An inevitable and well-timed 2011 list of games.

So in a timely post, I’m going to go through some of the games I really enjoyed last year in no particular order.

Dungeons of Dredmor.

Something I didn’t expect to enjoy, and something that has started an appreciation for a sub-genre I’d barely touched before. I still haven’t completed the damn thing (I recently got to level 7 of the dungeons, but I’m still enjoying trying. I also really enjoyed the DLC, I still enjoy trying new character skill combinations, and the fact that it’s been insanely cheap at times has just heightened my appreciation for the guys who made it. Good job, fellas.

Master of Orion 2

I bought this classic game from Good Old Games this year; it’s great. It’s not my favourite 4x game, but what it does do it does well, and it’s obvious how influential the game has been. There’s still not been a worthy sequel.

Sword of the Stars

Speaking of 4x games (and we were); I love the original Sword of the Stars and it’s expansions. The sequel has been a real shame (although they are still improving/fixing/developing it), but let’s not talk about that! Let’s talk about the good one! It’s certainly not in the same vein as Masters of Orion; but it plows it’s own furrow  remarkably well. Turn-based civilisation-level business with real-time combat is something I very much appreciate due to the Total War games, and this is very much that kind of game. The racial diversity (i.e. races actually have real, tangible differences in the way they play) is great too. I really hope I’ll be describing the sequel in similarly glowing terms in a year or three.

Europa Universalis III

A game I’ve enjoyed for years, and still do. Helps to have a consistent stream of expansions (will there be *another*, or will we be treated to EU4 before too long?) of course, but the essence of the game brings me back; high-level strategy and high amounts of freedom. Any game where you can turn the Ottoman Empire into a colonial power, Form a united Indian nation in 1600, and turn Portugal into Europe’s mightiest land-power is alright with me.

Minecraft

Dunno if anyone out there has heard of this obscure indie game, but I hear that it’s slightly more popular than the average blocky-building-crafting-surviving simulator. The game has been a phenomenon this last year, and I think an awful lot of people haven’t really liked some of the more recent changes. I think that the survival focus is good, if not brilliantly implemented personally. Still, it’s been a time-sink dozens of hours big, and I still come back to it (almost exclusively in multiplayer now). Good one, Notch.

Dwarf Fortress

An old classic here – I remember playing the old 2d Dwarf Fortress (and by 2d I don’t mean graphics, I mean it didn’t have a z-axis) aaaaaages ago, and I never really got it. I came back to it, bounced off, came back to it again, and eventually I learned how to play this damned monolith. It’s so ambitious. It’s so large. It’s so insane. It’s so good. The guy who makes it must be some kind of bizarre genius, and I thank him for being so. I still don’t know how to play it fully (stuff like animal storage and training eludes me, largely), but the game is too compulsive.

I’m sure I’ve missed out some games I’ve really enjoyed – blame an addled, confused mind for that – but that was a taster of Good Games. Play some of them – Dwarf Fortress is free for crying out loud.

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