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January 08, 2005

Comments

Factory

"I scanned through GameRankings looking for games with random content in the top two hundred. They're incredibly rare."
I would say that is because games with random content are rare, not that they are not very good.

If you haven't already played it, I would also suggest playing Silent Storm, it's an Xcom-like game that is more focused on the tactical element of the game. IMHO it is the best game of this genre to come out for many years. (I'd have said that this genre only has three worthy series, Xcom, Jagged Alliance, and Silent Storm)

"The curmudgeons are right, games aren't actually getting any better."
Say that after playing SS.. :)

Bryan McNett

Coincidentally, I also rediscovered X-Com in 2004, after having given up on it ten years ago, for the same reasons as Jamie.

As I recall, X-Com was one of the last PC blockbusters without network play. Once Doom and Command & Conquer and Warcraft II showed up, single play to me felt antisocial and backward.

At the time, the limitations of network gaming were technical, since nobody was on the net. Once we all were, it seemed to me, there would be all these cool new games, and I'd never need single player again.

Now that we all have broadband, the limits of network gaming are primarily human factors and are quite visible. For me at least, even older single player games now seem worth a go.

Isaac Karth

"I scanned through GameRankings looking for games with random content in the top two hundred. They're incredibly rare."
It depends on what you define as random content, I suppose. The Age of Empires searies has random maps as a major selling point, for example. Plus, random content tends to be rare outside of strategy games, nowadays.

"There's an immediate problem with random content: some of your players are going to get randomly screwed - a mediocre experience will be randomly generated for them."
You could try to bias the generation toward interesting or appropriate results. How well this would work is open to question, since I'm not aware of anyone who has tried this.

"The curmudgeons are right, games aren't actually getting any better."
I'd say at the very least there is still a lot to be learned from older games.

Duane

"You could try to bias the generation toward interesting or appropriate results. How well this would work is open to question, since I'm not aware of anyone who has tried this."

Well, there is the "auto-scum for good levels" option in the 'bands. It works, but is fairly limited in effect. Basically, each dungeon has a score based on how "out-of-depth" (i.e. unusually powerful) the randomly generated monsters and items on it are. If that score is too low the game throws away the level and generates a new one. And of course, screwing players is not something that 'band authors tend to worry too much about ;)

TylerChuit

My first experience with X-Com was a bad one. In a '95 issue of PC Gamer I recieved a demo for Terror From the Deep. Running it dumped me straight into the weapon loadout screen for a mission. I had no clue what I was doing and my squad got wiped out in less than 3 minutes. I tried a few more times. I finally figured out the time units, but I still kept getting slaughtered. The aliens had laser weapons and my soldiers had "DART GUNS"!?!? Not to mention that they start you out with the most poorly trained soldiers ever. As far as demos go, it was a pretty lousy offering. Plus the dayglo color scheme made my eyes start tearing up after a while.

It wasn't untill about a year later that a friend gave me a proper introduction to the game and I became a lifer. X-Com for me is like a game equivelent of that really great book you pull out and reread every few years.

I particularly love the fact that you can rename the soldiers whatever you like. It gives the game a much more personal feel.

As to the comments on the merits of single-player vs. multi-player, my vote is for the clean conscience of being able to put a game on pause for ten minutes to take a restroom or snack break. :)

Kedak

xcom is one of the greatest games ever made its a classic

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The Games

  • Energy Hook
    3D grappling-and-swinging-and-running-on-walls-and-doing-tricks ... with a jetpack ... for style!

Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game