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  1. #1
    Network Hub FuriKuri!'s Avatar
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    PC Games you actually keep coming back to

    I remember assembling one of those "Your top games ever" lists awhile back, in this case I think it was a top 25 (so plenty of flexibility there). I'm not going to reproduce it here but after I typed it all up I sat back and looked through the list. Sure the ordering was more-or-less representative of what I felt but I had a nagging feeling that a good chunk of them I would not really be able to recommend to a 'modern' gamer. They may well have been exceptional to me at the time, but were the bad graphics, poor interfaces and general buggyness really palatable any more? When was the last time I had actually played through these? Did I even play through some of these more than once? Really, did they offer anything unique and worthy of attention that had not been surpassed by sequels or later games?

    So I present to you a list of games that I actually find myself playing over and over. Not necessarily every year, but they are all games that offer something unique and in an overall experience that is still enjoyable today.

    1) Incubation: Battle Isle Phase 4 - This has always been something highly unique even in a somewhat sparse genre and was surprising at the time since it really had little in common with the rest of the Battle Isle series. It feels a lot more 'tactical' than other such games, and occaisonally comes close to puzzle territory. A lot of that is born from some highly unique weaponry and enemies and the strengths/weakness of each. This is further enhanced by placing fairly strict limitations on you - ammo is never as plentiful as you'd like and your units never veer into 'super soldier' territory like they do in other games. The graphics and environments suffer from being a bit flat but this is somewhat rescued by having a really great UI - simple, clean and rarely a hindrance. Last replay: currently replaying.

    2) Alpha Centauri - I've only played Civ 5 from the 'main series' of games, but I much prefer the sci-fi flavour of this. The faux historical progression in Civ didn't gel with me and I find that I enjoy the aggressive nature of the planet itself. The different faction ideologies give the background a lot of believable detail whereas those in Civ seemed to be largely irrelevant outside of whatever predisposition you may have from their real namesakes. There's a lot of depth here and the game is extremely flexible to match your style of play. Last replay: 1 year ago.

    3) XCOM Apocalypse - The 'main' three XCOM games all have a soft spot for me but this is the one I return to. This advanced every idea the first two XCOM games had in a very positive direction although to this day I have no idea why this game is graphically so much poorer than the previous games. Alien corruption in the government/corporations of your world became a lot more important and the cityscape and market mechanics made the world feel a lot more real than a few squares and dots on a globe. One thing I really admire this game for is that, as synonymous with the series as it may be, it offered an alternative to turn based combat. And it really worked! So well, in fact, that I can't recall doing a mission in the traditional mode. A great game and the highpoint in the series, although the UI makes me wtf awhile until I get the hang of it again. Last replay: 1 year ago.

    4) Homeworld - There's a timeless beauty with this game which has never quite aged despite how blocky the polygons may appear to modern eyes. The stunning backgrounds and humbling sense of scale have never quite been surpassed even in space games not of this extremely sparse genre. It's quite challenging at times which tends to surprise me on replays, although I'm wise to a fair few tricks now to get around that. Last replay: 3 years ago.

    5) Gridrunner++ - There's a lot to be said for being able to actually play a game within 2 seconds of clicking the icon to launch it (and I mean really playing it, not stuck on some bloody menu). Its extremely simplistic (although intensive) graphics are presented in a small window on your desktop - there's no fullscreen. There's no button to shoot - your ship shoots automatically and you control it with your mouse. It's an absolutely perfect blend of enjoyable manouvering and blasting followed by moments of sheer bastardry as Minter dials up the difficulty. Some levels you'll finish in seconds. Some you'll finish in days. But no matter how many times you may fail you'll come back. Always fun for a quick blast when you need to procrastinate over doing something more important. Last replay: 6 months ago

    Honourable mentions - World of Warcraft, Doom 2, Serious Sam, Minecraft. Tempest 3000 would take the place of Gridrunner (another Minter epic) but it ain't on PC and even if you want to play it the hardware required is rare.

    So what's your addiction?
    Last edited by FuriKuri!; 11-01-2012 at 11:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    The only thing that stopped me from playing Civ4 over and over again was Civ5. Nothing's replaced Alpha Centauri for me, tho, and I still have it installed.

    WoW deserves honorable mention because I went back to it with gusto after a year's hiatus, once, but now that I've kicked the habit, never again.

    As for games that have a disturbing quality of continually being reinstalled, there's also Company of Heroes, SimCity 4 and - believe it or not - Theme Hospital.

    I still have the CDs for Homeworld, Cataclysm and Homeworld 2, but they refuse to play. I'd have reinstalled Syndicate and Syndicate Wars too, but I still can't get them to work on my machine either.
    Last edited by Nalano; 11-01-2012 at 11:44 PM.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Smashbox's Avatar
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    SimCity 4 - Every couple of years I dust it off and build a region from farm-world to city, burbs and outskirts, download dozens of mods and have a blast. Then eventually I get angry about how poorly it's running and Can't Take Any More.

    Absolutely one of my favorite games of all time, though.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node DigitalSignalX's Avatar
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    Homeworld 2, but not since the upgrade from XP to Win7 about a year ago. Every so often I re-install Stalker, mess with some mods, play for a couple of days and then remove it again.
    All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone.

  5. #5
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    Civilization, Trackmania, Deus Ex

  6. #6
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    Alpha Centauri, Mirror's Edge, Knytt Stories, X-Com, the Fallouts.

