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What Games Have Actually Affected You? 1557

FortKnox asks: "What games have affected you simply by playing them? What games immersed you so well into its environment that you actually felt different after playing it? For me, I'd have to go with System Shock 2. Basically the predecessor to Deus Ex, it was the only game that made me so afraid that the minute I heard a matron mother, I turned the other way and ran. What game scared you to death, or made you think after playing it?"
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What Games Have Actually Affected You?

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  • Duke3D (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Verteiron ( 224042 ) * on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:33PM (#5875359) Homepage
    The first time I encountered one of those floating brain things in Duke Nukem 3D I nearly peed myself. Those things made the creepiest noises, did massive damage, and completely freaked me out the first time I saw one (after it snuck up behind me, underwater).

    As for a game that affected me emotionally, I'd have to say Final Fantasy 4 (2 in the US). The storyline was so deep that, even with the terrible translation that Square inflicted on it, the pain of the characters showed through.
  • Unreal (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:34PM (#5875364)
    A few minutes into Unreal, there's a cooridor you get trapped in and the lights start going off down the hall, closer and closer. Finally you're left in complete darkness and some monster came out of a hidden area, RAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWRRRRR and it just scared the living crap out of me!!
  • Doom (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geeber ( 520231 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:34PM (#5875371)
    Doom. Definately Doom. First truly immersive 3d shooter. Those dark areas and shuffling noises scared the bejesus out of me.

    And there was nothing worse than turning a corner and confronting a demon unexpectedly
  • Total Annihilation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PitViper401 ( 619163 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:34PM (#5875372) Journal
    Without a doubt, TA has made me spend a lot more time thinking about the best way to slaughter an army than any other game.
  • Civilisation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jim the Bad ( 192095 ) <JimTheBad.NtlWorld@com> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:34PM (#5875373) Homepage
    ...for giving me an interest in history and geography.
  • Unreal Tournament.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:35PM (#5875379) Homepage
    This game came very close to making me fail Fluid Dynamics A.

    As it was the game stopped working due to a Direct X foobar a week before my finals and I didn't have the inclination to reinstall. So, thank you Gates/Balmer for my 81%!

    OTOH as far as great games goes, I think Dungeon Keeper wins every time. I played that one for about 60 hours straight until I fell asleep at my desk. Ahh, what great days.
  • The game that affected me the most was Wolfenstein 3D. I was 7 at the time, and somehow it had appeared on my computer (I guess my dad went out, bought it, and installed it). I figured out the directory where it was stored and played it (this was back on my 386). Never has a game scared me so much. I wasn't even allowed to see PG movies, let alone Nazis and guard dogs and mutants spewing crimson gore! I was mightily afraid of the game, but at the same time, couldn't stop playing it. It taught me an interest in the Nazis and World War II that I would never have acquired otherwise. And I had nightmares for years on end ... walking through hallways armed only with a pistol ... and then I turn around and a Nazi with a machine gun is shooting at me!! Newer FPS's with more realistic graphics don't scare me as much ... for me, the one and only horror game will always be Wolfenstein 3D.
  • by mgmartin ( 580921 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:36PM (#5875384)
    Playing Halo late at night by myself with the surround cranked up had me seeing the invisible monsters in my dreams.
  • Re:Doom (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oever ( 233119 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:38PM (#5875409) Homepage
    I built my house in doom and played until deep inthe night with roommates. Even away from the computer and walking around in the real house, the slightest sound would keep me alert for attackers.
  • Scorched Earth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roachmotel3 ( 543872 ) <{moc.hcaorasi} {ta} {luap}> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:39PM (#5875419)
    Scorched Earth, and it's descendants such as Pocket Tanks. We still play it fanatically at work now. In fact, we're gonna have pocket tanks brackets set up this week for a quick tourney.

    It's deceptively easy, only angle and power adjustments, but the weapon choices add an intense degree of strategy, and the simpleness of the game makes it available to everyone.

    Easily one of my biggest time hogs ever ;)
  • Re:Doom (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:41PM (#5875435) Homepage
    Worst was that hidden area on...hmm...was it the 2nd level? With the darkness full of demons and all those twisty little corners.

    And of course, the images that flashed before your eyes when you closed your eyes and tried to go to sleep were kind of scary too.
  • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gudlyf ( 544445 ) <> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:41PM (#5875438) Homepage Journal
    Actually, that's not as "funny" as it seems. Back about a year after War Games was released and my personal computer was an Apple //e, a strange package came in the mail for me form a company I had never heard of. Inside was just a commercial-labled floppy with the title "Global Termonuclear War". So of course, being the geek I was/am, and having seen War Games a few times already, I plopped it in and loaded 'er up. I must say my friends and I were pretty freaked out at the realism at the time of this game -- I recall one friend checking to make sure our modem connection was disconnected in case this floppy wasn't so innocent.

    Of course, now I look back and am embarassed at our reaction, but it did freak us out at the time. Not so sure it affected me forever or anything.

  • The countdown... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:42PM (#5875451) Journal
    Well not a countdown. Just a list.

    1) DOOM. Nightmares after playing it for 11 hour straight, the day the shareware images were first released. The dark images, the flickering lights in the station, the SOUNDS!

    2) DOOM II. Driving out of town for a holiday in the mountains, I saw a sign advertising a "Sale today on chainsaws!" Instantly I thought, "Damn, I've been looking for a chainsaw for days. Should I..." and then realised that I'd been looking for a chainsaw in the game.

    3) System Shock. The updated original, on CD, with voices. Shodan was NEVER so scary! Oh man, the nights I lay awake, wired on adrenaline and fear. That changed my life, because it nearly cost me my job.

    4) Grim Fandango. Never have I been so wrapped up in the characters in a game. Never. Ever. I just about cried in at least three different spots.
  • Deus Ex, by far... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by metatruk ( 315048 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:42PM (#5875458)
    I have to say that I am a *huge* fan of the game Deus Ex. That game includes some incredible storytelling. I can play the game over and over again, and each time I do, I find something new. The creators of that game really spent a lot of time paying attention to detail. Truly an incredible game.

    Hopefully the Invisible War will be out soon. I will buy it as soon as it does :-)
    And if that game doesn't run on WineX like Deus Ex does, I will even go so far as to install Windows on my machine. Yes, that is how much this means to me...
  • Doom. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KiranWolf ( 635591 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:43PM (#5875465) Homepage
    That's easy: Doom. I got Doom when I was like 13 years old, and it glued me to our family's computer at the time. I played it for hours and hours, and after I had had enough of playing it, I downloaded WADs and hacks and played them, too. After I got bored with those, I started designing my own WADs. When id released the source code, I had just turned 16 and was still crazy for the game. It immediately made me want to learn to program. I learned programming and generally messed around with the game, making cute little changes and addons. I will graduate next year with a degree in Software Engineering. I blame Doom for my fascination with programming and designing games and for showing me the wonderful things I could do. And yes, I still play Doom and still mess with the sourcecode. I can't wait for Doom3. :)
  • Star Control 2 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Orcspit ( 600792 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:44PM (#5875468)
    I have never been so engrossed in a game since. This was all I played for months, and also probably one of the hardest games I have ever played. To this day I still use little refrences from this game in my daily life. *Enjoy the Sauce!* 0rcspit
  • Re:Duke3D (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MoOsEb0y ( 2177 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:44PM (#5875475)
    Those things scared the hell outta me too. I think the only thing that was worse, was the floating brain creatures in Ultima Underworld 2. They're basically the same thing, but you usually see them in the ethereal void where it look like one giant LSD trip or something. Yeah. Don't do drugs.
  • by euxneks ( 516538 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:50PM (#5875530)
    It's got to be Ico. That game just totally set the bar for emotion. I can't even play it I'm so afraid of losing the princess to the shadow beasts. It's a gorgeous game with great atmosphere. Another one would have to be the first Tomb Raider. When you first meet those wolves and the music gets all fast paced and energized, it really gets your blood pumping.
  • Simple puzzle game (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blonde rser ( 253047 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:50PM (#5875531) Homepage
    Just this simple puzzle [] that I found online. Maybe this doesn't qualify as a video game but it is cool because it seems like just a simple picture but if you stare at it long enough you realize there is something wrong with it. And once you realize what is wrong you're left thinking about it for a long time. As interesting as a lot of video games.
  • Grim Fandango (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:54PM (#5875573) Journal
    I've never cared about characters half as much as in that game. About once every six months, I replay the game just like rereading a favorite book. It's inspired me to go out and read up on Mexican religion and mythology.

