Reminiscing from up above
The last few weeks, y’all, I’ve been playing some real ol’ school classics.
Classics, damn you!
The first was Transport Tycoon Deluxe. I’ve spent countless hours working through this magic game. And, gods damn it, it is the one of the simplest simulation games ever.
There are these resource thingos (in plain English: a forest, a mine, an oil rig, a farm) and you need to take the thingo’s stuff to the other thingo (in plain English: a wood yard, a steel mill, a refinery, a factory). The people give you some cash, rinse and repeat.
The satisfaction of seeing your initial immense debt getting paid back in full as tiny truck by truck load of coal reaches the depot you’ve built next to the power plant is strangely fulfilling. Setting up entire routes of depots that shuffle wood up and down the coastline is particularly relaxing.
However, like all simulation games, the destroy factor comes into play sooner or later.
The destroy factor is when you start succeeding at a sim type game. Where to go from there? The initial elation of victory as you beat your competitors at their own game, buy their companies out from under them, and have everyone loving you is short lived.
In theory, the game runs from like 1930 (steam trains, slow vehicles) all the way to 2050 (flying trains, super cars*) so you can replace and rebuild your empire.
I’ve always quit and restarted waaaaay before this has happened. I’ve won the game; out of debt, made some cash, trounced my competitors. But I get bored of this short term fame. Bugger it.
File > Quit.
Start again, and let the destruction of my economical foes begin again.
The second has been The Settlers II. This beaut’ of a game sets the bar of base building games.
Start with a fortress, from which your empire literally spills forth. And when I say literally, I mean it. All your little carrier dudes that pick up resources along any road you build head out en masse and wait patiently until some other bastard drops off something. After that, it’s all peer group pressure…
The trick with this game (and one I’m happy to say I’ve never mastered) is doing everything at once. To train soldiers, you need a weapon, some armour, and some booze. Lets focus on the weapon/armour. To make those, you need metal. To get metal, you need miners to dig it (and some coal) up, give it to metal worker (along with the coal to stoke his fires, no double entendre). To get your miners digging, you need to feed them, so that means either farming grain or pigs, and each of those need (as well as all the freaking others) building built. So to do that, you need builders to construct the constructions from raw materials, which you also have to get!
So, unlike Transport Tycoon Deluxe, this game actually has an end: where you smash your opposition into the ground like a blonde tent peg. And it’s freaking awesome. Combat is all about gankin’. Seriously: I build a fortress, they build a fortress, and I’ll send my 28 dudes to smash their 12 dudes. And it is truly about fortifying the outlying areas. My only complaint is how you can’t shift your forces to an individual front. So every side of your lands have equal numbers of soldiers. This becomes an issue later in game as, as you can see from above, its kinda hard to make soldiers effectively and quickly. And I can guarantee you’ll always need more soldiers than you have.
This would create some really wicked gameplay. Alas, it is without. Still, its gameplay is fairly sweet.
But my most favourite feature. Co-op. On the same computer. Plug two freaking mice in, share a keyboard and play fucking splitscreen! Holy shit, Nigel! **
In all honesty, the don’t make games like they used to. Some of these games were just genius incarnate; such simple, polished gameplay. All extraneous elements just weren’t included, so the game is complete and fun in its awesomeness.
* To be honest, I’ve never seen them. I’ve gotten bored well before this has arrived on the economical scene, so I’m a guessing.
** Also, a small caveat here: you need two serial mice, or a serial connector to play on two computers. Not only am I 100% I don’t have these cables/peripherals, but I’m also 100% sure my computer doesn’t have these connections to actually plug them in. Woe is me for having a Mac ***.
*** Actually, woe is not me. My Mac is fucking sweet, Matty. And any more nasty comments about it being a cigarette case will only end badly.
3 Responses to “Reminiscing from up above”
You’re not invited to the laptop parties anymore, man.
But I will invite you to spend some time with Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers on their superbus.
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