June 2, 2010

THE LIST: Five Rewarding Games You Spent Only a Little Time With

This week's THE LIST comes in from Kevin:

Wording isn't perfect, but something like "Five games that you put very little time into, but got a lot out of." Since we normally qualify our enjoyment of games with having put a lot (time, energy, problem-solving acumen) into them, how about the opposite. What are some games that left you perfectly content with one quick play-through, games which were memorable even though you only ever spent 5 hours total playing them, or games that stuck with you despite only playing with friends a few times?

Keep up the work!


Thanks, Kevin. Keep doing the work for us!

1 comment:

judicialfiat said...

It's tough to recall even five games since, by definition, I'd have only played them a handful of times. It's also liable to make me feel terribly guilty for having given so little time to games with impacts so disproportionate to the time that I (the gaming dilettante) have spent with them them. Hopefully, listing them in public will shame me into revisiting a few.

1.) Captain Forever. Man, this game is fun. And surprisingly strategic. And glowy, too. I only dabbled in the free-to-play version, spending a handful of hours in boring lectures searching for increasingly-purple chunks to add to my misshapen block of neon death.

2.) Osmos. It helps that I love ambient music, but the gameplay is really the centerpiece. I only managed to finish a few levels (even though I bought the full version), but the drastic change in perspective that occurs in the course of a single game--from tiny, hunted microbe to massive, devouring super-microbe--really left an impression. Osmos teaches patience and encourages a pace of play that's often rewarded in other games, but rarely asked for so explicitly.

3.) Knytt. It helps that I see echoes of Knytt in nearly every side-scrolling cave exploration browser-based game since its release, but I'm often reminded of the long periods Knytt spends exploring the barren tunnels of a foreign planet. Mood is Knytt's greatest strength.

4.) Ultima Underworld. I never owned this game. An unfortunate friend whose father worked in IT (and had a grossly overpowered home PC in the mid 90s) was, instead, the victim of a constant barrage of sleepover requests. I'd been a Choose Your Own Adventure nerd for years, but Ultima Underworld was the first game to convince me that I could get the same caliber of interactive, fictional worlds from the computer.

5.) Bionic Commando. I rented the game twice from the local video store, but I was so confused by the process for obtaining an item necessary to move beyond the second level that I never progressed far. Instead, I spent all of my time grappling around the first two levels, finding creative ways to kill the endless grunts and just enjoying the feeling of freedom that came with the grappling mechanic. It's since been imitated and improved on in several open world games, but that first grapple is still my most memorable.