Let’s go Shopping for Games

By Shamus Posted Monday Sep 24, 2007

Filed under: Video Games 112 comments

It’s the weekend and I’m browsing around EB Games, looking for some new software to aid me in my never-ending quest to amuse myself for a few hours. I’ve got a hundred bucks I’m willing to spend, so if I shop carefully I should be able to get at least two games.

The PC section of the store is now three “racks”. Not those huge, floor-to ceiling racks that the consoles use, but ones so short that they are unable to hold anything at eye level. One of these three racks – or dividers if you will – has a bunch of exotic PC hardware like steering wheels, $80 mice, and various console controllers adapted for the PC. So what we really have here are two racks of diminutive shelving units for me to search, in hopes of finding a new game. Let’s see how well these few titles can compete for my gaming dollars.

Here we go:

Hmph. Another version of Civilization is out. Geeze. Looks… just like the old one. Which I have. I also have a couple of other games that use the same formula. The older version(s) are fairly complete. Plus, these system requirements look a little absurd for what this game does. Pass.

Almost a full shelf is consumed by The Sims, The Sims 2, and enough expansion packs to make me worry that perhaps Will Wright may have died an early and tragic death, crushed to death under a mountain of money. Is there any aspect of human behavior they have left unsimulated? It’s possible. I didn’t see “The Sims: Goin’ to the Bathroom ’til Their Legs Fall Asleep.” So, while I suppose there is still some open territory for further expansion packs, I’m pretty sure we’re well past the point of diminishing returns. Nothing against The Sims franchise, but a little of that goes a long way. I played the original and I think I’m still good for another decade or so at least. Pass.

Oh look. Here is the expansion for Oblivion. Looks like they increased the minimum system requirements. Since the original system requirements on the game were a lie, it’s tough to know if this increase is to bring the stated requirements in line with the actual requirements, or if they added new ways to tax your graphics hardware. It doesn’t matter. Oblivion was riddled with bugs which they refused to patch, and I don’t see any reason to believe they’ve repented. I can’t bring myself to reward them for this sort of behavior. Pass.

Here I see the final (no, really this time) episode of the venerable Myst franchise. Looks good. Oh wait. Here on the back it says the game has copy protection restriction that makes it incompatible with “some” DVD burners or drives. So… I could buy this, find out I have a forbidden sort of drive, and be unable to play (or return!) the game. Pass.

I see Neverwinter Nights 2. I pause for a moment to rue the $50 I wasted on this title, and move on.

I see STALKER. Looks interesting… Oh wait. I hear the game is a morass of bugs and brain-dead AI, and suffers from poor performance even on a high-end system. (Which I do not have.) Plus more bugs. And annoying interface issues. Sigh. Too bad. Pass.

Pffft. BioShock. Yeah, I could buy this, but it won’t run on my machine, as I have both a kernel debugger (Developer Studio 6.0 ohhh! spooky!) and process explorer, both of which are software packages that obviously have no legitimate use outside of hacking and pirating software. Plus, I’ve seen the cries from the people in the 2kGames Forums who can’t get the game to run, despite meeting the system requirements. Plus the activation is a stupid and pointless pain in the ass. Plus the people at 2kGames eat babies. Pass.

Here is a whole shelf dominated by old Blizzard titles. Warcraft Battle Chest. Starcraft Battle Chest. Diablo Collecters’ Somethingorother. These are A-list games from a previous millennium. It says something that these games are still selling eight years later. I’m betting the rest of this stuff won’t be around just two years from now. At any rate, these are great games but I already own multiple copies of all of them. Pass.

I reach the end of the rack and wander out of the store, my $100 still in my pocket. Gosh, I can’t imagine why the once-dominant PC platform is relegated to a shrinking island of shelf space. Must be those dang pirates.

Just keep doing what you’re doing, publishers. I’m sure this will all blow over soon.

 


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112 thoughts on “Let’s go Shopping for Games

  1. Matt` says:

    I had similar things happen when Gamecube was slowly dying – it went from a couple of floor to ceiling racks, down to 1 such rack, down to a half-height rack in the middle of the shop floor as opposed to against the well, then only one side of that mini-rack had games on (other side was peripherals)

    Finally it went down the the level of one of those wire racks they use as bargain bins, with all the games spine-up instead of being upright.

    Got goddamn annoying trying to find games for the damn thing.

  2. Bogan The Mighty says:

    Ok I realize that you might have been actually out shopping before it came out since I know how you get around to writing things, but I must remind you that World in Conflict is out and just needs to be played.

  3. Aelyn says:

    Nice post. This trend has been going on for a long time now. I was a pretty hard-core PC gamer for many years, but the amount of interesting new material is declining. Or I could be getting older.

    Regardless, a trip to EB Games tells you all you need to know. MMO gaming is still the province of PC’s, but outside of that you’ll be looking to consoles for your gaming “goodness” in the very near future. As soon as interfaces for communication in MMO’s get better, they’ll move that way, too.

    Sadness.

  4. MintSkittle says:

    You’re not the only one to notice this. The EB (now Gamestop) near my home used to have the whole back of the shop, floor to ceiling plus a portion of the side wall, for PC games. Now it’s down to three or four of those little standing racks that just get in the way. Similar things are happening at the Bestbuy. What was once three isles is now one isle for everything, new and old.

    If you can, try to find the nearest Fry’s Electronics. They still have whole isles dedicated to PC games.

  5. Ryan says:

    Shamus, Shamus, Shamus – I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been through the same scenario you described. I’ve actually given up on new games. In fact (with the exception of the Warhammer 20K and Battle for Middle Earth strategy games), I don’t think I own a single title that has been released since 2002.

    I just finished replaying the Baldur’s Gate series, and I’m working on Icewind Dale. I’ve also downloaded some highly regarded custom scenarios for Age of Empires II that I’ll be trying out soon.

    I wish you luck in finding a (new) game worth playing.

  6. John says:

    Hmm. Not a big video game buyer anymore, but is it fair to say that the games shrinkwrapped on a shelf are decreasing percentage of the market? Are the games sold online (even if then delivered in physical media) squeezing out the last life of the game store shelves?

    I’m thinking of the comparison to RPG game stores, which continue to face serious problems competing with what you buy online from Amazon, Borders, or direct from the publisher.

  7. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    Actually that doesnt mean that PC gaming is dying out.Most games are being sold via intratubes now.People simply have less need to walk to the store to buy a game,when they can buy it online and either have it delivered or downloaded.

    Also,you are wrong to dismiss civ because previous parts “pretty much did everything”.Especially with the new BtS expansion(which is probably what you saw),which is the best expansion done for any game ever(its like buying 4 new games rather than just some bonus material for a game you own).This is one of the rare games that shows respect to the fans,so thats another good reason to buy it and support further development.

