Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Old Standby

It's interesting to me how much we, as gamers, tend to compare games to relationships. I mean, it's an apt metaphor. We certainly do enter in a certain sort of relationship with different games. We have flings, go steady, get serious. Some of us get married, while others play the field. We have exciting first dates and horrible break ups. Stories of the one that got away are common among lifelong gamers.

And another thing we generally have is an Old Standby. A former lover that we keep around "just in case." The cute, sweet, and, uh, well-visited old friend that we know we can always go back to.

I have two, currently. Civilization is one. I own five, so I generally play the latest, but I think I have the other discs somewhere around, too.

Before Civ, though, there was SimCity and Rollercoaster Tycoon. Both are games that I keep around for rainy days. Every so often, I get the urge to retreat from the front lines of gaming to my comfort zone of old games. There's just something about games that let me build things that appeals to me. Even in Civ, when I'm in the mood, I tend to simply build up a society and refrain from attacking anyone. (Which means, in general, that I don't win, either. Pacifism is a hard trait to take to victory in Civ, at least at the harder settings. You almost have to attack someone.

What are your Old Standbys? Can we count WoW among them now? Is it old enough? (Not that Civ V is old enough, either.)

The reason this popped into my head is that there's a SimCity Social Open Beta going on right now. I stumbled across it after my latest peaceful civilization had been destroyed (on King, fwiw). The tagline reads "more city, less ville." A clever, if obvious dig at Zynga games. I mentioned recently how impressed I've been with Zynga. If the SimCity franchise can live up to the Zynga social gaming bar, color me excited. It's like one of my own flames grew into that awkward frame (or something). So yeah, I'm playing. I almost wish I could pay some money for the game and have infinite energy. Take the mini-transactions out and just pay like $50 to open the game or whatever.

I mean, they had me at SimCity.


  1. I miss X-com. I see they're making a FPS version of it. Kinda sad. I loved the turn based strategy version.

  2. I've heard of the game, but never played it.

  3. I'm going to come out with a horrible confession now: My "Old Standby" is Runescape *winces* - yeah, I know... I used to play it for about two years with lovely people (which makes all the difference in a game) and sometimes I like to go back for the British humour and the really inspired quests with actual storylines you have to figure out.

    In my defence, this happens about once every 6-12 months these days.

    I had a "Fling" too recently - Aion! Really liked the graphics and the fight animations. Alas, I don't have time though to keep up two gaming addictions and so WoW will remain my, err, "steady partner" :-)

  4. Never played Runescape, either. Aion, though, I had quite the fling with. Still love the pictures I use as my background there.

  5. The largest games convention on Earth is happening in Cologne, Germany from August 15 to 19 this year. Blizzard Entertainment is excited to announce our presence at gamescom 2012, where visitors will have the chance to witness the world premiere of the World of Warcraft®: Mists of Pandaria™ opening cinematic. The latest creation from Blizzard’s cinematics team will be shown on giant screens at our booth on Thursday, August 16, the first fully public day of the event.

    Me thinks we'll get a release date.

  6. I only beta'ed for one weekend. Otherwise, I'm trying to save all the surprises for the actual release. It's weird, because with the scope of the open beta, it seems like everyone's really been playing the expansion for months now. Will it be old hat by the time it launches?

  7. I should have mentioned that it seems like we'll have a lot of time to play other games. If the announcement isn't until mid August then what is a likely release date? September? November? Uhg. I'm an altoholic and I'm getting bored. So bored I leveled archeology some.

    My 10 man raiding group has only raided once in the past three weeks. This weekend is looking like a wash too.

  8. Yeah. Long wait is long.

    I wish these MMOs would get out of the habit of trying to one up each other by releasing all their new stuff at the same time. Seems like all the lulls come through at the same time. Maybe it's just the ones I play, though.

  9. I don't think they'll only announce the release date at the convention. That's when the cinematic is released, meaning that the game might follow a few weeks later. I'm kinda expecting (or at least, hoping for) an announcement in the next week or so :-)

  10. Hmmm, might have to shell out the $15.