What am I up to lately? Well, I'm off my Zoloft and realizing, once again, that there are a lot more people making computer games than those who know what they're doing. Fortunately, I've a handful of games I'm quite happy to play right now.
- The Binding Of Isaac - It's a game about a naked child fighting back monstrous diabolic viscera by firing his tears at them. It's a cartoonish, dark comedy controversially based on biblical references. It's strangely one of the most addictive games I've ever played. Who would have thought that taking the old Legend of Zelda (for the 1980s original Nintendo, yet) formula, making it a fast-paced shooter, and just randomizing the rooms with a wide amount of content could have made for such a compelling game? There's always a desire to head down into Isaac's basement once more to see what perverse artifacts you will uncover in hopes to transform our helpless protagonist into a new kind of monstrous killing machine, and they just released an expansion that nearly doubled the content in the game (albeit at the cost of making it a bit buggier).
- Darkspore - When I played the Darkspore demo at release, I found it to be a sci-fi Diablo clone that got really old fast because you had to keep retreading the same maps. Yet, for whatever reason, one year and one Steam sale later, I'm having a ball with it. Whether or not Darkspore is better than Diablo 3 is subjective, but most would seem to agree that Darkspore is at least more interesting. It's a very potent combination to be able to robustly customize up to 100 "heroes," each with several unique abilities, and switch between three of them while playing. When the core gameplay is this solid, that you may retread the same maps many times becomes that much less a chore and, besides, the retail version has a lot more maps to retread.
- League of Legends - Though it had been going on since the days of Starcraft, the MOBA - or Multplayer Online Battle Arena - genre is relatively new to me. Having a roster of a number of champions with unique and interesting abilities is something that seems to never get old - perhaps that's the reason why Darkspore did the same. As for League of Legends itself, it's pretty much a serious shot at the Defense of the Ancients genre but, given that this formula is fairly thought provoking, I like to think of it as a bit like a modern form of chess - it's little wonder that major league gaming has paid so much attention to this game.
- Civilization V - The penultimate turn-based strategy game that encompasses all of human civilization itself. Some people say the previous games in the Civilization were deeper, and maybe they're right, but I will say that Civilization V is a really slick and accessible package. One of my favorite parts of playing the game is actually the sound track: a number of majestic classical pieces representative of the various cultures you come in contact with throughout the game.
- The Sims 3 - The Sims 3 is a highly unique kind of game in a market glutted with clones. Imitations have been made, of course, but none have come even close to the technical achievement of the original. If you want to put little computer people through the paces of their virtual lives - perhaps enjoying the mental stimulation of playing house - this is the game to play. (Now if only they'd stop charging so much for expansions and DLC.)
- Dungeons of Dredmor - Dungeons of Dredmor did not invent the roguelike game, but it did make it pretty, accessible, and make it uniquely zany with frequent references to cheese. Interestingly, character generation is simply choosing seven skills out of a few dozen, and the interactions between those skills provide a different game experience. As is standard in this genre, the dungeons themselves are completely randomized. Dungeons of Dredmor seems to get more and more content: skills, monsters, dungeon levels to explore, and more.