I just recently ordered a netbook for myself, an Acer Aspire One 522 , mainly as a way of taking notes in lectures and typing up work on the lengthy daily commute (1.5 hours each way three days a week). Playing games on it is a distant third.
I don't expect it to play anything from the past couple years but so long as it'll play Civ IV and maybe Fantasy Wars/Elven Legacy I'll be happy. But I was wondering if anyone with a similar netbook can make some recommendations for games. Given the lack of a mouse I have no real expectation of playing shooters or micro heavy stratedgy games.
A few points
1) The netbook doesn't have a disc drive so any game should be available online.
2) The screen resolution is 1024x720 (which I believe is just enough to support Civ IV)
3) The whole reason I got a netbook was to travel light. So no games that need peripherals like a mouse.
4) The trains don't always have Wi-fi (because apparently trains travel backwards in time) so no MMOs or games which need to "phone home".
Heres a couple videos I found of the 522 playing games for reference regarding specs.
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. Keep them coming.
For anyone else interested I'll be making a list of all the games I test and how they performed.
Age of Wonders- Shadow Magic This seems to suffer serious lag at 1024x720 so I have to play in a 800x600 letterbox.
Civilization 4 (including add-ons/mods) I'm pleased to say this worked great. Bit of a slow loader on the largest maps (about 2 minutes for the Super Huge debug scenario) but the AI turns pass quickly (<20 seconds) and the interface suits a touchpad. However, if your vertical resolution is less than 720 you'll need to do some ini tweaking. It also looks lovely on the small screen.
Company of Heroes Freezes for minutes at a time.
Defense Grid Runs great but reliant on timing so I think a mouse is probably required.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Plays but with unplayable lag.
Dragon Age: Origins Runs great albeit with long load times.
Elder Scrolls III Morrowind Runs smoothly even with some of the graphical mods enabled. Also it's dice based combat means accurate mouse work isn't neccesary. So long as you can vaguely face towards your opponent you can win a fight.
Flatout Works surprisingly smoothly albeit with all the Physx stuff disabled. Sadly the Physx stuff is about half the game.
Frozen Synapse Bit of lag but nothing serious. The main problem is that it requires very precise mousework. Something a touchpad doesn't handle well.
Half Life 2 Works great but unplayable on a touch pad.
Irukandji Serious lag from all the particles and no graphical options I can find
Jagged Aliance 2 Works great.
Limbo Serious lag issues and input delay. Unplayable IMO.
Mass Effect Runs OK but with lengthy load times and some lag
Medieval Total War 2 Won't run due to unspecified error. Not sure whether thats due to hardware or not.
Neverwinter Nights 2 With shadows turned off it runs buttersmooth. With shadows on its a full second delay between button press and action. So do not play with shadows on.
Night Sky This works great.
Orcs Must Die Runs well but really needs a mouse to be playable.
Portal 2 Perfectly playable but occasional stuttering on physx intensive set pieces.
PSX (Playstation Emulater) This works great.
Rayman Forever works great albeit after some tweaking. There is some definite audio stutter during loading but the gameplay is super smooth and the style is pretty well suited to a keyboard.
Rayman Origins Plays super smooth and looks absolutely gorgeous.
Rome Total War This works suprisingly smoothly at upper medium settings at 1280x720. The ability to pause and queue up orders as well as FPS camera controls make this well suited to a track pad. Strangely the graphics are noticably worse on the campaign map and look very blurry even with AA. The battles though are pin sharp.
Shogun Total War 2 This runs surprisingly. Unsurprisingly it's unplayable with single digit framerates, ten minute load times and hang ups in unexpected places.
Space Chem This works great.
Startopia This works greats. Special mention goes to the camera panel (a little trackball you can use to control the camera) which works well on a netbook touch pad.
Super Meat Boy This works great.
Victoria Does not work, requires a minimum resolution of 1024x768.
Torchlight A 15 second delay on entering an area as it loads geometry but once loaded it's smooth. Unplayable with a touch pad though.
Unity of Command Works great
Viva Pinata Won't load, insufficient RAM.
Yourself!Fitness Runs well though you'll need to play in 800x600. Great for a work out if you're staying at a hotel and don't want to jog through a strange city in lycra pants.
Znes(Super Nintendo Emulator) This works great
A good reference for netbooks is also available here.