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The best games I played this summer

September 11, 2008

This summer, I wrapped up two books (thanks, Ian Schrieber!), finished two design gigs, had discussions with a couple others and did some work for an existing, long-term client. Thankfully, as a game designer, I also have to play a ton of games. I rarely finish digital games, but I try to get at least an hour in on each one. These games? I either finished, am going to finish or finished several times.

  • Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution – This game is amazing, and actually better than Spore. If you enjoy the RTS period of Spore, I suggest playing Civ and and enjoying it right from the get go. I have finished this game over 100 times (literally).
  • Grand Theft Auto IV – I haven’t finished GTA IV yet, but I will. The consistency of this series its real hallmark.
  • Portal (The Orange Box) – Yes! I am late to the party, I know, I know. Sometimes a game slips through, and you watch it slip and think, “I am going to be the last person I know to play this game,” and in this case, I think I am right.  An awesome experience.
  • Puerto Rico – This game gave me one of my favorite moments of the summer. I was playing this game with a group of individuals, none of whom had ever played the game. It took us about 1 hour to getting it rolling right. It was right around then that all these rules I’d been stuffing in my head for the better part of an hour started moving and working, and I got it. I remember leaning back from the table and saying out loud, “How did he think of of this?” It was a genuine moment of designer-respect-awe that I’ve felt only a few times with games, the original Civilization being one of those times.
  • Ticket to Ride – As with most non-digital games, this game is endlessly replayable, and the bonus is that it can be played in about 30 minutes with just two players. I’ve played it a bunch this summer.
  • Bohnanza – This game has certainly made the rounds where I work. I think the majority of us has spent an evening saying, “Do you have a green bean?” or something that sounds equally foolish. Bohnanza has a funky turn order that take a bit of getting used to, but the order also clearly has an effect on play that makes the game incredily fun. For the title of “summer favorite”, Bohnanza gets my vote.
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2008 9:00 am

    Civilization Revolution is indeed excellent. I have the DS version of the game. It is a great way to pass the time when I can get a seat on the bus.

  2. September 11, 2008 10:36 pm

    Civ Rev is easily my favorite DS game. I have no idea how many times I’ve played it or how many hours I’ve played it. I still haven’t beaten it on Deity yet… but I’ve come close many times. I still honestly prefer Civ IV but I appreciate Revolution because it plays faster and if you have it for the DS it is portable.

    Portal is also really fun game. I finished it extremely quickly but it was a new game play experience in the FPS realm and the narrative made me laugh quite a bit.

  3. September 12, 2008 7:25 pm

    I just got my friend on the Portal-Wagon last night so, no, you’re not the last person on Earth to play it.

  4. September 13, 2008 5:55 pm

    Glad you got to play through Portal. Now go and play Braid 🙂

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