Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Starforce Boycott

Looks like I've found a list of games that I will be cautious about adding to my collection. These games all use the Starforce copy protection scheme, which it seems can open vulnerabilities in Windows (a la Sony's rootkit debacle?), as well as potentially cause hardware failures due to the short-sighted protection measures employed. Fortunately, it is easily detected and removed, but still...

Read more about it here.

Found via Boingboing.net, posted by Cory Doctorow, who has received a legal threat from Starforce's lawyers because of the criticism he has posted.

I want to read up a little more on it before I jump on the boycott bandwagon, but I'd definitely recommend caution at this point.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Is it the end of the world?

E3 Bans Booth Babes.

My world just got a little bit smaller.

To boldly go...

New Start Trek Games Planned.

How can this be a good thing? Hasn't almost every PC game released under the Star Trek license been a steaming pile? What is to convince us that they have learned from the past?

Now, in all fairness, the first Elite Force game was great, and reviews of the second weren't too shabby, either. And honestly, I rather enjoyed Away Team, regardless of the bugs. But overall, I bet poor old Gene rolls over in his grave every time a new game is announced in the franchise. The track record, to put it lightly, has not been stellar (scores are from PC Gamer):

Star Trek: Armada 69%
Star Trek: DS9 The Fallen 72%
Star Trek: Armada 2 69%
Star Trek: Away Team 49%
Star Trek: Bridge Commander 72%

Nothing better than a marginal 'Good' rating, and every one has caveats about extreme tedium, bugs, or both. Gamespot showcases quite a few 'Mediocre', 'Fair', and downright 'Poor' ratings within the franchise, as well. (Klingon Honor Guard, Starfleet Academy, Hidden Evil, Borg, DS9 Harbinger, New Worlds... Need I go on?) It has gotten to the point where it's a running joke in the press there is a curse inherent in the series, brought on by adding the fateful words 'Star Trek' to a title.

Okay, I guess 'steaming pile' may be a bit strong. Perhaps just 'crap' would have been better. But for as complex and potentially immersive a universe as has been created around the Star Trek saga, you would expect something better than the 'blah' that has come before. Here's hoping that the developers of the new games have learned something, and can produce games that can show off more than just a fancy logo and an expensive trademark. Mr. Roddenberry deserves it.


Ok, it's taken me a few days to get around to posting, but I want to send a 'Thank You' out to johnnyboy1362 for a great ebay transaction. Thanks to him, I was able to add some great new games to my collection:

Snowmobile Championship 2000

Indoor Sports

And last, but definitely not least, Zax: The Alien Hunter. I've been looking for this one for years, since I first played the demo released by Reflexive. And for the last several days, it's been about the only thing I've been playing. Look for this one to be added to my 'Best Games You've Never Played' list sometime soon.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Here's a 'Thank You' to 00hobby, for helping me add some new old games to my collection:

Powerhits Sci/Fi (composed of the classic titles Prophecy, Tongue of the Fatman, Deathtrack, Circuit's Edge, and Mines of Titan), Betrayal at Krondor, The Magic Candle, The Magic Candle II: The Four and Forty, and Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos. Some great classics from the golden age of CRPG's, as well as a few other fun ones -- Tongue of the Fatman was one of the most entertaining fighting games of its day, and DeathTrack fulfilled my fondest dreams of automotive carnage until the arrival of Carmageddon. Just seeing the screen shots takes me back to midnight television broadcasts of Death Race 2000.

Thanks again, 00hobby!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Worst games ever?

As a followup to my previous post, I did a search on what other people consider to be the worst PC games ever. I found this list, and from what I've read and seen, it seems like a solid start.

Now how sad is it that I own at least 10% of those games?

And no, I won't tell you which ones. If you're that curious, head over to Gamerspouch and cross-reference to your heart's content.

The true collectibles

I picked up a few games tonight for next to nothing -- aren't thrift stores and dollar shops wonderful? When I see those one or two dollar games sitting on the shelf, it no longer becomes a matter of 'if' I will buy them, just a matter of 'how' I will convince my wife that they were necessary.

So on the drive home, I'm going over the list of new acquisitions in my mind, and I start thinking, "How will I explain Pearl Harbor: Defend the Fleet?" If you haven't heard about it, this is arguably one of the worst games to grace the hard drives of gamers in the last few years. How could I actually justify spending a hard-earned dollar on it?

Then it hit me -- these types of games are the true collectibles. Consider the most popular games out there: The Sims, Neverwinter Nights, the Battlefield series, the Half-Life series, the Baldur's Gate series, and so many others I could name. These games have had expansion, on top of sequel, on top of mod, on top of collector's editions, etc. These games spawn so many offshoots that they will never die, and any true gamer feels almost obligated to have a copy at some point.

But what about the other end of the spectrum? What about the Pearl Harbors, the Extreme Bullriders, the Daikatanas, and the Extreme Paintbrawls? These are games which (hopefully) will never see an expansion or a sequel. These are games which most players in their right mind would never buy in the first place, and those who did would use them for target practice. These are the games that in 3 or 5 or 7 years' time will be found nowhere, except enshrined in my collection, the sole survivors of their kind.

They will become the Holy Grail of gaming, and only I will have them.

Or it could just be that I wasted a dollar.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

More acknowledgements

I recently had the pleasure of doing business with Ebay seller ozarkwk, and thanks to him I have some great new additions to my collection:

Space Bunnies Must Die
Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty
Dark Seed
Motocross Madness
Brutal: Above the Claw

Thanks for the great games!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Most wanted games

These are the PC games currently on my 'most wanted' list:

Megatraveller 1: The Zhodani Conspiracy
Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception
Psychic War
And any of the original Wizardry and Phantasie Series

Do you have any of these lying unused in the basement or attic? If you would be interested in getting rid of them or know somebody who would, let me know.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Secrets of Archon

Over at Vintage Computing and Gaming, there is an excellent article about one of my favorite old-school games: Archon.

Archon remains, to this day, the most entertaining chess variation I have ever seen. I just wish I could find an updated version that would take full advantage of current technology.

(via Gamerspouch forums)