  8. lplimac says:

    I was in the same situation a few weeks ago, money to spend on games. Stopped by the EB Games in the big mall… one rack (two sides) of PC Games, none even remotely interesting. Same for the one in the strip mall. Now Best Buy and Fry’s, both of them had rows and rows of games, some even worth getting (all older games… none of the new ones looked to be worth the cash). I’ve given up on EB Games/Gamestop for anything except the DS games for my kids.

    And if as Aelyn says MMO’s move to consoles I’ll need to find another hobby if the ones I play now shutdown. I can justify a computer that among other things plays games but a console is something the wife would frown on big time.

  9. Issachar says:

    I’m with Ryan. I finally bought Half-Life 2 this year, and that’s the most recently published game I own.

    Instead of buying new games, I’m happily discovering older, classic titles that I somehow never got around to back when they were originally released. Right now I’m almost done playing through Deus Ex, and I want to turn right around and play it again as soon as I’m done.

    The really great thing is that these older games can be bought for between $10 and $20 nowadays. And my hardware, despite being about three years out of date, runs a game like Deus Ex just beautifully. :-)

  10. Gary says:

    You know I’ve read a bit about the doom and gloom of PC gaming being dead but never really understood it since the game retailers I visit have a really good stock of PC games (though I often buy from Steam now). Then I went on holiday to Florida (I live in the UK) and I get exactly what people are talking about. US game retailers seem to dedicate virtually no space to the PC market. I can totally see why people are saying it’s an issue.

    Hope you find a game that satisfies your needs.

  11. The Gneech says:

    It just warms my heart to find somebody talking sense about NWN2 for a change.

    re: shopping for games, tho, I feel your pain. I suspect LOTRO may be the last PC game I buy, not because it’s so good, but because there just aren’t any more.

    *sigh* Remember the days of Wing Commander, Monkey Island, et al.? How did this drought come to pass?

    -The Gneech

  12. Adam says:

    Simple analogy

    EB Games/Gamestop is to games as MTV is to music.

    It’s there, sometimes, and hidden behind the pop culture fluff.

  13. I’m so there.

    Yeah, I remember when EB Games was pretty much a PC Game shop… the console games were frequently sold in toy stores.

    But it’s the wave of the future. Not that console games are taking over, necessarily… but it’s all going online. Retailers haven’t figured it out, yet. The major publishers are only now figuring it out. Have you noticed where all the brick-and-mortar music stores (I mean the stores that a couple of decades ago used to be called “record stores”) went?

    That’s where the brick-and-mortar software stores are going tomorrow.

    And the console games won’t save them. Now that the console world has gotten a taste of downloadable content delivery, I don’t think it’s going to go away. It’ll only get “worse” (from the brick-and-mortar stores’ perspective) with the next generation of consoles.

    The vanishing PC game in the stores isn’t a sign of the end of the world (for PC gamers). I believe its a sign that the dinosaurs are getting stuck in the tar pits.

  14. Maddyanne says:

    Please do pick up Neverwinter Nights 1, though you’ll likely have to order it. You can get the Platinum and Diamond editions very inexpensively.
    The official campaigns are nothing especially glorious, but some of the community created stuff is really worth playing.

  15. Rich G. says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I don’t usually do “Me too!” posts, but I’ve been trying for weeks to buy a game locally in a real store to play and for the life of me I can’t spend my money in real life any more. Sure, Blizzard’s complete line-up can be gotten in two purchases but I’ve got family younger than those games.
    Every store I go to has the same 12 games. I’m dying to spend money and there’s no where to do it.
    *sigh* Remember when the problem was choosing WHICH game to get?

  16. Sharpe says:

    Wow, this sounds familiar. I make myself feel better by telling myself that I am getting picky with my games, not that the quality of games is dropping.

    Besides I foung a great cheap (20$) game to keep me occupied, Blockland. It’s been doing it longer than any 60$ game I have bought recently. Meh.

  17. Gabriel says:

    While I share the lament for the fall of the PC game, I do claim there are still remaining bastions of goodness.

    I have to disagree with your assessment of what I can only assume to be Civilization IV. I have been a fan of the series, it is true, but I can say without any reservation that Civ IV is the best of the series, and what’s more, has achieved a place as one of my favorite games of all time. Where it truly wins out — it is by far the most replayable game I have ever encountered. I look forward to breaking into the Beyond the Sword expansion, as I have been told that it expands the gameplay extensively and I am eager to see by how much.

  18. Inane Fedaykin says:

    I’m still playing D2 and SC/BW. I’m happy with them but I do spend a little time with JK2 or Doom 1&2 when I’m in a FPS sort of mood. I’ve given up on W3 though, Blizzard really dropped the ball for online play there.

  19. Nilus says:

    Part of your problem is shopping at EB games(or gamestop). Those places have been slowly cutting back there PC game line up since I worked at Babbages 8 years ago. Your best bet is to find a more PC dedicated store. If you have a Frys in your area then you are golden. But alas there are not many of these great Mecca’s of all thing electronic in the US. Comp USA use to be pretty good, but I think those all closed. Depending on your Area Best Buy and Circuit City can sometimes have good selections. Even the bad ones tend to have more stuff then you average EB games does now.

    There are a lot less computer games coming out but there are more then EB or gamestop would lead you to believe

  20. Tola says:

    Odd.

    HMV still does a decent selection of PC games, as does Game. Maybe things are….different in the US?

    Though I HAVE noted what you say concerning lack of interesting choices. Quite apart from the fact that I can’t run many games(Bad processor-1.6, where the games are asking 2 gig+. It’s quite embarassing, considering I’ve basically replaced everything ELSE in the thing), there’s very few I actually WANT, apart from the re-releases of old games.(For instance, Settlers 2. Someday, I hope they do Tie Fighter.)

    They’re having to raid their old titles for new sales. I’m not sure whether this is a GOOD thing(A new generation gets to see great games of the past) or a BAD thing(What, you’ve run out of ideas for fun, imaginative games?)

  21. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    @Maddyanne

    I disagree about the official campaigns in NWN.True,the original was quite bad,but the two expansions(especially the second one)were quite excelent.And it had excelent NPC/henchmen interaction(Id dare putting them right behind baldurs gate/planescape/fallout).Actually its those interactions and side stories that made me play the original campaign even though I hated it on the first try.

  22. Vegedus says:

    As a console gamer at heart, I have a hard time getting upset about this. Pass.

  23. Lee from Sheboygan says:

    Yeah, I don’t even bother looking at the PC games in EB anymore. They never have anything at all worth getting.

    It’s especially weird when you consider that the quality of games hasn’t gotten worse. PC games just keep getting better and better. It’s just that there’s no stores (at least in my area) that reflect this quality.

    Overlord is supposed to be pretty good.

  24. Peter Falk says:

    When I was your age, video games were called books!

    But if you’re not going to read, you could always write up some more LOTR screen cap comics for your fans who have no way to express their enjoyment of said comics besides posting in your blog.

    Just sayin. . .

