Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
2001’s Battle For Dune was the first time I remember being consciously nostalgic about games. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Dune 2001
RPS Feature And seven runners-up too
Books! They’re like films without pictures, or games that are all cutscene. Old people and hipsters really like them, teenagers think they’re like totally lame, and quite frankly we should all read more of them. There are countless games inspired by books – most especially Tolkien, Lovecraft and early Dungeons & Dragon fiction – but surprisingly few games based directly on books. Even fewer good ones.
Perhaps one of the reasons for that is that a game can, in theory, cleave closer to what a book does than a film can – with their length and their word counts, their dozens of characters and in some cases even their own in-game books, they can to some degree do the job of a novel. They don’t need to be based on books – and often they can do so much more, thanks to the great promise of non-linearity. Of course, the real reason for the dearth is that novels are so rarely the massive business a movie is these days. You might get a forlorn Hunger Games tie-in here and there, but suited people in gleaming office blocks just aren’t going to commission an adaptation of the latest Magnus Mills tale, more’s the pity.
I suspect that, over time, we’ll see the non-corporate side of games development increasingly homage the written word, but for now, these ten games (and seven honourable mentions) are, as far as I’m concerned, the best, and most landmark, results of page-to-pixel adaptation to date.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
I spent a few hours playing Dune Legacy, a fan-made remake – well, more modernisation than remake – in work time a while back, couldn’t think of a great excuse to write about it then felt horribly guilty. Now I have an excuse! If you’ve long wished to revisit Dune II: Battle For Arrakis, the beloved grandparent of the RTS as we know it, but feared its archaic nature and appearance would break your heart, Dune Legacy is the answer.
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When in company I want to impress, I’ll always reach for X-COM as the definitive game that made me. When I’m feeling a little less self-conscious, I’ll admit that really it’s the less celebral but no less landmark proto-C&C Dune II: The Battle For Arrakis. (I’m told it was called Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty in the US. I just can’t tell you how outlandishly wrong that sounds. Dynasty? Who cares about my legacy and offspring – I just want the Spice). I played each of its three campaigns multiple times, I drew ornithopters everywhere, I told my confused parents wild stories about sandworms and Fremen over dinner. No-one cared. I was alone in it. If only Dune Legacy had been around then – a fan remake/makeover of the seminal RTS, which has just added LAN and online multiplayer. Ooh, fancy a bit of that.
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Young people. Good grief. Your ignorance is as plain as those spots on your greasy face. Don’t you know anything? Can’t you be bothered to learn anything? Did you even read the words of esteemed colleagues Rossignol, Walker and Smith detailing the first three parts of this Olympian list of The Most Important PC Games Of All Time? I am quite sure that I, Deacon Meer, am wasting my time attempting to impart my own wisdom on this matter to your feckless minds, as is Intel’s AppUp developer program for having the consideration and grace to so thoughtfully sponsor this series. You’re probably all too busy fiddling with your genitals and snorting heroin at one of those ‘rave parties’ I hear young people go to every night. I shall say my piece regardless.
Sit down, shut up, listen >>
One of my quiet gaming obsessions is the concept of missing links. We all know the mainstream history of gaming (You know – the first RTS being Dune 2). Many of us will know the critical consensus-history of gaming (You know – the first RTS being the Megadrive’s Herzog Zwei). What interests me is the stuff both of those history leaves out – you know, what they’re forgetting about in order to make a simplified neater history. In that case, I dare say you can trace the RTS further back than Herzog Zwei if you like. At the least, you need to bring – say – Populous into the consideration. Sure, it doesn’t play in a way akin to how the genre gentrified… but neither, really, does Herzog Zwei.
Not in a trainspottery High-Fidelity-records-collector way. Well… at least not MOSTLY like that. But in a interest in how gloriously tangled the rainforest floor of gaming is.
Anyway – enough set up. On with 1991’s proto-First-person shooter Robocop 3’s awesome ED-209s!