Some people collect/watch lots of DVDs. I spend time playing video games. Some are amusing for a short while, some don’t quite hold your attention, and some compel you to continue playing. Here is a list of the games that I found entertaining in 2008, roughly in the chronological order that I started playing them:
* World of Warcraft (PC) (including Burning Crusade) – I succumbed to the worlds biggest time-sink at the end of December last year, and finally got my character to level 70 in mid-November. Are the lands praising my name as a hero emblazoned across all time? No, but they’re happy to get another $15 US out of my VISA each month. Play style: in bursts.
* Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360) – after trying out GTA San Andreas last year and really enjoying it, I wanted more of the same with this Next-Gen successor. Not to mention that I was only borrowing San Andreas. The plot so far in my few hours logged has been riveting, but the gratuitous swearing means I have to keep the volume down around Lola. Play style: lots initially, “I promise I’ll get back to it”
* Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution (Xbox 360) – Turn-based strategy with the goal of global domination. As a long time fan of the PC-based strategy franchise (cumulative playtime on past versions is probably second only to the EA NHL Franchise), I was drawn to this as a slightly simplified console version. It has the right feel of past games, and lets me play from the couch for hours on end instead of at the desk. Play style: can’t play it often because I know each time I start, the living room becomes the War Room for a couple of days straight.
* Boom Blox (Wii) – Initially brought to a party by Chris as a “hey check this out”, the primal urge to “throw stuff at other things” is graciously satisfied in this simplistic yet entertaining game. Play style: casual.
* NHL 09 (Xbox 360) (also NHL 08) – The EA NHL Franchise has stretches of years where I play it a little, and then some where I play it a lot. The more recent HD versions have had some amazing immersion, and great online play, leaving me wanting to play “just one more game” for the most part. Style bonus: playing the Oilers in their retro jerseys. Play style: as much as possible.
* The Orange Box (PC) (specifically Portal and Team Fortress 2) – Portal: Shoot a hole somewhere (like a wall or the floor), then shoot another hole somewhere else (perhaps on the ceiling). Whatever you put in one hole comes out the other hole. The puzzle based results definitely tickle something in the “challenge me” portion of the brain. Team Fortress 2: an eternal first person shooter struggle between the forces of red and blu, with cartoonish and lighthearted art direction. Even though I don’t last very long in a given round, the short gameplay cycles make it easy to pick up, put down, and then pick up again. Play style: the occasional evening.
* Spore (PC) – I have purchased the game, but have not installed it yet since I think I will want to play it more than I have the time for at the moment. But thinking about it counts, right?