Published on March 13, 2009 By Artysim In Gaming


This article is just about as nerdy as it gets. If you are offended by or allergic to nerds, please turn back now.

The last little while I've been completely nocturnal... projects in which work can only be done in the wee hours of the morning when most folks are sleeping. This has had an unforeseen consequence- I've been playing a lot more games than normal. As anyone who's ever had to work during off-times knows (midnight to 8 am for example) there's that pesky window between about 10 pm and midnight that either makes or breaks the rest of your night.

Watching TV is bad, very bad. Makes you sluggish and there's a good chance you'll fall asleep and be groggy as hell when it's time to go in and tear things up.

So I found that a good way to kill those few inbetween hours without getting too taxed is to fire up a couple of games. Keeps the mind active and entertained. I've gone through my entire collection some of which I haven't played in over a decade. I gotta give Stardock props.... GalCiv 2 is among one of my more prevalent options but unfortunately when I do fire it up it's hard to play it for just one hour. Therefore, while I thoroughly enjoy it I keep it in reserve for those occasions in which free time is abundant.... like, say, when the apocalypse comes and I've got a year or two to kill in the depths of a bomb shelter.

Going through the oldies I rediscovered two ground-breaking games. One of them led to an entire genre that is alive and well today- Wolfenstein, leading to the first person shooter. I like FPS for some cheap thrills but after about 30 minutes I've had enough. The other is part of a genre that I -wish- was still around- space combat flight simulators! This was all started with a wonderful game called Wing Commander. If you haven't played Wing Commander, you're missing out. Sadly, this genre died when joysticks stopped shipping with P.C's.

The good news is that space combat flight sims (and no, EVE-online does not count) are still alive and well and are being actively developed by loving fans, mostly available completely for free on the internets. And it gets better- not only are new games being produced by the fans, in many cases they're pretty damn good to boot.

The end result is a labor of love, produced with no worry about deadlines or marketability. A true game by fans, for fans. The downside of this is that one of these games usually takes several years to create and only maybe 1 in 5 projects ever started by fans ever finishes.

If you ever played any of the Wing Commander franchise check out these two gems-


So, the point of this article? I like flying around in spaceships constructed of pixels, that make pew-pew noises as they blow up other spaceships made out of pixels. Sadly, I don't see a commercial return for the genre, but that may be for the best. While fan-created games take a long time and often die part way through, the one's that do finish are almost always pure gold!

on Mar 21, 2009

Wow, thanks for the links.

on Mar 21, 2009

GC3 will have some sort of Tactical Combat features in space similar to Lucas' X-Wings - so don't blink or fall asleep too soon yet.