Desert Island Games

Posted on 23rd Apr 2010 at 09:37 by Joe Martin with 69 comments

Joe Martin
This blogpost wasn’t my idea, it’s pretty blatantly spun out of the Desert Island Disks forum thread, but I wanted to talk about it some more.

The idea is simple – if you were going into seclusion and you could only take five games with you, which games would you take and why? Read my choices and justifications below, then let me know your own thoughts in the forums.

Desert Island Games

1. Deus Ex

Well, this is an obvious choice, isn’t it? Perhaps the only surprise it offers to those who know is that I chose this over my other favourite game, The Secret of Monkey Island.

The key here though is simply the amount of replay value you’ll need to get out of the game. An adventure game like Monkey Island just isn’t going to entertain you in the long run, but Deus Ex packs a stunning amount of content and has plenty of replay value. You can play it in a bunch of different ways and it’s about as intelligent as FPS games can get, so it’s definitely something I’d want in my library.

Desert Island Games

2. No One Lives Forever

NOLF isn’t as open to different play styles as the other games I’ve included in my selection, but it compensates for that with a lengthy and memorable campaign that’s hilariously funny thanks to the 1970s spy parody setting. If Deus Ex is the game I’d use to satisfy my need for smart gaming then NOLF’s comedy is the perfect counterpoint to that. I’ve played it a dozen times already and know the levels back to front, but I’m sure I could easily carry on enjoying it for decades.

It's just a shame that the sequels weren't up to scratch...

Desert Island Games

3. Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn

Oh, this was a tough one – for the longest time I couldn’t decide between which RPG I’d want to take, though I narrowed it down to Fallout 2, PlaneScape: Torment and BG2 very quickly. In the end though, Baldur’s Gate 2’s sizeable world and larger cast of NPCs won through.

True, the world might not be as unique as Fallout’s and it might not have the eclectic party members and philosophical edge of Torment, but the quality of writing and possibility for multiple romances make it a clear choice. Plus; dragons.

Desert Island Games

4. Hitman: Blood Money

Another difficult decision – I have a big soft spot for stealth games like Hitman, so it was a matter of deciding between the perhaps technically superior Thief games or the slightly more murderous Blood Money. In the end I settled on Hitman though not because it’s a better game, but because it’s a game with a bit more scope and subtlety to it.

Where Thief pretty much restricts you only to stealth (and demands that stealth is derived from staying hidden), Hitman lets you have a bit more freedom through the use of disguises and multiple routes. It’s also the best of the Hitman series by far, if only because of the ability to push people down stairs.

Desert Island Games


I’m actually not personally a huge fan of GTA IV in terms of its story and structure. I think it could have done better if it had sought to create a smaller area in greater detail, rather than a whole city with less content. Still, if you’re looking for something that you could play for the rest of your life then this is probably as good as it gets. You could spend ages just watching comedy routines or completing mini-games before you even though of touching the story.

Then, even after all that is done, there’s still the whole world to explore. I may not be a huge fan of the structure now, but if I was stuck on a desert island with it for the rest of my life then I’m positive that I could learn to love it.

There are many more games I could expand into this list – System Shock 2 and Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines spring to mind, and I’m tempted to try and bend the rules by talking about MMOs and modding content too, but I think I’m comfortable leaving it at these five games.

What about you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

[EDIT: Dammit! I should have included Garry's Mod 10 in there somewhere too, assuming I can include user-generated content with it!]


