Top 64 Games: 48 to 41

By Shamus Posted Friday Oct 24, 2014

Filed under: Video Games 85 comments

Reminder: Try not to stress out too much about the order of the items on this list, what games made it and which ones didn’t. This list is just PC games, limited to the ones I’ve played and I thought were worth discussing. If you rage out because I left out your favorite game then you’re just making a fool of yourself. Also remember the rule: A particular franchise can only appear in the list once, so if Resident Evil 4 makes the list then Resident Evil 2 can’t.

Just use this as an excuse to talk about / praise / eviscerate games we might not get to discuss very often. Read the intro to learn why we’re doing this.

Also! Some people are having fun trying to identify the games in the header image. That’s actually a fun idea. Sadly, this one is a little odd: They’re all really easy except for one, which is completely unreasonable. Good luck!

I’ll post the answers for each image at the end of this series.

48. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

Wakka-wakka-wakka-wakka-wakka-wakka-wakka-wakka GLUP!

Yes! I found a way to sneak Pac-Man onto this PC gaming list. Maybe this is a cheat. The Pac-Man name is legend, but this isn’t a re-creation of the original and this version isn’t nearly as famous as the various 80’s versions.

Still, this feels like a genuine evolution of the idea. This is a better game, and not just because of the shiny graphics and head bobbing electronic soundtrack. There have been a lot of variants to the Pac-formula over the decades: Bigger mazes, giant Pac-Man, jumping Pac-Man, girl Pac-Man, quiz Pac-Man, Pac-Man with a pinball machine attached, or isometric Pac-Man. This is the first one since Ms. Pac-ManI think having the fruit move around the maze was a really brilliant design choice. that still felt like a game of the same lineage and also improved on the original formula.

47. Rollercoaster Tycoon 3

Link (YouTube)

There were a lot of various “management sims” put out by various teams at various times. You could run a hospital, a railway company, an airline, a farm, and a dozen other things. But the Rollercoaster games had a neat trick where you were using the somewhat dry and prosaic financial sim to build visually appealing thrill-rides. You were building things that were fun to ride and to look at.

46. Descent

Auto-leveling is for noobs. Real pilots don’t care which way is up.

A game where you fly through tunnels in “real 3D” That is: You can freely move in all 3 dimensions, as opposed to its contemporaries which used 2D maps to create 3D spaces. Because CPU cycles were precious and nobody had graphics cards.

I can imagine an alternate history where this game had the kind of explosive popularity and endless clones that Doom and Quake enjoyed. It is a very strange alternate history. There were a few games that built on the Descent formula, although Forsaken is the only one I remember. Ultimately I think this genre – if you want to call shooting stuff while floating around so you can’t tell which way is up a “genre” – was doomed to be a niche from the beginning. The movement is nauseating for some, and the controls end up being significantly more complex than anything else this side of mech piloting.

Sadly, the series kind of lost its way. The first game had this dark cyberpunk vibe, like you were Han Solo by way of Bladerunner. The story was just a few paragraphs of occasional flavor text to preserve the mood. By the third game the protagonist had morphed into a grouchy hero in a Star Trek future, and his story was told in cutscenes that have aged very poorly. The color palette was drained a little, the contrast was muted, the brightness was boosted, and the result was a bland game that had lost its original charm and had very little to offer newcomers except confusing levels and disorienting gameplayI know it’s petty, but I was always miffed at how dull and pale the shield orbs were in Descent 3..

Maybe an alternate future where this become a viable genre is unrealistic, but I would have liked it if this series had survived just a little longer.

45. Papers, Please

You can protest and be jailed, fight back and be killed, or acquiesce and be left alone. But no matter what: You will be watched.

The rule in movies is “Show, don’t tell”. The rule in games is “Do, don’t show”. Papers, Please has almost nothing to say directly about its subject matter, but instead lets you participate in the utterly mundane horror of bureaucratic oppression. The mechanics perfectly show concepts that are hard to convincingly explain, such as how even a short list of seemingly reasonable regulations can make for chaos and confusion. You can see on one side some policy-maker concluding that issuing work permits would “simplify and streamline” the processing of visitors, and you can experience first-hand just how hilariously wrong this idea is. It’s a game with mechanics that work perfectly with the message, with art that wraps you in the desperation and smothering indifference of the Eastern bloc.

