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Transport Tycoon

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Roughly a week ago I came across an article in a Swedish newspaper listing the greatest computer games of all time. The sound, healthy reaction to such a list is of course to compose a new, correct version, which I have tried to do below.

Transport Tycoon Deluxe – At first glance, it doesn’t look like much, I mean what can possibly be interesting in a game where you’re supposed to transport goods from A to B? Right. This game is challenging and as the goal to earn more during your company’s life time gets higher, so does the challenge. Thinking out new complicated railway junctions and stations is surprisingly interesting even after many years of playing. Later in the game, when money is not a problem, the quest for the perfectly optimised rail network is still something I enjoy. If you want to play this game, I suggest you use the TTDPatch, which greatly enhances UI, adds some really useful features and removes some really annoying flaws in the original game.

Quake – This is a great game even disregarding it’s huge legacy and impact on the gaming industry. I’ve played the original for countless hours both in single player, multiplayer and most recently, speed runs. Including terrific modifications and conversions such as Team Fortress, Capture the Flag and Air Quake, this game is one of the greatest ever. Its simple and clear-cut interface is appealing even today and allows one to focus on the magnificent level design (DM6 will never get old!) instead of fancy graphics. I still play quake now and then, albeit not very often. The graphics of the GL version aren’t that bad either, to be honest.

Starcraft – When I was a kid, I adored Dune 2 and Warcraft, but playing them mostly in single player, they only lasted that long (Dune 2 has no multiplayer and Warcraft’s is somewhat limited, but still enjoyable). Then I encountered Starcraft, which is without any doubt whatsoever the best real-time strategy game ever. The intricate balancing between the three races, the inherent possibilities of a diversity of strategies and tactics, along with the fast paced action makes it unbeatable. There are also loads of fun custom game maps to play, which makes it nice for other things than serious competition. This game is perfect for multiplayer among friends, since various preset alliances usually guarantees fair matches.

Blockout (review) – Oh, yes, Tetris with an extra dimension to it, both figuratively and literally speaking. Blockout is a game I’ve enjoyed immensely on a number of occasions and it keeps resurfacing. It’s challenging because not only speed is required to succeed and because of the intrinsic difficulty in rotating three dimensional blocks in a well. I also enjoy this game because after a while it is good therapy in the same way as Rubik’s cube (meaning that it’s nice to do something and not being able to concentrate on anything else). Lately, I’ve been able to listen to audio books while playing, which is a bonus. Tetris is a brilliant concept, but in the long run, Blockout is so much better.

X-COM: Enemy Unknown and Terror from the Deep – Released in 1993 and 1995 respectively, this series is the ingenious blend of at least two genres. First, it’s an interesting and challenging strategic game where one has to allocate resources to fight the aliens, research looted equipment and interrogate captured prisoners, shoot down alien craft, build bases and so forth. Second, it’s a marvellous turn-based battle simulator with lots of possibilities for clever play. I think the greatness of this game lies in the interdependence of these two parts; one needs to be good at both to excel. Decisions taken on the battlefield affects strategic planning and vice versa. I keep dusting of this game and playing it again and again, year after year. I think there is no big difference between X-COM: Enemy Unknown and X-COM 2: Terror from the Deep, but the latter is a bit more dynamic, but also has more glitches, so they come out rather even. Please visit this site if you’re interested in expanding your knowledge about Terror from the Deep.

Games I considered, but that didn’t qualify for various reasons
Beneath a Steel Sky (an adventure game with a great story)
Civilization (keeps being challenging and I like the simplicity that later games lack)
Doom (scary in single player, fun in multiplayer, mostly nostalgia)
Dune 2 (the first real-time strategy game deserves mentioning)
Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (one of the first really open role-playng games)
Half-Life (good in single player, even better as base for mods)
Myst (best soundtrack ever made)
Settlers (it’s still a fairly unique concept)
SimCity 2000 (I think everybody likes building things)
Unreal Tournament (multifaceted and long-lasting, especially on LAN)
Warcraf 2 (great both in multiplayer and single player)

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