Not Martha


When I’m sick I sip orange juice with sparkling water or Shirley Temples out of a cocktail glass, gather my tissues and warm but ugly sweater and play computer games. The game play keeps my mind off my leaking nose and overall achiness really nicely. Also, being zoned out on cold medicine gives me a focus I normally don’t have, when I’m feeling just fine I can rarely sit still long enough to get through a level or two of a computer game.

This weekend I played a game I bought last year (which also kept me occupied during a cold) called Wonderland Secret Worlds. It’s the second in a series of games which remind me somewhat of a 3-D Chip’s Challenge. It was recommended by the people who over at Grubby Games who make Professor Fizzwizzle, another game I purchased and really enjoy. Wonderland Secret Worlds surprised me with it’s depth and really well made puzzles, and won me over because you can choose to turn off the game timer, I don’t work so well under time pressure. And there are plenty of level solutions if you get stuck. (I’m a fan of hints, getting stuck or too frustrated is not worth it.) The graphics and music seem dated but I find them oddly charming.

Last year I played Dreamfall written by Ragnar Tornquist, the long awaited sequel to The Longest Journey, and adventure game I bought on a whim and completely fell in love with. The Longest Journey came out in 1998 and is a adventure style game but the story being told is compelling. Dreamfall came out in 2006 (also on Xbox) and has a style all it’s own. As I was playing the game I was initially confused, the gameplay seems a little oversimplified but soon I didn’t want it to end. When I finished it I sort of missed it, the way you miss a really good book you’ll never read for the first time again. The voice acting in this game is outstanding, it really makes the game. I eagerly await the final installment of what is apparently meant to be a trilogy. I don’t think Dreamfall would be all that interesting to those who have not first played The Longest Journey despite the fact that it’s made to work as a stand alone game. I think some investment in the characters of The Longest Journey is necessary to make Dreamfall complete.

A few years back we bought a Playstation 2, and I didn’t expect to find games I would really like to play, I’m not much of a fan of first person shooters (meaning, I suck at them). I found that I really like the Splinter Cell games, which, while still violent, are more about stealth. You can get through most areas without killing anybody (and ideally without even alerting anybody to your presence).

The other PS2 games I like are the Spyro games, despite that the graphics show their age. The first four (Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, Spyro: Year of the Dragon, and Spyro: A Hero’s Tail) get the best Gamespot scores and those are the ones I’ve played. I never thought I’d like a platform game, but this one has good controls and exploring the new worlds is very interesting.

Also, about two years ago I became addicted to Blackshift, a free download. It’s a nice little puzzle action game with lots of cleverness in the levels.

Some links:

Gamespot rounds up reviews and news of video and pc games, and is a good place to find cheats and walkthroughs.

Jay Is Games, a site focusing on short online games from puzzles to point and click adventure games. There is lots of great stuff to be found here, be sure to check out the Best of Casual Gameplay 2006.

Kottke’s round up of addictive little online games.

Universal Hint System provides one at a time hints for computer games, they nudge you in the right direction gradually. It can be a real help for when you get completely stuck in an adventure game.

· comments [15] · 01-8-2007 · categories:things I think are neat ·

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 caro // Jan 8, 2007 at 11:58 am

    I loved all the Spryo games. I’m not one to shoot zombies or enemies that are scary. I’m more likely to play longer if the enemies are cute and don’t give me nightmares. You might like the newest Dragon Quest for ps2. There’s plenty of puzzles and running around with a little less emphasis on the usual RPG kill-the-evil-things. It’s horribly addictive though.

  • 2 Megan // Jan 8, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    If you like stealth-y games, try Deus Ex. It’s primarily a first-person shooter but you can choose to sneak by people rather than shooting them to do the things you need to do. My husband has played it a few times and that’s why he loves it so much.

  • 3 Karen in Wichita // Jan 8, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    I run into that with decongestants (well, PSE anyway), too. It’s the “off-label” stimulant effect… and the one thing that makes me halfway tempted to get my ADHD treated.

  • 4 Aran // Jan 8, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    You gotta get a Nintendo DS. The small form factor means you can snuggle up with it in your bed. It also has a lot of games that are sure to appeal to people who don’t normally like video games. One of these is the soon-to-be-released “Hotel Dusk: Room 215”.

  • 5 Melissa // Jan 8, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    WOW thanks for the links – Im actually sick at the moment and putting on a warm cardigan, some hot tea, many tissues, choc chip cookies, and some game play are so what I need right now and soo ganna do! these links will sure keep me busy for awile!

  • 6 splatgirl // Jan 8, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Does anyone remember Myst? That was the one and only computer game I have ever been able to get totally into, and like you say, I was so sad when I finished it. Unfortunately, the sequel “Riven” wasn’t as interesting to me, but now that I look, I see that there are several more in the series now. Something to consider for my next cold :)

  • 7 Kari // Jan 9, 2007 at 7:00 am

    OMG! I LOVED The Longest Journey, and I have a copy of Dreamfall (was just too busy to play it this year!) The non-mouse movement really threw me for a loop when it came out in May, but I’m looking forward to getting to it this year!

    Hope you feel better soon!

  • 8 Patti // Jan 9, 2007 at 9:07 am

    I love stuff like Pit Droids. I adore my DS – I play Animal Crossing more than my son does. Thanks for the links, I’m going to go look!

  • 9 megan // Jan 9, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    splatgirl – I’ve played most of the Myst games and for some reason I liked the Uru games even more. Uru was originally meant to eventually be a MMORPG (which I hear they are re-visiting). But at the time the games were released the online community aspect has been scrapped. But yeah, try the Uru games, I think they are really inexpensive but still in stores these days.

  • 10 megan // Jan 9, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Kari – brace yourself, Dreamfall is a very different type of game. It created a lot of chatter, and some anger from fans, when it came out. But if you see it as a story first, a game second, it will be ok. I quickly got used to the controls.

  • 11 megan // Jan 9, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    I also forgot to mention my favorite PS2 game – Shadow of the Colossus. It was beautiful and very different from the usual type of games. Scott and I played it together (handing the controller back and forth) and I found it was great to play that way when I’d get frustrated. I very seriously recommend this game, especially for getting through long, dreary winter weeknights.

  • 12 megan // Jan 9, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Also, if you were a fan of the early King’s Quest games I suggest playing Peasant’s Quest. It’s got a few Trogdor related inside jokes but if you don’t get them the game is still cute. And it’s just as inexplicably difficult as the originals.

  • 13 Kung Foodie Kat // Jan 9, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Awesome…so cool to read about other girl gamers. I play mostly on the PC, although having a boyfriend who’s a game designer means every console and handheld system is floating around our house. Katamari is one ofo my all time gavs. Right now I’m working my way through some Neverwinter Nights mods, but I will definitely check out Dreamfall.

  • 14 Someone who cares. // Jan 14, 2007 at 11:41 am

    I like Super Nintendo (especially Super Mario All Stars!). Anything newer than that has either too many buttons on the controllers or confuses me to the point of fear.

  • 15 miranda // Jan 15, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Don’t forget Nordinho (.com? .net?) and for games, too!

    Also – I love Morrowind, and never would have expected to. If you play it on a PC, you can use the cheat console (um, *innocent look*) in ways that will make combat pretty easy for you and just let you explore the world and the story. The world is sort of like an elision of a Tolkien-style fantasy kingdom and the Roman empire. Very inexpensive in a set that comes with all the expansions.

    The latest in the series, Oblivion, requires the priciest of new computers to play, or at least an XBox360 (which won’t let you use the console to add items).

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