The powers-that-be at ESCMag had decided to give our hard-working staffers a break from non-stop gaming by asking our reviewers to post lovesick poetry instead of hard-core reviews and biting columns. Of course, there was a rebellion. So, under threat of a coup and non-Valentine-like torture, these powers-that-be graciously decided to let three ESCapers tell of their love of their five best games instead.
Of course, you can send a Valentine's day card...er, email..to our lovesick reviewers to express your thanks for not being forced to digest extremely mushy poetry.
This one has never, ever left my hard drive. When changing computers, its one of the first things I install. Thats because I can run it anytime, CD or not, and next thing I know the English are valiantly pushing across Europe in a bid for world supremacy.
Story is everything to me, but until this game came along first-person shooters were really just a good way to blow off steam while mindlessly plowing through demons or Nazis or whatever. Valve and Sierra showed us just how powerful scripted events can be in a shooter. Gordon Freeman became less a series of weapons (as in those previous games) and more an actual character.
This one had it all: strategy, action, resource management. Even the sequels excellent in their own rights couldnt live up to the kind of magic surrounding UFO Defense. Hell, the aliens (well, the computer AI) had to play by a similar points system to that of the player. That turning point of realizing the balance has shifted in favor of Earth keeps me going back to this game time and again.
This ones a new love, the kind that keeps me away from friends and family. The kind you dont stop thinking about all day at work. I spent one weekend making my Sims social life far better than mine was for those two days. If thats not love, nothing is.
There have been a lot of games over the years, but few really stick out. Some were fickle, some mocked me, and some were simple one-night stands. But a few have stayed with me till today, and that counts for something.
Here's a game that took me by complete surprise. I had enjoyed the Dune books by Frank Herbert, and I may be one of the few Duneophiles that also liked the movie. I didn't play Dune I at all, but the minute I started playing Dune II, it was love.
I've played the game until my index finger locked up; I've played until the sun came up. I think it contributed to my cousin almost flunking out of college. My passion ran so deep I helped with the FAQ in the newsgroup and I once kept a game running for days so I could jack up my score. I even wrote an e-mail to Brett Sperry asking about the scoring algorithm to see if I could do better.
Dune 2000 was OK it updated quite a few features, and I play it now instead of Dune II. But the spark just isn't there for me.
It's a simple shareware program, but it faithfully copies the original board game and it keeps me occupied for a bit. Probably what I like most is that I can employ the Australia Strategy without getting hooted out of the room. The AI is better than you might think; there have been times when, without the right roll of the dice, my empire hung by a shred, and the computer beats me every once in awhile just to keep me humble.
The allure of a perfect game is hard to avoid. If you can shoot the moon four times, you can win without getting a single point assessed against you. That also means shooting the moon with the keeper hand, which is never easy. But I've done it.
I like MS Hearts because a game goes fast. It isn't something I can sit down and play for hours; rather, I play a game, do some writing, then come back to it.
There are a few things I look for to keep me interested. First, I keep looking for a hand where everyone plays the same number card. It happens about once in a thousand games, usually on the next to the last hand. I lead the nine of diamonds, someone else plays the nine of clubs, etc. I've seen it once with Jacks, as well. The other thing I hope to see is getting dealt all of one suit. That hasn't happened yet.
This is a nostalgia trip for me, and I haven't played it lately. But I've enjoyed this game from Epic ever since my son and I were beta testers. Side-scrolling shooters will never go away completely.
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