Discuss in the forums Reply
pimonserry 15th April 2010, 21:46 Quote

I'll think of the other 4 once I'm finished with that one
Krikkit 15th April 2010, 21:57 Quote
Mass Effect 1 and 2, Fallout 3 (never played it but I imagine it's a game to be played 1000 times before you run out of stuff to do), Stalker: CS/SoC, complete HL2 collection (when it's out, inevitably including Portal 2 and HL1 etc).
line2008 15th April 2010, 22:26 Quote
GTA IV - GRID - BFBC2 - mass effect 2

and gotta have a router + cables so we can all play LAN :P
kenco_uk 15th April 2010, 22:44 Quote
They'd have to be 5 sprawling sandbox games for me, just so I could spend hours/months/years farting about doing nothing. GTA4, Fallout3 and Burnout Paradise come to mind first off. Just Cause 2 maybe.
October 16th April 2010, 00:41 Quote
Half Life 2 (including its "expansions"), Crysis, GTAIII, either Grid or Dirt and...possibly one of the newer Tomb Raiders. Actually scratch that - CoD2, still play it online mucho hours a week :D

Doesn't even matter if there's no internet, 1 disk lan cheesecake ;)
Stewb 16th April 2010, 01:16 Quote
Originally Posted by Krikkit
Fallout 3

Personally I tired of it really quickly. Seemed like there were way fewer sidequests than Oblivion and also the setting wasn't as immersive IMO. I barely managed one playthrough before I put it down.

For me: BFBC2, Mass Effect 2, Oblivion, Halo 3 (:p), racing game to round it off, probably burnout paradise
BentAnat 16th April 2010, 08:04 Quote
Forza 3, NeverWinter Nights with expansions (that's 3 discs), Slayer's South of Heaven CD... oh wait... a game... hmmm... Mass Effect
CardJoe 16th April 2010, 08:21 Quote
Deus Ex
No One Lives Forever
Baldur's Gate 2
Hitman: Blood Money

...Or, wait - does an MMO count?
gavomatic57 16th April 2010, 09:04 Quote
Metal Gear Solid 4, Crysis, GTA4, Half Life 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. SoC (with complete mod 2009)
Draksis 16th April 2010, 11:15 Quote
Originally Posted by
GTA 4, Assassin's Creed 2, Oblivion, Fallout 3 (both with their modding program), Mass Effect 2

yes, i'm a modder :D
LeMaltor 16th April 2010, 11:26 Quote
Just give me some shade, some drinks, pretty babes and World of Warcraft lifetime sub :D
Journeyer 16th April 2010, 11:27 Quote

Oblivion (with all DLCs and modding app), Fallout 3 (with all DLCs and modding app), Dragon Age (with all DLCs and modding app), Mass Effect 2 and Neverwinter Nights with all expansions and modding app. Should leave me sorted for a while until I manage to construct a satellite TCP/IP link out of banana leafs and coconuts.
Gunsmith 16th April 2010, 12:33 Quote
Crysis, Motorhead, System Shock 2, Supreme Commander and open TTD as being stuck on a deserted island should give me enough time to figure out how bloody signals work :/
Pieface 16th April 2010, 12:47 Quote
A copy of steam, and mobile broadband. Therefore I can have as many games as I want.
Omnituens 16th April 2010, 12:59 Quote
Front Mission 3
Pokemon (not a "disk" i know, but no where did it say pc only)
another OpenTTD vote to I can build more failtrains
diablo 2
line2008 16th April 2010, 13:34 Quote
Originally Posted by Pieface
A copy of steam, and mobile broadband. Therefore I can have as many games as I want.

lol imagine how long it would take to download all them games on rubbish mobile broadband. i was using my mates the other day and took my about 25mins to fully open one of the pages on the demotivate thread
Pieface 16th April 2010, 14:14 Quote
Originally Posted by line2008
lol imagine how long it would take to download all them games on rubbish mobile broadband. i was using my mates the other day and took my about 25mins to fully open one of the pages on the demotivate thread

I wouldn't mind waiting if I was on a Desert Island, go for a swim for a while. Go grab some food.
sotu1 16th April 2010, 14:33 Quote
ooh good question...

