Some games I’ve recently enjoyed

Lichdom: Battlemage


When I first saw this game on the web over a year ago, I laughed. I laughed my butt off because “Lichdom” is right up there with “Revengeance” in the dumb-sounding-names category. (Get it? Dumb? DOM?? HA!) I also assumed it would kind of suck. I don’t even know why. Judged a book by its cover, I guess.

Turns out that the game is great, in a wacky kind of way. The spell and loot system– which allows you to craft your own spells out of spell effects that drop from enemies– is fantastic. I created a spell which allows me to throw exploding ice grenades. Then I created a GRAVITY BEAM that drops black holes on dudes. Nice! 

On the other hand, the writing sucks. Troy Baker and Femshep patter on emptily at one another, and my male main character kept shouting “Bitch!!!” for practically no reason whatsoever. He used the word the way people use “shit!”. At one point I think he literally died and came back to life shouting “BITCH!!!!” There was no woman present.

I also appreciate that I had the option to play as a lady, which I am sad to report that I did not accept. I am stupid. If I’d picked the busty female character I could have had Jennifer Hale’s voice!



Some people have criticized this game for being too easy or boring. They are wrong. This game is CHILL. It is beautiful, well-written, and EXTREMELY CHILL. You will wander around a not-particularly-dangerous environment reading fascinating little scraps of paper and munching on blackberries. I like that a lot.

The story behind the game is an apocalyptic sci-fi tale examining the implications of eternal life. What happens when rich dudes are able to make themselves live forever? Will society collapse? (YES.) If it does collapse (YES IT’S COLLAPSING) what will happen? Specifically, what will happen to Seattle and Victoria? Play this game to find out!

I visited Seattle and Victoria precisely two weeks before playing the game for the first time, so that was a fun little coincidence for me. The Pacific Northwest is IRL a very pretty place, but I’m not sure it’s as consistently pretty as this game. I have screenshotted the shit out of it and uploaded precisely thirty of those screenshots to Steam. I am also responsible for the only Steam Guide on how to play this game. Wow! What fame!

The Nightmare Cooperative


I keep telling people that this game is called “Nightmare Collective.” It’s not. It’s a Cooperative. It’s basically “868-Hack but if you controlled up to four dudes at once and they all had a special power.” Like 868-Hack, I am both obsessed with and terrible at it. I haven’t even yet reached the fourth zone.

When I was in college my friends and I were obsessed with Nethack. We had long conversations about the role that hubris and temptation play in permadeath games and I still think that temptation and hubris are the most important parts of any roguelike/roguelikelike/whatever shitty name people are commanding we use this week. Roguelikes. Nightmare Cooperative is a roguelike and it tempts me to awful acts of hubris. This is why I keep coming back to it.

It’s on iOS now, which is cool.

Crypt of the Necrodancer


I have been playing about an hour of Necrodancer every night since it came out on Steam. Do not be misled by the dead-in-zone-two screenshot above: I am a very cool person who has accessed up to zone three of the game. However, I am not yet cool enough to access zone four. I am very sad about this. I am stuck on Zone Three of both this game and Nightmare Cooperative, so I’m probably cursed.

Crypt of the Necrodancer is full-release levels of great but it’s in Early Access. It does that hubris/temptation thing beautifully. It is the only rhythm game I have ever unreservedly loved. I don’t love it enough to marry it, but I’m coldhearted and wouldn’t marry anything anyway.

The games I’ve played for the most hours, cumulative, in my entire life, arranged in descending order

  1. Minecraft (approx. 600 hrs)

  2. Age of Empires (probably approx. 500 hours)

  3. Age of Empires II: Age of Kings (ditto)

  4. Age of Mythology (ditto again)

  5. Caesar 3 (ditto, yes, shut up)

  6. World of Warcraft (I don’t want to think about this)
  7. WoWScrnShot_071112_145205[1]
  8. Guild Wars 2 (I don’t want to think about this either) 


  9. Sim Ant (well over 300 hours of my life)

  10. Oregon Trail 2 (sometimes I still dream about this game)

  11. Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (who the hell knows? 300 hours? More?)

  12. Mount and Blade (>170 hours total)

  13. Nethack (??????)

  14. Star Wars: Republic Commando (ugh ugh too much time)

  15. Mass Effect 1 (certainly more than 100 hours of my short, precious life)

  16. Civilization 4 (same)

  17. The Binding of Isaac (105 hours precisely)


Things that occur to me after assembling this list:

  1. I used to play games for literally years at a time, as a kid
  2. I no longer have time to play games for long periods of time
  3. Although my favorite games today have strong stories, I didn’t play games with stories as a kid
  4. When I play games with strong stories, I generally do not spend hundreds of hours playing them
  5. Although RTSes do not even register on my list of favorite games genres these days, I have played probably thousands of hours of RTS games total in my life
  6. The number of hours you spend playing a game has nothing to do with how valuable that experience is to you creatively or entertainment-wise