?

Log in

No account? Create an account
On computer gaming as occasional hobby - Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

Serious Business | Flickr
Bounty Information | Wanted Dead or Alive: Mad Scientess Nanila
Deeds of Derring-Do | Full of Wild Inaccuracies and Exaggerations

On computer gaming as occasional hobby [20141210|11:52]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , ]

I’m spending some of my pre-maternity annual leave indulging in a pastime I don’t get to very often: computer gaming. I occasionally play something on my phone or tablet (Scrabble, solitaire, crosswords, Angry Birds, Plague Inc) but it’s not the same to me as firing up something on my desktop machine and diving in for a while.

It’s taken me a couple of decades to accept, but I’ve refined a set of pretty clear desirables that keep me from wasting money on new games. I don’t go for console-based games (there are enough electronic gizmos ruling my life, thx), first-person shooters, racing or anything requiring a monthly subscription. I only ever get to play for 2-3 weeks a year if I’m lucky, and I’d rather keep from getting wound up and frustrated by them instead of relaxed, which is the point.

  1. Single player. I don’t do multiplayer games, let alone MMORPGs. I don’t want to set up times to play games with people I know I like (I spend much of my working life organising things) and the time I tried World of Warcraft, which was very pretty and I liked flying around and fishing and making potions but disliked pretty much everything else, I had exactly one enjoyable interaction with a random person. I recall an old webcomic in which a female character goes into a shop to buy a game, and the (male) sales attendant tries to get her to purchase the latest, shiniest MMORPG which he insists is much better than the single-player game she wants. Eventually she shouts at him, “The last thing I want to do to unwind is interact with other humans!” Yep.

  2. Vital formulaic elements. These are: Rewards for thorough explorations of areas, puzzles to solve, monsters to kill and treasure to find. I also don’t want anything to be stupidly difficult. I never play above “normal” settings (mostly because to play on the harder ones usually requires practice and/or cheat sheet research, neither of which I have time to indulge in). I like a nice steady pace of leveling up, and finding and using shiny new toys on a regular basis.

  3. Minions. I may not want human interaction whilst playing games, but I do like to tackle monsters with companions. I tend to prefer ranged classes of attackers rather than tanks.

  4. Crafts. I like it when there are side pursuits for the characters. (Chocobo-breeding!) Making weapons/armour/potions/gems and collecting materials for these is a fun diversion when I’m bored of building up my character to the next boss fight.

  5. Pretty. Darkly pretty is even better. There should be time to enjoy exploring and appreciate the pretty, and ways to customise my character so they are pretty too.

  6. Bite-size. I rarely play for stretches longer than an hour. There are too many other activities I want to mix in, like working, tidying, writing, putzing on the internet, editing photos, etc. The style of play has to be reasonably forgiving. I need to be able to put my character down someplace safe and leave them for undefined lengths of time (er, up to a year) on very little notice.


For those of you who play games, whatever the medium, what do you consider essential to your enjoyment of the experience?

(On a different note: The Seasonal Giving poll for DW account time closes this Friday, 12 December. If you'd like to nominate someone, please do so here.)

This entry was originally posted at http://nanila.dreamwidth.org/954911.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: imyril
2014-12-10 15:56 (UTC)
“The last thing I want to do to unwind is interact with other humans!”

Touche :)

I tend to veer between single-player mode of a party-based D&D style game (I never got over Baldur's Gate) or turn-based strategy games (I never got over Civ, either). I too enjoy minions, distractions and the ability to put it down for months and come back. I am terrible at trying new games rather than playing old favourites.

That said, my current game of choice is Sunless Sea from the lovely folk who produce the browser-based Fallen London.

It wins because I love the writing, atmosphere and context of Fallen London (Queen Victoria was so upset about Albert that she made a deal to bring him back from the dead in exchange for London moving underground and becoming subject to some infernal bats). The sense of humour is quirky, and the steampunk gothic is far too much fun.