    The Tex Murphy games (Under a Killing Moon, etc.) were in the same category, although not quite so honest as GF.
  • Re:GTA3, for one... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ByteMangler_242 ( 618623 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:54PM (#5875574)
    I have had the same urge, also the "empty intersection but it's red" syndrome.
    But what really made me back off was an incident involving a cop car. I was returning a video to the store, and the cop car is outside, running to keep it warm in the January cold. First bad thought: Does the cop have two sets of keys? Second bad thought: If he has only one set, the door is unlocked, and he can't see the car from his angle inside. Third bad thought: Hit Triangle button in real life.
    I could deal with the red light running instinct, the pedestrian hitting fantasies, but cop-car jacking was a bit much to handle. I play Vice City in small bursts now, but no marathon sessions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:55PM (#5875578)
    About 5 years ago I was playing through Quake 1, and I'd gone all the way through it on Easy skill. Then I decided to go through on harder. A Shambler appeared and growled. He wasnt on the Easy version, and it scared me silly. I had to turn it off and go to bed, after my heart stopped racing.

    The other game, American McGee's Alice, has those nasty Nightmare Spiders. They run fast and jump at you, and bite you and poison you. The screen turns green and brown and black and a weird dark face pattern kinda shows up. I have a natural fear of spiders, and that really got me good. I still can't fight those things myself. I have to run away as fast as I can and throw the Diabolical Dice and let the demon fight them. :)
  • by The Unabageler ( 669502 ) <josh.3io@com> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:57PM (#5875598) Homepage
    king's quest, space quest, hero's quest (and quest for glory), and police quest. Nothing beat that part in space quest where you had to type 'shoot robot' before you walked across the screen so you wouldn't get shot while trying to destroy the reactor. All those point-and-click fancy graphics leave nothing to the imagination. Hell, I still enjoy firing up zork or the old hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy game.
  • Planescape: Torment (Score:2, Interesting)

    by opaqueice ( 602509 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:58PM (#5875605)
    "What is the nature of a man?"

    For some reason, that game really got into my head. I dreamed about it for weeks after I finished it, and every now and then that line will suddenly pop into my mind, a year or more later. Kind of makes you wonder what effect these games have on our unconscious.....

  • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bedouin ( 248624 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:58PM (#5875610)
    Inside was just a commercial-labled floppy with the title "Global Termonuclear War".

    Anyone happen to know if there's a disk image of this floating around on the Internet somewhere? Would love to check it out.
  • Re:Civilisation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sgt_sloth ( 638201 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:01PM (#5875631)
    I second that, and also want to say that some of the game mechanics influenced my thoughts about history and technological development. For example, starting off geographically isolated (i.e. on a small island) with no other civs to trade technologies with is a sure fire recipe for falling behind.

    If you look at actual history, though, you can use this game mechanic to explain why certain real-world civilizations were also technologically primitive without resorting to un-PC speculation about inherent cultural/intellectual inferiority. For example, both New World Indians (no wheel, no metallurgy) and sub-Saharan Africans (no writing) were technologically backwards b/c they were isolated from the technology swapping that was going on between the various Eurasian civilizations.

  • FF7 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Transcendent ( 204992 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:02PM (#5875637)
    Although I have never played the final fantasy games prior, I have to say that FF7 definately changed my opinion of gaming in general.

    At first glance, I thought that the entire game would revolve around cloud taggin along with avelanche and blowing up the reactors.... eventually taking down the evil shinra. This made it seem like any other boring game that i've played without a real plot. But... the dynamics that ensued in the story line as i played along captivated me for the 40+ hours it took me to finish the game (and the multiple times I've played it all the way through as well) held me through the battles to find and against Sepiroth, Jenova, and all the other bosses throughout the game untill the final encounter... and I only wanted more...

    Although some people dislike it, others love it, FF7 opened my eyes into a whole new line of story telling and interactive gaming. From it's subtle love story, dynamic plot twists, countless side games, hidden pasts of every character... I could pick it up right now and be fully entertained and satisfied from the first cinematic sequence to the very end and back again.
  • Re:Half Life (Score:2, Interesting)

    by phyrestang ( 638793 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:04PM (#5875652) Homepage
    Oh, and then there is my current favorite "Steel Battalion" for xbox.

    For those that have never heard of it, it is a mech game that comes with this HUGE 4 part controller. 40 buttons, 2 joysticks, 1 shifter, 3 foot pedals, gidgets and gadgets all over.

    It completely immerses you in the game, you control every aspect of it. It has changed my outlook on console gaming
  • by sgtsanity ( 568914 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:05PM (#5875657)

    Deus Ex was an unbelievably good game. And it affected me a lot, some in good ways, some in bad. Suprisingly enough, it helped exercise my problem solving skills a lot. I also now unconsciously look for ventilation ducts everywhere I go.

    It also raises some interesting questions about how much power a government should have. It includes a government that has imposed strict military control after a terrorist organization called the NSF played out a series of terrorist attacks. I don't want to spoil it by saying what's revealed past the first mission, but regardless, it scarily predicted a lot of the government's response to the terrorist attacks on New York.

    The only people who I've met that haven't liked Deus Ex either haven't played past the first mission (which is IMHO the worst in the entire game) or haven't found a playing style that suits them yet (I personally became a Trinity/stealth-ninja/sniper).

  • Super Mario Bros. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by paroneayea ( 642895 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:06PM (#5875662) Homepage
    Okay, I know that might sound odd, but it's true... Super Mario Bros. has affected me more than... well most anything else in my life. Growing up as a kid who had difficulty dealing with normal schedules, life, etc., I ended up feeling like I couldn't succeed at anything. At this game, I got really good. Fantastic, even. I was able to beat all my friends. And I learned to keep going, to try and succeed no matter how hard the task was that lay ahead of me. At six years old, this was a big thing for me. Without it, I may not have ever gained the confidence that later on helped me make it through college. Yes, it sounds odd. But Mario made all the difference for me, and my life. Yet, ironically, many people still criticize video games as "good for nothing wastes of a kid's time." Needless to say, I hold a very different opinion. And I still play Super Mario Bros. games to this day.
  • Planescape: Torment (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Thunderhead ( 32297 ) <{thunderhead} {at} {}> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:08PM (#5875688)
    "What can change the nature of a man?"

    That's the fundamental question behind Planescape: Torment, and the clue that most ties the game together. And the game doesn't let you take the easy answers (love, hate, death). The REAL answer is chilling and unexpected and will leave you thinking for days.

    The game's narrative is mindbending in a number of ways. To begin with, you play an immortal amnesiac who is following the trail of breadcrumbs he left for himself in case he should die and lose his memory, again. You meet people who know you and know things about you (which neither the player or the character know or remember), you live in a place where belief affects reality and everyone keeps secrets, some of which are revealed in the most inopportune moments....

    There's one riddle/story that has stuck in my head from the game. Paraphrasing:

    "You come to your senses, sitting on a sidewalk under a bright noon sun. You can't remember how you got here or what you should be doing. Looking around, everything seems as it should.... but you have a nagging feeling that it shouldn't be that way. Then you see me, smiling, holding out a hand.

    Then I say, That was your second wish."
  • by jpsowin ( 325530 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:13PM (#5875726) Homepage
    For some reason I've always enjoyed playing (even to this day) Chronotrigger and Final Fantasy 3. The music is incredible (especially for SNES!), and the story lines are well-thought out. I still have Snes9x so I can play Chronotrigger. It's great for reliving stress and just to get away sometimes. You don't find those kind of games anymore (IMHO).
  • by Motherfucking Shit ( 636021 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:17PM (#5875764) Journal
    Want to talk about games which have really, really "affected me?" There's only one, and that's Ultima Online.

    I spent three years of my life in a state of amazing addiction to that game. For two of those three years, I was playing UO 12+ hours a day. Weekdays, I'd wake up at 10AM, go to class, come home at 2PM and spend an hour or two on homework. Then I'd login to UO, and I wouldn't stop playing until the servers went down at 5AM. If something happened to my main server before it was supposed to go down, I'd usually go to bed early. I was literally scheduling my sleep every day around Ultima Online.

    Weekends I occasionally made my "off days" from the game, where I actually had some semblance of a social life, because on weekends there were more people logged in (adding to the lag/crowding problem). I thought of weekends that way, too - as "off days" - like one might think of having a day off from work. The game itself was a lot of work, though I enjoyed every bit of it. And, towards the end, it paid like work too. I was selling various in-game items on eBay here and there. Not enough for a living, but at the time, I had enough income and savings that I could afford to take 2 classes then sit around playing an MMORPG all day long.

