I’m on an adventure with my kids this weekend as I show them around what I consider to be “my town”, NYC. After all, I’ve visited the Big Apple at least twice now, so I’m pretty well versed in how things go around here. Just to prove my point, last night we ate at Five Guys, which is about as local as you can get. Tonight we’re trying a new place that looks like it really captures the local ambiance: Applebee’s. If that’s a little to high brow for my kids, we might do Shake Shack. We might even get lost on the subway (or that might have already happened and I’m too ashamed to admit it).
What this all means is that I’m not playing too many games this weekend, but everyone else at Stately Play is, and I’m going to dish what’s hot. As an addendum, I’m writing this on an iPad which isn’t the best (or worst) tool for copying/pasting, adding images, and all that other stuff I slave over, day after day [insert sad violin here. -ed.]. I mention this only to warn you that there might be links missing, images looking a bit strange and, worst of all, this intro may never end.
SimCity 3000 Unlimited
I’ll almost certainly play a smattering of different games this weekend, but to make life easier on our esteemed road-tripping editor-in-chief I’ll just call out one: SimCity 3000 Unlimited. It was on sale on GoG for a couple bucks recently and I couldn’t resist. SimCity 3K Unlimited, to me, is the pinnacle of the city builder. SimCity 4 was where the franchise started bothering you with the thoughts and desires of individual sims. I don’t care about that stuff, I just want to build a cool city. So it’s a trip down memory lane to see if a game into which I sunk hundreds of hours nearly a lifetime ago holds up over time.
Monster Hunter: World
A weekend free of obligations means that I can finally devote the time that Monster Hunter: World demands and deserves. I’ve also managed to fall back into the Dream Quest hole thanks to the discussion happening in the forums, and I’ve been picking my way through Dissembler, a new puzzle game. It’s incredibly satisfying and you’ll probably see a Short Cut on that soon.
I’m really looking forward to playing more Moon Hunters this weekend. Last time we observed that one of the “character classes” looks like Sargon, who comes to tell you that his master, King Mardok, has sentenced you to death. Now we’re wondering how he comes to join your side: does he give up the Sun Cult, or just its militant monotheism? Also looking forward to cooking new things: I swear I’m combining the apricots with mushrooms this time, just to see what that turns into.
I’m also going to be playing Scrap Mechanic with my 7 year-old. If you’re not familiar, Scrap Mechanic is a Minecraft-alike that is more focused on building vehicles and machines, like cars with working engines, brakes, etc. that you put together. It’s (thankfully!) not modeling things down to the spark plugs and fuses level, but it does expect you to get into what would be at least intermediate redstone crafting almost immediately. It’s also much higher-res and more flexible with placement and size than Minecraft, which makes it easier to see everything you’re working on and means that you don’t need a city block to make a walking machine, but also that you can get a bit lost in the tangle of connections you’ve created. Frankly, I’m a bit intimidated, but my kiddo is already experimenting with whirligigs and simple go-karts and with way too much horsepower and no brakes (they flip over and crash, n’est ce pas).
Scrap Mechanic is in early access and at present only includes a “creative mode” without external threats or challenges. I’m okay with that.
I also finally shelled out for Dominions 5. It’s everything I hoped it would be. Currently playing the Nazca single player to test out strategies for getting my foes to kill my commanders and let me make mummy bundles out of them. If it works well enough, I’m taking my winged Incas into multiplayer.
- Moon Hunters for Nintendo Switch, $15
- Moon Hunters for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $12
- Scrap Mechanic for PC via Steam, $16
- Dominions 5: Warriors of the faith for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $40
Jurassic Park: Trespasser
Going for something a little different this weekend. By a little, I mean a lot. And different, I mean amazing. And by amazing, I could very well mean terrible. 2018 marks twenty years since the release of Trespasser: Jurassic Park, a game that did everything and more in a frictionless frisson of bugs and unbridled ambition.
I played the game not long after release, and despite the torment of Trespasser’s molecular instability and payload of unfulfilled promises, the game has stayed with me all these years. Could have been Minnie Driver’s health gauge, could have been Richard Attenborough’s soothing narration. But it was really just the premise of wandering around the ruins of Isla Sorna and seeing prehistoric fauna in all its afforded glory. Sure, that glory was tarnished by a primordial physics engine, and sure, the hyper-extensive item interaction was Surgeon Simulator before Surgeon Simulator, but Trespasser remains the most beguiling of immersive sims.
Loading up with mods, care of the the honourable holdouts on TresCom, it should be a nice, awkward stroll down memory lane.
Otherwise, Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare action and a twist more Agents of Mayhem.
RiME, one of the free PS+ games this month, is turning out to be quite engaging! The puzzles aren’t terrifically brain-bending, but that makes it a very relaxed experience of traversing a lovely world. I’ll probably stick with my usual iOS standards, but on tabletops I am unlikely to escape the weekend without several games of Battleship. Kids, man.
I’m hoping I can lure my son into a simplified version of Wizard Kings, because I just got a pretty good deal on the second edition, mostly thinking it would’ve been utterly amazing when I was about 12. The whole block wargame thing is so completely my aesthetic, especially on a tactile level, that I’m willing to buy them from time to time, just to hold onto them for a hoped-for future in which I might get to play.