Diablo 2 & lord of destruction
Battlefield 2

Not many other games I can swear to have spent so many hours on...
Chris_Waddle 16th April 2010, 14:58 Quote
BF:BC2 / GTA IV / Batman: Arkham Asylum / COD 4 / FM2010

As much as I love my shoot-em up's, I'd still need my fix of football in the week.
The only one I'd want to play on-line would be BC2.
13eightyfour 16th April 2010, 15:31 Quote
Morrowind + mods/tools etc
Fallout 3 + mods/tools etc
Forza 3 (Assuming im allowed a 360?) or rFactor + mods

Final game would be some form of brain training type game, because it wouldnt take me long to turn into a plum!!
steveo_mcg 16th April 2010, 15:40 Quote
TF2 errm thats about all i play. Garrys mod for sand boxing errm, man i need more free time.
DragunovHUN 16th April 2010, 16:02 Quote
Does the desert island have internet?
Sloth 16th April 2010, 17:20 Quote
Assuming there is no internet:
-Saints Row 2
-Mass Effect 2
-Supreme Commander
-Gran Turismo 4 (unless you'll allow me GT5!)

With internet:
-World of Warcraft if you allow expansions or Dungeons and Dragons Online elsewise
-Supreme Commander
-BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger (unless you'll allow me Continuum Shift)
SazBard 16th April 2010, 17:27 Quote
Frontier: Elite II
Neverwinter Nights
Flight Simulator X
COD United Offensive.
Gran Turismo 2.

Yeah, I know thats six, meh.
Showerhead 16th April 2010, 18:16 Quote
Fallout 3 (with mods)
Frontier First encouners(D3D mod that actually has most bugs fixed)
Civ 4,
Medieval II total war (again with mods)

May swap out MedII for a football and two jumpers though. Four if your generous.
Panomama 16th April 2010, 18:31 Quote
Fallout 3.
Sifter3000 23rd April 2010, 09:47 Quote
Joe, you are so very wrong about the NOLF sequels. NOLF 2 is better than 1.

I would take:

Civ 4
A Total War game
Football Manager
Bad Company 2*
A decent sim racing game, probably GTR2 with a load of mods

* assuming there are servers and I can connect to multiplayer.
knyghtryda 23rd April 2010, 09:54 Quote
BG2 would probably last you quite a long time alone. That being said... sandbox games would probably make the best desert island games. On top of BG2 I vote:
Sim City 2000/3000 (take your pick)
Any Total War game (Medieval 2 or Rome are my votes)
Civilization 2/3/4 (I vote 2 or 4)
And cuz I would want to shoot something at some point.... GTA IV

Now... if I had a friend and another computer with me, then this list would be quite different:
Unreal Tournament 2004
Supreme Commander
Ground Control (anyone remember that game?)
Hitman 2 or Blood Money

Every game except Hitman has good multiplayer capabilities for both VS and team based play. Hitman is just good fun to figure out with a friend making fun of all your mistakes.
proxess 23rd April 2010, 10:04 Quote
- Mirror's Edge (Yes, I like it...)
- Stepmania <3
- My steam account in offline mode (HL+HL2+Eps+ Portal) - That counts as just one awesome game, right? Right?!
- Age of Empires II: The Conquerors
- Unreal Tournament: GOTY, INSTAGIB!
smc8788 23rd April 2010, 10:17 Quote
For me:

Orange Box (cheating, I know)
Gran Turismo 3 or 4
Total Annihilation
GTA Vice City
matt.bungle 23rd April 2010, 10:50 Quote
Interesting to see the games picked really don't have alot of replay value and going over years of playing games (since my acorn electon) I have found the ones I spend the most hours on were:

The first Championship manger, Civiliazation, Rome Total War, Original Sim City & X-com games.

I'm saying these are best games, but the most hours played because I have played a hell of lot of games that leave feeling I want more.
deathtaker27 23rd April 2010, 11:08 Quote
team fortress 2
Half Life 2

(now for the classics)
Risk II
Evil genius (adictive game)
CardJoe 23rd April 2010, 11:19 Quote
Originally Posted by Sifter3000
Joe, you are so very wrong about the NOLF sequels. NOLF 2 is better than 1.

