Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
I don’t do strategy games. And yet, I love Ground Control! That’s likely because it gets rid of absolutely everything that makes strategy so unbearably tedious – resource gathering, resource management, graphs, paperwork, tax returns – and just focuses on controlling your limited gathering of bang-machines to fight for territory on the planet Krig 7-B.
The result was a game that was super-fun action, and at the time (2000), featured graphics that caused your eyes to well up. Not bad for a group of recent graduates operating out of the arse-end of nowhere in Sweden. (It really was – sorry residents of Ronneby – I visited them during development and we had to fly there in a ten-seater prop-plane. The pilot would turn around and ask people where they wanted him to land. It was a cloud-bus. The airfield we landed in had a man sat on a fold-out chair for its customs.) (Although I suppose if you look at Sweden, Stockholm is actually in its arse.)
It forced a big oaf like me to embrace tactical combat, rather than just tank-rush-and-hoping, which was quite an achievement. And it’s still fun now. Developers Massive Entertainment went on to make not only Ground Control II, but also the amazing World In Conflict, before then sadly becoming Ubisoft Massive, and as such have been stuck doing bit-work on their major franchises, which is a real shame. However, they do seem to be taking the lead on The Division, so that’s good.