that it lets you irrigate with sea
water). Look for gold. Have wars! Race to develop the bombers. Or
just sail around with your primitive chariots on board and crush
everyone else before they can even invent the rail road. Addiction
- Sim City 2000. Sim. Maxis. As much fun as the original Sim
City, which means this is one of Maxis' best. Too bad the power
plants explode after 50 years (this is really stupid, IMHO). Great
way to waste time, though. Start with your power plant and build up a
city. Install subways, piping, parks, zoos, highways, and the
good-old-expensive airport. Don't bother with the arcos, the things
that house up to 60,000 people --- they don't do much, and they're
- Sim Town. Sim. Maxis. Supposedly for kids. Build a city, see
how your inhabitants are doing, play with their houses (each has a
little animation or two). Unfortunately, even a local PowerMac just
wasn't fast enough for it. If your Mac isn't top of the line, Sim
Town will probably be too slow for you.
- Castles: Seige and Conquest. Re-issue(?) by MacPlay. Actually
kinda fun. The plots get a little repetitious, and the conquest
strategy is more frustrating than Civilization. And the Pope is
so rude sometimes....
- Populous II. Re-issue by Electronic Arts (?). Simple, pretty
addicting; a lot like its predecessor. You are a god who has the
power to do things like flatten/raise/lower land (which you do for
your people), or throw lightning bolts/earthquakes (which you do at
your computer enemy's people). The one who has the most people
generally wins. It's fun to watch your people strut after they've
just punched the lights out of an invader....
- Loom. Fantasy. Lucas Arts. Took me 5 hours to finish (not
impressive). Too short. Too easy. Take your little hooded character
around looking for things, and save the world. Or something like
- El-Fish. Pseudo-sim. Maxis. Nice to watch your fish swim
around. Not too much interactivity, though. Kinda relaxing. Great
- Aquazone. Simulation. ?. Keep fish in your computer. Yes, you
even have to feed them, change the water, and watch them die (or
sometimes you get lucky and they produce baby fish). It would be much
better if the fish behaved more like fish (like, if they schooled or
chased each other around).
- Wizardy VI. Fantasy RPG. Sir-Tech. Old, but still fun to play.
First-person 3-D view.
- Mission Thunderbolt. SF RPG. Cassidy & Greene. A lot like the
UNIX games of rogue or moria, except with graphics. Primitive style,
but lots of play value. Take your little guy around each floor,
collecting items and thwacking monsters to death.
- Pathways into Darkness. Action/Adventure. Bungie Software. 3-D
scrolling world; sort of a primitive Doom. Very little plot, fairly
slow. Ammunition is in too short a supply, you can't even get
gratuitously violent. Ah well.
- Pax Imperia. SF strategy. Changeling Software. Conquer planets;
send out ships --- design ships, too. It's fun, but nothing to write
home about. It gets especially frustrating when you destroy a
civilization, but their government continues to assassinate your
leaders. Grrr. If you want conquest and tech development and
exploration, play Civilization.
- King's Quest V. Fantasy RPG. Sierra On-line. Take your
character, King What's-his-face, around various places. In the
meantime, solve totally random and illogical puzzles whose solutions
range from throwing the pie at a creature's face in the short time
period in which you have character control (this really sucked), to
just praying to Luck and hoping your character doesn't randomly get
killed in the next section. If you like restoring and starting over a
lot, this game is for you. (ugh).
- Rise of the Dragon. SF RPG. Sierra On-line. Interactive
1st-person view story, of a guy in a cyberpunk-like world trying to
stop a cult from taking over. This was surprisingly fun. There was
one illogical puzzle at the end (since when do wires serve as
tubes??), and one pseudo-arcade game at the end (which you could
mercifully skip). Otherwise, with the ability to choose the lines
your character says, and with good graphics and sound effects, it was
a pretty good game.
- (I just had to mention this:) Barbie's Magic House (?).
???. I don't actually have this; it was bought for the MIT Student
Information Processing Board (SIPB) as a joke. See Barbie. See
Barbie's furniture change color (we prefer it black, of course). See
Barbie's shampoo squeak. Do a make-up job on Barbie, and turn her
into Gothic Barbie. Stick as many handbags on Barbie as you can.
Can you tell I like fantasy games? Nahhhhh
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