    If I still had the comfortable income (back then I was running some websites which were doing wonderfully until the economy went into the shitter) I'd probably still be playing 12+ hours a day. As it turns out, I sold my UO accounts almost a year ago. I created another one when the latest expansion, Age of Shadows, was released... But I haven't played in a month or more due to lack of time. I still pay to keep the account active, though; once every now and then I'm able to login for an hour and have a bit of fun.

    When it comes to games affecting me, UO was it. Not just affected but totally consumed - it doesn't get any [better|worse] than that.

    I miss the old days. Gaming all day was cool, working all day sucks!
  • ER and UO (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rexguo ( 555504 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:19PM (#5875774) Homepage
    There was once this Emergency Room game thats a doctor and surgeon simulator. I discovered my dormant sadism one day when I decided to poke a needle into the eye of a patient during an outpatient examination. The needle really was meant for testing skin sensation but the designers actually thought of that as they put in the most horrific, and loudest, screaming sound of a person having his eye pierced. Later, I found myself demonstrating the ritual to every friend that came to my house.

    But, for the game that really affected me was Ultima Online. I played for a year during its first year, and again after 3 years break. The richness of experience, as a side-effect of such a multi-player game, is beyond what the box advertised. You can make real friends and enemies in the game. You observe and realise the extent of human behaviour. You see people play out their deepest fantasy which is otherwise hidden in the real world. You will find good leaders, honorable PKs, blue PKs, pure scumbags, worthless griefers, enterprising businessmen, the most determined thieves, clueless crybabies, social parasites, and highly organised mobsters, like the red guild 'Ragnarok' at the Formosa (Taiwan) shard I play in.

    And when I stop playing for awhile, I miss my online friends. Nevermind the crappy graphics, sound, lag and bugs. The original vision of the designers withstood the test of time. You can probably even call it the Last Oldskool game.
  • by rgoer ( 521471 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:22PM (#5875796)
    Ico is, without question, the single greatest gaming experience I have had. Says David Smith in his review [] for []:
    Ico is a bit of a difficult study. Well, honestly, why beat around the bush? This is the damnedest game to come down the pike in a long while, and not just in the Buchigire Kongou/Drum Mania "ain't that goofy?" sense. In gameplay terms, it is an extremely simple piece of work. On the most basic level, the challenge is just to move from point A to point B, overcoming the inanimate obstacles in between. As an experience, though, it's almost impossible to describe.

    Ico is short, Ico is quiet, and Ico is in fact nearly incomprehensible. It has an action quotient very close to zero. It has a story, but you see and hear only tiny hints and snatches, spending most of the game on one side of an impenetrable language barrier. So what is there to actually recommend this game, given that I do recommend it almost without reservation? The experience.

    The feeling of simply being in the world that Ico creates is one of the most fascinating things I've ever seen in a videogame. The visuals, sound, and original puzzle design come together to make something that is almost, if not quite, completely unlike anything else on the market, and feels wonderful because of it. The sensation is like a very strange dream -- a little frightening, a little beautiful, intriguing throughout -- and its only main problem is the same one all dreams suffer from. It's over a good deal sooner than you might like.
    The Ico team of developers made absolutely sure that every aspect of the Ico experience contributed to the atmospheric oneness of the game, as a whole.

    Besides the simple elegance of the premise (a young boy with horns guides a strangely beautiful girl out of an enormous labyrinthian castle as shadowy abstractions of evil attempt to abduct her at every turn), the designers have managed to turn a very linear quest into something much more rewarding: they have created an emotional glimpse into a rich, complete (yet completely foreign), beautiful world. If you manage to get your hands on a copy [] of this now-classic title for the Playstation 2, you'll understand my words the first time you pan the camera around with the right analog stick and see, off in the distance, a part of this gargantuan castle you visited hours before. The sense of scale and of environment are nigh indescribable.
  • Re:Mind Walker (Score:1, Interesting)

    by He Schutze He Scores ( 607680 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:23PM (#5875799) Homepage
    OMG I still have a boxed copy of Mindwalker. I could never get it to work when I had WB2.04, and
    I never tried it on my A4000/040. I remember just watching the pulsating brain, trying to figure out why the controls were not working...

    I almost cried when Floyd died saving you from the mutants in Planetfall. There. It's out in the open now. Happy?

  • civiii (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:23PM (#5875800) Homepage Journal
    civilization iii

    completely immersive obsessive compulsive gameplay.

    the "just one more round" effect is frightening in its power.

    there is nothing quite like staying up like 36 hours straight, completely forgetting your real life, micromanaging a little empire.

    then you try to sleep, and you find yourself dreaming in geography and little combat units.

  • Super Mario 64 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BTWR ( 540147 ) <americangibor3&yahoo,com> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:24PM (#5875811) Homepage Journal
    It may be just a personal reaction....

    But when I saw Super Mario 3 on NES, I thought "Wow! What a great improvement on the original SMB!"

    When I saw SMB4 (Super Mario World on SNES) I thought "Wow! This is like Mario 3... supercharged!"

    But the first time I saw Super Mario 64, it simpl BLEW me away. Total 3-d environment. it was not "the next step" in the mario games. it was an entirely new experience.

    SM64 is a game that both singlehandidly defined the 3-d platform genre AND got it perfect the first time around!
  • by Ryan Amos ( 16972 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:25PM (#5875819)
    I used to be a huge fan of Final Fantasy, but recently Square has just run out of ideas. FFX was the first decent FF game in a while and even it wasn't all that great. FFXI is just another EverQuest clone, and supposedly not a very good one at that (which is why Square was in no rush to bring it out over here.) I'm looking forward to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the first Tactics was one of if not the best Final Fantasy game ever. Oh well, I guess video games will never be as cool as I remember. Least I still have the old ones. :)
  • by russellh ( 547685 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:26PM (#5875823) Homepage
    Yeah, but that didn't hold a candle to the original CW on the Apple ][, for me anyway, probably because by the time Wolf 3D came out, I already understood the way video games all work. Wolfenstein on the Apple // was sufficiently different than other games - being held up at gunpoint or being able to hold them up at gunpoint, having to find a uniform, a bulletproof vest, etc. When the SS got on your trail (after having shot some poor sod) you were in for some scary moments. It was the only game that really made me jump, other than Marathon years later.

    The only other games that mattered to me were Ultima II, IV, V.

  • by RiscIt ( 95258 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:30PM (#5875851) Homepage Journal

    haven't played past the first mission (which is IMHO the worst in the entire game)

    I wouldn't call it the worst... but it is definitly a stumbling block for most newbies. It's the hardest of the first 1/4 of the game, and it forces the player to rethink their traditional playing style.

    Once you get past it tho, you're hooked.
  • The short list... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dswensen ( 252552 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:31PM (#5875861) Homepage
    Most of the games that really get under my skin are in the 3d shooter category (some spoilers):

    Quake -- I thought it was just another 3rd person shooter, albeit with better graphics. Then the Fiend leaped at me for the first time, and I yelped and nearly threw my mouse across the room. I got killed -- but it was worth it for the adrenaline rush.

    Thief -- During the haunted monastery episode, while I was watching an in-game "cut scene," one of the undead Hammers snuck up behind me. Just by coincidence I happened to turn around just in time to see a six-foot skeleton swinging his weapon at my head. I nearly had a heart attack and spent the rest of the game deathly afraid of those things. When the sequel came out, and I found myself trapped in a basement with one of those things, I said "forget it," and just stopped playing.

    System Shock (the original) -- still one of the most cinematic games in history, IMHO. Best scene in any game ever: I finally set the station to self-destruct, and fought my way to the escape pod... then, just as the countdown is about to reach 0 to launch and I am breathing easy... the countdown stops and Shodan appears on the screen. "You're not leaving!" Oh, hell. I didn't know whether to laugh or scream -- as I recall, I did both.

    Half-Life - though the game is excellent throughout, I think it has the best opening in video game history. Walking through the Black Mesa installation, causing the "resonance cascade scenario," then running back through the same installation, except this time it's trashed and all the scientists and security guards you were talking to are dead... fantastic. That, and the huge monster running after you through the parking garage, tipping over SUVs as it charges... breathtaking. There are so many great moments in that game. I can't wait for the sequel.

    Alien DOOM Full Conversion -- Much older, and many years before the AvP video game, but so scary I could never stand to play it for long. Especially when you had to go into the tunnels full of facehuggers. Screw that.

    Omikron - Not a perfect game, but very underrated IMHO. You enter a parallel world where you possess the bodies of other people and are stalked by invisible demons that only you can see. A great adventure game with a great plot; not without its flaws, but original enough to be very compelling. It was all I could think about for days after playing it.