B'ah. NOLF 2 gets bonus points for the co-op campaign and RPG stuff, but it loses out mightily for the respawning enemies, shorter story, more annoying and out of place stealth sections and cumbersome adventure-ish missions. "Quick, find a bucket in that alley, then fix the tap with the crowbar from over there so that you can put out this small fire and get into the next street!" Um, no thanks, can't I just go around?

The robots and so on ruined NOLF 2 for me. NOLF 1 was far better, if only for the final sequence where everyone starts coming back from the dead.
Jaffo 23rd April 2010, 11:22 Quote
I'm guessing there's no net connection, so I'll go with

Operation Flashpoint
Half Life 2
Scrabble 2003
mrbens 23rd April 2010, 11:28 Quote
✓ Xcom1 (such a good game I keep coming back to replay it once every year or so)
✓ Oblivion (to finally fully explore the map and complete every quest, must have played this for over 200 hours and still not been to every corner of the map yet!)
✓ Final Fantasy VII (or VIII as I never finished that one)
✓ Dragon Age (not got round to playing this yet, the island will give me plenty of time to get stuck into it!)
✓ Just Cause 2 (favourite game at the moment, will keep me busy for months!)
lacuna 23rd April 2010, 11:45 Quote
Saints Row 2
Half Life
Half Life 2
Red Alert 2
xrain 23rd April 2010, 12:02 Quote
I personally would go for....

Desert Island Survival and Escape Simulator X
EvilRusk 23rd April 2010, 12:07 Quote
Originally Posted by xrain
I personally would go for....

Desert Island Survival and Escape Simulator X

My first thoughts! Or maybe "ship simulator collectors edition with free real life ship."

Or maybe one of those old PC games that came in the huuuuuge boxes with masses of manuals so I could fashion a raft out of it.
Farfalho 23rd April 2010, 12:22 Quote
I would take:
-CoD4 or CoD6
-FF-X (using a PS2 emulator)
-Gran Turismo
- Battle Realms (the most underrated RTS in the world, pioneer in such many innovations on RTS genre)

Can't I trade 1 or 2 games for my girlfriend, I bet I could play a lot more games with her =)
pbryanw 23rd April 2010, 12:48 Quote
Civilization IV, simply for the replay value.
mighty_pirate 23rd April 2010, 13:26 Quote
Morrowind - I spent so long playing that game, and long enough ago to thoroughly enjoy a replay. Plus the built in editor made it so easy to tweak & mod it. I must have over doubled the total game content through fan made expansions as well as my own.

Blood Omen - The beginning of one of the finest unfinished stories I can think of. Plenty of gameplay & atmosphere & I could listen, captivated, to Simon Templemans portrayal of Kain for, well, the rest of my island bound life.

Planescape Torment - BG2 is a great temptation, but I'd go with Torment due to its seeming so great, having been highly recommended & the fact that I'm a little ashamed that I've never even gotten more than a handful of hours into it. And I really want to.

Resident Evil 2 - Awesome. Obvious reasons for it being a good choice, obvious reasons for it being a bad choice, but beyond all that I could just leave the game alone, at pretty much any point of playthrough & just listen to the background music for hours.

Wing Commander - The original. Because I bloody HATE cats. And it'd be nice to play it again. On anything other than a SNES.
CardJoe 23rd April 2010, 13:55 Quote
Originally Posted by mighty_pirate

Planescape Torment - BG2 is a great temptation, but I'd go with Torment due to its seeming so great, having been highly recommended & the fact that I'm a little ashamed that I've never even gotten more than a handful of hours into it. And I really want to.

