Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Top Five Computer Games

Before I had a baby, I was an avid computer gamer.  Not that I was up on so many of the latest computer games, knowing release dates and camping out, but I played computer games.  A lot.  In honor of today's release of The Sims Medieval, I thought I would make a list of my favorite computer games of the last ten years or so.  Like I said, these may not be the coolest of games, but they kept me entertained for hours.  And HOURS.  When I probably should have been outside or exercising or whatever.  In no particular order:
  1. The Sims and The Sims 2: I started playing The Sims shortly after the original game was released.  A fifth grade student of mine regaled me with stories about a game where you make people and then take them through their day.  Why?  Just because.  It seemed weird, but intrigued me.  I bought it, and then bought every expansion pack they released for both The Sims: Original Sauce and The Sims 2.  Why is The Sims so fun?  Who knows?  I used it at different times in my life for different reasons.  Sometimes my Sims had lots of babies.  Sometimes they were tramps.  Sometimes I just built houses.  Or bought clothes.  Good times.  I do own The Sims 3, but I have had little time to play with pretend lives now that I have a real life to look after.  I'll always look back fondly at building a wall around my Sim just to watch it pee itself and then die.  Okay, I only did that once.  Just to see what would happen.  I feel gross admitting that.  It turned into a ghost, in case you were wondering. 
  2. Oregon Trail: When was the last time you played Oregon Trail?  Was it on your Apple 2C in grade school?  Or was it in a crappy Facebook version?  Either way, you should really go out and try to snag yourself a newer version.  They did such a funny job with the game.  The most recent version I have is probably ten years old, but it's got these great real people scenes where guys dressed as pioneers talk directly to you.  Like, real people.  Best acting gig ever!  And you can still die of dysentery.
  3. Titanic: Adventure Out of Time: This is a historical game, which apparently I enjoy.  It's also totally creepy!  You're aboard the Titanic, and not only do you know the ship is going to sink but you have to solve a crazy mystery in time or else you sink, too!  Towards the end, the music starts getting louder and faster (or was that my imagination?), and it's so intense you think you're actually going to drown.  Perhaps it's the sitting so close to the screen (as opposed to playing a game on a TV console), but you really feel like you're on the Titanic.  And you get to meet all sorts of people and see the rooms (all historically accurate, I believe).  So much fun, I wish I could play it right now.
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: I know for a lot of people, this is one of the lamest of the HP games, but I completely disagree.  If you want to know what it's like to spend DAYS at Hogwarts, play this.  You can walk around almost the entire school.  It's literally a lovingly designed, computer generated version of Hogwarts.  The game itself is cute and pretty fun, but I love being in Hogwarts.  Love it.  The two games that have come after have been ultra lame, with the newest being so boring and all about shooting off your wand that I only played the first chapter.  Since I couldn't get past it, I stopped.  Really, why play a game if you have to win?  I like to play to be immersed, not to keep losing so that I can't see what's coming next.
  5. Zoo Tycoon 2: I don't know why I loved this game so much.  I'm not a huge animal or zoo person (I always feel so guilty after going to the zoo), but I liked the challenges.  If you could save certain animals, it unlocked other animals.  Plus, I learned some things about animals, too!  Always the scholar.  I seem to remember getting extra into the game after a trip to the San Diego Zoo.  Particularly when I unlocked the pandas.
There may be some games I'm forgetting, but I am downstairs and don't want to wake anyone by going upstairs and rifling through my oldies but goodies PC game collection.  I'm stoked for my delivery of Sims Medieval, although I have no idea when I'll play it.  Maybe I'll have to wake up at five in the morning.  Or hire a babysitter.  Which would make me a terrible mom.  "Can you come over?  I need to spend hours with pretend people instead of my actual daughter."  Dang.  I have some friends that do not ever want kids, and one of them asked me if I ever wish I didn't have a child.  Never, I told her, which is true.  But the one thing- really, the only thing- I miss about not having a kid is the free time I had to play computer games.  Seeing those words here on the computer makes it sound even more lame.  Ah well.  I still can't wait to play it.


Ronni said...

Sims 3 is very time consuming and more complicated. But a lot of fun and way more customizable. When Romy gets older, she'll want to watch you and help you play which can be fun.

I enjoy the Zoo Tycoon games too. But I use a Mac and it's harder to find cool games for Mac. I miss being able to buy the cheap ones for the PC.

Julie H said...

I never thought of the future of playing with Romy! One of the reasons I love PCs so much is because of the gaming. Boo to Macs and their non-gaming capabilities!

carey said...

when i was in seventh grade, i started at a brand-new middle school whose claim to fame was an entire computer lab full of brand-new apple IIGSes. i think all i did that year was play oregon trail and number munchers.

Brian James said...

I could never get into those 'real life' games like Sims. I play games to escape real life.

Did you try Fall Out 3? It's mind blowing.

Julie H said...

Carey- we had a 2GS at our house! Good times. I loved making banners on that dot matrix printer. And Brian, is that a violent game? I think I feel like Sims games are escaping real life-- MY life- and I get to control someone else's.

Brian James said...

Extremely violent and terrifying at times. It's really quite transcendent. But I do enjoy the violent games, I know some of us gamers do not.