  25. Takkelmaggot says:

    In reading the other comments, I came to realize that I’ve purchased, perhaps, two games from brick-and-mortar stores in the last year. (Warhammer 40K, and- I think?- Oblivion.) To be sure, the amount of spare time I have to dedicate to my beloved PC gaming addiction has shrunk, but most of the games I’ve been playing are either old- Baldur’s Gate, Rise of Nations, Combat Mission- or were obtained online. I bought one or two games from Amazon, and downloaded the rest. Once I’ve played through a backlog of games I bought years ago and never got around to, it’ll be time to play Company of Heroes, FEAR, and World In Conflict- which will be nicely affordable. It still pains me to see the tiny PC section at EB and Gamestop but, frankly, I haven’t patronized them in ages.

  26. Morgue says:

    If you want a great PC game, try Psychonauts. It’s about two and a half years old, so it shouldn’t tax your system. You can get it in bargain bins from time to time, or just get it from Steam for $19.99.

    Best PC game I’ve played. Ever.

    It really defies description how crazy the game is. Basically, you are a kid who runs _away_ from the circus to attend a summer camp for psychics and learn how to become a psychic secret agent. It’s by the guy who created Grim Fandango, which detail alone is enough to get some people to buy it.

  27. Mordaedil says:

    Echo said sentiment on Neverwinter Nights 1 here. I’m still playing it, even though I still buy a ton of new games.

    PS: If you want a different recommendation, give the new Tomb Raider games (and the remake) a go. I was actually having fun playing them, even if the control scheme for certain jumps made me want to tear the designers a new one, it works much more flawlessly on the PC.

    Of course, I’m not saying it may be exactly what you’re looking for. It just might be worth taking in a breath of something that is different from a second job once in a while.

  28. Woot Spitum says:

    I don’t know if you’re an RTS guy, but a game I picked up recently that I would highly reccomend is Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. I picked up a copy of the gold edition recently and had a lot of fun with it. Another good PC game I was impressed with recently is Titan Quest. Diablo clones are usually hit-and-miss, but Titan quest mostly hits the mark. Both of these games have system requirements lower than either Jade Empire or Oblivion.

  29. BarGamer says:

    Ah, Guild Wars. You are still as fun as the day I bought the first game, Prophesies. Granted, I am biased, seeing as I did write a build guide that’s still live and kicking… ^_^;

  30. Nilus says:

    Titans Quest has SecureROM though its an older version. Still an intrusive piece of crap though

  31. Luke says:

    LOL. I had very similar experience not so long ago. You forgot to add the ubiquitous World War II based FPS games. Mostly it’s Call of Duty and Medal of Honor sequels along with 5 or 6 expansion packs for each of them.

    Oh, and the ever present, prominently displayed slew of World of Warcraft boxes, flanked by bunch of $2 WoW trials and few boxes of Guild Wars.

  32. Wait … did you pass on Civilization IV and still *claim* to have an interest in PC gaming?!?! Sorry, you lose.

  33. Shamus says:

    “Wait … did you pass on Civilization IV and still *claim* to have an interest in PC gaming?!?! Sorry, you lose.”

    Riiiight. Because the fact that I’ve played Civ 2, Civ: CtP, and Alpha Centauri, and all those games still work, couldn’t possibly fill my need for this title.

    And you know, some people can claim to be fans of PC Games even if they have no interest whatsoever in turn-based strategy.

    PC Gaming IS indeed getting smaller, but it’s still large enough to accomodate people besides you.

  34. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    “Riiiight. Because the fact that I've played Civ 2, Civ: CtP, and Alpha Centauri, and all those games still work, couldn't possibly fill my need for this title.”

    Bad comparison.Unlike many other games,civ 4 actually does offer a lot of new and quite interesting stuff.Plus it has really enhanced AI.

  35. Shamus says:

    Hmm. I passed Civ IV BECAUSE I felt like I’d been buying the same game over and over. I’m glad to hear the latest iteration brings something fresh to the table. Maybe I’ll check it out after all.

  36. Bimble says:

    Heh. Civ 4 still has the same playstyle as the older versions, indeed. The latest expansion to Civ 4 is actually noteworthy for the mods and scenarios it includes more than anything else – one mod is a star system conqueror that has an Alpha Centauri feel, for example, and a full backstory that unfolds in the flavor text of researched technologies. So they are finding ways to milk the franchise and add just enough to keep things interesting at the same time.

    Worlds in Conflict is definitely worth recommending. The narration and tactical gameplay make it feel like the old Myth games from Bungie, but in a World War 3 setting. The story presentation is fantastic.

  37. Ian says:

    Civ 4 also has ridiculous system requirements for what it is. My laptop is a fairly decent system (Pentium M 1.73GHz, RADEON X300 with 64MB of dedicated VRAM…I daresay it’s an above average compared to the average person interested in such a game, especially at the time the game came out) and it runs horribly even after cranking down the detail (and it winds up looking like crap).

    FEAR and Doom 3 run much more smoothly on this system — it should be the opposite way around. Thanks, but I’ll stick with the older Civ games just because they actually run well.

  38. Ryan says:

    Yep, I’ve got many, many, many mods for Civ 3, and they’re all working quite well. There’s even a mod in the works to add some Civ IV functionality to the Civ III engine.

  39. Luke says:

    Btw, I’m with Shamus on this – Civilization game is a still a Civilization game even if you add all kinds of new features and fun enhancements. The gameplay for the most part (in the overall sense) the same, because if it wasn’t then… Well, it wouldn’t be Civilization anymore, would it?

    This is the thing about the sequels – their primary aim is usually to incrementally improve on the old design – not to drastically redesign the game and provide new unique experience.

    Really, there is nothing wrong with passing on the n’th sequel in a series of games.

    Oh, and just for the record – I’m a PC gamer (don’t own any consoles) but I’m not a big fan of RTS games, or turn based strategy. I did play Dawn of War but that’s mostly because I actually play the tabletop version of the game as well.

    When given a choice I usually go for RPG’s or FPS games (including GTA like stuff).

  40. Shawn says:

    They make games besides WoW? Huh, learn something new every day…

  41. Takkelmaggot says:

    As far as I can tell, areas where PC remains strong are the ones that take advantage of the platforms greatest advantage over consoles, the keyboard and mouse. Hence the games which take the greatest advantage of this- RTSs, sims, top-down RPGs, strategy titles- continue to sell well. FPS and action/arcade titles can make the jump to a controller without losing too much depth (it seems) and only a little dumbing down.
    Hence we still see plenty of strategy and RTS titles, plus RPGs. (Shooters, I’m finding, are increasingly dumbed-down to be console-friendly.) World In Conflict, by the way, is a breath of fresh air- I got in on both of the betas and loved nearly everything about it. Unfortunately it pays homage to the hardware gods and enforces the biggest problem in the industry, namely, hardware creep.

  42. Gothmog says:

    Ooh, ooh! *excited hopping in place*

    Buy ‘DOMINIONS 3’!!!

    So, so GOOD! I just started a 10 player game, but I’d certainly be willing to guide you through a game as well.