When we complain about ludonarrative dissonance, we’re usually complaining about games that have some kind of conflict between their mechanics and their tone, theme, story, or message: The main character is supposedly a fumbling aged alcoholic loser, but in gameplay he’s an unstoppable killing machine both before and after giving up the booze. You’re supposedly haunted by the deaths of twelve soldiers, but in gameplay you’ll kill a hundred guys and a couple dozen innocents in the process of doing some side-job for a modest paycheck at the behest of some idiot you barely know. But in Papers, Please the mechanics are the message, and the result is a wonderful of example of communicating through play.

44. Dungeon Keeper 2

It is payday.

Ah Bullfrog. The development house that served as the secret lair for the madman Peter Molyneux, before he moved to Lionhead. Both companies made games that sounded brilliant on paper but always felt a little rough in execution. Populous, Syndicate, Magic Carpet, Black and White, Fable. The list of auteur experiments is long and equal parts distinguished and infamous.

For my money, Dungeon Keeper (and its sequel, pictured above) were the most mechanically sound of the games. You could make a similar case for Fable, but Dungeon Keeper was much surer of its identity. Fable always seemed to be groping for a specific tone, theme, or idea, and never figured out what it was or who it was for.

43. Starflight II

*Cue ear-splitting PC speaker music*

Part adventure game, part space sim, part roleplaying game, the Starflight games (both of them) come from a strange era when we hadn’t yet mapped out the perimeter of our genre pigeonholes. It feels wild and random now, but it’s also a shining example of what you can accomplish with just some text and a few tiny images. This was big-idea sci-fi on a grandBy the standards of the day. scale. Elite is given credit as the progenitor of future space sims, but I have to give respect to Starflight for doing so much with story in such a limited medium.

42. King’s Quest III


King’s Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, The Colonel’s Bequest… Sierra had certainly found a niche they were happy with in the 80’s. They excelled at fiddly adventure games with dumb parsers, horrible arcade sequences, and batshit insane puzzles. But at the time we didn’t mind, because nobody else was doing any better. We didn’t have the internet so developers didn’t have people screaming at them over twitter how annoying this stuff was. So it took many iterations for everyone to sort out what worked and what didn’t. In fact, even when a far better template came along (we’ll get to that later in this list) it took Sierra a long time to adapt.

I think the Sierra formula actually suffered with the introduction of better graphics and voice acting. The step up in visual fidelity demanded a equivalent step up in the rest of the game, and they just didn’t have that. King’s Quest III retains a lot of its charm, and you can forgive its brain-dead parser, lame stair-climbing gameplayUgh. The number of spiral staircases you have to navigate in this game is horrendous. One bad step and it’s game over. It’s the only game where I had to save-scum to CLIMB STEPS. and goofball puzzles because it still looks like the product of an era what that sort of thing was still okay.

41. Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

Not bad by the standards of lightsaber art, but you’re no Banksy, Kyle.

What a strange franchise. It began as Dark Forces in 1995, a shooter of the DOOM variety. People played it, shot Storm Troopers, and – as with all Star Wars games without lightsabers – complained that they wanted lightsabers. So the sequel gave you one, and the entire franchise re-named itself mid-stream to “Jedi Knight”. The series reached its peak with Jedi Outcast in 2002, and still stands as one of the best examples of action swordplay in the world of games. That’s a shame really. It’s been a dozen years and few games have done better. (Not that Outcast was especially brilliant, but proper swordplay is hard.)



[1] I think having the fruit move around the maze was a really brilliant design choice.

[2] That is: You can freely move in all 3 dimensions, as opposed to its contemporaries which used 2D maps to create 3D spaces. Because CPU cycles were precious and nobody had graphics cards.

[3] I know it’s petty, but I was always miffed at how dull and pale the shield orbs were in Descent 3.

[4] By the standards of the day.

[5] Ugh. The number of spiral staircases you have to navigate in this game is horrendous. One bad step and it’s game over. It’s the only game where I had to save-scum to CLIMB STEPS.