    I'm sure there are more, but these are the games that come to mind immediately...
  • Planescape: Torment (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JMPrice ( 598519 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:32PM (#5875873) Homepage
    I judge rpg's by their immersion factor, and out of all the rpg's I have ever played, Planescape: Torment is the one that really gave me a character that was truly my own, a real "I" in Planescape's universe.

    I remember talking with my friend's addressing to them the game's thematic question: "What can change the nature of a man?" The game answers this questions in a show-not-tell process that is worthy of a novel. (Actually, I recall there being a strategy guide from IGN that told the plot of the game from a first-person narrative. It's worth digging up if you liked Planescape.)

    Plus who could forget classic moments like:
    "You remember your name and smile at how simple it is."

    or when you choose to revive Dakkon and announce the "two deaths as one" for the final battle.

    Damn, I'm getting goosebumps. Where is that CD?
  • by Papabryd ( 592535 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:39PM (#5875932) Homepage

    I will use any opportunity to discuss my favorite games of all time. And at the top of that list is Super Metroid for SNES. I first played it back after its release in '94 and I haven't stopped since. I would play through till the end trying to find every last missle tank and power bomb. As much as the metroid series is known for item collection though, it was the atmosphere that really engrossed me. The way Samus's suit breathed, the way the environments felt real and alive. And of course, the music. If there is one thing that can make or break a game in my opinion, its music. The drums in the ancient area of Norfair or the subtle mysteriousness of Maridia still brings back memories like some SPC induced Flashback.

    My two other favorite games of all time, Mechwarrior 2 for the PC and Final Fantasy III, (VI in Japan) for the SNES, both have stayed that way because of gameplay and music, certainly not graphics. I can definately say that these three games have influenced how I think and see visually more than any other games that I have played. Because of these video games my intrest in computers skyrocketed, landing me in the well off position of art school. It's because of these games I still have my SNES connected, while my PS1 and N64 gather dust like a forgotten relative. I would still be playing Mech2, except it requires some god awful configuration where every component must be just so, and must be played while standing on one foot, while jumping, with the jupiter in line with the moon. So I opt out and just listen the music for nostalgia instead.

    Unbelieveable, I know, games based on conflict and viloence actually had a positive effect in a child's life. Must've been some wierd fluke...

  • Re:Thief (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fastball ( 91927 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:40PM (#5875939) Journal
    No doubt, Thief and Thief 2 were very immersive games. Turn the lights out in the computer room and you are in the game. Loved them, especially since they took the FPS in a different direction where stealth and aversion to contact were keys to success instead of firepower and speed.
  • by T-Kir ( 597145 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:53PM (#5876030) Homepage

    Hear hear.

    I remember returning to University after my intern/placement year and as a leaving present from work I got Deus Ex (I'd been playing the Demo for ages so my friends knew what to get).

    The first time I noticed a game had really affected my was when I was shopping in Leicester city centre walking down the high street, to realise I was glancing up at the roofs of every nearby building for snipers... I was in a strange "this is too weird" daze for quite a while and being slightly more aware of everyone around me.

    I also agree about the 9/11 similarities, but I try and have a more hopeful idea of the future in spite of being spoon fed stories/ideas/predictions about our demise in the coming decades or century... although that notion will go out the window when Deus Ex 2 comes out and I'm completely immersed in that world again.

  • by AugstWest ( 79042 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:57PM (#5876066)
    After playing Ridge Racer (the first one) for a couple of weeks, it took me about a year to not panic when driving through narrow lanes surrounded by jersey barriers.

    I was just waiting for the car to smack into one like they suddenly do in the game.
  • Re:FF7 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ThatWeasel ( 113982 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:58PM (#5876079) Homepage
    FF7 was the turning point for me as well. Hadn't played the previous FF games but the cut scenes and story line gripped me for days (probably more like months) on end.

    The worst (or best) part of FF7 was the ability to name your main characters and I named them after myself as Cloud and the others as friends. This fact drew me even further into the game and created somewhat of an emotional attachment to the characters.

    I know it sounds a bit pathetic but when one of the characters died, I "lost it" emotionally. This game definitely affected me and changed the way I engage story line based games.
  • by fucksl4shd0t ( 630000 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:59PM (#5876092) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, but that didn't hold a candle to the original CW on the Apple ][, for me anyway, probably because by the time Wolf 3D came out, I already understood the way video games all work. Wolfenstein on the Apple // was sufficiently different than other games - being held up at gunpoint or being able to hold them up at gunpoint, having to find a uniform, a bulletproof vest, etc. When the SS got on your trail (after having shot some poor sod) you were in for some scary moments. It was the only game that really made me jump, other than Marathon years later.

    The only other games that mattered to me were Ultima II, IV, V.

    Man, I was going to post exactly what you posted, seriously!

    The original Castle Wolfenstein is one of the most intense games ever. I've got a c64 emulator and a disk image just so I can play it now. It's even better in my loudspeakers. I used to have nightmares about being chased by guys in blue uniforms, searching and shooting chests, hoping it had grenades, and hoping EVEN MORE that I didn't blow them up! I remember tossing grenades at SS and missing, but having two more and deciding to put some distance between me and the guard, so tossing one at the wall (only if you're going up or down, otherwise you need two and too much time) and running through it, ducking behind a wall so I don't get shot. Intense stuff, dude. Nothing else has come close.

    Ultima IV rocked! I had a spiral notebook, and everytime I got a clue from someone I wrote it in the notebook. After awhile I started organizing all the comments until the puzzles started to make sense. Actually, my brother and I did this one together. I never actually beat it. Our party was tough enough to get to the bottom of the Abyss, but only with a certain amount of luck. We made it all the way to the LAST room of the 8th level of the abyss, and then got killed. Our lives then took off in different directions, and I never did get back and finish the damn game. But I"ll tell you, talk about role-playing. Losing parts of my avatarhood was scary, considering what it takes to get them in the first place. I remember lying one time to a guard or something, and losing my Honour, and then I couldn't use magic anymore or somesuch because my main PC was a palladin (best class for that game, for sure). A lot or morality in that game, a lot of it. good stuff. I liked the game so much I tried to be an avatar in real life, with all the virtue of an avatar. That has had a permanent effect on me, actually. I'm not so virtuous anymore, but I still struggle after the basic integrity and goodness the game preaches.

    If they still made games like these.....

  • Wasteland (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Quinn ( 4474 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @04:00PM (#5876098) Homepage
    In the beginning, there was Bard's Tale and there was Wasteland. Bard's Tale was fun, but flawed in its perspective and only slightly different from the usual fantasy games.

    Wasteland was my life.

    Non-linear, turn-based, top-down tiled. "Old school" when that was the only school. This was the dawn of modern computer role-playing games, and Wasteland was, in my mind, the best.

    Conversation options were limited, but the freedom of plot made up for any stilted "guess the keyword" communication with the twisted denizens of a post-apocalyptic world.

    A post-apocalyptic world. That's the essence of Wasteland, and the essence of the 80's. Before global warming, we lived with the Cold War warming, and a real possibility of nuclear annihilation. This was no ambiguous ivory tower intellectual threat of ozone layer depletion and the loss of rain forests-- this was true world wide destruction leading to anarchy leading to feral children and leather-clad warriors.

    To an anti-social geek outcast, that was paradise. Roaming the wastelands, living on your wits, leaving the law in its grave, following your own compass, ignoring what the others thought, and going out with a flamethrower and a sledge hammer and taking care of business.

    Wasteland allowed me to live that fantasy in a huge world of post-nuclear deviants. I tend to play the Mad Max type of nice guy, but if I slipped and wiped out a camp full of pre-teens, the game didn't hold it against me. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

    Wasteland has influenced every attempt I've ever made at writing games. It was the creative catalyst for many of the stories I've started and discarded. It was the inspiration for my first proto-MUD BBS game, and for every MOO I've administrated since.

    Today's gamers didn't grow up wondering if tomorrow would be "The Day After." Excellent titles such as Fallout have helped, but it seems our generation of post-nuclear gamers is doomed, not by apocalypse, but by the lack thereof.

    In any case, I'll always have my Scorpitron, my Guardian Citadel, my Proton Axes and Power Armor, and with every dire media inflation of a super-flu and leaked nuclear warheads, I'll always hope I'll have my Wasteland.
  • Quake II (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @04:00PM (#5876100)
    Quake II. Definitely Quake II.