    Go read up on it here: http://jaguarusf.blogspot.com/2006/11/dominions-3-awakening-review.html

    Whaddaya say, Shamus?

  43. evilmrhenry says:

    You may want to take another look at STALKER. The system requirements are a bit too high for me to care about it too much, but the game seems to be right up your alley.

  44. Dev Null says:

    I wouldn’t even mind the race to platforms so much if they had taken over the market of games I like to play, but it seems more like they’ve just pushed it out of the way. 7,492 platform fighting games which appear to be identical to the games I played in video parlors 25 years ago… 3,983 driving games… 2,308 sports titles… and for RPGs Pokemon and a “version” of Baldur’s Gate that reminds me distinctly of playing Pac Man. Admittedly its been a year or two since I did the rounds, but have they gotten any better? (Serious question; I really haven’t been paying attention.) Can you play anything like System Shock 2, or Thief, or Privateer, or Ground Control, or (_actually_ like) Baldurs Gate 2, or Myst, or Alpha Centauri yet, to name just a few old faves?

  45. Aaron says:

    This might sound silly, but this is why I prefer tabletop RPG games. I use my comp for RTS’s (Warhammer 40k rocks, but Mark of Chaos just bogs me down so bad as to be unplayable), MMO’s (yup i’m a WoW dork), and … well that’s about it really. I just purchased a PS3 and the 3 games I purchased were Virtua Fighter 5 (i was digging hard at this point), Armored Core (whichever new one is out), and Ninja Gaiden Sigma. The only one I really play is Ninja Gaiden (i mean c’mon … ninja wizards!), so the other two are on the chopping block for trades.

    Give me a table full of dice, rulebooks, pencils, paper, and imagination. I’d much prefer that over any video game.

  46. wrg says:

    Luke, are you just providing generalities about sequels, or speaking from some knowledge about Civ 4 in particular? I could almost make your remarks about genres rather than series. In any given type of game, even different titles can be pretty similar with me-too releases. I’ve bought a number of games which play similarly because A) the variations are interesting and B) more of the same isn’t bad either. Someone less enthusiastic about the genre may find these less compelling motives, which is perfectly understandable.

    That said, Michael J. Anderson is definitely over-the-top here. We’re trying to convince Shamus to try Civ 4, not put him off with snark! (Well, I am anyway.) The extra graphical detail and surprisingly hefty system requirements can be a pain for systems like mine, and can lead a person to suspect that it’s just a graphical rehaul of the same concepts, but as others have pointed out that’s not really the case. I didn’t really appreciate the significance of the changes made until I read the manual, read what others had written about the game, and tried it.

    (I may be incorrect in the following, as I haven’t played in a while. I live in dread of losing a night to one more turn.) I could go on for a while, but what initially struck me was the new way of computing maintenance. Now it’s assessed on each city, rather than each improvement, making it more feasible to improve smaller towns. Furthermore, after a certain number of cities (depending on difficulty and map size), this cost tends to increase quickly, discouraging Infinite City Sprawl. One may reasonably debate whether that’s a good idea, but I do have some fondness for the aesthetic of a world that’s not completely paved.

    There’s more happening with specialists, too. Each still has its own role, but also serves to increase the city’s chances of producing a Great Person of a particular type, which can then either be settled in a city as a sort of superspecialist or consumed for immediate effect. Great Scientists give tech completion, Great Artists spike culture, etc. Oh, and then there are units which gain experience with which they can purchase upgrades, some of which boost overall effectiveness while others are specific to a particular role or certain terrain.

    So, although it’s still “a Civilization game” and is in some respects the same as 1, 2, and 3, there are a number of differences.

    Guess I’ve hijacked this into the Civ 4 thread long enough. I took a moment to consider what I’d acquired or been playing lately for PC, when it occurred to me that I heard about most of it here.

  47. Shinjin says:

    “So what we really have here are two racks of diminutive shelving units”

    You don’t know how good you have it. My local one only hase one of these racks for PC games…

  48. Chris says:

    Stalker is great. Just get the patches. It’s much better than FEAR (which I did like) and I might have even liked it better than HL2. Not sure what you read about the AI – I thought it was pretty darn good. What got me about Stalker is the atmosphere. I loved the graphics and the wide-open areas. It has a really dark feel as well and it’s quite unnerving in some spots.

  49. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    @Ian

    Thats because CIV requires much more RAM than doom and fear.Plus,I think there was a memory leak in the 1.0 version,but dont hold my word for it because I bought it after a few patches came out.

  50. Wood says:

    My most played game for the PC has to be Baldur’s Gate II (and ToB) followed by Black and White, Heroes of Might and Magic III, and sometimes Warcraft III.

    Games for the PC that have come out lately just don’t seem to interest me much, and the ones that do I cannot run.

  51. Mistwraithe says:

    Civ 4 is very good BUT it is still quite samesy with the previous games. Having said that I haven’t tried the latest expansion pack for it which people appear to be raving about.

    Dominions 2 (and presumably 3) is good addictive fun if you like turn based strategy and can get past the very weak graphics and moderately appalling interface.

    On the RTS side the best (and pretty much only true RTS vs RTT (Real Time Tactics)) is Kohan: Ahriman’s Gift which came out back in 2001. Kohan 2 which came out in 2004 is decent but not quite as strategic. Dawn of War is OK but gets tired fairly quickly. I had high hopes for Supreme Commander (I used to love Total Annihilation) but either I have been spoilt by Kohan or they failed to nail the strategic gameplay in SupCom.

    In terms of RPGs obviously Baldur’s Gate 1+2 are great but in the same line if you haven’t played Planescape Torment (old game now… try to get past the graphics) then you probably owe it to yourself.

  52. Barron says:

    I would second Dawn of War. I never played either Warhammer, but I greatly enjoyed DoW. Or you could look into Company of Heroes, by the same company.

    Battlefield 2 might also work for you. BF 1942 came out in the fall of my junior year, and it became my roommate’s and my favorite GPA-sink by far for the next two years. Unfortunately, DICE patched out all the fun quirks, (wing walking, jeep jumping, anyone?) so BF2 might not be quite the classic.

    I’ve had pretty good luck with Oblivion. Yes, I have seen it crash a couple times, but I’ve put in many hours, and it doesn’t strike me as unstable at all. A system-hog, sure, but if you’ve got it…

    Civ has been beaten to death, but I thought 4 was worthwhile.

    I have VS2005 installed, and the Bioshock demo ran fine. I can’t say I’m feeling the urge to go out and support it though.

    If you’re a fan of 4X, Galactic Civilizations 2 is pretty good. And as a bonus, it has no DRM at all

  53. Pester says:

    Dude, forget about EB games if you’re looking for PC games. The same goes for Gamestop. I can still find plenty of games that both interest me and have decent system requirements at Circuit City, Best Buy, or even Target.

  54. Dean says:

    “I reach the end of the rack and wander out of the store, my $100 still in my pocket.” Spot on!

