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game stuff

My favourite games!

You can probably tell from the sidebar I'm super into the Sims, Fallout and Dragon Age!

I think the header picture might give the impression I'm more into Pokemon and Team Fortress 2 than I am. I used to be obsessed with both, at different times in my life, but I don't really enjoy either new pokemon games or revisiting my old faves of Yellow and Crystal. I still love pikachu, though (FAT pikachu, that is). And I stopped enjoying TF2 when I started finding it hard to keep up with all the new weapons.

But I still have a pikachu phone case :) And I still end up quoting my favourite stupid TF2 voicelines.

I talk more about them in their own sections, but...

  • my favourite Sims games are TS1 and TS3 (I used to love TS2 but I think TS3's an improvement. TS4 doesn't interest me whatsoever)
  • my favourite Fallout games are FO1 and FNV (I also like FO3 and FO4, but I don't rate FO2)
  • my favourite Dragon Age game is Origins, by a clear mile! (I don't like DA2; Inquisition is fine)

My other favourite games:

  • The Legend of Kyrandia 2: Hand of Fate (1993) (wiki) - I'm Zanthia's no.1 fan and have been since childhood. I'm gonna grow up to be her one day. This game is so funny and charming. Like most point-and-clicks, you can run it through ScummVM, and you can buy it bundled like that, too.
  • Magical Drop III (1997) (wiki) - my favourite puzzle game of all time. If I can get mame working how I want it, it's gonna take even more years of my life. And I'll let it.
  • Catz 3 (1998) (wiki) - my first website was a Petz 3 fansite. I still say that's the best Petz game (4 is pretty similar, I guess). I used to spend forever trying to breed the kitten on the cover; messing with the clock because pregnancies and growth progressed with the real days...

    I actually found neocities because it has somewhat of a Petz scene! But I haven't played for a few years.

  • Pharaoh (1999) (wiki) - this and the later EP Cleopatra (2000) are probably still my favourite city builders. The art is wonderful and the scant voice acting is baked into my brain.
  • Quake III Arena (1999) (wiki) - my favourite fps until TF2. I mostly played against bots - I loved all their stupid banter - but when my dad would have lan parties with his friends I'd fucking wreck them all. Fond memories ❤ I played as Hunter. I liked her cool headdress. I kind of had crushes on Mynx, Slash and Anarki (latter totally inexplicable in retrospect). I also really liked Orbb. I wonder who I'll like best now? I bought this in some steam sale or whatever and I keep meaning to start playing again! I started playing again! I miss these freaks (I don't miss with my fucking railgun though)
  • Thief: Deadly Shadows (2004) (wiki) - or, as I call it and I'm pretty sure everyone does, Thief 3. The first 2 games were too scary for me, and I always mean to play them now I'm an adult I started playing again!

    I was proud of myself when, in my late teens, I finally managed to play through the 2nd half of the Cradle without screaming (too much). Oh my god... what a fun level design though. I don't want to say why, just in case I'm spoiling you, all these years later. It is so so so fun the first time, though! And later times too, but nothing tops that first moment when you realise what's going on!

    Also Garrett was one of my first video game crushes... I love his voice! And his terrible personality. I wanted to be Viktoria...

  • Zombie Smashers X2: Punx and Skins (2005) (youtube) (wayback machine) - abandonware now, but I still remember successfully begging my dad to buy it for me. I so badly wish I could get this working again. Some day soon I'm gonna have to move to Linux and I guess I'll get more into Windows emulation at that point. Until that beautiful day, I just listen to the soundtrack. And remember how much fun it is to use the spines of your enemies as weapons against your other enemies :)

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) (wiki) - I haven't played this game for a few years (ha, 9 years according to steam actually), but it's my favourite GTA game. Though, I still haven't played 5. I need to play again. This is also one of my favourite dating simulators, alongside Dragon Age: Origins and Disco Elysium.