    I wanted to say Doom II because I used to spend most of my time playing it and modifying it, both with level editors and DeHackEd. It got me thinking about game programming for a long time and I had some interesting ideas for a first person shooter that I wanted to make. So I bought many books on the subjects and thought it out a lot... that was before id released the sources. Doom II definitely scared the shit out of me several times. On one occasion I was in The Factory when I heard one of the aractrotrons or whatever they're called, walking, stopping, walking again... and it scared me so bad that I just froze up in some corner and waited for it to come up so I could shoot it. It never got there. After what must have been 20 minutes (I shit you not), I decided to go looking for it and finally discovered that it was stuck in a corner, on top of a raised floor from which it couldn't descend. So all that time I was scared of a spider that couldn't even get me.

    But Quake II scared the living daylights out of me in a way that Doom II never did. I played it all night on one of my older computers at the time. I think it was a Pentium 133 or maybe a 200; in any case it was a pretty slow box. The graphics were low resolution and I couldn't really see the wonderful detail that id put into that game. I arrived at some part where I think I was in some sewer pipe or something and this creature shows up behind me and is just about to shoot. I shoot first and to my utter horror, this force field shield thing appears in front of the monster, kind of like the Borg have in Star Trek. I think I just started running at that point. The next night, I was on a different computer just listening to Joe Satriani through headphones and minding my own business. I don't think I was playing anything. On the contrary, I must have been trolling /. or something. It was after midnight and dark in my room except for the glow of my monitor. Suddenly and all at once, I jumped, screamed and turned around, to see that it was my sister, as opposed to some alien from Quake II, that put her hand on my shoulder. I became pretty nervous for a while and didn't play Quake II again for years.

  • by alriddoch ( 197022 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @04:04PM (#5876128) Homepage

    After playing Ultima IX I became so fascinated by games with complex world simulations that I started looking into how they were developed. I left behind the free software projects I had been working on, and joined the WorldForge project, started going to game developer related conferences, and eventually developing games became the core of my career.

    The Ultima series have a quality which I have not yet managed to pin down that makes them different from most other RPGs. Its something to do with the powerful sense of immersion, the depth and complexity of the world model, and the type of story.

  • Re:Half Life (Score:2, Interesting)

    by md04 ( 241548 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @04:05PM (#5876135)
    Oh god tell me about it..

    Those limpet things scared the crap out of me.. Especially when moving slowly through the dark sections then.. *schlick* your being drawn up and eaten...

  • For me it was Thief. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Blaede ( 266638 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @04:06PM (#5876154)
    Typically games are just a diversion for me, I play them and that's it. I do remember playing Tomb Raider at 3 in the morning while it was raining, and this was the first time I encountered the T-Rex. I had no knowledge of this and when it came out, I got a nice adrenaline shock.

    But as much as I enjoyed Tomb Raider, it was just pure fun, no life changing deals here. Then I played Thief. Now to this day, I've only completed 3 levels, and it's not even my favorite game. However, how I walk around the world HAS definitely changed. I find myself concious of how loudly I'm walking, peeking around corners, etc. Still haven't gone to carrying around a blackjack, but sometimes I wish I did.
  • Re:System Shock 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jucius Maximus ( 229128 ) <m4encxb2sw@snk[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @04:09PM (#5876175) Journal
    I've gotta agree that System Shock 2 really affects you. Just don't do something foolish like playing this in a bright living room in the day time with kids running in and out. You've gotta turn off all the lights, get some good head phones or a 4.1 or higher speaker system because this game makes absolutely incredible use of Audio.

    This one time, I was going up a ramp and turned a corner, and this huge rumbler (a big muscle-bound beast, kind of like the big pink creatures in DOOM) was right there charging at me. I yelled out loud "Shit!!" and I turned the character and sprinted back down that ramp, frantically trying to load up anti-personnel bullets. If I had had a lesser keyboard, it would probably have been killed because I pressed that run key so hard. It was only after the rumbler killed me that I realised that my heart was pounding at 120+ bpm and the desk was covered with sweat from my arms.

    Whenver I install that game and see the intro video for the first time again, I always get this sinking feeling in my stomach ... "Oh shit ... why the hell did I install this again?!?"

    Yes, SS2 actually delivers on the promise of being immersive. Too bad Looking Glass Studios went out of business due to a lack of short term cash. Probably because Eidos couldn't front them the short term cash because they sent millions to John Romero & Ion Storm, developers of Daikatana.

  • by jazzu ( 587911 ) <jazzu@ i k i . fi> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @04:23PM (#5876291)

    Well, I can add one positive effect -game to the list. I wonder why everyone who said something about Myst or its sequels felt they were horrible games that gave them creeps. Granted, finding chopped off heads from Achenars room on Mechanical Age island gave me The Creeps but otherwise I enjoyed the game serie immensly.

    Actually I was completely immersed into the world of Atrus. So much actually that I daydreamed of creating worlds the way Atrus did. And when I discovered the books written by Robyn Miller which deepened the background of the D'ni, I literally hogged them down. This has been a really positive set of experiences for me and I hope it sort of compensates for some of the scared-me-to-death-stories ;-)

  • Re:Nethack (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rekrutacja ( 647394 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @04:40PM (#5876423) Homepage
    Fred (old zx spectrum game) was a disaster for my primary school, Warcraft was a disaster for my secondary school, and ...errrr ...girls were disaster for my high school.
    Now i'm 28, employed, married with children, and i just started ruining my life with Nethack. I installed it on all three computers i use (GNU/Linux, Windowz and Psion 5) and have pretty much troubles because of it.
    Most surprisingly lack of graphic is best in this game. Playing any other game i know results in headake, with random game-screenshots displayed when closing eyes. You know, all they operate on tilsets, which are repeatedly and continuesly attacking our brains. Worse than cocaine.
    Nethack is almost (almost) free of this effect.
    And this is the only game, which makes you screaming just because you saw letter "D"...

  • Re:The countdown... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@mon k e l e c t r i c . com> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @04:58PM (#5876573)
    Grim Fandango -- an x-g/f of mine said it best ... I forced her to play it with me and during the course of the game it went from me saying "you have to come over and play grim fandango" to her saying "Can I pleeaaassseee come over and play grim fandango?" ...

    When we finished the game, she was depressed and she said, "Im am sad that its over, I feel like I've lost someone."

    That my friend is a good game :)

  • Re:GTA3, for one... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thing 1 ( 178996 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @04:59PM (#5876579) Journal
    I have had the same urge, also the "empty intersection but it's red" syndrome.

    Outside of America this is necessary.

    In Rio de Janeiro, for example, if you wait at a red light when there are no cars going through the intersection, you're liable to be either a) beat up by the people in the cars behind you, or b) mugged by pedestrians.


  • Re:GTA3, for one... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @05:03PM (#5876611) Homepage Journal
    "In Rio de Janeiro, for example, if you wait at a red light when there are no cars going through the intersection, you're liable to be either a) beat up by the people in the cars behind you, or b) mugged by pedestrians.

    Really. "

    I can verify that. I've spent a month in Brazil and that's seriously how it works there. They also toot their horn when coming through an intersection to warn red-light runners. I'm worried Portland will turn the same way, people thing red lights are a personal challenge.

    On a side note, am I the only one who drives more carefully because of GTA3? My driving is now slower and more controlled, plus I'm more aware of traffic around me. Maybe I just really suck at GTA. :P

  • Re:Thief (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2003 @05:11PM (#5876669)
    Me too. Thief, and Thief II. After playing Thief I straight for an entire weekend, in a darkened room, I got outside to got to work in Monday, and started listening to the sound my footsteps make, how loud they are and even now I have sometimes the urge to walk on grass instead of the "loud" asphalt or keep in Shadows.

    The game was so freaking immerse that I would sometimes sit 10 minutes heart bumbing and doing _nothing_ but just wachting the guards and trying to leave my dark corner....

    *sigh* those were the you wail and gnash your teeth?
  • Re:The short list... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Slime-dogg ( 120473 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @05:13PM (#5876685) Journal

    That, and the huge monster running after you through the parking garage, tipping over SUVs as it charges... breathtaking. There are so many great moments in that game. I can't wait for the sequel.

    ooh. That part made me hyperventilate. And then you actually figure out how to kill the bugger, and you're like "Cool!" I've never really been into puzzles that happen in-game, they usually don't mesh with my style of thinking. I actually figured this one out, and I was like "Dizamn, I can do this shit."

    Yeah, most puzzles in games are those obscure things where there's only one way to figure it out. Myst was like that, where you had to actually take notes in various places, because the answers to those puzzles were laying around in the library.

    I've always been more for the puzzles presented in Deus Ex, where you could get through something any number of ways. The part where the NSF is holding a bunch of people hostage under Battery Park, for instance, you could get by with the scramble grenades and a couple well-placed head shots. Even better, you could find the entrance to the ventilation and drop a few gas grenades... and take them out when they're immobilized. I'm not even sure if it's necessary to even save the hostages, so you could just blow them all to smithereens if you want to.

