An Education In Computer Games

I’ve never really been too much into computer games. I’d played and liked Sonic The Hedgehog, Theme Hospital, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Football Manager, Tomb Raider and Deus Ex in the past, but I’ve made some sort of attempt to start playing games again. The first few games were Half-Life 2 (and its parts) and Portal.

So here are the games I’ve been playing recently. They aren’t reviews, but you can find them anywhere on the Internet…

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

This indie game is supposed to very scary. I’d argue it isn’t really very scary at all, but it is fairly fun. It has good puzzles and a nice feel to it. The story comes to the player via a series of flashbacks, and it makes you want to play on because it feels like there is this hidden vain to the story which, when revealed, will cause everything to make brilliant sense. The let down is that this never happens and the story transpires just to be obvious, unsatisfying connections of the plot details you find.

Braid

A platform puzzle game where you can travel through time. It has a brilliant feel to it, and it feels artistic. Much like Portal, you feel you are playing something special when you are playing it. The storyline makes no sense to me though, it seemed just like a collection of ideas. The last level has a brilliant twist to it, but it doesn’t really explain much. Ultimately that doesn’t really matter. The puzzles are interesting and it is a good feeling when you beat them, but they aren’t actually that hard. Except for one at the start where you are supposed to make a platform out of a puzzle piece. That just felt unfair to me.

Peggle

It should be rubbish, but it is somehow fun. It is a game which really knows how to make you feel good. It rewards your talentless luck.

Super Meat Boy

This game is brilliant! I haven’t completed it, I am stuck on the last level and have kind of lost interest in it. But it is great. It is so addictive. The only problem is, the addiction to it means you end up playing it long after you’ve stopped deriving any fun from it.

Cities in Motion

I loved Traffic Giant. This is a Jo Wood game where, given a city, you build the public transport infrastructural. The problems with this game were that you couldn’t do underground railways, and overground railways were rubbish. Another problem is it was very buggy. Cities in Motion is basically the game idea, but you can do underground railways, and it isn’t very buggy (at least, after patches). I’m pretty keen on this game, but the user interface is far inferior to Traffic Giant’s. For instance, although buses have a box over them saying the number of people on it, it doesn’t mention what line it is on until you click it. Similarly, bus stops don’t tell you the break down according to line until you mouse over it. Finally, you can’t have bus stops which are also tram stops. That doesn’t really matter but it kind of annoys me. Other bad things: No easy way to see the profit of a line; It is unclear to see where people want to get to and where they went from (which was brilliantly done in Traffic Giant). I’ll keep playing it for a while, but I am hoping a Cities in Motion II would sort these things out.

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