  7. #7
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    Transport Tycoon
    Diablo 2
    Starcraft (now, increasingly Starcraft 2 has replaced that)
    Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders (best of the Doom era shooters, in my opinion)
    Full Throttle (I've probably played it from beginning to end something like 20 times, probably the most underrated adventure game ever)
    Civilization II and III

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rauten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giaddon View Post
    Knytt Stories
    Surprised to find another person that keeps returning to Knytt every now and then. I don't know what is it about Nifflas' games, I just can't help but love them, and Knytt Stories more than any other (though Saira is a very close second).

    Also Mirror's Edge, Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst, World of Warcraft (though I expect this one I won't play again), Minecraft, Lumines (don't judge me!), -insert current iteration of Civ here-, aaaand I think that's it.

  9. #9
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    Far Cry 2 and STALKER.

  10. #10
    Lesser Hivemind Node Spacewalk's Avatar
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    The games that I keep going back to (although it's more like I take the occasional break from them) from are Quake, Doom/II and whatever games licensed the engine from the latter. Those and bloody Freecell.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    Deus Ex is the obvious one. I must've played it more that a dozen times.
    I actually have Homeworld installed.
    I like to revisit some older games quite often but I love Jedi Outcast. Few Games got the saber and powers so right.
    Max Payne 2 is another game I find myself playing again and again. Pretty much like Sands of Time.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Spacewalk View Post
    ...and bloody Freecell.
    Goddammit.

    There goes the rest of my night.

  13. #13
    Obscure Node
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    The Gates of that man Baldur. Either or both. They're pretty much perfect. Easily more than a thousand hours over the years.

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node DigitalSignalX's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention TF2, off an on for a long while. It's frustrating because I'll join any number of pub servers and quickly get on top of the score card but when I get to a semi private or arena server my ass is immediately handed to me repeatedly as if I had never played before.
    All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalSignalX View Post
    I forgot to mention TF2, off an on for a long while. It's frustrating because I'll join any number of pub servers and quickly get on top of the score card but when I get to a semi private or arena server my ass is immediately handed to me repeatedly as if I had never played before.
    I have a similar relationship with it. I don't play enough to be great, but I've sunk enough hours in and I enjoy it enough to be above average even after a long hiatus. While I genuinely don't care enough to try to get really really good, it can lead to a lot of frustration if I want to get away from the more crowded servers or onto some less popular maps but still feel like I'm a worthwhile part of the team. I've played way too much Turbine and 2Fort, so I can usually hold my own on those maps at least.

    Mostly Push maps never clicked with me, despite being what seems the most popular game-mode. It's a great idea from a design standpoint, but I just don't enjoy it--and because I don't enjoy it as much I don't adapt my play style and then enjoy it less and it's a self-sustaining cycle of distaste.



    In response to the thread proper, I keep coming back to Mirror's Edge. It is the game I have re-installed more than any other completed game. Never for especially long. I'll replay for a week or less and then remove it again. But I've done this quite a lot. I have a similar relationship with Trackmania, though I've never uninstalled it. Until this year, I always installed and played Guildwars for a few weeks at least once a year since I stopped playing regularly. Lastly, Sid Meier's Pirates! (the newer 3D one). I've never played it with any dedication or for any great period of time but it has a way of sneaking back onto my hard drive every time I contemplate replaying older games I genuinely loved when I played them--Neverwinter Nights, Civilization III, and so forth.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tikey View Post
    Deus Ex is the obvious one. I must've played it more that a dozen times.
    I actually have Homeworld installed.
    I like to revisit some older games quite often but I love Jedi Outcast. Few Games got the saber and powers so right.
    Max Payne 2 is another game I find myself playing again and again. Pretty much like Sands of Time.
    Every time I play Outcast or Academy I change my mind about which one I prefer. I'm not really sure. I think Outcast was a better game when considering plot and level design in the mix. But sometimes I'm quite certain I prefer the mechanics of Academy. Oh well. There's something about both of those games. It's funny ... I played the demos a dozen times before finally buying the games. I remember having trouble tracking them down at first and reinstalling them from time to time to get another taste of the saber action. The force powers were allright, but it's the saber combat that really shone. It felt random for a while, but when I got used to it I decided that was a good thing. In online duels and against some of the more unfair enemies in the game it felt like winning was a matter of having slightly better control of something chaotic and unpredictable. Which, for better and worse, makes it feel incredibly real to me however fantastic and clunky the mechanics.

    To be entirely fair, it probably helps that successfully maneuvering scarcely-controlled chaos is my video-game specialty. It's easier to overlook flaws in a game that makes you feel like a winner--deservedly or not.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 12-01-2012 at 04:10 AM.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Fallout. Fallout never changes (its location on my HDD).

  18. #18
    Nice to see that Mirror's Edge is such a common choice. I still boot it up for quick playthrough every once in a while. Nothing quite like slipping on some ambient or edm music and flowing through a couple levels in an afternoon. Although the origignal music is pretty great too.

    I always have Heroes of Might and Magic III installed on whatever computer I have. There's a ton of depth to the game once you get into the nitty gritty stats of the game. The larger maps against higher difficulty AI can also be very challenging. They can almost play like a game of chess, except you pay for the consequences 5 turns later when the enemy shows up on your doorstep. THere's also a huge amount of content out there in the form of user made maps, mods, 2 official expansions and 7 extra stand-alone campaigns.

    I have a copy of HoMM 4 that I still haven't got around to installing, just because I'm not "done" with HoMM 3 yet. And 2 more games after that. I'll still be playing HoMM when I'm in my 80's it seems.

  19. #19
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    it's all downhill after 3, that was the best one. Only other one worth playing is the "tribes of the east" version of homm 5 (don't need original homm 5 to play it)

    Once you're done with 3 I suggest playing King's bounty series

  20. #20
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    Fallouts, OpenTTD, X-Com Apocalypse.

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