  • Mount and Blade: Warband (2010) (wiki) - This is in my top 5. This game is sooooo fun and it has no real right to be. It's ugly as sin and really restrictive in some ways and I love love love it. So much that I preordered Bannerlord (2020), and I played once in the beta and once after early access release, but it sucks compared to ugly ancient ♥ Warband! ♥ NOTHING is as fun as you and some other hard as nails women (oh, and Ymira, but she's our protegee) riding around raising hell (or, well, restoring order in bandit-overrun villages... distributing agricultural supplies to war-torn areas... same difference)

    I love a game that lets me tell a sexist prick exactly what he can do with his opinion, and this is that game and more. ♥ There are some great mods - recently I've been playing my own version of this version of Floris, but for years I was a Silverstag girl. Mods for this game being basically overhauls is annoying sometimes but this is a game that's fun to play over and over again, so it's fun to try new ones anyway :)

    Maybe I should release my own version! It's mostly just adding things like female victory cries, better appearances for female heroes, more opportunities for the player to recruit more female soldiers...

  • Civilization V (2010) (wiki) - I love this game so much. I love how easy it is to lose a whole day playing, but it's also easy to just dip in. I think I got into this game a few years late, because I was still happily playing IV and its expansions. But I've never even wanted to move on to VI. I always go naval in Civ games, it seems, and my favourite part of the game is up to around medieval era. I normally played Elizabeth in IV, but I play Dido in V :) And it gave me a minor obsession with Carthage.

    I have faint memories of trying to play the first or second game as a child and not understanding what to do at all. Actually, I was the same with IV, I think. I got it as a gift (from my husband?) and I spent my first 6-7 turns finding a good spot for my first city. Which then of course ate my settler. And I ragequit. But now I actually know how the game works, thankfully!

  • Crusader Kings 2 (2012) (wiki) - My first exposure to this game was buying the first one, possibly in Hungarian, which I don't speak... whatever the reason, I didn't get it or like it. But I loved CK2; before the later patches, at least. I really liked doing my best to simulate a court, a real court, with families there falling in and out of favour, falling on hard times or having great strokes of luck - families who weren't major players in the realm, unless/until one of them ended up someone's oldest friend/shagging someone, or was made a bishop or even a real noble, or whatever. But at some point they made it so these "unnecessary" characters were automatically and unstoppably killed off, even in your own court (I could have dealt with not populating nearby/related courts, but my own?!) And no matter what I raised the limit to in the relevant config files, it just would not stop happening. So this game is on my list frozen in amber. When it was good, it was soooooo good!

    I had high hopes for CK3 before it became clear that the only real thing we were getting was cadet houses (did we even get that in the end?) I wanted a sequel to fix things like regency. In CK2, little boy kings would, with their own regent-mother's approval, sell her off as a concubine for trinkets. And, lacking her protection, promptly end up murdered. And to correct this didn't even require any new gameplay - just to fix what was there! I would love a similar game with more for female characters to do, but Paradox aren't interested in making it. I thought the representation of lovers/favourites was pretty dire, too, and I always meant to make a mod to fix that once development stopped, but by then the court limit stuff was a problem...

  • Starbound (pre-release) (2013) (wiki) - The story mode in the real release, combined with all the content they removed, destroyed this game. But even since then (with the new BORING namegen) I've had plenty of fun exploring the galaxy with my first character: the ~adorable~ Floran, Space-stabber. (She's very intelligent and reasonable, for a Floran, but she also really loves to ssstab.)
  • Stardew Valley (2016) (wiki) - I haven't played this for a few years - I've never visited the night market, etc. - but I really love it. The best fantasy element in this game is where the local people defeat Tesco before it kills their town. Oh, that and the junimos :) It has some problems, though. The big one is that Robin is married and you can't even ruin that. The second biggest is: Leah, Penny, Emily or Elliott?
  • Kenshi (2018) (wiki) - Kenshi, Kenshi, Kenshi. It's the worst game ever. It looks like shit. It loads and plays like shit. It's set in a shit world full of shit people and makes you feel shit. And I LOVE IT!!!!!!! It's very hard to describe. It's like my dream mix of classic Fallout and The Sims, except not, because it's shit. It doesn't have the good points of either. It kind of has all their worst points, actually.

    Please, play it if you get the chance. There's nothing like it, but it's also the quintessential computer game.

    I say it's ugly, and it is, but it also has some stark beauty in its landscapes. I like it a lot. Play Kenshi! (Try not to lose any limbs! Or maybe do it on purpose! That's a strategy!)