    I also like the games where you're given tasks to do, but they are not completely necessary. At the same time, you're given the ability to enhance the character that you're in, giving yourself some uniqueness in the world. RPG's are pretty good for this, until you run into crap like Diablo II, where there are a limited number of ways that you should make your character, because you probably wouldn't get very far if you didn't. Level limitations suck. If level limitations were removed from RPG games, then you'd have a really interesting assortment of characters, each uber-powerful in their own way.

    I like Morrowind and Deus Ex. I also enjoy Neverwinter Nights, even though I think that AD&D rules impose a level cap on any non-human character (I seriously think that this rule sucks). Morrowind has a central story that you can choose to complete to "finish" the game, but there are a number of other quests that you can complete as well. You can join one of the three great houses, join any number of the guilds, try to get into the criminal element, get rid of the criminal element, make your character anti-house, join the army, join the clergy... It's got that amazing flexibility that really doesn't exist in many other games. It's the same way, kinda, with Deus Ex. There are some options that are kinda dumb, like weapon specializations... why would anyone want to become a master in anything but rifles?

    Ah well. Storyline is also very important, but I think what makes or breaks the game for me is being able to construct a unique character, and being able to solve problems in my own way. I don't care much for prescriptives, since they only make the game more like a rail-shooter, where you've been there and done that, and you can't go back and enjoy. Killing Diablo over and over again is not very appealing.

  • Evercrack (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thomas Charron ( 1485 ) <> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @05:25PM (#5876753) Homepage
    It has to be Everquest, hands down.

    And the pocketbooks of many speak for itself. We've forked out 10+ dollars a month for over 3 years just to be able to play it.

    In the game, there's a command /played. It tells you exactly HOW long you've physically been sitting in front of the computer playing that particular character..

    Most people that are reasonably high level have been playing for 2+ years. In that time, most high level characters /played time is IN EXCESS of 100 DAYS. Mines at 101 days, at lvl 60. Thats over 3 years.

    That means, in the last 3 years, I've spent a month every year, JUST PLAYING THE GAME. And many, MANY people have this sort of /played times..
  • Re:Thief (Score:4, Interesting)

    by A Pearl Before Swine ( 445132 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @05:42PM (#5876883)
    Definitely a great game. It managed to combine the action of a first person shooter with a strong and compelling story-line. But what I liked most about it was the ambiance and atmosphere. You could just feel the decadence of the noblemen's mansions, the emptiness of long forgotten ruins, and the malice lurking in ancient tombs. Many of the levels were very frightening, and games don't scare me easily.

    It was also nice in that there was almost always more than one way to surmount any obstacle or best any foe you came across -- stealth, speed, distraction, evasion, brute force, etc. And brute force was usually the worst option to choose.

    All in all, Thief and Thief 2 have to be my favorite single player games. There are a couple of examples of bad level design in them, but then there are plenty of good levels that more than make up for the bad ones. Worth buying if you've never played them before, especially since they're more than old enough to be in the bargain bin.

    I think I occasionally spent way too much staying up at night playing the game, and becoming sleep deprived. The next day I would have an embarrassing, almost unconscious urge to walk close to walls and seek out shadows, :)

    Isn't Thief 3 supposed to be coming out sometime, or has that been cancelled? I wonder if it will be any good. I wonder if any of the same people that created Thief are working on it, given that Looking Glass went under long ago.

  • by Shrubber ( 552857 ) <pmallett&gmail,com> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @05:56PM (#5876972) Homepage
    While everyone was going all gaga over Doom, I got sucked into Descent. Descent combined the feeling of flying dogfights with the indoor underground deathmatch of Doom. Once I had four player Descent matches in a complete 3d environment I could never go back to running around on the ground. It was just so much more fun for me to be able to move in three dimensions, roll, rotate, and spin than just run back and forth. Even today I'd rather play against people in Descent/Descent2 or something like Forsaken, than Q3 or CS.
  • Battlezone (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Col. Panic ( 90528 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @06:23PM (#5877135) Homepage Journal
    Not the sequel; the original. Never has there been such realistic gameplay. I actually played so much one weekend that when I raced up to a stoplight the next day I had the urge to jump out through the sunroof and snipe another driver.
  • Re:Balance of Power (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rickwood ( 450707 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @06:41PM (#5877232)
    Against the computer Balance of Power was okay, as you could judge just how far you could push the AI before they would nuke you. However, against a human opponent this game was pointless.

    I used to play chess against a professor of mine every afternoon. One day I asked him to try BoP on the Mac SE in his office just to try something new. Once he realized that by escalating every time he could force me into either backing down and losing face in the game (thus lowering my score if memory seves me correctly) or ending the game via a nuclear war, it kind of lost it's fun factor.

    That being said, there was something deeply satisfying about telling your opponent, "You'll have my response via the North Pole!"
  • Re:GTA3, for one... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by paradesign ( 561561 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @06:50PM (#5877272) Homepage
    reminds me of detroit. if your white that is.
  • by ChaosMagic ( 657047 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @06:55PM (#5877303)
    There are definitely a number of games that stick out in my mind as taking up a significant amount of my time and thinking, and one in particular as taking up a significant portion of the LIFE.

    For pure fun factor my favourite game would be Super Mario Kart (on the Super Nintendo, followed by the newer version on the GBA). This game was not only great to play against other people, you could also constantly challenge yourself in trials and trying to win the gold cups and get the faster speeds. It is a game that is almost timeless in its gameplay, and I still go back to it occasionally (albeit through an emulator now).

    As a game to make me think I would say Civilisation 2 or Command and Conquer (or maybe Dune 2 somewhat earlier) were my thinking games. This is the type of game I would sit at and just HAVE to keep playing more until I got totally frustrated (such as the solo levels in C&C where there was no base building and an impossible mission to complete with just one guy). But with Civilisation 2 at least, this is one of the games that could actually make me stay up all night and not sleep before going into school (at the time).

    Perhaps my most thoughtful game is Ultima 6, played on the Amiga. It was the only major game I played for sometime (being relatively young then) and I would spend days exploring dungeons and performing tasks, and occasionally would jump out of my skin or physically shake with excitement when roaming the depths of the dungeons some five or six levels below ground, suddenly stumbling across some magical graveyard or mystical talking statue.

    Ultimately though, the game that has altered by life in ways that mere games should not has got to be an online game that has been around since 1989. Most people will have heard of MUDs and many will have their own favourites, but there is one I have played now for over eight years (arguably over ten). This game literally has affected me in numerous ways, including relationships and my education (a positive, mostly, and negative affect, mostly, respectively!) It is definitely the most emotionally submersive game I have ever been involved in, and one that I still go back to even now. This game is called Avalon (The Legend Lives), and has eaten up a not insignificant span of my life and definitely my money!

    Beyond all these, more recent games I have enjoyed include Return To Castle Wolfenstein, SimCity 4 and Warcraft 3. Oh and an honourable mention must go to some recently discovered gems that I have enjoyed; KBounce and Frozen-Bubble (although they perhaps haven't exactly "affected" me in ways like the others have done).
  • XCOM: UFO Defense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zelph ( 628698 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @07:01PM (#5877352) Homepage
    I have only seen 2 postings of X-COM. Man, I used to love throwing alien bodies, or spending hours training my crack team of psi warriors and then setting them into a terrorize outfit and mind controlling them all in one turn. Then I would make them drop their weapon and I would have my guys get good at aiming, or marching, or throwing. Using the blaster launcher I would punch holes into enemy ships and come in style! Also throwing smoke into a small enemy ship and choking them out... only to be used as target and reaction practice for my troops. What fun! Props to Civilization too tho'.
  • Re:Marathon. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Slurpee ( 4012 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @07:38PM (#5877564) Homepage Journal
    yep...Marathon is a biggie.

    Can't remember which one in particular...but I do remember being scared silly when playing it in a darkened room with stereo up loud.
  • Re:Nethack (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dreamyshade ( 669065 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @07:41PM (#5877582) Homepage
    Discovering Nethack three years ago was a beneficial experience for me. Now, I'm attempting to learn how to use UNIX-like systems, and I just think "well, it's like a great big game of Nethack. At first, you only know a few commands and you're confused and you die a lot. Then, you read spoilers and read the newsgroup and play for a year or two, you've made it halfway through the game!" Not to mention that many keybindings are already burned into my mind. Without Nethack...maybe I wouldn't even be trying to learn...
  • by vrmlguy ( 120854 ) <> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @08:07PM (#5877718) Homepage Journal
    In the late 1970's, I got a mainframe FORTRAN version [], loaded it up on the IBM 370 at work, and played it over a 300 baud dial-up line every night for several weeks. Early on, my girl friend was looking over my shoulder as I tried to get past the snake. After several failed attempts, she said, "You know, some types of _____ kill snakes." It worked, and we got married soon thereafter.