    I enjoy playing the open-ended RPG / FPS games, (Morrowind, Dues Ex and its sequel, Oblivion etc,(don’t bother with Shivering Isles expansion but Knights of the Nine was good)) For what it is worth, if you like those kind of games, try STALKER. Yes, it is buggy and you will have to turn it way down but I have played through it twice and loved it. Far Cry is very good too but linear (but in a stalk through huge jungle sense rather than wander through dark hallways sense).

    Also try the Gothic series. Gothic 3 is GREAT. Better, than Morrowind or Oblivion for that open ended feeling. (but a bit demanding PC wise). Gothic 2 is almost as good and VERY forgiving of your PC as it has very old graphics now.

    Just some ideas, if you haven’t already tried them.

  55. Mike R. says:

    If you’re looking for a post 2002-game, might I recommend Sid Meir’s Pirates? It’s a remake, but unlike the Civ games, there is a _huge_ lead between Pirates Gold, and Pirates! It’s lots of fun.

  56. Carra says:

    Finished replaying Starcraft.
    Replaying Warcraft 3 now.

    Aah, now those are games. And don’t need to upgrade my pc!

  57. Johan says:

    I think you need to find a new store. My local store's electronics aisle is half PC and half allencompassingother (which includes everything from Gameboys to PS3s to that crazy dancing game).

    Also, I too disagree with your assessment of Civilization IV, it's kind of like saying “but I have an old Model T, what would I need a new car for???” I've played all the Civilization games and I can say that it has added more than any other in the series has. Yes, you can make a case that it's still the same experience (as the case can be made for Model T vs new car), but the older ones are now clunky, and of less depth.

  58. Paul says:

    You are definitely missing out by going to EB Games.

    As has been said above and better, strategy games is where PCs will always have an advantage over consoles.

    Civilization IV and Galactic Civilizations II get most of my time. Europa Universalis III has its good and bad points, too.

    And then there are the Total War games…

  59. Mik says:

    I will also throw my mental hat behind Psychonauts – I can’t remember the last time I found myself literally (and actually) laughing out loud thanks to a game. It was challenging, sometimes frustrating… I’m shaking my fist at you, interminable last level, but it was fun. Fun! I smiled, I chuckled, I hammered away at deft feats of keycrobatics, and as an older dude (older than you, Shamus), I still got to the end level without a cheat.

    Mind you, I was glad to be able to quickly scan gamefaqs when I got stuck, because I have a poor memory for inventory.

    (for those who’ve played)
    “For Freedom!”
    “Freedom!”
    “Freee-duhhhm!”

  60. Tuck says:

    Tried Far Cry? Clever AI, very good level design.

    On top of that, there’s Matto4, a fan-made MOD which is a complete and very very good game in itself.

  61. guy says:

    I suggest the total war games. I’ve grown disapointed in local store’s game setup, so i order them.

  62. Zaghadka says:

    Here’s the lowdown regarding senior management of all the top-level developers and their publishers.

    They have a choice:

    They can make a respectable amount of money from PC game releases, catering to a market that (for the most part) knows and demands quality, won’t accept stoploss measures like oppressive DRM without at least grumbling, and plays on an almost infinitely variable set of platforms that gets harder and harder to code for as the hardware calls fork, and DirectX fails at providing a truly unified API.

    …OR they can make much much more money selling console releases to an audience that (for the most part) purchases games like hamsters hit the pellet bar on their feeder apparatus, largely doesn’t understand the meaning of DRM, down to literally not knowing what those letters stand for, and plays on a nice uniform platform.

    This is not to say all console gamers are dumb, as I’m a console gamer, but that there is a large portion of the market that is somewhat less than intelligent enough to install a PC game in the first place. I’ve seen it: folks who can power up a PS2 but couldn’t do a default install on a PC.

    Which would you choose, as a senior manager? To make lots of money from chumps and force the more discriminating to buy because its the only game in town, or just market to the more discriminating, and alienate a legion of chumps that they could otherwise fleece?

    They’ve already made their choice, and the results are on that tiny shelf.

    The other thing you are seeing is the fact that PC gamers get their games in the mail, or over services like STEAM, because it is CHEAPER, and the brick-and-mortar model is collapsing for the PC games market.

    The PC games market because is doomed because it is both smaller and more discriminating, and therefore, LESS PROFITABLE.

    RANT OVER.

  63. Steve says:

    If you like Civilization but want something a little new, download the Civ 4 mod “Fall From Heaven 2”:

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=171398

    It’s sort of D&D meets Civ — elves, dwarves, orcs, dragons, magic, the whole fantasy nine yards.

    Another game I like that won’t overtax your system is Puzzle Pirates:

    http://www.puzzlepirates.com/

  64. Katy says:

    Perhaps you don’t like MMOs but perhaps you might like EVE II? Or WoW?

  65. Bogan The Mighty says:

    I’m still going to stick with getting World of Conflict for you Shamus. If you want something cheaper then Dawn of War is also a good one since I think you can get both expansions with it now for what 30 or 40? Company of Heroes is much like DoW except classic WWII style. I wouldn’t recommend Battlefield 2 though Shamus. That of course is only cause I know you. Its a great game in my opinion, except it really is multi player only and I know how you are with that. Oh yeah and I got to agree with some people here you can’t really diss Civ 4 if Civ 3 is the last one you played, if you played 3 I’d possibly see sitting out till the inevitable eventuality of a fifth title coming out. Oh yeah and I almost forgot about the other Warhammer game, Mark of Chaos, its not bad, but probably not worth bothering with with your computer unless you find it in a bargain bin someday. That’s all I gots to say on that and you know my prestige gaming track. lol.

  66. Ian says:

    @Daemian_Lucifer

    The main reason for performance issues on my laptop in Civ4 was the graphics engine. It has as much RAM as my desktop system, faster RAM, and a better performing processor than the other system. The only thing that’s worse on it is the video hardware and that really made all the difference.

    And yeah, there was definitely a memory leak in v1.0. It only really got bad after a couple of hours but it was still there.

    Civ4 is a fine game (I enjoy it more than Civ3, personally), I just think that they could have done more with it in terms of bug fixes and optimization before they pushed it out to the market (though, at the same time, nothing is as bad as Oblivion in that aspect…ugh).

  67. milw770 says:

    I thought I was the only one.

    I’m tired of buying games, having them fail out of the box, and be told that I can’t get a refund because I’m a pirate. Yar.

    Having said that, I got my money’s worth outta Dawn of War and its expansion packs (Winter Assault, and Dark Crusade). Dark Crusade was the best, IMO. I liked the strategic mode’s nuances. Now I’m beating up on Company of Heroes by the same company. If you like RTS, you might like them.

  68. Freya says:

    The “Beyond the sword” pack for Civ IV is probably a must get. I’ve probably sunk years of my life into Alpha Centauri, but to be honest Civ IV is now my favourite of that series (up until a revamped Alpha Centauri comes ou though!) If it’s any consolation though, it’s not that easy to get older games here in South Africa, and even the newer games take ages to get here. I’ve been wanting to get a copy of Planescape for a while, and to import a used copy from Amazon is going to cost me quite a bit. Currently playing Neverwinter Nights 1, and Morrowind. Another run through Baldurs Gate is probably coming up.

