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Archive for the ‘games i own’ tag

Free Games I Like: Small Worlds

Posted on 5th Nov 2009 at 11:51 by Joe Martin with 12 comments

Joe Martin
This blog post will be, like the game it’s about, small. I don’t really have a huge amount to say about Small Worlds, which was developed for a recent Casual Games Competition with the theme 'Explore', other than that it’s a remarkably elegant and effective piece of pixel-art brilliance.

A game which only ever alludes to having a deeper plot, Small Worlds opens with a single line before jumping to the gameplay – “There is too much noise”.

The gameplay itself is simple. At the start of each of the five levels the viewpoint is zoomed in on you – a small red line with a pale face and zero animation. The aim of each level is then to find the exit, which returns you to a hub level before you move on to the next world. There’s no fighting, no skill trees and no enemies. It’s just a gentle and rather lovely paced matter of exploration.

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Games I Own: Deus Ex 2

Posted on 21st Oct 2009 at 12:46 by Joe Martin with 9 comments

Joe Martin
Deus Ex 2: Invisible War is a game which gets a bad rap whenever you see it discussed among PC gamers, who inevitably love the first game and loathe the sequel. To be honest though, I never thought it was half as bad as anyone was making out. If approached with reasonable rationality and not the more obvious optimism, the game actually held up quite well.

Yes, Invisible War had issues. It obviously suffered from attempts to bring the series to consoles. The tiny, insular and empty levels. The universal ammo system. The constant load times and clunky, overly rounded feel of the engine – these were all issues that dogged the game and deservedly so, but slamming Deus Ex 2 for not living up to the legend of it’s predecessor is easier than fist-fighting with a one-armed toddler.

Instead, I prefer to think of the good things about Deus Ex 2 – the things it did better than the original. Believe me, they’re there.

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I Have Never Played A Good Star Trek Game

Posted on 29th Sep 2009 at 10:05 by Joe Martin with 42 comments

Joe Martin
I’ve owned a lot of games in my life. I was also a bit of a Trekkie growing up. There have been points in my life where those two facts have overlapped and I’ve owned computer games that are based around Star Trek – but I’ve never played a good Star Trek game, ever. I’m honestly not even sure they exist.

I’ve played a lot of them, from idiotic non-games like The Captain’s Chair which offer a virtual tour of some of the ships in the series, to poorly thought out action games like Hidden Evil. The ones I’ve spent the most time with though are probably A Final Unity and Generations.

Generations is a particular sore spot for me, as I pressured my parents into pre-ordering it for me from America based solely on hype I’d read in a copy of the official Star Trek magazine.

Yes, I was that sad as a teenager. I like to think I’m a lot cooler now though, even if I still can’t grow a beard.

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Games I Own: Dungeon Keeper, Theme Park, Theme Hospital

Posted on 26th Sep 2009 at 11:38 by Joe Martin with 16 comments

Joe Martin
I was never any good at Dungeon Keeper – and when I say ‘not any good’, I really do mean that I was seriously pants at it. Something to do with being only 12 when the game came out and not really being interested in strategy games – which kind of begs the question of why I played it at all.

There are two answers.

Firstly, it wasn’t my game. It was my brothers and, while I can’t remember if it was a present or something he actually bought, I do know it was his. In the days when the family shared just one PC and my brother and I shared every game, it was inevitable that I would play it. Likewise, it was inevitable then when he stopped playing PC games and I moved out that I would steal it from him, along with about ten other games. Sorry, Sam!

Secondly, making people think that they liked strategy games even though they didn’t really was one of the things that made Bullfrog such a successful company.

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Games I Own: The Prince of Persia Series

Posted on 15th Sep 2009 at 14:05 by Joe Martin with 11 comments

Joe Martin
The Prince of Persia series – by which I mean the Sands of Time trilogy and not either the older or newer games – are a run of games that I have a serious ambivalence with. Like the Monkey Island games, the Sands of Time saga includes both some of my favourite and some of my most hated games.

The Monkey Island game I hate is Escape from Monkey Island, by the way. That game is about as likable as Satan’s mother in law and just thinking about it makes me angry. Likewise, I hate one of the Prince of Persia games so much that I practice thinking about it in the early morning when I can’t be bothered to get out of bed – I hate it so much it gives me energy.

Let’s start with the good news though – The Sands of Time. The first game in the revitalised trilogy, SoT was the one which had the most input from franchise creator, Jordan Mechner – and it shows. Mechner is a truly interesting guy and is currently publishing his old journals from the time when he developed the older PoP games online, which makes for some good lunchtime reading.

