So, I’ve been trying to use this summer to get through a huge backlog of games that I feel like I should have played at some point. I only own some of them, but all of these are games I feel like I should play at some point, either because they were popular in genres I enjoy or it seemed like they did something very right (and became classics) that I want to study. Keep in mind this list is far from complete and mostly for my own reference.
- Fallout: New Vegas — Heard it was much better than Fallout 3, which I enjoyed. I’ve put in forty (!) hours so far and have definitely enjoyed it, although I feel I’m sabotaging my own fun by having read too much of the wiki and being concerned with getting the “best” endings, all the companions in one play-through, etc.
- Planescape: Torment — I fully admit I want to get into this one for the writing.
- Baldur’s Gate series — Mostly because they’re considered classics of the RPG genre, and I also kind of want to see what the Infinity Engine could and couldn’t handle, given that I rather like the idea of making an isometric RPG myself, although I’d probably shift towards 3D graphics just to gain experience in modeling and animation.
- Icewind Dale series — For pretty much the same reasons as Baldur’s Gate.
- Neverwinter Nights — I’ve played through a small bit of this, but want to push through to the end. I’ve found it to be one of the more interesting examples of translating tabletop mechanics to computer RPGs, and I especially think it would be interesting to think of ways for it to keep its 3rd Ed D&D crunch but make the system more easily understandable to newcomers. I wasn’t really able to understand what I was doing until I’d played actual D&D, which strikes me as a bit of a flaw for a game that should be able to be understood within its own context.
- Dragon Age: Origins — My main issue with this game is that I feel the pacing of combat is destroyed by needing to pause to issue orders every few seconds, and that I’ve ended up with a party that’s probably considered sub-optimal because of the characters who I actually like. (Rogue PC, Leliana, Alistair, and Morrigan do not a balanced party make.) However, the writing is good and it’s an interesting example of old-school RPG trappings made into a more modern game.
- Deus Ex — Simply because it established much of the “mission sandbox” style of gameplay, where the approach was up to you. I’ve played some of it so far and I have to admit the main thing that bothers me is some of the stealth implementation, but that’s mostly due to it being a game from another era and not having a first person camera.
- Zork — Going back to one of the early classics. And because I promised myself I’d beat it someday.
- Zork: Grand Inquisitor — I’ve played a few hours of this, and I loved the humor. Now that I’m older, I also think I could do more of the puzzles without a hint guide, due to this magical thing known as patience.
- Myst — Another classic that I think I simply must play, if only to realize how much the adventure genre has evolved since then.
- Uru: Ages Beyond Myst — Like Myst, but with some physics added into the puzzles. Also would be an interesting study in spin-offs, as it seemed to keep much of the spirit of the original games intact while going and doing its own thing.
- The Longest Journey — From what I played of this, I liked the characters rather a lot but often felt too dumb to figure out what I needed to do next. But I think if I give it another crack I could finish it, and thus finish another classic of adventure gaming.
- Syberia — Apparently I just want to play all the adventure games. And PC Gamer adored this one when it came out, which a pretty good endorsement in my eyes.
- Grand Theft Auto IV — I never finished Vice City because I found the protagonist wholly unlikeable. From what I’ve seen of the story of IV, I think I would like Nico much more, and that would give me incentive to actually explore one of the more popular game series of all time, if only to improve my games literacy.
- The Path, The Graveyard, Fatale, etc. (Everything Ever Made By Tale of Tales) — Say what you will about some of the gameplay mechanics, the games made by Tale of Tales strike me as some of the best examples of “games as art” available today. And while their works definitely aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, I loved The Graveyard and am looking forward to trying their games that have a little more meat to them, to see how challenging things like genre conventions can be done to artistic effect. (And who knows, maybe I’ll finally play Endless Forest and run around as a strange man-deer thing. For the experience, if nothing else.)
- The Witcher — I’ve played around sixteen hours of this so far, and the world and writing are all very good. A great example of how to give true moral choices in games that aren’t neatly divided into “good” and “evil” paths, and choices that you make given only limited information, just like in real life. My main issue with this game is that I’m not particularly good at the combat and some of the quests are rather confusing, but I think that’s mostly because I’ve let myself get bogged down in side quests far too often.
- Psychonauts — Love what I’ve played so far, but need to go back and give it a whirl through to the finish, just to see the writing play out. An excellent example of a game that could be played by children but is not designed explicitly for them, and avoids being dumbed down.
- Dozens of Indie Games — To examine the scope of what individuals and small group developers can do, to generate logical ideas for what I want to do in my future game development.
There are, of course, many more, but this is already quite the hefty list on its own. I guess I should get cracking on it.
What games do you keep meaning to go back and play?