  69. Nobody says:

    I’ll add another “hurrah” for Civ IV specfically and “Beyond the Sword” as an expansion pack.

    Unfortunatly, shortly after I got BtS, my CD drive decided to go belly-up, so I’ve haven’t gotten to play it as much as I wanted…

  70. Nobody says:

    Although how much credit you put on a game “Nobody” likes, well that’s your own judgement. ;)

  71. jbrandt says:

    Stalker is not nearly as buggy as it used to be. With the patches and starting a new game, I haven’t seen anything too weird happen. Sure, it’s odd in some placed, but I don’t think that makes it not worth looking at. Hasn’t the price gone down some too since then? I think you’d find it rewarding…

    Somebody mentioned Psychonauts, too. That’s a fine game.

  72. P'kay says:

    Steps to a wholesome gaming experience:

    1. Dig out that old Doom clone(1) you used to play

    2. play through the original game.

    3. Remember there was a custom level editor.

    4. Google search.

    5. Find the still active custom level community.(2)

    6. DON’T PLAY MINES(3)

    (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_forces
    (2) http://www.df-21.net/
    (3) http://forums.df-21.net/viewtopic.php?t=950

  73. Devnull says:

    This is why I still have a Commodore 128 set up. Games got samey around 1993. But the old stuff is still worthwhile. In those days, you *had* to have an exciting game dynamic/idea/hook to sell the thing, because everyone’s games looked like pus.

    Id rather fire up Space Taxi than play Doom 3. Sad.

  74. Mongrel says:

    As a suggestion for an older and often overlooked game I’d highly recommend Evil Genius. No longer in production I’m afraid but Amazon had some second hand copies for sale when I checked.

  75. Anonymooo says:

    Team Fortress 2 comes out soon. It’s basically what happens when Brad Bird and John Woo fuse into one being.

    Also, Supreme Commander’s supposed to be really well-done, same with World in Conflict.

  76. Anonymooo says:

    Oh yeah, I needed to make a REAL and WORTHWHILE suggestion, too: I honestly think you should dig around bargain bins to find the Aliens vs. Predator FPS games.

  77. Doug M. says:

    Another vote for Civ 4. It’s by far the best of the series. Remember how much better Civ 2 was than Civ 1? Like that.

    I have found it a huge time sink with massive replayability. They’ve added a whole bunch of new stuff — religions, Great People, xp for units — and it all works together really, really well.

    The original vanilla version was buggy because they pushed it out the door in time for Christmas ’05. Various patches have fixed this now and it runs fine, though yes it is a bit of a resource hog for what it is.

    It is still definitely Civ. So if you’re tired of Civ, don’t bother. But it’s really good Civ, so if you want to play a really good game, check it out.

    Doug M.

  78. MaxEd says:

    Somehow, in Russia we don’t have problems with number of PC games. Every kiosk near subway station is stuffed from bottom to top by old and new titles of various degree of pirateness :) (usually, russian games are legitimate and western ones are copies). It’s still hard to find a decent one, but at least we have what to choose from…

    But I really recomment to skip stores altogather. Retail games getting worse by the year, but threre are wonderful shareware titles on the net! Some examples from the last year:

    * PixelShips Retro by Kris Asick (2d scroll-shooter with retro-styled graphic and a twist, at http://www.pixelships.com/)
    * Avernum 4 & GeneForge 4 by SpiderWeb Software (isometric turn-based RPGs, a healing potion for my heart :), at http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com/)

    This autman/winter we will probably see release of Eschalon: Book I (http://www.basiliskgames.com) and Age Of Decadence. This two seem to be wonderful indie-RPG projects. Also, Dungeon Delvers (http://www.crosscutgames.com/ddfaq.html) by Cross-Cut Games looks promising, but I don’t think it will be released any time soon.

  79. Shapeshifter says:

    Ah yes, game stores. Eternal misery doled out one short visit at a time!

    For me, i try to stay away from them… but i do like to drop by and see what’s in. I just wish it were more pleasant.

    (It’s the -smell-, if there is such a thing…)

  80. Scourge says:

    I know that feeling.. the very altest game I ahve bought was Overlord, which also had some bugs in it but it over all was fun.

    Stalker can run on lower settings, I was able to run it quite good, as I described it in my FAQ I wrote for it :P

    I only have a 3 Gig Processor, an old GeForce FX 5700 and 1 GB Ram, still can I play the game on 1024X786 and with high details, not in full dynamic lightning mode though, there I suffer from 1 – 5 FPS

  81. Smileyfax says:

    Seconding the various praise for Civ4, Stalker, and Supreme Commander.

    Also, one fellow mentioned Gothic 3. Gothic 3 is awesome fun, but it WILL lag the heck out of your computer, even if you have a top-of-the-line rig. It’s everything Oblivion wanted to be, and I logged 50 hours into it before I got exhausted (half of the lagginess/bugs, half of how danged epic it was). I’m sure I’d clock in at over 100 hours if I tried to do everything I could, and that’s just for one game. There’s something like three endings, I heard, so I’d be doing an insane amount of playing to view all three.

  82. Alexis says:

    Chip’s Challenge (get an emulator) and Dungeon Master / CSB (recreated for PC, an awesome feat in itself) are great games.

    Remind me why you don’t play WoW? I found a post back in February that said you hadn’t tried it. I’m EU or I’d adopt you happily, I’m sure you could join a reader’s guild and generally get the best WoW-newbie experience possible.

    Follow the “Video Games” link in the header of this post. The page there is messed up (at the bottom).

    Finally… 1337 post, Shamus! Can’t believe I got first on that at post #80+.

  83. Veloxyll says:

    I +1 the bemoaning of the downfall of PC gaming. There’s basically nothing I’d consider paying $20 for lately. Except the previously mentioned Warhammer 40k games. And Supreme Commander deserves no praises. It was a horrible uninteresting grind game. If you have the choice of throwing rocks or Supreme Commander, pick the rocks.

    On the same note, I noticed while I was in the video store that there’s hardly anything really worth watching on video/dvd these days. After 20 minutes of searching, we picked Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I dunno if we’re just fussy, but nothing else looked interesting and/or good.

    PC gaming seems to have stagnated on the “OMG GRAPHICS” point so most developers have to consider “Bleeding edge graphics and the horror of configuring for the myriad of PC setups? or the simple to design for console market. Hmm!” As much as it sucks, it’s a lot easier for developers to make games for Consoles, and make good money off them. See: Halo franchise (it is a v average shooter)

  84. Hi, Shamus, I haven’t mentioned this before, but if you’re looking for some high-quality RPG games that are sure to run, and run well, on your system, have you considered trying out Gothic and Gothic II? (I don’t recommend Gothic III because it has the System Spec issue, but the first two games don’t have this problem.)