From The Archives:

85 thoughts on “Top 64 Games: 48 to 41

  1. Da Mage says:

    In the vain of Decent style games I remember fondly a game called Hellbender and it was so much fun to play and explore the world (while blowing everything up)

    Rollarcoaster tycoon was a good sim, but if a Simcity game doesn’t make it onto this list at some point there is something wrong.

    I miss the Dungeon Keeper style game…..none of the attempts at remaking it have been much good yet. I am hopefully for War for the Overworld though (assuming on release that EA doesn’t just try to sue them into oblivion…..also don’t you dare put Oblivion on this list.

    1. Fizban says:

      I played Hellbender off a friend’s disk on my first crappy computer ages ago, soooooo want to play it again. I think I got close to beating it once but that computer died years ago.

    2. Thomas says:

      I really want a new Dungeon Keeper style game. And one without levels built around the first-person mode. Dungeon Keeper II is in the place where I love it, but it’s got one too many frustrations for me to want to replay regularly (unlike Theme Hospital. I disagree with Shamus in that Theme Hospital and Theme Park World were the most mechanically sound Bullfrog games).

      1. Jeff Truelsen says:

        War for the Overworld. Steam. Coming soon. Looks cool. YMMV.

        1. Thomas says:

          I’m trying not to pin my hopes on it until it actually turns up.

      2. Attercap says:

        I picked up both Dungeon Keeper games and Theme Hospital from GoG about a year ago. Dungeon Keeper’s controls just felt off and stilted, but Theme Hospital was still a blast to play.

    3. joe says:

      Hellbender was my first CD-ROM game. I’ve been looking for a way to play it again off and on for the last… too many years and still haven’t found a copy. Frustrating.

    4. Rob says:

      I loved Hellbender, it’s the game that got me into space shooters (and later space sims). I’m surprised that it’s faded into relative obscurity compared to its contemporaries. Didn’t Windows 95 include the demo?

      Another good ‘space’ shooter was Warhawk for the PS1. The FMVs were cringe-inducing and the difficulty was all over the place, but the airship raid level is still one of my favorite setpiece battles in all of gaming – just your tiny ship against a massive flying carrier, its escort frigates, and hundreds upon hundreds of fighters over open water. I also fondly remember the dozens of endings you could get based on where and how you died – including a special ending for defeating the final boss by ramming your ship into him.

      I never played Descent, but the series led to Freespace 2 so it gets a nod of approval for that alone.

    5. Bryan says:

      I think NeonXSZ is in the Descent vein as well, though not exactly. The ship combat and the lack of a correct orientation both lend themselves to that setup, although the “grab chunks of the ships you destroy to upgrade your own weapons” bit doesn’t so much…

  2. silver Harloe says:

    8 starcraft
    11 starbound
    12 xcom

    wow, I’m bad at this game

    1. Da Mage says:

      2 Fallout 3

      by our powers combined, we could solve this

      1. gresman says:

        3 Daikatana
        6 City of Heroes
        11 FTL

        1. Lame Duck says:

          10 is Chime and 9 reminds me a hell of a lot of Silent Hill but I can’t place that character.

          Edit: I think it’s Silent Hill Origins; I never played that one but I remember Shamus’ LP of it.

        2. Abnaxis says:

          Unless he’s using mods, 11 is not FTL. The backgrounds are more high-res than that picture.

          It looks like Starbound to me.

          Is #1 SW:TOR? I never played it, but that looks like the art style

          By a similar metric, my guess is #4 is LOTRO

          1. Abnaxis says:

            Also, from the subtitles and the “label the thing you are looking at below the crosshairs,” I think #7 is Skyrim.

            1. Friend of Dragons says:

              I was thinking it was Skyrim just going by the font

              1. MichaelGC says:

                With you fontwise, but I’m still not entirely sure: I’ve played a lot of Skyrim and don’t recall running into a tiny dude standing on an enormous 3D pentagon at any stage.

                Although … getting close to a thousand hours, now, and I’ve never actually got past the chuffing Helm of Jurgen Plotpoint. So, not entirely equipped to assess, I guess…

                1. Tizzy says:

                  It’s from the Thieves Guild quest writeup that Shamus did. third picture in part 5:

        3. Decius says:

          3 looks like Far Cry or SiN to me, but that is probably a factor of all FPS with low-poly models looking the same to me.