  • Disco Elysium (2019) (wiki) - I played this game recently for the first time but it's already a favourite. I missed out on it for a long time because steam lists it as a visual novel and I filter those out. It's not a visual novel, it's an rpg, and maybe the best I've ever played.

    6 weeks' digestion isn't nearly enough for me to be halfway normal about this game. Check back later.

  • Games I didn't mention above but won't get their own section (for now): the Elder Scrolls series! (wiki)

    I had two first introductions to this series. The first was playing what I was sure was a demo of Morrowind (2002) on a cd that came with a gaming magazine, close to when it came out (no later than 2003, I'm sure). But, I've looked into it since then, and Morrowind never had a demo. I was so sure it did and that that was why I never progressed past Balmora. But I guess it was a pirate copy, and I was just stupid! And/or easily distracted.

    My second first introduction was watching a friend play Oblivion (2006) on xbox, in late 2007. He let me play his save a bit and I was just causing trouble in the waterfront district. I think his character was a vampire! I thought it was some kind of medieval-fantasy GTA pretty much. I couldn't really parse the advanced graphics (yes, go ahead and laugh) as being a game anything like Icewind Dale...

    Of course, you can play Elder Scrolls games as medieval-fantasy GTA... and I sometimes do :)

    And a few years after that I found out Oblivion was a pc game too. I don't know if it was only after starting it or maybe even finishing it that I realised it was the sequel to Morrowind, but I got and played that, too. The "full version" lmao, though I do still to this day tend to linger in Balmora...

    I loved both a lot. And I was sooo excited for the release of Skyrim (2011). I did a special big playthrough of Morrowind and Bloodmoon, which I hadn't finished previously, to get me all Solstheim-hyped. And it worked I guess. I preordered Skyrim - I don't preorder things often - and I died when it was delayed by a whole day in the post and everyone else in the world was playing Skyrim and CATCHING THE SALMON IN THE RIVER and I was crying and sobbing and wailing

    I've replayed all 3 games several times since then. I absolutely adore them, and Skyrim especially. With some mods for more flowers and trees (like this one), it's the prettiest game ever, and I can't get enough. I'm perpetually in the middle of a Skyrim playthrough. I've actually never finished Dragonborn, so technically I've never finished Skyrim...

    I've never played the first 2 games and I don't really intend to!

There are former favourites that don't seem to merit a place on the real list. Even though some of the stuff that did make the cut is really more a former favourite than something I actually still play. Whole categories of games like beat 'em ups - I used to love playing Waku Waku 7, KoF '98 and Garou on MAME, and Tekken games on PS1 and PS2 - but I'm not at all interested in them any more.

Creatures 2 - I don't know why Catz 3 is on the list and C2 isn't when I've played them both equally recently and even still download mods for C2, but whatever. The list is subject to change :)

And games I was once obsessed with, like Final Fantasy IX and X - I remember how I flat-out wept at the end of X... but though I've bought the remasters in recent years, I don't seem very interested in actually playing them. Metal Slug 2 was my other favourite arcade game. I still listen to the OST, but I don't think about the game itself often any more. At one time I was a big Tropico fan, but they kept releasing the same game with the same problems so I stopped, and I guess it tainted the games I'd enjoyed, too! And nothing like that happened with Black and White (and B&W2), but I think I got really frustrated trying to manage a longterm population in similar ways...

Making this list has reminded me that I need to try that Two Point Hospital. I used to love Theme Hospital soooo much.

Girl gamer blues

I think one of the reasons I loved Kyrandia 2 so much was that it was probably the 2nd game I'd played with a female protagonist. The only other one I can remember from early childhood was Jill of the Jungle (1992). I liked that game a lot, and I remember enjoying it still when I revisted it as a preteen, but it's not exactly story-rich lmao. (Holy shit I was just looking up what year it came out and it's free on GOG apparently forever! I have the floppies somewhere in a cupboard, but idk if I have a drive anywhere still...)

