06 October 2010

15 Games That Will Always Stick With Me, Too

I picked up this meme from D20 Sapphire's post at 20 Sided Woman:
The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. 15 games you've played that will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what games my friends choose.
You can probably tell this originated from Facebook, but like my friend Sapphire I'm going to skip the tagging part and link back to her instead. When I started my list I thought I would have trouble coming up with 15 games, but within 5 minute I was already trying to decide which ones to leave out. SO many choices! At risk of over-thinking the question, I have split this into two parts: board games/RPG's and computer/console game (of any sort), and Honorable Mentions are included along the way. Each will be roughly in chronological order, starting with the board games:
  1. Risk (Parker Brothers) - I would go to slumber-parties with my friends and play Risk and Monopoly for 12 hours straight, fall asleep, then wake up and play for another 12 hours. We never got tired of playing (but we did eventually get tired). Honorable mention: Monopoly.
  2. Dungeons & Dragons (TSR) - Starting from the blue box, I played all I could when I was a young teenager.
  3. Ogre/GEV - Originally published by Metagaming, and Steve Jackson's first published game. This was my introduction to the "map, chits, and dice" wargame. Honorable mention: Warpwar, also by Metagaming.
  4. Air War (SPI) - I'm skipping a bunch of other games to list this one. I played many combat/battle board games, but Air War was sort of the apex of these games for me. Air War is quite complex, and as much a simulation as it is a game. Honorable Mention: Armor (Avalon Hill?), a great tank combat game.
  5. Traveller (then GDW) - Science Fiction role-playing. I played quite a bit, but it wasn't until I hooked up with a college gaming group that it really started to shine for me.
  6. Champions (Hero Games) - Another game I found in college, and with the same game master, my friend Pat (who also GM'd Traveller). Honorable mention: The Fantasy Trip (Metagaming) - Another game by Steve Jackson. This was an a very simple RPG based on the Microgames Melee and Wizard, and the basis of the two best fantasy RPG campaigns I ever played (One GM'ed by Pat, again!).
  7. Battetech (then FASA, now Catalyst) - Fastforward about 10 years - graduation, job, grad school, job-hunting, marriage - where I didn't play board games at all. I did play some computer game version of Battletech, Solaris 3025 (online) and Mechwarrior 2, and I bought a rulebook so I could understand the computer versions better. I wan't until I took a job in Milwaukee, started going to GENCON (when it was still here), and fell-in with a group of die-hard Battletech players that I really learned to love the board game. Maybe more importantly, Battletech re-awakened my love of painting miniatures, something I still enjoy just as much as playing.
  8. Squadron Strike (Ad Astra Games) - 3D science fiction space combat, and I get to help the author with some of the mathematical aspect of the game too - something I ought to be writing about!
And now the computer games, which I hate

  1. Asteroids (arcade) - I plunked a lot of quarters into arcade video games, and this is the game that started it. Gamers much younger than me won't recall a time when video and computer games didn't exist, but I do. I'd like to think that all of today's gamers would still be gamers even if there were not any electronic involved at all, but for many kids today, computer and console games are all there is (which is sad). Honorable mention: Donkey Kong.
  2. Hack/Rogue - This amazing little dungeon crawl game was being passed around among the computer science students when I was in college, and I found it incredibly addicting - and still do. I have a version on my Palm Pilot now, and still play it from time to time. Honorable mention: Empire.
  3. Harpoon - A computer version of Larry Bond's miniatures game, and a great naval warfare simulation. Honorable mention: 688 Attack Sub and Sea Wolf - Two submarine simulations that I spent a lot of time with. These games typically have long intervals of increasing tension as you hunt your target (or vice-versa), punctuated by a few minute of heart-and-keyboard-pounding excitement when the torpedoes start to run.
  4. Master of Magic - Sort of a cross between Civilization and Magic, the Gathering. This game offered many different choices during setup that allowed for variety and interesting play.
  5. MUME (Multi Users in Middle Earth (MUD) - A text-based "dungeon" adventure devoted to re-creating Middle Earth. This was my first experience in online gaming, and a terrible this to discover during graduate school, because it threatened to suck-up my every waking moment. I was never able to get a fast connection though, and this generally resulted in BAD things happening to my characters when this started getting tough, so I finally wised-up and focused on studying instead. I still log in every few years to see if there are still any of the old players still playing there (and there are). Honorable mention: Doom + Quake - Two games I refused of purchase because they definitely would have made me flunk out of grad school.
  6. Starcraft - I've got to have an RTS in here somewhere, don't I? 
  7. Gran Turismo 2 (Playstation) - The only console game I'm listing here, because it's the only console game I've spent much time with. Even then, I had to get up early on Saturday mornings to run the longer races (100 laps) before my son want the PS2 for himself. This isn't so much a game as it is a driving simulator, and it's as close as I'll ever get to driving a real performance car too. I have the newer editions of the game too, but they don't have the same memories.  Honorable mention: Netrek - Another online multi-player game, one if the first of its kind, and a whole lot of fun. This got demoted to "mention" status because I haven't actually played it all that much.
That's my 15 games I'll always remember, but I already know what number 16 will be:

Honorable mention: Gratuitous Space Battles - My first computer game purchase in a long time, and I am really loving it. Look for a proper review on these pages sometime soon.
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