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Games I Own: Samorost 2, the greatest Flash game ever

Posted on 7th Aug 2009 at 08:12 by Richard Swinburne with 4 comments

Richard Swinburne
I bunged its 19MB installer deep in my hard drive's subdirectories, the depths of which I haven't trawled in many years. By chance I happened to find myself in an old 'Games' directory today whilst doing the spring summer clean out.

Ahh Samorost 2, my first ever online game purchase.

The first Samorost is as excellent, and can be played online - something I suggest you do right now. The sequel is just as good, if not better.

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What's your greatest gaming achievement?

Posted on 3rd Aug 2009 at 10:43 by Joe Martin with 48 comments

Joe Martin
It seems strange but some of my proudest moments are ones that I’ve lived through virtually. Some of the best things I’ve done are things that I’ve never really done – though I don’t mean that in the fantastical “I’ve saved planets and won wars” way that projects in-game experiences as being real.

Yes, I’ve made millions trading star dust and I’ve stormed castles and heroically held the line…but those aren’t the moments I’m proud of, not really. Instead, my greatest achievements in gaming recognise games as something I’ve actually done, not a virtual experience. My mental list of great achievements doesn’t include the time that I saved the world from an evil Vizier, but it does have space for the time that I fought through the climactic elevator battle in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time without dying.

I’m being careful here not to fall into the all-too-familiar trap of getting carried away with my own story by the way and I can still draw a distinction between my greatest gaming achievement and my greatest actual achievement. The time that I made it all the way to SinTower in a HardCorps run (i.e. all in one go) in SiN Episodes is a highlight, but it pales next to the first time I got published. There’s a Everything2 quote that comes to mind on this topic – “the most you ever dream of is not better than the least you ever accomplish.

Even so though, I’m at the moment readying myself to embark on something that could be a great achievement for me both in terms of gaming performance and personally. I’ve been building up to it for a fortnight.

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Games I Own: Final Fantasy VII

Posted on 3rd Jul 2009 at 14:44 by Mark Mackay with 49 comments

Mark Mackay
Anyone who read the Tales of Vesperia review recently will know that I felt the game played a lot of like JRPG legend Final Fantasy VII. It would be true to say many of the Final Fantasy games since VII played a lot like it also, but I mentioned VII because it's the one most people have had a 99+ hour love affair with.

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Games I Own: SiN and Sin Episodes

Posted on 29th Jun 2009 at 10:37 by Joe Martin with 12 comments

Joe Martin
I’ve always had a soft spot for the SiN games and it isn’t just because of the boobs in it. The original SiN was released around the same time as I started to move from being regular gamer to a real hardcore enthusiast. I’d been playing games most of my life, but it was around that time that I really started to get involved in games as a serious hobby.

That’s not to say that the original SiN was a great game though, far from it. It was buggier than a hobo’s mattress, uglier than the brown stains there-upon and cruder than the manners of the owner. It did however have an incredibly alluring and bountifully endowed villainess though, plus a lot of swearing and explosions and that was enough for my brother to cave in and buy it.

While the low-poly cleavage definitely helped sustain my attention in the game when I started playing it shortly after my brother the thing that really grabbed my interest was the branching storyline. Every time I played through the game it seemed different and I probably played it a good ten or so times (each time with God mode on though as it was a horrendously difficult game). Levels linked together intricately and by completing optional objectives early in the game you could end up visiting wholly new locations and exposing new plot lines later. One game might see you assaulting Elexis Sinclaire on her off-shore oil rig, or her underground geothermal plant, while others had you storm her house or follow her to an observatory.

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Would you like to play The Last Express with me?

Posted on 1st Jun 2009 at 11:37 by Joe Martin with 8 comments

Joe Martin
The Last Express is an old game, an interesting game and one I’ve been meaning to play for a number of years. I was finally spurred into action by the guys at Idle Thumbs, who rightly asserted that The Last Express is a perfect example of an evolutionary path in video games that just never panned out, mainly for financial reasons.

The Last Express is an adventure game by Jordan Mechner, who also made all of the good Prince of Persia games. The storyline for the game is set over three days and it’s all set right on the very eve of the first world war, with all the action and adventure taking place on a train that is travelling from Paris to Constantinople. The train is the famous Orient Express and as the journey begins there is a murder on board. Admittedly I know a lot of this only from what I’ve heard – I’m still playing the game for the first time at the moment.

So far then, The Last Express is just a normal game, but here’s the kicker – it’s all set in real-time. It's also a game I want to invite you to play with me.

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Mod of the Month October 2014 in association with Corsair

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