Lara was my heroine too, but Zanthia was first :)

Maybe my most disappointing game purchase ever - more than THI4F!1 - was Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword. Because Warband is so fun to play as a female character, but you just can't be one in that. Oh, I tried, but all I could easily be was a 'woman' everyone called sir. If they remove a feature like that, they should warn people!

Games that remind me of songs; songs that remind me of games

Some of these are just because I was into both at the same time, some are more thematically/stylistically-linked. Others, it's hard to tease apart. Game links are to wikipedia, music links are to youtube

Oni (2001)

Equal in vain - Guniw Tools (1999)

These are just literally the same to me. Something to do with grittiness. Oni was my favourite game for a time, and this was one of my favourite songs at the same time. I feel like Konoko would have listened to this on the radio, if she ever had free time...

This one is a little unusual compared to the others: I listened to those songs playing those games, but I never listened to music whilst playing Oni. Also, I got Oni on a cheap re-release (remember those?) and I got into j-rock when I was more into my teens, so I guess this was more like 2003 for both for me.

Creatures 2 (1998)

Black Coffee - All Saints (2000)

I can't see any link between these apart from I was still playing Creatures 2 when this came out. But they have a similar feeling... something about loneliness, even though it's a pretty sweet love song and Creatures 2 is full of, well, creatures.

Runescape (early 2000s version)

Placebo b-sides, such as:
2468 (1994)
Paycheck (1995)
Oxygen Thief (1996) Bonus: this song "sounds like the PS1" and idk exactly what I mean by that, but I stand by it! Something to do with demo discs?
Then The Clouds Will Open For Me (1997)
I Feel You (Depeche Mode cover) (1999) This one more than the others!! Aww... I'm trying to make chocolate cakes, saving up for a blue skirt with a shiny trim, staying away from the pvp wilderness like my *real life* depended on it... I stopped playing RS a long time ago, but I still love this song.
Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush cover) (2003)
Where Is My Mind (Pixies cover) (2003)

There's no link here - I just listened to these songs when I was playing!

I had no idea any of the covers were covers, apart from a David Bowie one introduced as such. So whenever I hear the originals of any of these - I think Running Up That Hill is the only one I really like - I think of them as Placebo covers!

Neopets (early 2000s)

One More Time - Daft Punk (2001)

I guess I listened to Daft Punk a lot when I was restocking, playing that snake game they had... Digital Love is my favourite Daft Punk song (both from Discovery and in general), but One More Time is the one that always makes me think "Neopets :)", even now!

I was so obsessed with the cover of Discovery. I used to just look at it all the time. I think maybe it still shows in my sense of web design you can see here...

I thought this list would be a lot longer when I started it. I will keep adding to it :) I could make a huge section about all the j-pop and j-rock I associate with The Sims 2 (because I replaced all its music, because I hated it compared to TS1) but that will take forever.

Musicians I got into because of games, and coincidences

I can start with the big two: I'm sure I like jazz because of The Sims: Hot Date, and early music because of both Microsoft Encarta's little trivia-adventure game and Final Fantasy IX :)

I've gotten into Shira Kammen's music lately (hmm, by which I mean... this decade), mainly because I paid for Magnatune and was able to download a bunch of her albums that are on there. The instrumental stuff seemed pretty familar, and one track in particular... Downstream was in Braid! (And I think he bought it from Magnatune...)

I loved (and still love) the Civilisation V soundtrack, especially the Middle East Africa folder because I normally play Dido and that's what I hear. A few years ago (prior to getting magnatune, so... late 2010s?) I was an amazon prime subscriber, so I had their music thing. It was a fun way to find new music (which I've since bought or downloaded), but it was also a fun way to stumble across familiar tunes, like Jalla man, by the Oni Wytars Ensemble (the singer is Belinda Sykes, and when I found this out this way, I've since become a big fan of her and her band Joglaresa... I went to see them twice just before the pandemic, and that makes them legally my favourite band I guess lmao)

I will find a better place for this on my site but seeing as this is where I mentioned Belinda Sykes and Joglaresa: she died on the 16th November 2021. She was only 55. Of course the pandemic has been awful for many many reasons but I think it's so sad that it robbed her of so many opportunities to perform after her diagnosis of terminal cancer. She was still a magnificent performer even with the problems it caused for her singing and generally. RIP