    They are really good games, although Gothic has a somewhat awkward interface that makes starting the game a bit of a hassle. But they both have fun plots, ALL conversations are voice-acted, and they are big “sandbox” games like Oblivion where they basically turn you loose in the world. There’s only one, maybe two places in Gothic that you have to sit through a loading screen; it doesn’t even have the Oblivion thing where the insides of buildings were a different “area”, the game is really seamless.

    Anyway, if you’re looking to spend your money on something you might actually enjoy, that would be my recommendation.

  85. Sorry about the double post, but I should probably also mention that I have heard the Gothic games were “buggy” . . . which may be true, but I never ran across the bugs myself. I think most of them were supposed to be results of trying to do quests after you’d passed the act where they were supposed to be done.

  86. Dix says:

    Given that the PC game market has always excluded a significant fraction of PC users for one reason or another – their hardware isn’t new enough or of the correct make and model, their OS isn’t acceptable, their other software conflicts with the game – and console developers must develop to spec or die, I think this was basically inevitable. And frankly, I think it’s a good thing. There’s a few indie developers doing it right – producing interesting games that run on basic modern systems (or even multiple platforms, gosh!). Watching their competition die out is somewhat satisfying.

  87. Marty says:

    Guys, I found the one ultimate cool PC game. It’s a little older but so cool that I can’t believe it hasn’t been mentioned.

    Dig Dug

    Every level is different! You literally create the level as you play by “digging” your corridors. Talk about non-linear play! And as you progress, it just gets more frantic! It’s awesome.

    ;)

  88. Mike R. says:

    Oh, another vote for Overlord here; I’ve never played a First Person game like that, and the overall goofy environment it takes place in is pretty fun in the beginning too.

  89. Sewerman says:

    No offense Shamus, but you actually go games shopping at a physical store???

    (sarcasm)
    May I introduce you to the beauty of the Internet? Shop direct from the publishers, find the titles you like, then do a Google search for those titles.
    (/sarcasm)

    Alright :) No offense. If you haven’t looked at it, I recommend a moderately oldie: X3. You have to patch it to make it work, but it was entertaining for me for months (until the hard drive I had it installed on fried- which corresponded to the Beta test of LORTO, and I never looked back :)

    Speaking of which, I should install it again… hmm…
    Excuse me, please ;)

  90. Elryc says:

    I think the big problems with computer gaming are (1) The fact that most new games require something too close to a brand new system, (2) most games have system requirements listen on their boxes that don’t mesh well with actual requirements, and (3) because of this, you often get games that don’t run well/at all, and cannot return them, so buying a game becomes a risk/reward venture. #3 Especially is why people are migrating to console gaming: at least you’re reasonably assured if you buy a PS2 game, it will run on your PS2, and you can return it if it doesn’t.

  91. Krellen says:

    Shamus:

    In response to “I'm glad to hear the latest iteration brings something fresh to the table.” – Actually, if you’ve still got Alpha Centauri, it doesn’t bring a lot of freshness. What it does is finally incorporate AC’s multi-faceted government model back into the franchise. You still can’t design your own units, though. AC is, in many ways, still Sid Meier’s greatest game, and I wish it got more notice.

    But Civ4 is much more like AC than its predecessors, which is a plus in its favour. Plus, as mentioned by Steve up above, there is the most excellent Fall from Heaven mod, which takes Civ 4’s levelling system to the next level and changes focus from having the best and newest unit to valuing old and experienced units. Fall from Heaven is so good, in fact, that it was incorporated into the newest expansion, Beyond the Sword (landing the modder a job, I’ll note) as a selling point. They ignored Fall from Heaven in their last expansion, Warlords, and I think they probably felt the sales pinch because of it.

    So if you like Civ, and Alpha Centauri, I’ll accompany all these others in recommending you actually pick up #4; it’s quite excellent, especially when you add in the ability to play Fall from Heaven along with it, which is like a whole other game.

  92. Jamie Pate says:

    Supreme commander for the win. (providing that you have a dual core) at the price of $29.99 CAD you just can’t go wrong, especially since it’s a sweet game to boot.

  93. gahaz says:

    Just have to add my 2 cents…
    I do believe the rising cost of hardware, and the publishers demands for the best hardware are killing the PC gaming market. Even more so now that there are alot of cross platform titles. People sitting in their living rooms see, say, Bioshock, (not I, they alienated me on that one) and think “Man that looks awesome!” And then have to make a decision. Lets say they have no game machine. That means they need either a 3 grand computer (Exspensive I know, but we are talking a DX10 machine here, and I doubt they are going to build it themselves) or the 3 to 4 hundred dollar console, that will have lots of shiny bells and whistles and all those nice looking games at the local Gamestop. It used to be that developers made games with the idea of making a stable and easily playable game that lots of people could play. Now they hide inside virtual nightclubs in the VIP section, and the price of admission is indeed very high…

  94. Old Man Matt says:

    I’m fond of the Geneforge and Avernum rpg series from spiderweb software. The graphics are dated, but the writing and storyline are top-notch.

    I had a lot of fun with Civ 4 until I noticed it was published by 2kgames, which might put this off Shamus’s christmas list. Warhammer 40k is fun if you like RTS. Supreme Commander if fun but it’s system intensive instead of just graphics intensive.

    As much as I hate it, almost all of the good new games I’ve played were on console.

  95. Ian says:

    @gahaz

    That’s one of the biggest reasons I “converted” to console gaming. Building a semi-decent gaming machine for me would be over a grand because I’d have to replace just about everything (right now, I’m stuck with a socket 478 system, AGP, regular DDR…need I go on?).

    However, my Xbox 360 ran me $400 (less now), can plug into my cheap VGA monitor (with an adapter, yadda yadda), and gives me HD-quality graphics. Also, let’s not forget that I can trade games with my friend and now have to worry about whether the copy protection system will allow us to do such things.

  96. Darth says:

    The subject of PC games came up in our office and we came to pretty much the same conclusion that the realm of games is being moved away from the PC and onto Consoles.

    We also made a note that, for a very long time, there has not been a decent in release in the following two areas:

    (1) Adventure Games (i.e. NOT RPGs): Games like Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, Monkey Island etc. The conclusion why this area has been dry of any titles at all for a long time – LucasArts was pretty much the only company that produced games in this genre worth playing. They need to move away from Battlefront, etc and get this genre back up and running.

    (2) Space Combat Sims: Games like Wing Commander Series, Freespace 2, etc. Seriously. Nothing of worth in this area either. Yes … there is the X series but I’m pretty sure I read they use Starforce or something so there’s no way I’m installing that on my machine.

    With these two genres being the two genres that got me into PC gaming in the first place (Kings Quest anybody?) I am disappointed that the games market is flooded … no … overflowing with RPG, FPS, etc titles.

    In my mind – PC Gaming died a long long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (sorry … had to).

  97. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    @Old Man Matt

    True,they did publish civ4,however they didnt put securom but safedisk on this one.