    The first time that I (unexpectedly) entered the " twisty little maze with passages all alike", it was like getting sucker punched. I had to get up and walk around to collect my thoughts before continuing. Fortunately, moving the opposite direction let me get back out before I had a chance to get lost.

    I also still remember the first time I found the volcano view. It was visually (and yes, I know it's a TEXT adventure!) stunning, more so than anything I've seen in the years since. Years before Infocom, it proved that your imagination is better than any graphics hardware.

    And yes, like so many others have posted, I did have dreams about the game.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2003 @08:14PM (#5877749)
    Multiplayer Quake II teamplay taught me about friendly fire, and how easy it would be in the heat of battle to accidently kill one of your own. Sure I'd heard of friendly fire before, but when you're in a 1st person game and you accidently shoot your own team - that makes it real. And then you take that tiny experience and multiply it begin to understand reality

    Age of Kings taught me tons of things. Like how easy conflicts can start. I remember one game when I was playing against some computer opponents. I was neutral to a nearby computer player, he was neutral to me. I had no intention of attacking him until much later... There was a gold pile in the middle of our lands that I just "assumed" was mine. Later in the game I saw him mining that gold and then I had an "ah-ha moment". How many times in history have wars been started over similar occurences.

    In online multiplayer Age of Kings I learned all kinds of military strategy - like sometimes you can't really directly help your ally, you need to perhaps attack another enemy and hope your ally can hold on. Then you can help later. I'm sure things like that have happened many times in histroy (China in WWII was our ally and we really didn't help them in their homeland). But from playing the game I realized that sometimes it's better not to directly help - when you can see the big picture.

    Also from Age of Kings multiplayer I learned alot about moral and communication. When your teamate just got double teamed you need to encourage him not to give up and what not.

    Now for another game most have never heard of - Planetarion. It probably still exists, it was an online massive multiplayer text game. Alliances were huge - which was a lesson. In huge games like that, you can't rely on yourself only. Politics is huge. If you really want to win you've got to take the time and hassle of organizing with people - coalition building, etc. Again the point is the game made this real to me.

    Also from planetarion I learned more about welfare programs. In the game you could trade resources within your own galaxy (about 25 players). And when someone new joined, if they were hardworking / learned the rules and strategies etc., it was a huge help and headstart to them if you donated them some resources to get them going. But at the same time, there were people who no matter how much you gave them they wouldn't do good. They would blow the money on stupid things - and not get any better. I think that truth I learned carried over perfectly to the real world.

    Also for a while I was the number 1 player (of about 20,000 players worldwide - Hondo of Hondune). That gave me a small taste of fame - fans (people wanting your time), critics/haters (people wanting to bring you down), and more scrutiny. I was eventually busted and banned from the game for finding some backdoors and exploiting them (I treated it like the Matrix - lol). I guess that also taught me a few things. I could go on and on.

    Anyway, games are great if you stop and think about a real life connection.

    Schools today should incorporate games. They'd reach all kinds of kids and bring some excitement/fun into the classroom.
  • Final Fantasy X... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Lucky Dean ( 581986 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @08:28PM (#5877815)
    I bawled my eyes out as Yuna fell through Tidus's fading body at the end of FFX. I have never been so moved by a game's story and music than I have at that very moment. I kept sobbing as the summoned spirits disappeared, one by one. It was a brilliant ending...

    I have literally grown up with these games, and for those of you who think its going downhill, I have to tell you, you're just plain wrong. If XI sucks, then I have every bit of faith that Square-Enix will pick up the slack with XII. You can't possibly combine the most creative minds two of the world's leaders in video RPG's and not come up with a great product.
  • The Bard's Tale (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ChefPsyconaut ( 652061 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @08:31PM (#5877830)
    I still remember the anxiety of trying to get to Garth's shop without getting killed, at the beginning of the game. That game was my introduction to the D&D world, and I've been a mediaeval geek ever since. Ah, the wine cellar...
  • Blah, blah, blah. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @08:33PM (#5877843) Homepage Journal
    This cavalier attitude in which game lovers want to have absolute freedom without any of the responsibilities will doom games as a creative activity.

    I don't want minors to receive the message that violence is trivial and even fun.

    I don't want minors to get the message that sex is explotiation and gratification without knowing about the responsibilities it entails.

    Sadly game developpers and game companies have not taken the lead to facilitate that minors have a healthy approach to gamming that includes violence and depravity (no, not sex, but sex as mechanism of alienation).

    This applies to several industries that spread ideas and attitudes, some other industries have shown far more restrain and compromise.

    The gamming insdurty is the black sheep, if they don't make something different to blabber about freedom they will go the way of the dodo as a viable creative endeavour.
  • by LionKimbro ( 200000 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @09:01PM (#5877982) Homepage
    Legend of Mana is basically repackaged, Japanese Michael Ende. (His wife was Japanese.) I tried to play that game 3 times after I got it, but it never "worked" for me. I couldn't get into it. A couple years later, I was really angry with a lot of people around me. For some reason, I was drawn to the game and started playing it. It made me really rethink through some ideas about how I live, and how I think about and treat others. It also inspired a love of gardening, and got me working on some free software projects again.

    Final Fantasy affected me way back, during high school. The world around me was so depressing, and the people in it were (justifiably) very cynical. The Final Fantasy series, however, gave me hope and values that I needed to get through high school, and introduced me to the complexities of the world. It also helped introduce me to metaphysical notions of Love and Spirit.

    Secret of Mana has changed me in ways that I don't understand, and thus can't articulate.

    Non-Square games include Starflight, and Robot Oddysey.

    Due to Robot Oddysey, I got to snooze through a month of CS classes and breeze through homework, having learned binary logic when I was 10 years old fooling around on the computer. It wasn't that I am smart, it's just that the game is incredibly good at introducing binarly logic and circuitry.
  • Re:Marathon. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dsandler ( 224364 ) <dsandler@dsandle ... Nrg minus author> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @09:13PM (#5878032) Homepage
    Agreed wholeheartedly. And yet, for what it's worth, Marathon was perhaps the best "5 billion demons" game of its time. The guys at Bungie obviously had a real sensitivity toward story, atmosphere, and gameplay mechanics (the Holy Trinity of FPS games).

    The 2.5-d environment (you could look up and down) helped hone my mouselook skills early (forever cementing my flying-attack deathmatch tendencies). The weapons were fun (being cribbed from Aliens didn't reduce the effectiveness of the grenade/machine gun -- and you just gotta love the splash damage on the SPNKR). The story [] was intriguing, and creepy, and complex. The levels were, uh, intriguing, and creepy, and complex.

    And the burning-BOB sound-effect will stay with me forever. "Yaaarrrrghhhh!"

  • 3'rd gen games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BigBir3d ( 454486 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @09:27PM (#5878089) Journal
    Gran Turismo 3 (F1 cars rule!)

    Quake3Arena (love the mods)
  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @09:59PM (#5878220) Homepage Journal
    When I was 8 years old, with my Rubber keyed spectrum, my mum decided to broaden our horizons, and bought a book full of basic games.
    One of these was called "DracMaze" a 3d spectacular with monsters and ghouls waiting around each corner - or so the book told us.

    She spent around 40 days typing this in - the computer never got disconnected or powered down, because the basic code had errors, and it wouldn't save. In the end we never got this game to work, but the determination to fix problems and solve things has lead me into a career as software developer, and I look back on that experience as pivotal to my current self.
  • Re:Marathon. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by VirtualWolf ( 159946 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @10:00PM (#5878222) Homepage
    Agreed 150%. The Marathon trilogy would probably be my all-time favourite games. The plot in them is absolutely top-notch.

    And the start of the second level of Marathon Evil (3rd-party scenario -- highly recommended if you haven't played it) FREAKED me out like nothing else. It's pretty well pitch-black, you turn a corner, and there's this extremely loud and very ferocious growling sound and a huge thing with glowing eyes, huge claws, and spiky bits everywhere leaps out at you. It scared me so much I jerked the mouse and ended up looking at like the floor or something...nearly got me killed. :) There were several other moments like that, but not nearly that bad. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2003 @11:05PM (#5878469)
    Here's a list of games that just sucked the life out of me when I was a young'in:

    Ancient Art of War - it was the 1st RTS - at least in a form that we can identify with. It had a great pathfinding system that is still not matched (the platoon follows EXACTLY where the cursor went). It got me into military strategy like no other game in the 80s

    Silent Service - I use to correct my 5th grade teacher about facts of the Pacific Theater because I played that game. I thought the coolest thing on the planet at the time was a perfectly executed end-around attack taking out the whole convoy, including the destroyer escorts!