          5 is definitely Starcraft 1, orbiting Earth. Yes, I recognized the last digit in the second coordinate from memory. 11 is not FTL; see the planet at the bottom?

          12 is Either X-Com: Ufo Defense, Terror From the Deep, or UFO: Enemy Unknown. I think it’s impossible to tell those three apart from that portion of that screen, unless they had a different start year?

          And 9 reminded me vaguely of the hidden object games I saw EC discuss once, and the art seems similar to what was in that video. It’s also the genre I would pick to confound the audience.

          1. Abnaxis says:

            9 definitely looks like PS1 graphics to me, but I don’t recognize the woman. My best guess would be the original Silent Hill or one of the PS1 Resident Evils, but that’s just because they’re the only ones with that art style I can think of. Given the sheer number of PS1 titles, it could be just about anything.

            1. Jonn says:

              9 is from Silent Hill Origins.
     pic part way down.

              1. Abnaxis says:

                Good catch! I was thinking that it might be a little too high fidelity for PS1 after I made a big deal out of it, but that weird blotchiness to the graphics meant it just had to be a Playstation game of some sort, to me.

          2. Steve C says:

            I think you have a typo there. 5 is definitely not Starcraft. I think you meant a different Star___ (flight?). Partly because Earth isn’t in Starcraft and Starcraft is #8.

          3. Andy_Panthro says:

            Definitely UFO: Enemy Unknown (AKA X-COM: UFO Defense), Terror from the Deep has a different colour scheme (more green/yellow iirc).

          4. ehlijen says:

            XOM:UFO defence and UFO:Enemy Unknown were the same game, one the Europe retail name, one the US one.

            And that is clearly UFO defene/Enemy Unknown. Terror from the Deep had the screen in a different colour and wasn’t set in 1999. (It was 2039, if I remember correctly?)

    2. Mephane says:

      What I recognize:

      1 Star Wars: The Old Republic
      4 World Of Warcraft
      6 Champions Online
      10 Chime

      1. gresman says:

        I don’t think 4 is WoW. There is not enough billboarding going on in the trees. I would go with LotRO.

    3. Jonn says:

      Taking a shot:
      1 – not sure, but it looks rather like a Jurassic Park game cover. (Is that how it’s spelled? Browser thinks so)
      2 – Fallout 3
      3 – Daikatana
      4 – Lord of the Rings online
      5 – Starflight (don’t remember if 1 or 2)
      6 – Champions Online
      7 – Skyrim
      8 – Starcraft
      9 – Silent Hill Origins
      10- Chime
      11- ? Have to go with others saying Starbound
      12- An X-Com, guessing Enemy Unknown

      1. silver Harloe says:

        this is why I said #11 was starbound:

        1. Wolf says:

          And to further that argument I offer this picture that could almost be the exact source

      2. Patrick the Inane wedding planner says:

        5 is indeed Starflight II

        1. MichaelGC says:

          I need to arrange an inane wedding. Do you have like an online enquiry form or similar?

        2. Decius says:

          We are going to have to get Word of God for I or II; I looked up Earth in Starflight and it’s 215, 86; not 215, 89 as I remembered.

          Any distinguishing feature between I and II visible in that vertical line?

      3. Jock says:

        12 is definitely XCOM: UFO defense (aka UFO: Enemy Unknown). It starts Jan 1st 1999

  3. Ingo says:

    I like Jedi Outcast. One of the few star wars games it seems where the lightsaber is actually as lethal as it is depicted in the movies. I played through it recently, and when the final boss made a mistake (He threw his lightsaber and I force pushed him over, effectively disarming him), I finished him off in 5 hits.
    Just about all other enemies are dispatched in 1-2 hits, even the reborn sith dudes, providing you can get past the lightsaber.

    I then watched my sister playing force unleashed 2, in the final battle against darth vader and was astounded by how little damage the lightsaber did. It took her about a hundred or so direct lightsaber hits to defeat him. Even regular enemies take three or so hits before dying. For a game that is supposed to give you the uber jedi feeling, it’s really weird attacking people with what from a gameplay perspective resembles a glowy baseball bat.

    1. Mephane says:

      This is also one of the central problems of SWTOR.