  98. guy says:

    Xcom1 for the win! it’s abandonware, so you might be fine with doing a free download, if not, it’s on amazon for about 50usd. you’ll need to get the collecters edition for it to run in native XP, or you can download dosbox.

  99. CJG says:

    The majority of games I’ve purchased recently for my PC have all been MMOs (though Guild Wars makes a decent game even if you don’t feel like playing with other people).

    If you haven’t played it though you should check out Evil Genius. It’s an old game, but still one of my all time favorites. Some people apparently experienced really bad bugs, but I never saw any.

  100. FhnuZoag says:

    Actually, Stalker is a weird one wrt system requirement. Basically, it’s engine does something called ‘deferred shading’. This means that if you switch on dynamic lighting, it’s system requirements – in particular, CPU requirements, because deferred lighting is bleeding edge tech that isn’t handled by graphics cards yet – go waaaay up. But the game is perfectly playable with static lighting, even on a low end PC. (I ran it in Max settings, except static lighting, on a 2 year old laptop, whereas with full dynamic lighting on, even with everything else set to minimum, I got a 20 FPS count in most areas.) Dynamic lighting does improve the look of the game alot, however.

    The AI is pretty good, actually. The animals in particular act realistically – you can scare them off with warning shots, or just leave them if they aren’t hungry. The human AI also works no worse than most.

    As for bugs, well, yeah. It’s a good idea to save often to different saves. Most of the bugs are pretty minor and/or hilarious though. Some of the greater annoyances are fixable by modding. Just don’t try to complete every optional sidequest.

  101. Sewerman says:

    Darth-
    Yep- they used Starforce (or something like it, I’ve been told). However, after x-months on the market, they have released a security-less version to those people who have registered the game. So, it doesn’t really use it. I don’t know if its still there in legacy, or they have removed all the hooks. I do know that I haven’t had any issues with the security.

  102. Jansolo says:

    Well, everything is said by now.

    But I want to collaborate.

    > PC Game to buy: I tried to buy Morrowind (really cheap), but there wasn’t stock. I bought “Runaway 2: El sueà±o de la tortuga” (Runaway 2: dream of the turtle, a Spanish graphic adventure game, similar to day of the tentacle) instead. New and cheap, I really recommed you (if you can acquire it)

    The next try will be Far Cry.

    > I don’t usually play PC Games: It become a hell: patches, problems, expenses… And just think about it: for the next generation games (CRYSIS, ALAN WAKE) only institutions will have enough money to achieve system requirements (if such machines ever exists)

    > This is the reason why people accept to pay up to 600$!!!! for a console (I paid 150$ for my PS2 3 years ago, and there are a lot of good games for it)

  103. Michael says:

    I second Old Man Matt’s recommendation of the Spiderweb Games. I’m especially fond of Nethergate.

    You might want to look at Manifesto!Games. It was co-founded by Greg Costykan, who co-created Paranoia in the 1980s and who was an SPI staffer in the strategy game era.

  104. ngthagg says:

    This post made me think about the last bunch of games I spent money on:

    Aveyond (http://www.rampantgames.com/aveyond.html)
    Shining Force (Wii virtual console)
    Legend Of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Wii virtual console)
    Gunstar Heroes (Wii virtual console)
    Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

    I have to go back five games to find something that was published recently or purchased in a brick and mortar games store.

    Incidentally, I’ve been enjoying Aveyond a lot. I haven’t played an RPG like that in a while. I find I enjoy wandering into an area I shouldn’t be going and having my party wiped out by one attack. I enjoy putting together clues to finish a quest, rather than being spoonfed step by step. It’s refreshing to play an RPG that is demanding without being cheap. When I played FF12, I generally died when I ran into a boss that had some sort of cheap attack (ie, suddenly immune to physical or a heal-all spell when it took me 10 minutes to take off half their health.). But Aveyond hasn’t cheated on me yet. I die when I attempt something stupid, and otherwise I’m fine.

    Oh, and there is free demo to try it out for a couple of hours.

  105. Thomas says:

    There’s a very good reason why I still have a GeForce 4 in my desktop – there are only maybe three games I play that could actually use an upgrade (Lego Star Wars 1 & 2, and Myst IV).

    Hmm, there’s a couple of Ikaruga-style games as well, but even modern hardware will choke when faced with their particle engine of doom (side-scrolling shooter, of the sort that floods the screen with an enormous amount of firepower that, if you’ve learnt the pattern, you can dodge).

  106. SaddestPleasure says:

    PC gaming’s low point of sorts isn’t going to last long, I wager. Firingsquad has a nice preview of scads of A-class PC games to look forward to in the upcoming months (site seems to be down at the moment though). I’m especially looking forward to The Witcher.

    As far as current games go, definitely give STALKER a try. Get the patch, of course; performance on my system was perfectly fine (and not the best system by any means — Athlon 1800+, 1 gig RAM, GeForce 6200). The key is to turn off the global lighting effect. Some game elements are kinda half-baked but I most enjoyed the environments and sense of exploration.

    And if you ever get the chance, play Bioshock! I just finished it a couple days ago and the story is surprisingly clever, even touching. It doesn’t overstay its welcome either.

  107. Takkelmaggot says:

    On the other hand, PopCap Games is making obscene truckloads of bread off their games like Peggle and Bookworm Adventures. Is this, gasp, the future of PC gaming?

    I for one hope not- I like my tanks and spaceships too much.

  108. Cthulhu says:

    I actually wish you’d bought Myst Five, since you could easily generate a twenty-page rant about all the things wrong with it, and I get tired of doing the ranting myself. To be brief: The graphics were worse than Myst 4, all the characters’ personalities changed drastically, the puzzles were easy, it was glitchy (to the point where I accidentally skipped the entire second world), they added an annoying guy who keeps interrupting the game with cut scenes to give you cryptic hints, it had no plot, and the ending consists of people congratulating you for 20 minutes. I am a devout Myst worshipper, but this game sucks. Horribly.

  109. guy says:

    I was in a gamespot store recently. it had: the compleate non-WoW works of blizzard in one package, C&C3, C&C: the first decade, C&C Tiberium sun, Red Alert2: Yuri’s revenge, 5 MMORPGs and expansion packs, a myst collection, and dune 2. okay, i’m kidding about that last one. it’s strange that the first two major RTS makers still dominate the field, even though one of them NO LONGER EXISTS. EA ate them. then they produced a few games that were quite good. then EA ordered them to move to california. then they quit and created petroglyph. the first game not produced by lucas arts to remind us that star wars RTSs suck is quite good.

    ramble ended

  110. JoeFF85/Skitzophrenik says:

    Two years later, and Civ IV is still on the shelf (Gold edition, or game of the year, or with-the-expansions-in-one-box) but only because they haven’t made Civ V yet, the Sims expansions are gone replaced with MORE Sims 2 expansions (and Sims 3) and… The Blizzard multi packs are still there.

    TEN GAMES (if you count the expansions) for sixty bucks (19.99 per battle chest!)

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