You really should. The first few hours, where you're roaming the city area by area, are by far the worst. Get past these and open the city map and it's well worth it.
paisa666 23rd April 2010, 14:25 Quote
Empire: Total War

Fallout 3

Any of the FIFA franchise

If multiplayer is available:

Left 4 dead 1 & 2

FEAR Multiplayer

There :D
Apocalypso 23rd April 2010, 14:47 Quote
World of Warcraft and an unlimited subscription. Thankyouverymuch.
veato 23rd April 2010, 14:48 Quote
I'd take Deus Ex 2 and Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines as a) I've heard good things, b) I've never played them and c) they're the type of games you can play for a long time.

I'd also take Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 with the expansions and one of the (better) Command and Conquer games.

The final one is more difficult. I'm thinking Gran Turismo or Forza 3 as I like a racer but then Fallout 3 GOTY .ed, or even World or Warcraft if t'internet is available.

Assassins Creed 2 is a recent game I've played and loved but I think that (and many others) I'd complete and get little or no replay value.

Ok final list:-
Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 - PC offline
Fallout 3 GOTY - Xbox 360
World of Warcraft - PC online
Forza 3 - Xbox 360 (painting cars ftw)
Deus Ex - PC offline

Just missed out:-
Gran Turismo 2 - Dreamcast Bleem running PS1 version
Final Fantasy 7 PS1

There's loads more I could have picked but I think those are the games that would keep be busy and interested enough to play over for many many hours
Jamie 23rd April 2010, 14:49 Quote
I'd have to say

Zelda Ocarina of Time
Super Mario Bros 2 or 3 - not really bothered which.
Quake 3 with defrag mod
Half Life
Forza 2 (I've not had a chance to play 3 yet but loved 2)
Coltch 23rd April 2010, 15:26 Quote

Oblivion c/w all mods etc.
GT Legends - prefer this to GTR2
Dungeon Keeper - had so much fun with this
Mass Effect 2
Elite - with winVICE or CCS64, too many hours spent on this game.

Planescape Torment and Duke Nukem 3D just missed out
Aterius Gmork 23rd April 2010, 15:33 Quote
Exp. Tribunal
Exp. Bloodmoon
Mod: Morrowind Comes Alive
Mod: Morrowind Graphics Extender
Unknownsock 23rd April 2010, 15:55 Quote
Front mission 3.
Red Alert 2
Warcraft 3 w/ mod tools of course :)
FF7 cos im a dirty fanboy
Worms armageddon...Ohhhh yes!
mighty_pirate 23rd April 2010, 16:03 Quote
Originally Posted by Aterius Gmork
Exp. Tribunal
Exp. Bloodmoon
Mod: Morrowind Comes Alive
Mod: Morrowind Graphics Extender
1 - Morrowind GOTY Edition...
Xtrafresh 23rd April 2010, 16:14 Quote
not a complete list from me yet, but i'm quite sure the racing game i'll take would be trackmania, so i can spend time creating new tracks after i've mastered all the available ones. In fact, ANY game on my list would have to be moddable so i can create my own content.
Silver51 23rd April 2010, 16:31 Quote
I've had Open TTD, NOLF and Deus Ex installed for years, Crysis is fairly replayable and I've only recently discovered the awesomenss that is Psychonauts. So:

Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe
Deus Ex + mod-v01.html"]Ultra High Quality Config (HDTP)
Sloth 23rd April 2010, 16:39 Quote
Originally Posted by Farfalho

Can't I trade 1 or 2 games for my girlfriend, I bet I could play a lot more games with her =)
No girls allowed on gamer island!

Back on subject, I would like to trade out Bad Company 2 for Demon's Souls before embarking on a never ending adventure to my desert island which magically has a constant stream of free power and 120V US sockets and a blazing fast internet connection, also free.
moullas 23rd April 2010, 18:42 Quote
Did anyone say whether the desert island even has power???