    2. Macfeast says:

      I used to keep separate savefiles for various non-boss Sith battles, just because the lightsaber battles were so darn fun. “Ok, two Sith dudes are going to ambush me from behind that pillar. I’ll make a save here so that I can replay this battle”. “Oh wow, this room has four Sith dudes in it? I’m making a save here, I going to want to replay this battle.”

      One of the things I really liked was trying to maneuver around the Sith dudes to find an opening, instead of just going right up to them and mashing the lightsaber-button. Rolling, jumping, bouncing of the walls… and then all the force-powers? There were a lot of ingredients for some pretty cool kills in that game.

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        I did that too. And of course you could just turn on the console, turn off the AI, and then spawn a dozen Reborn and a dozen Jedi, and then turn the AI back on.

        The lightsaber room on Yavin IV is a good place for this, so is the big room where you first fight the Reborn in Cortosis armor.

        g_saberrealisticcombat 1, set all forcepowers to maximum… Such fun.

    3. Patrick the Inane wedding planner says:

      Force unleashed (I or II) felt like someone took Infamous, nerfed the color palette, added some storm troopers and called it a game. I still hold every Star Wars game against the standard of KOTOR, such is my preference.

    4. Jedi Academy is also pretty good.

      As far as Star Wars games doing the Jedi “right” Jedi Outcast did very well.
      Jedi Academy did a awesome job at expanding/improving the lightsaber stuff.
      And the story let you go down Light and Dark paths just like KoTOR did.

      Do note that it was Raven Software that did the Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy games.

      They also did the Soldier of Fortune games, Hexen, Heretic, The Star Trek: Elite Force games, Wolfenstein (2009), Quake 4, and Singularity.

      Raven Software has always done single player PC games really well in the past.
      They also know (or knew) the id/Quake engines really well.

      Jedi Outcast (2002) and Jedi Academy (2003) was perhaps the height of Raven Software, although Singularity (2010) wasn’t half bad.

      They did release the source code to Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy though which was really awesome.

      1. Felblood says:

        That explains a lot, actually.

    5. Jokerman says:

      “resembles a glowy baseball bat”

      I think that is an insult to Glowy Baseball bats.

  4. poiumty says:

    Don’t forget Jedi Academy! Outcast had a more personal story but introducing the equivalent of dual-wielding and two-handing made for amazing gameplay. The semi-randomness of the combat and the significance of every lightsaber blow is so well done it’s just a shame other games haven’t tried to improve on that and instead went for the God of War kind of thing where people seemingly have limited insta-wound regeneration and the health bar is more like their immortality power source.

    The difference is between punching someone’s teeth out with your mightiest blow and 100 reps on the punching bag. The punching bag can be cathartic too, it’s just… not the same.

    I’d get lost for hours in Dungeon Keeper 2. Didn’t like the campaign much, but the My Pet Dungeon mode was just addictive as all hell. It was one of the staples of my childhood alongside Baldur’s Gate 2 which would deservingly take the #1 spot if only Shamus would’ve played it.

    1. Rymdsmurfen says:

      I agree completely. Jedi Academy would definitely be on my top-list. I love how the difficulty curve scaled so well with your own skill. The powers and skills had some really fun combinations and uses, and you had you to master them to overcome the tougher opponents. And when you had done that the mooks could be dealt with in very cool ways. Like force choking (lifting) a dude and then force push him into an abyss.

    2. Felblood says:

      Jedi Academy, would definitely take that spot for me, as well.

      That was basically the last time that a melee only multiplayer mode in an FPS held any water for me. Even the very best, like Left 4 Dead, just do not measure up.

      I can still remember a number of particularly epic or particularly funny duels I fought, in LANs years ago.

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Jedi Academy is good, but for gameplay and story, Jedi Knight is superior.

        The Big Damn Kiss at the start of the last level is what puts it over the top. Three games those two have been together and they finally admit the blazing obvious.

        No way Jaden and Rosh can live up to that (well, I mean, that would have been the big damn slice-and-dice rather than kiss, but you know what I mean).

