10 Games You Should Have Played (but probably haven’t)

Adam Martin just posted a challenge of blogging a list of 10 games one thinks people should have played, but probably haven’t. The challenge sort of implies computer games, but simultaneously a picture posted to the challenge lists games that are not computer games, so I’m posting a list of 4 each.

It’s impossible to really put games into priority order, so here’s these lists are prioritized by relative obscurity. So, without further ado:

5 games you should have played, but probably haven’t

Dominoes

Where I mean the real game of dominoes like Muggins. Most people seem to think Dominoes is a child’s game where you just match numbers / pictures. It’s not – the real game is pure math.

The Enemy Within campaign of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game

The Enemy Within is the best campaign I ever encountered in a roleplaying game, with possibly the exception of some of the classic campaigns written for Call of Cthulhu.

Mahjong

Where I mean the four player strategy game played with tiles from somewere around 500 BC. It’s a great game. Remember to get nice set of tiles if you play (for the game is also very tactile), and reserve a lot of time if you play a full game of 16 rounds (or more, depending if East wins).

Scopa

The Italian card game, a precursor of most western card games. For added fun, play the Finnish version where you don’t record the score, but instead the winner takes a shot, and you play til you drop.

Tablut

The King’s Chess, played in Northern Europe for centuries until overthrown by chess.

5 computer games you should have played, but probably haven’t

Nethack

No, it’s not a multiplayer game despite the name. Nethack is a continuation of Hack, an ASCII graphics based adventure game, but developed as a “closed til it’s released open source project”, just the same as the Android operating system. Originally released in 1987 and developed until 2003 (16 years of releases!), it’s one of the deepest adventures games out there. And harsh – playing the game through takes more than 10 hours, and if you die, you have to start from the beginning.

Starflight
It’s a classic space exploration game developed by Binary Systems, released in 1986. The game is similar to Elite in many respects (open world design, procedural content, upgradeable equipment), but I personally always thought the implementation was classier than Elite. The game’s frickin 25 years old, and still has more depth than most scifi games released since.

Bloodwych

The game nicked the base design from Dungeon Master, but added something I’d not seen in an adventure game – a two player mode. This is still rare in adventure games, as you still mostly have the option of single player games and MMO. There’s a certain depth that you get to a play experience when you play through a game with a friend sitting side by side for 20+ hours that MMOs just can’t give you.

Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead is by far the best crafted co-operative multiplayer game I’ve seen this far. Everyone who develops multiplayer games should play this, and aim to make multiplayer co-op at least as fun. Yes, MMO raids give you more fiero when you complete them, but the level of play experience smoothness in MMOs don’t just match L4D.

Zoo Keeper (the Nintendo DS version)

Zoo Keeper is essentially a Bejeweled clone, with one difference that changes the gameplay fundamentally – you can move tiles while tiles are moving as a result of your previous play. This allows you to build chains when they weren’t possible due to the board setup. The technique works especially well on a touch screen, so I’d love someone create a good iPhone port. The reason this game is on the list is, it’s interesting to see that a classic game can change so fundamentally (for the better) with a tiny little change.

And some other games that sprung to mind while writing this which could have been on the list, in no particular order:

  • Dungeon Master
  • Elite
  • Runescape
  • Maple Story
  • Star Control 2
  • Bard’s Tale
  • Lode Runner
  • World of Warcraft
  • Ultima Online
  • Populous
  • Pool of Radiance
  • Portal 2
  • Eve Online
  • Ultima Underworld
  • Dungeon Master
  • Archon: The Light and the Dark
  • Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (the original, not the shit remake)
  • Tetris
  • Travian
  • Civilization (all of them)
  • Sim City
  • Unreal
  • Secret of the Monkey Island
  • HHGTG (text version)
  • Sim City
  • Pirates!

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