    Pirates! - few games play like it, even today. It was (and is) so much fun to play that you just don't want to put it down. I figured out ways to cheat because I really cared how the characters I played turned out after they "retire".

    F-19 It was Thief BEFORE avoiding things was even a concept. (I was a Microprose slut back then).

    Happy memories!
  • Driving Games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by merlyn ( 9918 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @11:38PM (#5878601) Homepage Journal
    I play a lot of driving games (since I'm not into shooting games). And when I do, it's very hard for me to go back into a real car. The more "accurate" the feel of the game, the more likely the automatic responses I acquire while playing the game will come up in the real situation. Usually takes me an hour or so to completely resync.

    For example, in some driving games, slipping up onto the shoulder is perfectly acceptable, affecting the performance in calculable ways (usually some speed reduction or difficulty in handling). So then, I'm driving down the highway and I think "I can pass them on the shoulder". No, I don't even think it... it just starts being an option, and I have to consciously override the option.

    It doesn't help that I drive a 2002 Camaro Z28 (with a top-speed of 155 mph, I'm told). So my real-life car handles like a lot of the simulated race cars I drive. Except the damage would far exceed the loss of the four quarters I stuck into the game.

    And then there's the "run from cops" option of "Need for Speed". For about a half hour, I'm thinking of how to avoid spike scripts as I pull around every corner.

    The scary thing is... if it's this easy for me to confuse the two driving realities, what is it like for people who play shooting games? Scary thought.

  • by robbyrod ( 594849 ) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @11:57PM (#5878698)
    Loved it. The greatest thing is that so may people had that game in their school. I can still make a joke about being a Banker from Boston or feeding my kids 'meager rations' and it still gets a laugh. Hunting had to be the best part of the game. That and crossing the Columbia River in the end. Let's not forget the old Shoshonee who helped you ford the river!
  • Re:XCOM: UFO Defense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nelsonal ( 549144 ) on Monday May 05, 2003 @12:00AM (#5878709) Journal
    I have two memmories of X-Com, the first terror mission when the Etherials showed up, it was a night mission, and I was feeling cocky after beating down the snakemen, and floaters, and went in at night. All of the sudden I was getting toasted by things that I never saw and I realized something of what combat must be like. It was awful. I also remember getting cocky again with 4 psi masters, who could mind control all the aliens in a big battle, I would line them all up and stun them so I could capture more live ones and other things. I moved a whole battle ship worth of etherials in to a small area ouside my drop ship, and I forgot to mind contol all of them one turn, and they got my blaster guy who then shot up the rest of the squad with one of those purple alien blasters. I only escaped with one surviver and had to rebuild my squads.
  • by Crus57 ( 103415 ) on Monday May 05, 2003 @12:38AM (#5878838)
    Exile on the BBC B affected me the most. Scary AI, stunning graphics and impressively realistic physics. At the time it wowed and scared me trying to avoid the billion different ways to die, but now it gives inspiration when coding. Afterall, if they could do *that* in just 32k...

    Oh and Elite on the B too, although I think the best I got to was Dangerous.
  • Grand Theft Auto III (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bertvl ( 66173 ) on Monday May 05, 2003 @02:40AM (#5879284)
    After playing this for most of the day, I drove to the store to get some food. After about 200m I discovered I was driving on the wrong side of the road! (We drive on the left in my country...)

    Amused me, if nobody else ;-)
  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Monday May 05, 2003 @02:47AM (#5879316)
    I've been playing home computer games pretty much since there were home computer games. I've skipped the really old stuff (defender etc.) because most of them are too obscure and tended to go by different names as they were cloned from platform to platform.

    Anyway, in rough chronological order...

    Repton Infinity - For being the first game with any complexity that was really modable. You could design graphics, levels, animations and even code.

    Elite - For stealing not just weeks or months but years of my childhood.

    1940 Their Finest Hour, The Battle Of Brittain - For endless playing, over and over, while making igniting a complete fascination in that period of history. I'd tried Falcon 1 through 3, FS4, F-15 Strike Eagle II but that was the first flight sim that really had everything just perfect for me.

    Wing Commander - Despite it being a little over blown as a claim, it still was close enough to an interactive movie (compared to what was around) that it really did make you feel like a sci-fi movie star.

    Gunship 2000 - For, to this day, being the only flight sim where you could control a whole diverse unit of choppers in much the same way as you can a diverse unit of troops in Ghost Recon.

    Alone In The Dark - Primitive polygons now. But at the time, it was the scariest game ever. Especially when you first realised that there were some things you couldn't possibly kill, you just had to run. You weren't an indestructable hero, you were just plain scared.

    Doom - For having an interface so simple that you were the game. It was the first game where your fingers just rested on a set of keys, never moving, yet you really felt like you were interacting. That was the genius of the game - you weren't playing it, you were it. That and introducing deathmatches (damn we killed a lot of early LANs) and [excluding Repton Infinity] mods.

    No One Lives Forever - For, despite games like Thief trying to do it before, being the first game to really capture me and make me feel like I could play a game my own way, using stealth instead of insane violence. It was also funny as all hell.

    Aliens Vs. Predator 2 - For unbelievable balancing. Every time you think you've found an invincible trick, some means of defeating it comes up.

    Civ 3 - Because now I can totally understand why South East Asia is important, why Hitler went for Blitzkriegs, why Europe advanced in to industrialisation faster. It's taught me more than any game I've ever known. That and every quick session always turns in to four hours.

    Ghost Recon - It finally did what the D-Day part of Medal Of Honor on high difficulty hinted at but then abandonned on later levels. You finally get a military sim where you're scared of getting shot because one shot is all it takes. Much like Gunship 2000, you finally get a good system for controlling multiple troops, which makes it possible to plan really advanced strategies, rather than just rush'n'shoot.

    Planetside - OK, I'm biased, I work for SOE. Still, being one part of epic battles, being able to define my own roles (a lone stealth assassin amongst the maelstrom; a scout pilot; a sniper searching out perfect ridgeline positions), it's honestly been proving good enough for me to regularly find something new to just go "Wow!" over. Most of all though, it's the fun of the even more endless than AvP2 discussions over what makes for the perfect squad, the perfect tactics.
  • Silent Hill 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by felis_panthera ( 160944 ) <> on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:14AM (#5879563) Homepage
    The first time I played this ungodly horrifying game, it was about 3am after a long night of substance abuse. My Sig Oth and I were in our living room with a PS2 hooked up, and we decided to plug in this horror, action/adventure survival game. When the first zombie reared its ugly head, I nearly had a heart attack.

    What made it even worse, is after we had played for a while, we decided to go down to the Kwik-E-Mart for a squishee and some munchies, and when we exited our apartment building, the downtown streets were dead silent, with not another living being in sight... and a slight mist...

    never before or since have I been so ready to bolt inside and barracade the doors. Just glad that I didn't hear radio static... I would have lost it entirely

  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:17AM (#5879570) Journal
    You might be interested in knowing that another FF-collection CD for playstation just came out - I believe it details the Japanese episodes 1-3 (could just be two of the three though), but with revamped graphics.

    Currently I'm replaying my "FF Chronicles" CD, with FFIV (FF2 in USA, but with better translation, skills, and a few video cutscenes added).

    For awhile, I lived the plots of FF2/FF3 (USA). The games were completely immersive, like having a great book but being able to dig into the plotline, and not being able to advance it without actually playing through.
    I bought my PS2 for FFX, and it culminated the experience from my childhood. With full voice, awesome graphics, and cinematics, it's more a cross between a movie and book now. My only beef is the modifications for the USA version, why cut stuff out or change it???!!

    I'm hoping FFXII can live up to my expectations (also hoping it will be available on PC, better graphics and I don't have to shell for yet another console).

    In the meantime, has anyone ever considered trying to redevelop the old FF's into more modern graphics, perhaps with a 3d engine and cinematics? If somebody could come up with a short demo, I wonder if Square would be interested in furthing such a project.

    Also, why couldn't somebody make a Open-Source RPG project of similar nature.
    I'm not an expert, but I had developed a base 3D development engine (D3D) years back that would have been suitable for RPG's (less speedy rending needed, more cachable/fixed scenes). I'm sure there's somebody with better coding skills, and perhaps more time who could create a decent linux/GL engine and start an RPG.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.