  5. Jonathan says:

    Header game:
    #3 is Unreal
    #6 looks like one of those City of X games that I never got to play
    #8 is probably Starcraft.
    #11 may be FTL

    Descent was great. Descent II was greater (bigger, more guns, better multiplayer support). Descent III? Never beat it. Re-scaled everything, gameplay not nearly as fun.
    Freespace/FS2 should go on this list since it’s DINO (Descent In Name Only), but last I recall you haven’t played it.

  6. Hal says:

    Ah, I’d have put Hero’s Quest/Quest for Glory in there for Sierra games. I loved those games as a kid, and I still play them occasionally as an adult. The dry humor, the references and homages, the blend of action/adventure/RPG . . . it just worked for me.

    If I had to pick out a favorite, I’d say #2. The sprawling city and endless desert gave it a mysterious feel, even if there was very little to actually do in those locations.

    1. Jonn says:

      Also one of the rare examples of a continued series player character – letting you export from one game and import in the next (unless you wanted to import a not-fighter to Shapeir anyway, though there is apparently a fan patch to fix that).

      The only contemporary to support that kind of cross-game PC, that I played, would be Might and Magic; specifically the lightside / darkside of Xeen. That’s going back some years.

    2. Isy says:

      Yes yes yes, to all of that. And your class choices actually mattered, because each class had their own way to solve the puzzles. AND that meant many puzzles had multiple solutions, because if you had the proper tools you could use the solution from another class.

      QfG4 was my favorite (gamebreaking bugs aside, it was wonderfully atmospheric and narrated by John Rhys-Davies), but 2 was a close second. It is also the only game that, when you walk up to the Katta and ask for something to save their city, they give it to you for free. This may make them the smartest merchants I’ve ever encountered in any video game.

    3. Atle says:

      I actually thought #2 was a disappointment after #1. I liked the small town, and all the different things you could do and discover inside and around it.

  7. Corpital says:

    Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 and no mentioning of bowling?

    1. Jonn says:

      Other than the embedded YouTube video instead of a picture, no.
      Remember: Bowling + Rollercoaster = Fun!

  8. AR+ says:

    I’ve never played Jedi Knight, so your comment makes me wonder if you’ve played Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I really liked the sword play there and wonder what you would think about it. I highly recommend it, if you haven’t.

    1. poiumty says:

      Apart from the precision cutting, swordplay in Revengeance is mostly the same action gamey set of mechanics you see in most of’em. What set Jedi Knight apart was that you were permanently in Ripper mode, more or less, and so were the enemies you were duelling. Having your sword in front of you was your only defense, and fights could end in either 30 seconds or 2 seconds.

      1. Felblood says:

        I never played Revengence, but if it measures up even that well, I may have to.

        –but… more Kojima writing? eh… I can live without that.

        He’s like junk food. Okay in small doses, but I have already consumed too much for one lifetime.

        1. AR+ says:

          Eh, I didn’t find the writing to be bad. I haven’t played any other Kojima games so I can’t compare, but the story seemed serviceable enough to me, and it never made me think “this is not a game, it’s a movie,” like people apparently did for recent MGS games.

        2. poiumty says:

          Oh don’t worry about the writing, it’s completely over the top in a good way. Nanomachines, son.

      2. Joseph says:

        Revengeance becomes like this if you crank up the difficulty. At the highest setting you’ll die to one or two hits from basic mooks, and a parry counter will one-hit them in return.

        There’s a wig that provides infinite ripper mode, and an unlockable sword that always behaves as if you were in blade mode. They’re entertaining for a while, but the sword in particular completely breaks the game.

      3. Ringwraith says:

        The key thing being if you actually took a clean lightsabre hit without any shields, you’d probably instantly die.
        By this point you had force heal and could heal up any health damage, but you’d still want to save your shields in case something got through.

  9. swenson says:

    We had Descent 2 when I was a kid… I never could get into it. Too claustrophobic, and frankly confusing for as young as I was. Fury3 was my jam instead. I still have never come across another game where it was quite as fun to fly as in Fury3… although the graphics rather leave something to be desired now.

    But has anybody other than me ever even heard of Fury3?

  10. Patrick the Inane wedding planner says:

    Descent is still the only game I was never able to play. I’ve quit more than a few games because they sucked out loud, but Descent is the only I quit because I simply couldn’t do it. That bothers me more than my inability to secure a date with Christina Applegate for my senior prom.

