Have you heard of Desert Island Discs? It’s a very British thing really. It was a show on BBC Radio 4, originally created in the 1940s. The idea was you would be stuck on a desert island for an indeterminate amount of time and you would have to choose 8 songs to have on the island with you. It’s a really neat concept that’s had a huge number of celebrities on over the years, and I’m very much going to steal it and make it about games.
Now, the assumption here is that I would have access to a machine that could play any game from any system, and would be powered by some unknown electricity source. There would be no internet though (otherwise I’d just e-mail the nearest boat) so multiplayer only games won’t be allowed. In spite of the title, these don’t have to be digitally downloaded titles meaning disc based ones are fine but I’m assuming that all currently available content is included with the game. Also, one game per franchise, otherwise this would turn into a Dark Souls love-in Finally, I don’t have to have played these games, meaning that I could be flat out wrong with some of these. So feel free to call me out on my idiocy in the comments. So, it’s time for me to crash land on an island.
XCOM 2 + Long War 2
Alright, let’s get the obvious one done. I love this game. I poured 150 hours into the previous entry (which is a lot for me) and probably even more into the classic. I would have spent more time on it if this sequel hadn’t arrived. It improves on XCOM in almost every way. More content, new aliens, greater challenge, and with the Long War mod this a single game could go on for hundreds of hours. And I very much doubt I would get bored of it. Every battle feels different, and allowing your soldiers to die eliminates them forever making every decision count. And die they will, assuming you don’t save-scum it…
Diablo 3 – Ultimate Evil
Ok, I know it’s better when played with other people, but I find this quite cathartic to play alone. Mowing through hordes of demons with your chosen class, forever finding more and more powerful loot to take on greater challenges is really rather satisfying. This version of the game game with the Reaper of Souls expansion which included a new act and a seemingly endless Adventure mode. Add to that the seasons (I know it’s online, but it’s still a great feature) that changes the game on a regular basis and you have a lot to play with if you have to time to play it.
This is an inclusion that I haven’t played but I’d dearly like to. In fact I’ve never played a Persona game at all (although I have dabbled in a couple of the other SMT games). The style of this is what grabs me. I love the art style, the cutscenes, the story (what I know anyway) interests me, the music sounds excellent, the time management aspect in which you live your double life is right up my street too. Apparently it’s also enormous, with a lot of high quality content for those willing to spend the time on it. Perfect for if you have the time to spend on it.
Baldur’s Gate 2
I know the logo above is for the re-release, but I love this game either way. Baldur’s Gate 2 is based in the Forgotten Realms world of Dungeons & Dragons and contains a fantastically complex story (I mean, it is Bioware), interesting and varied characters, and dragons! It’s old fashioned, ugly (by today’s standards) and a bit clunky at times, but it’s a game that I would love to spend the time to go back to this, find all those quests I never experienced and the party members I never spoke to. It’s hard as hell too!
One Finger Death Punch
This is an odd one, as games like this tend last just a few minutes, but this is one of those that will result in hours being lost. One Finger Death Punch is based on the old stick figure Flash games from years back, but made so immediate and simplistic, yet challenging and varied that you’ll find yourself in a Zen-like state for hours on end. Entirely mouse driven, a left click attacks to the left and a right click attacks to the right. Enemies will approach you from one side or the other and your job is to punch their faces in. There are weapons to use, knives to deflect and light sabre rounds. It sounds so simple (and in essence it is) but it can become supremely challenging in later stages, and the survival mode can last hours if you’re good enough.
The Binding of Isaac
So much content! I suppose a rogue-lite would be perfect for this sort of situation, as it’s forever changing. The Binding of Isaac has you fighting hordes of grotesque enemies using your tears as weapons. Along the way you’ll find items to power you up and chances to sell your soul to Satan for even more power. It’s hard, varied, and unpredictable. Plus the expansions add a huge amount to the game in the form of new items, characters and game modes. This game has been out for years and still has a huge following, and with good cause.
Heroes of Might & Magic
There are plenty of games from this series to choose from, but the ones I remember most fondly and the second and third entries. I’ve played the more recent ones, but they seem to go for a more serious approach and feel less fun. This is a turn based game in which you improve a stronghold with buildings that generate creatures and items for your heroes. You then send you heroes out to explore the land, collecting resources, conquering new strongholds and defeating your enemies. Games can take a huge amount of time (especially if you set up an 8 players game) plus there’s a campaign to play through. Many an evening was lost to this game, and it may well help me keep my sanity on this sweet desert island.
I struggled to decide which entry to go for here. I had tons of fun with the second entry in the series when I was younger and I very much enjoyed Civ IV as well (although the unit stacks made it a pain to play). I felt that, after a ropey launch, Civ V is the best one that I’ve played. Taking my empire from fledgling village to world spanning colossus is consistently enjoyable. Add the fact that games can end up being nigh on endless (this short article sums up how some games can end up if you let them keep running) with that dreaded “one more turn” feeling and you can lose yourself forever in this.
That’s 8! I wonder how many hours that would keep me going for. There were others I considered, such as Football Manager, Bloodborne/Dark Souls, and Cities: Skylines but I ended up settling on these. How about you though? If you were stuck, what would you take? I’m sure you’ll have ideas that I haven’t even considered so let me know! I’ll be sure to pack them on my next flight…