My five favourite games

I’m going to exclude MMOs from this list, otherwise the sheer volume of hours eaten by MMOs would outweigh every other game I’ve ever played. But here, in no particular order, are my five favourite computer games ever:

  • Civilization III

Thankfully I never encountered the original Civilization, else I might never have graduated from high school. As it was, Civ II nearly put something of a dent in my college career. But Civ 3 was, for me, the pinnacle of the series. Although Civ IV and V kept innovating, and I’ve spent hundreds of hours in Civ IV in particular, no other game has eaten entire days at a time like Civ III. You start playing on Friday evening, and next time you look up and think “oh, I should sleep”, it’s Sunday morning and you’re not quite sure what happened to the last 36 hours.

Just one more turn. *click* Just one more turn. *click* Just one more turn…

Civilization III

  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri

Sid takes the Civ III model and applies it to colonising an alien planet – and then throws in awesome politics, environmental awareness, a deep and engaging unit advancement system, and narration by Leonard Nimoy. What’s not to love?

(Just one more turn. *click* Just one more turn. *click* Just one more turn…)

Alpha Centauri

  • Diablo II

I think this was probably the first Blizzard game I owned, which makes it something of a gateway drug. Look, I don’t need to tell you all why D2 was awesome, do I? Everyone knows. It was just pure unvarnished fun. I didn’t play on battlenet and rarely played online at all, so I didn’t have to deal with the hacks and cheaters, and I put a hell of a lot of single player hours into Diablo II. It’s no surprise that Diablo III was something of a letdown, really – no game was going to live up to the memories of D2 fun.

Diablo II

  • Heroes of Might and Magic III

I have very many fond memories of Heroes III, and it was somewhat unusual for allowing hotseat multiplayer games. I spent many many hours convalescing after a long hospital stay, chasing computer enemies all around the map in multiplayer games with my best friend. The graphics were nothing to write home about, and the map difficulties were inexplicable to say the least, but nothing beat converging on your opponent’s last town with half a dozen of your heroes all packing armies full of angels, archers and zealots.

Heroes of Might and Magic III

  • Mass Effect

I have a confession to make. I *mumble* haven’t finished Mass Effect. Or played ME2. Or ME3, for that matter.

Look, it’s not my fault, okay?! I was in the middle of my first playthrough ever, in uber-completionist mode, and then my gaming machine died. I managed to salvage my savegames, but by the time I’d got a new machine reinstalled and back up and running, I’d lost my momentum, and forgotten where I was up to in all the side missions. And I just don’t feel right ploughing on ahead with the main story mission without finishing off the side content, because I am – as previously mentioned – ridiculous about completionism. So I’m going to have to start again from scratch, and that’s going to be fruuuustrating. (And I’ve been dithering about this for oh, about two years now.) But make no mistake, I want to, and I will, because Mass Effect is so awesome it goes on my list of Favourite Games Ever even though I haven’t finished it. It’s just that good.

Part of it is that I’m a tabletop gamer, heavy on the roleplaying, and Mass Effect was immersive and enrapturing in a way I’d never encountered in a computer game before. A lot of it was that for the first time I got to play a female hero who kicks ass, takes names and saves the universe – that’s a pretty novel experience for women gamers, and it absolutely added to Mass Effect’s allure for me. And part of it is that I’ve discovered I really quite like military sci-fi. (Also, I sort of had a crush on my Shep, which is always disturbing with fictional characters.)

Engrossing storytelling, immersive character play options, interesting and non-derivative worldbuilding, awesome voice acting, and big armor and heavy weaponry. Mass Effect might just be the greatest game ever.

Mass Effect

What are your five favourite games? I’d love to hear in the comments…

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8 Responses to “My five favourite games”

  1. Zepour
    December 20, 2012 at 10:49 #

    In chronological order:
    – Atic Atac (for ZX Spectrum!)
    – Jagged Alliance
    – Battle Isle series and Incubation: Time Is Running Out
    – Civilization II
    – Baldur’s Gate series

    Honorable mention: Elite (for Atari ST).

    • December 20, 2012 at 12:04 #

      Your choices are even more vintage than mine! ;)

  2. rori
    December 20, 2012 at 13:57 #

    favourite games is hard. I was torn on how to rank, and ended up thinking “stuck on an island till you die, pick games that will keep you busy and happiest.” is that weird?

    1. Angband (or Zangband).
    Randomly generated dungeons, Scores upon scores of loot, monsters and variety. MMO’s aside there is no game that has gotten close to the amount of hours this game has taken, and I haven’t even gotten CLOSE to completing it and I go back to it every year or so.

    2. Fallout 3.
    Hands down one of the best games that has been created in the last 2 decades. I own the GoTY edition from steam yet it’s currently uninstalled while I wait for my mind to forget it enough so it feels newish the next time I play it. If there was a way to erase playing it from my head so I could play it completely fresh I probably would, and I envy people who haven’t played it yet because they get to experience it for the first time.

    3. Starcraft (original).
    4. Diablo 2.
    Grouping these together because the reasons are quite similar. They are incredible games that had ALL the time needed to make them that good. They replay quite well, and the worlds are just gorgeous.

    5. Minecraft.
    1m^3 can be immersive. I never thought this could be true, but it is oh so much. Not having multiplayer would take a decent chunk of enjoyment out, and yet with that caveat it STILL easily makes the list.

    Honourable Mention: Complete list of released and unreleased ROMS in Game Room. (I worked on this game at many levels (seriously, I had credits in coding, QA and tech support) and while I guess it’s cheating because it’s basically ~200 ROMs, the Game Room component is what makes it completely and insanely special). One day, I hope, they get to release it for a small fixed price and you get ALL THE THINGS because I think it would bring insane amounts of happiness to lots of people).

    • December 20, 2012 at 14:06 #

      I’m with you on Minecraft – I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed that and how easy it is to lose a whole day doing nothing much at all in it. ;)

      Re Starcraft, I never actually played that much of it, because I’ve historically been terrible at RTSes. Starcraft II is the first RTS where I’ve put any substantial time into it – and improved as a result. :)

  3. rori
    December 20, 2012 at 13:58 #

    Also, which Sid game would you suggest someone who has NEVER played them try? I think I tried one of the Civs once but didn’t have the time to give it a chance.

    • December 20, 2012 at 14:05 #

      I would say… hmm. Probably Alpha Centauri; Civ 3 is verrrry dated now, and Civ IV takes a while to get into. Civ V is quite a paradigm shift and, while I’m told it’s good, it’s not really representative of the rest of the games. You can get Alpha Centauri cheap on, too :)

  4. Ngita
    December 20, 2012 at 15:23 #

    Its more of a list of the games I kept coming back to year after year then favorites.

    But Civ – 1 mostly because I kept on playing that even when civ 2 was out, i think i brought civ 2 almost the same time I brought civ 3





    • December 20, 2012 at 15:26 #

      Some familiar greats there!

      (Also, hi! Haven’t seen your name around for a while :))

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