  11. Zak McKracken says:

    For some reason I never “got” Rollercoaster Tycoon, and the name alone always sounded a bit cheesy to me.
    I did, however, play both Railroad Tycoon I and II, a lot. With the first version, I used to dream of connecting several PCs and playing it over the network, simultaneously, either against or in co-operation with other players. Imagine that, several PCs in one room, playing the same game, together!
    Then the sequel appeared, two years after Strarcraft (with LAN and Internet games!), and still no Multiplayer … sad! Good music, though…

    I’d really love to see something like RT with co-operative multiplayer. One guy manages the industry stuff, another builds tracks, the next cares about train compositions… or Sim City! How cool would that be? Several people managing the same city!
    Uh! Uh! I know! One person plays SimCity, while another plays Railroad Tycoon, and the Sim-City is shown as a town in the RT universe, and its development depends on what happens in the Simcity game! All other cities are “played” by different players, and they can interact with the railroad companies in RT, and, and … the country is one of the parties in Civilisation, while the whole planet is just a simulation running in SimEarth!

    …seriously, why don’t we have that sort of thing? (I know, timescales and people’s games being dependent on others’ and stuff, but come on!)

  12. Patrick the Inane wedding planner says:

    Aaaahhhh Starflight. I’ve always believed this game doesn’t get due credit in historical significance. In 1989 we were still knee deep in Blah Quest XIV set on one planet/island/castle.

    Starflight gave you an entire galaxy, customizable crew, ship and playing experience. You could tank your way through the game or barter and negotiate nearly the whole thing. It had replay-ability 3 to 4 times over. It was the first time I ever heard the term “sandbox”, too. Once you got past the tutorial part of the game you could literally go wherever you wanted, no rails.

    Long before there was an auction house it had it’s own economy, too. Also something that was a new concept in games.

    And the hilarity of the interactions with the other races…..just awesome. “If you get the urge to shoot at us, we’ll understand…everyone else does.”

    The Dweenele were the precursor to the human EMO.

    1. Zak McKracken says:

      I haven’t played Starflight, but I’ll just leave the word “Elite” here…

  13. Spammy says:

    This is probably incredibly late, but perhaps the thing that impressed me the most about Papers, Please is how how human you realize these cogs in the bureaucracy are. It’s easy to say that everyone’s human and got their own problem, it’s quite another thing to be that cog in the bureaucracy and know that you can’t just make an exception for this person because they’ll start docking your pay next and you need all that you can get in order to pay for your kid’s medication but that means you’re still going without heat for most of the time and it’s been winter for months and…

    Yeah. That’s the real power of Papers, Please for me, that after playing it I felt differently towards these people.

  14. TouToTheHouYo says:

    g_saberrealisticcombat 1

  15. Andy_Panthro says:

    Why so much hate for the Sierra adventure games? I grew up playing them, and never found the parser too bad (except for the problems with American vs. British English, which was most apparent in the Larry games). The puzzles could occasionally be weird or obtuse, but really they were generally better than anything else on the market. Only the Lucasarts games were more consistently good.

    1. Felblood says:


      He just put one of their games on his 64 top games of all time list.

      Sure he enumerates a lot of the series flaws here, nut only to explain that KK3 is the game least harmed by them, hence it’s election as the series representative.

      1. Andy_Panthro says:

        I think I phrased things poorly, and as you say he has included it in his list after all.

        It just seems like every time Sierra adventure games are mentioned it is in a negative light, with Lucasarts being held up as the only right way to make an adventure game.

        I feel like they don’t get enough recognition for the good things they did, instead being used as a lazy way to criticise certain game mechanics.

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I once spent a week trying to figure out how to get Marie to help Sonny Bonds go undercover in the Death Angel’s crime ring.

      “Ask Marie for help”
      “Ask Marie for help with Death Angel.”
      “Ask Marie for help with card game.”
      “Ask Marie for help with drug bust.”
      “As Marie for help with hotel operation”

      I forget what all you needed. This was in the days before Gamefaqs. I gave up.

      Years later I was able to look it up.
      “Ask Marie for help with Hotel Delphoria sting.”