In that case

Rubic's cube
and a lightsaber
Kyser Soze 23rd April 2010, 19:08 Quote
1) Counter Strike Source. Its all I seem to play anyway, plus I could tell my online chums I was stuck on a desert island and could they please hurry up and send the navy to rescue me. If it's not too much of a bother.

Because this is one of those islands with a massive high speed satellite based internet connection and a 2kw solar array, but unaccountably, no ferry.
ian8415 23rd April 2010, 20:54 Quote
Mafia: city of lost haven
Halo 3
C&C generals
the settlers 2
The orange box
Aragon Speed 24th April 2010, 08:17 Quote
Oblivion GotY. (With "FCOM".)
X3: Terran Conflict. (With "X-Tended - Terrain Conflict" when it is released.)
Spinter Cell: Chaos Theory
The Witcher Enhanced Edition
pbun 24th April 2010, 10:28 Quote
1. Master of Orion/Magic
2. BFBC2
3. Sim City 4
4. X-Com series
5. Football Manager
6. Steel Panthers 1
7. Total War series

I know... but I just cant decide which 5.
Tattysnuc 24th April 2010, 10:33 Quote
It would have to be:

Sensible World of Soccer 96/97 edit (Amiga)
Just Cause (PC)
GTA Vice City (PC) (purely for the soundtrack! - That and I never did get past the tank stealing bit)
Crysis (PC) (if nothing else, the heat my system kicks out would keep me warm at night!)
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC) just because I loved this game so much when it came out. Bit dated now, but I did love the story.
knuck 24th April 2010, 15:26 Quote
multiplayer games would be useless, otherwise I would take ut99 and 2k4 with me, but you all saw that coming

So... I would take Tetris Attack on the GameBoy, as well as regular Tetris. I still play both with my GameBoy Advance SP :D. I actually have a GBA for each game so that I don't have to switch cartridge to play one game or the other :)

The other 3 would probably be... Mario Kart 64, MegaManX and MegaMan 3

Yes, they are all simple games that can be finished in about an hour BUT, since I would die from hunger after 5 hours anyway, it would leave me just enough time to enjoy them all one last time
Ross1 24th April 2010, 19:23 Quote
Civ IV
football manager
Gran Turismo 4
and...... im very tempted to take openTTD.
GravitySmacked 25th April 2010, 15:57 Quote
Empire Total War
Half Life 2
Mass Effect 2
Bad Company 2

I think that lot would keep me entertained for a while.
benjamyn 25th April 2010, 21:20 Quote
Originally Posted by Pieface
I wouldn't mind waiting if I was on a Desert Island, go for a swim for a while. Go grab some food.

Mobile broadband probably wouldn't work on a random desert island.
l3v1ck 26th April 2010, 08:56 Quote
+1 for Baldur's Gate 2
l3v1ck 26th April 2010, 09:43 Quote
My five would be:
Baldur's Gate (using the tutu pack)
Baldur's Gate 2
Far Cry
Dragon Age: Origins
Roll Cage
spt 26th April 2010, 12:09 Quote
You have to take games to help you!

1. Pirates (the original came with a cloth map, bound to be of use)
2. Monkey island, to help deal with invading pirates
3. Civ 4 (if not going anywhere learn how to rule and grow)
4. Meglomania (its my island, but I want yours and yours and yours)
5. Eve-Online.......... well in real life I just dont have the time to play it, on a desert island I could play it by moon light imagining my ship flying through the stars above me........
Votick 26th April 2010, 13:08 Quote
Originally Posted by Pieface
A copy of steam, and mobile broadband. Therefore I can have as many games as I want.

Change it to a network cable and thats mine ^^ lol
Grimloon 26th April 2010, 17:10 Quote
Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 as well as Planescape Torment for me. No way could I choose between them.
Unreal Tournament (original) as I can happily lose hours botmatching on it.
ModaRobby 27th April 2010, 00:03 Quote
Age of Empires
Rollercoaster Tycoon
Mirror's Edge
Guild Wars
....The games i never get sick of.
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