Sunless Sea is the first 'proper' game (ie not browser-based) - still in beta, but nearly finished cooking (I backed the Kickstarter). You're the Captain of a tramp steamer exploring the Sunless Sea. It's single-player, but you get to hire officers, many of whom will have a chat over dinner or provide interesting quests. Complete missions for the Admiralty or the underworld, dodge (or shoot) pirates and weird-ass beasties, interact with odd islanders and occasionally do a spot of trading (although it will never make you rich). Selling your soul, becoming a cannibal, and eating your crew are all possibilities, although going MAAAAAAD in the Cthulhu-esque sense of oh ye gods, the darkness is far more common. You can probably already tell why I like it ;)

...and I've been able to play it this year because the visuals are daaaark not bright and you can quit whenever you make port (or before, but then it reloads next time in the last port you were docked at). Bite-sized has been essential with my head/vision issues.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-12-11 16:36 (UTC)
Aha, I remember you telling me about this one. And it's downloadable through Steam, which I already have set up because Skyrim. :D YAY! Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: imyril
2014-12-12 18:47 (UTC)
You're very welcome. This is a good time to try it out - the new combat system is in but turned down so it plays a bit like a practice scenario ;)

I suspect the difficulty level will go up sharply in the final release.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dizzykj
2014-12-10 22:34 (UTC)
I'm not sure I'll ever get past civ2. I keep an old laptop just to be able to play (even though I've played at most 2 weekends in the last year).
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-12-11 16:31 (UTC)
I understand. It took me a long time to accept that there was a Diablo III. I still love Diablo II, but I've finally made the switch to III, probably for good now.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: imyril
2014-12-12 18:48 (UTC)
There was a Diablo II? ;)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thekumquat
2014-12-10 23:00 (UTC)
I'm similar - games have to be turn based not real time, and not require interaction. Pocket Frogs on the phone was great until they added so many new types no-one could get them all in a lifetime (or spend money or interact with other players).

Heroes of Might and Magic is still my favourite - build cities, manage resources, explore, have creatures fight in turn-based battles for you. Also Civ. Sim City was pretty but frustrating.
Ideally I'd play more point and click adventures but they are thin on the ground and prone to adding action reqs. Broken Sword, Syberia, Longest Journey.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-12-11 16:36 (UTC)
Yes yes, turn-based is good too. Civ! I liked Civ, although I haven't played it for a few years now.

Heroes of Might and Magic looks very beautiful - thank you for that tip.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mysterysquid
2014-12-14 08:15 (UTC)
I'm another turn-based person, probably because I'm so badly uncoordinated. :P The only game I've ever been truly addicted to was Civ II.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jixel
2014-12-11 04:07 (UTC)
my addiction to jelly defense is far from quenched. though i've conquered most of the planet (or rather defended it) several levels still elude me and going back to mastered levels to refresh my skills (and confidence) is quite fun, especially when trying out new weapons and tactics. it's best played on the iPad though a mac version exists, it's def a touch screen game, as swiping is far better than clicking in most instances. iPhone is ok but small so easy to place a tower on the wrong spot or so, though easier for grabbing coins since less room to have to swipe.

it's a funny cartoony game with great music and sounds and great strategy game not a mindless game.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-12-11 16:29 (UTC)
Oh, the screenshots are fantastic! Don't have any i-devices, though it seems to have been ported to Android now. Will put it on my list, as that looks great fun to while away the time between feeds in the early days of Keiki. Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jixel
2014-12-13 18:20 (UTC)
well then, time to get thee to an iPhonery
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tyrell
2014-12-11 07:49 (UTC)
I've been playing "Star Wars: The Old Republic" MMO and never once interacted with another human :) It's got Mass Effect style cutscenes and lots of pretty.

Other than that: Skyrim. Skyrriiiiiimm.

Or Torchlight 1, if you want one you can dip into for short amounts of time.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-12-11 16:26 (UTC)
A tip you once gave me on Twitter caused me to start playing Skyrim. :) It's a good 'un. So beautiful. I could run around for hours just staring at the scenery if it weren't for the dive-bombing dragons.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)