      I love the games, but the parser was murder.

      (My favorite, incidentally, is #4. Rosella is my favorite of all the characters.)

      1. Decius says:

        I spent hours with a bag of gold in KQ3, next to the pirate captain who wanted gold for passage:
        every variation of: “Give the pirate captain the bag of gold” failed with “You don’t have that”, but “give bag” and “give gold” both worked.

        Now, I can recognize that it was parsing [verb] [direct object] [indirect object], and thought that I was trying to give the pirate to the bag of gold, rather than the other way around; since giving the gold to the pirate was expected, it must have accepted the implied indirect object. Still frustrating, because the rules weren’t in the manual.

        1. Andy_Panthro says:

          Parser issues like this are probably why most of my favourite Sierra games are from the point-and-click era.

      2. Cuthalion says:

        Imagine having this parser for your high school English curriculum. I did.

        “Short answer” questions were murder on Switched-On Schoolhouse back in 2004ish.

  16. Retsam says:

    I haven’t played a ton of Bullfrog games (haven’t played Dungeon Keeper II, for instance) but “Populous: The Beginning” is phenomenal; one of my favorite older games, so it’s hard for me to imagine that anything could top that. (It’s pretty much completely different gameplay than the original Populous… when I tried playing the original, I was both confused and disappointed)

    1. Thomas says:

      ! You’ve solved a long-time problem for me. I used to see Populus:The Beginning in shops and I thought it looked interesting. Then many years later I got Populous and it was the most boring thing ever, which confused me because the box cover I remembered suggested it was a pretty involved God game.

      Everything makes so much more sense now.

    2. Groboclown says:

      My wife and I love playing Populous the beginning. We played so many hours on that one. I can’t believe that I had forgotten about it until you brought it up. Thanks!

  17. Hydralysk says:

    Descent 1 and 2 are still some of my favorite games. I never managed to beat Descent 2, but I still have the original CDs and boot it up at least once a year. Sadly I was the only person in the house able to play it without getting a headache. My mother wasn’t even able to be in the same room when I was playing because it made he sick just looking at it.

  18. General Karthos says:

    Kyle Katarn (main character of the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight Franchise) has become a canon character in the EU. (He’s in a number of the novels as a member of the new Jedi Council created by Luke Skywalker.) I can’t remember if he has a kid or not. I don’t THINK he does, but I haven’t read the most recent series in a couple of years, and I’m too tired at this point to look it up on Wookieepedia, especially given the grinding slowness of my current internet connection.

  19. Atle says:

    I loved the Sierra games, and I’ve played through several of the first in every series. Kings Quest 1-3, Space quest 1-2, Larry 1-7 (except 4 of course), Hero’s quest (Quest for glory) 1-2. The one I started but got stuck quite early in was Police Quest. I later learned that the magic phrase was “perform test”. Most of the games I even bought and payed for myself with hard earned newspaper delivery money.

    I also loved the kissing alien in Space Quest 2. They don’t make traps like that in games any more :)

  20. General Karthos says:

    I think I’ve only ever actually PLAYED Roller Coaster Tycoon. I own Jedi Outcast, but I’m not actually convinced that I ever played it. I certainly can’t recall it very well. I don’t have any memories if I did.

    I remember in Roller Coaster Tycoon that I made my fries SUPER salty, and gave them away practically for free, then charged huge amounts for soda, and huge amounts for using the bathroom. Good times. Good times. I also remember several occasions where, while obvious from most angles, it was not obvious from the angle I was in, that a roller coaster track was not a complete loop, yet people would continue to get on it, and then die.

  21. Someone says:

    Picture guesses 48-41:
    1 – The Old Republic
    2 – Fallout 3
    3 – Daikatana
    4 – LOTRO ???
    5 – ???
    6 – Champions Online
    7 – Skyrim ???
    8 – Descent ???
    9 – Silent Hill
    10 – forgot the name, Shamus posted about this game once
    11 – Starbound
    12 – X-Com: UFO Defence/UFO: Enemy Unknown

  22. Alin says:

    Hey Shamus,

    GOG has recently started releasing old Lucas Arts games, including Star Wars games.

    Jedi Knight Dark Forces 1 and 2 included. if you want to take a look.

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