Games I have loved

Thinking of Sims Castaway the other day (I was reminded of it by this book) made me think of all sorts of games I’ve enjoyed playing.  Castaway was not a particularly well-made game.  I had the Wii version, one of the first Wii games we got, and I would monopolise the TV for hours on end playing it, but it made little real use of the controller’s special features and the interface was clunky at best.  The graphics weren’t brilliant (although on the HD tv we have now they might look better; might try that over the holiday) and the game was slow to play.  Although you could build up your house and furniture to a big degree, it was awkward controlling your characters when they were inside buildings and each game area had a cap of the amount you could build, so as soon as you started getting a decent home with lots of furniture it would constantly catch fire.

But the speed (or lack of speed) was part of the joy of the game.  You were forced to live through the day and night, choosing when to rest, when to relax and when to go and find supplies.  Each morning you would decide whether to stay put and gather or go exploring, and every time you uncovered a new area you faced the choice of whether to stay where you were or move camp and build up again.

There were three ways of ending the game: either you found all the bits for the radio and signalled for help, you built a boat and sailed away by yourself or you stayed and made yourself comfortable.  I didn’t tend to go for the end game though; I would just drift through, exploring and creating, and enjoying the zoned-out relaxation the game brought on.

Another game I enjoyed was Colonization.  I believe it came from the creators of Civilisation, but never really became the same hit.  You played a country colonizing America, either the Spanish, the English, the French or the Portuguese, and would take your turn building up your settlements and dealing with the natives.  I still recall with fondness the different statesmen you could develop for different benefits.  In particular, finding Pocahontas would reduce all hostilities with the natives to zero and make them build up much more slowly.

A third game that I really enjoyed and miss is Transport Tycoon.  You would start by running buses within a town, and build up routes and transport systems.  Industry Giant was similar, but included collecting resources and building commodities, and omitted the passenger transport issue.  The graphics on these games are all poor by today’s standards, but they took up a lot of my time in earlier years.

Anno 2070 is a current game that plays along the same lines, building up your world – a combination between Sim City and Industry Giant.  The process of building up an empire gradually appeals greatly to me, and I’m currently awaiting the latest Sim City game.

Over Christmas I feel the urge for a massive games session coming on.  But in these days of ipads in front of the TV, do we really have much of a passion for hours spent at the computer playing any more?