Desert Island Digital Downloads

Trapped on a desert island? No hope of rescue?! Better get some video games out then.

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.

The IT Crowd
E-mailing the emergency services is always the best option.

XCOM 2 + Long War 2

XCOM 2 Logo
XCOM 2 (2016)

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

Diablo 3
Diablo 3 (2012/2014)

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.

Persona 5

Persona 5
Persona 5 (2017)

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

Baldur's Gate 2
Baldur’s Gate 2 (2000)

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

One Finger Death Punch
One Finger Death Punch (2013)

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

The Binding of Isaac
The Binding of Isaac (2011)

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

Heroes of Might and Magic 3
Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (1999)

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.

Civilization V

Civilization V
Civilization V (2010)

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…



29 thoughts on “Desert Island Digital Downloads”

  1. Assuming cartridges are also allowed, my 8 would be: Diddy Kong Racing, Jak II, Super Mario World, Breath of the Wild, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, Dragon Age Origins, The Sims 2, and Banjo Kazooie. Many of those games are from my childhood and I never get sick of beating them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, the assumption is you can play anything from any era on the magic machine that you bring with you. BOTW is one I’d probably want to bring in spite of having not played it. I bet it’d keep me busy for long enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d try to pick something like a collection of all the D&D Baldur’s Gate style games, with Icewind Dale and all those other ones I never got around to. Or something like the complete collections of Might & Magic, Ultima, or Wizardry, all series I wish I had time to dig deep into.

    Ah man, Binding of Isaac. I’d really like to try out Afterbirth one of these days. Spent soooo much time on Rebirth. Killed Mega Satan and everything, but they never ended up releasing Afterbirth on Vita. Wah.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just picked up Baldur’s Gate II and Planescape: Torment after watching them appear on “best PC games of all time!” lists for a while now. Definitely excited.

    My desert island games would be:

    ESIII: Morrowind GOTY Edition
    Dark Souls
    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt GOTY Edition
    Breath of the Wild
    Risk of Rain (has MP, but I’m fine solo-ing)
    Syberia 1 & 2

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Baldur’s Gate 2 would probably rank number 1 on my best games of all time list. It’s clunky by today’s standards but there’s so much story and so many ways to go about playing it.
      Plenty of open world games there, which would certainly be a good thing in context!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I would also definitely go down the Baldur’s Gate, D&D style route but I’d also probably take Bloodborne as at the rate it’s going to take me a lifetime to finish it. I was thinking of trying dark souls again if I did well on Bloodborne but I think I can admit now that that’s not going to happen! I would also make sure I had something super addictive and chill like The Sims.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t be sure, it might have just been that I wasn’t used to that kind of game yet, but the first Dark Souls felt like the hardest of all of those games. 2 felt way easier. 3 was harder than 2 but not as bad as 1. Bloodborne is the greatest for sure though.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My list would be…

    Football Manager
    Outrun 2
    NHL18 (well, whatever is out when I get marooned)
    Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (PS2, with option file)
    Super Mario Sunshine
    Altered Beast
    WWF Wrestlemania 2000
    Final Fantasy VII (need to play it at some point!)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t like No Mercy’s story mode…the free form season mode of 2000 is much better in my opinion! FFVII would keep me busy, but I reckon the rescue crews would find be malnourished, dehydrated and dependent on Football Manager!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m assuming there is at least one other person stranded here that i can hand a controller to 😉

    Super Metroid
    Mega Man X
    Donkey Kong Country Returns
    Super Smash Bros Wii U
    Breath of the Wild
    Mass Effect
    Witcher 3
    Oh, and this last one, I’m assuming I’ll get stranded, saaaay… somewhere after Oct 27th this year
    Super Mario Odyssey

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stuck on an island with the capability to play games? Sign me up. It must mean there’s some reliable power source, which assumes adequate shelter/food. This sounds like a nice reprieve from the world.

    Alright…one game per series. I’m going to agree with you on P5. I want to play that, too. Then Lost Odyssey, for my Final Fantasy, I’d go with XIII, because I’ve played all the others before that (except for XI, because I don’t play well with others), The Last Story, ME Andromeda, Breath of the Wild, Bravely Default, and finally Thumper.

    I’ll probably think of better choices right after I post this of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, always the way isn’t it. I think any game with plenty of engaging content is all you need for this so you’ve got plenty right there!
      I might actually finally finish Thumper if I had that amount of free time!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I was thinking about this the other day, actually. Radio 4 should do a separate series for gamers! I was thinking brutally, though, such as what if you can only take 3? In which case it’d be Breath of the Wild, Half-Life 2, and Super Metroid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was my father in law that suggested this to me as it happens and I thought it was a nice idea. Only 3 games would be tough! I’d have to go for ones with long campaigns, scope for plenty of replay-ability. I’m sure something like Civ would still end up there for those purposes.

      Liked by 1 person

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