Ok, I have to admit, I sometimes do game – and recently I finished Portal. Quite old (released in 2007), but still lots of fun. I started playing it about one year ago, off and on, until I recently finished the last level. Took me about 1 year of playing to finish the actual playing time of about 10h – I guess you can see how much an addict I am 😉
I have never been a gamer, and I think there are only three set of games I played for extended periods of time:
- The Myst Series
Fully played: Myst, Riven, Myst III Exile, and partly Uru: Ages beyond Myst, Myst IV Revelation, never played Myst V End of Ages
Puzzle games where one explores worlds that are created by writing books. I remember jotting down loads of notes and building models to solve all the problems (before the walk-through times), only to get stuck at one of the final riddles that were color based, practically impossible for me.
- The Descent Series
Descent, Descent II, Descent 3
These were some of the first games playable on Linux back in the old times, distributed by Linux Game Development, now long defunct. I still remember fighting with getting my joystick supported to play D3 😉
- Civilization Series
Civilization I, Civilization II, and Civilization III after which I stopped.
plus one more game, which got me hooked somehow:
- Starship Titanic: the only game designed by Douglas Adams, and if you know the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I guess you know what to expect from a computer game made by him
Hard-core board gamer who I am (I prefer playing with people real games without computer), I loved the Myst series for its crazy riddles, where solving them often needs a combination of logical thinking, recognizing patterns in images and sounds, and piecing together long list of hints. This is something a normal board game cannot provide.
From the Descent series I loved the complete freedom of movement. Normal first-person shooters are just like humans running around, a bit of jumping and crouching, but Descent gives you 6D freedom – which led to some people getting sick while watching me playing.
From the Civilization series I don’t know what I liked particularly, but it got you involved and allowed you to play long rounds.
After these sins of youngsters, I haven’t played for long long time, until a happy coincidence (of being Debian Developer) brought Steam onto my (Linux) machine together with a bunch of games I received for free. One of the games was Portal.
Portal is in the style of Myst games – one can place dual portals in various places, and by entering one of the portals, one leaves through the other. Using this one has to manage to solve loads of puzzle, evade being shot, dissolved in acid, crashed to death, etc etc, with the only aim to leave the underground station.
Besides shooting these portals there are some cubes that one can carry around and use for a variety of purposes, like putting them onto buttons, using them as stairs, protecting yourself from being shot, etc. But that’s already all the tools one has. Despite of this, the levels pose increasingly difficult problems, and one is surprised how strange things one can achieve with these limited abilities – and no, one cannot buy new power-ups, its not WoW. Logical thinking, tactic, and a certain level of reaction suffices.
While not as philosophical as Myst, it was still a lot of fun. The only thing I am a bit unclear is, where to go from here. There are two possible successors: The logical one would be Portal 2. But I recently found a game that reminded me even more of the Myst series, combined with Portal: The Talos Principle, with stunning graphics:
Difficult decision. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!