After our holiday (a very enjoyable sojourn in a beautiful cottage overlooking the Fal estuary) I was ready to indulge in some PC gaming again. Before the break I had been playing a lot of EVE but I found that I am not quite ready to jump back in. With the new perspective formed during my 10 day abstinence I had to admit that while EVE is a really really good game it sure has a lot of boring things to do in it. I needed some quick fix instant gratification gaming.
I am a veteran gamer with a hefty collection of PC games so you might imagine that this would be a relatively easy need to satisfy. Not so.
Out of the hundreds of PC games that are in my collection the number that I can sit down and play straight away is ..... 5.
There are several reasons for this. I have installed many games to make room for new titles. Other games remain installed but require hefty patching to get them to work with my current system. There are a few whose subscription has expired and a large bunch which demand play disks which are buried somewhere in my attic. There are even a few titles which work perfectly but are so darn complicated that I couldn't be bothered wading through the tutorials again to figure out how the heck they work.
If you are a console gamer you may snigger now. Yes, yes this is yet another reason why PC gaming lost the battle to consoles and has become the embarrassingly incontinent older relation of the gaming world.
I am a dyed in the wool PC gamer. For all kinds of reasons I like gaming on a complicated machine that my mother could never be taught to use use while sitting in my own private space where I could possibly be thought to be doing useful work. I cling to the remnants of my dying hobby but at times like this I am almost tempted to jack it in and buy a bloody Xbox.
Almost but not quite. I found my salvation in the world of free to play flash games. In two particular flash games to be precise: Last Stand and its sequel Last Stand 2 . In my opinion these two simple Zombie shooters are absolute masterpieces of game design. I lack the expertise and vocabulary to put into words exactly why these games are so good but they really are. Challenging but doable. Short but engrossing. Simple but fun.
I seen several commentators hailing so called "casual games" as the future of PC gaming. From a personal point of view this thought leaves me cold. I detest peggle games and the myriad of tower defence games and coloured jewel games and all the other tired formula games that are so dominant in the casual gaming space. Yet Last Stand is a masterpiece.
Energised I searched the endless catalogue of Flash games for other shining jewels of game design. Sadly I didn't find many. The good stuff drowns in a sea of mediocrity.
PS. I am now playing Guild Wars again.