dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
Back when video game magazines were a real thing that came every month, when they were the only real source of gaming news other than your friend's uncle who worked at Nintendo, one of my favorite magazines was PC Gamer. Not for the news contained within, necessarily, but for the demo disks that came with it. I got probably thousands of gaming hours of those demos--I remember waking up early every morning for a week while I was in middle school to play the demo of Master of Magic, Merlin against Kali--and one of the ones my sister and I both loved to play was Theme Hospital. There were only a couple levels and a small complement of the full list of diseases, but we extracted all the fun it had and then some. My sister can still quote lines from the game's announcer now, almost twenty years after she first played the game.

So when I saw that GOG had it available and that it was on sale, I snapped it up. I had never played the full game for any length of time and now was my chance, now that all the gaming wealth of the world is available to us. I was deciding between Frozen Synapse and Theme Hospital and did a bit of research on the internet. After finding a few comments about Frozen Synapse's more annoying levels, I decided to go with Theme Hospital. HLTB says it's about 24 hours, which is longish for a non-RPG but not a bad length of time, and about the same as Frozen Synapse. And playing it was so much fun when I was a child, right?

Well, dear reader, let me tell you--sometimes you should let a happy memory remain a memory.


The Gut Rot drug is certainly not 75% alcohol by volume.

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dorchadas: (That is not dead...)
This is probably the earliest game I'm going to review on my blog, unless I do end up going back and replaying Below the Root (1984) or trying to get those last few points in Adventure (1977).

So, Oregon Trail. Played by millions of children who would go on to be the very first millennials. The game that launched a thousand memes, 999 of which are about dysentery and the last one is about fording the river and your oxen dying. It seems to me like it'd be a waste of space to spend any time explaining the game because surely everyone has played it, but of course that's not true at all. Exposure required a specific set of circumstances involving a bunch of Apple II computers all in one place and teachers who thought that Oregon Trail had some sort of educational value, which I suppose is true, since learning that life is horribly unfair and you will constantly be screwed by circumstances beyond your control is an important life lesson. As is the idea that the rich are literally playing on easy mode.


Why would a rich banker be heading to Oregon anyway?

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dorchadas: (Great Old Ones)
Twenty-two years ago, I put a demo disc in my computer and installed a demo for a game called X-Com: UFO Defense. The demo was a single tactical mission with no strategic layer at all, where you took six soldiers with laser weapons and a mix of armor on a terror mission. At night. Against snakemen and chryssalids.


That's X-Com, baby!Chryssalid walking

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dorchadas: (Do you speak Elvish)
I've racked up over 500 hours of Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword at this point, so I figured I should review it. But really...I can't, actually. Of those 500 hours, maybe ~7-8 hours of that is vanilla Civ IV, ~30 hours is the Caveman2Cosmos mod (which is itself really great for a certain type of person)...and all the rest of those 500 hours were playing Fall from Heaven or modded versions of same.

So, what is Fall from Heaven, then? Well, if you didn't click the above link and want me to tell you, I'll sum it up--it had its genesis in the lack of differentiation in religions in the game (eloquently summed up in What If Civilization Had Lyrics? as "Spread your equally-valid religion!"), and then later expanded to included fantasy races, magic, an overhaul of the promotions system that makes unit promotions much more important than in vanilla, a huge expansion of barbarians, including wild animals and monsters, dungeons and ruins to explore, and an Armageddon Counter that ticks up as the game progresses and makes the AI more aggressive, summons the four horsemen, and warps the landscape as Hell starts leaking into the material world.

Also, it looks a bit different:


Look at the villages, or explore the ruined tower?

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