[Michael T. Babcock] Video games

I'm a gamer. I've been a gamer for a long time. I've been playing video games since the early 1980's and enjoyed Colicovision through my PS2 now. I've played a lot of games and enjoy a variety of genres

Console vs. PC gaming

It has been pointed out to me on several occasions that as an avid PC enthusiast and system designer, I shouldn't be "into" console games (like my Playstation 2 and my Nintendo 64 before that). However, I personally have found that console and PC games are almost completely different most of the time. PC games take advantage of certain PC features like the keyboard and mouse and lots of drive and memory space. Console games tend more toward the fast action that a handheld controller lends itself to.

I personally quite enjoy games on each, I play Neverwinter Nights on my PC, as well as first person shooters like Quake 3 Arena and Enemy Territory online. I also play Neverwinter Nights and Morrowind. For my PS2 though, I have over 30 games, of varying types, all without any of the PC hassles like memory/video card upgrades, drive space or worrying about software conflicts. Consoles have the disadvantage after their rollout year of being obsolete in terms of current technology since these things change so fast. That said, they are a constant platform and a fixed target for game developers, so the performance of a game is guaranteed on a given console environment whereas it can't be on PCs.


Currently playing a lot of Dwarf Fortress.

I like some Japanese RPGs like FFX and the like. I prefer however strong strategy RPGs and D&D; based ones. Oblivion is incredible, Morrowind was awesome (both from Bethseda), Ogre Battle 64 almost counts (on the N64), Neverwinter Nights (the first one, I haven't played 2 yet), etc.

What about MMORPGs? I'm not a huge fan. I love a game with a good story, and I find MMORPGs are just grind-fests with interesting mass quests that don't make sense in the context (why does the same person need the same feat done by 1000 different people in a row?) That said, I got addicted to Wurm for a while. Wurm is an interesting online game where there are no quests and the players can actually create stuff (from weapons to houses, to planting trees and terraforming).

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FPS (Shooters)

I love first person shooters, but I'm picky about content and style. Just making it hard won't do it for me, but really fun graphics and weapons can make up for a lack of story. I enjoyed but got bored with Doom 1 & 2 with the exception of playing deathmatch modes, although Doom 3 was much more fun single-player. Quake has always been an online multi-player favourite but recently Resistance: Fall of Man for the PS3 has taken over. Just read the about.com review. I've also posted some screen shots of Resistance myself.

Console wars

Bah. I own a Playstation 3, a PS2 and a DS.

Racing games

ToCA Race Driver 3 - Buy It Now

I love a good racing game. I'm not picky on style, but it has to be fun. That is to say, I quite enjoy Burnout 3 and 4 by EA Games, very fun games, but not very realistic. You get to drive around like a complete maniac, sliding through corners, smashing opponents into buildings and obstacles, creating complete mayhem in intersections and mowing down other vehicles in "traffic check" challenges. This is the stuff to get your road rage out. Speaking of which, that's another racing event in the game -- eliminate as many of your opponents as possible while staying alive yourself.

On the other end of the spectrum would be racing simulators. ToCA Race Driver 3 is a great example here. ToCA puts the focus on realism of real cars, car conditions, physics, and tracks. The vehicle handling is second to none and the level of detail tracked is incredible. Tire temperature, compression, compound and condition are all considered as you take those corners. Don't go on the grass, your tires will get slippery and cool off too. Go over some gravel or slam on the brakes in a corner and you'll feel that flat spot as you accelerate. Brake temperature and pressure are handled well, as are aerodynamics of the individual vehicles and damage modeling to your suspension, wheels, engine and body.

If you like racing, if you like racing real cars in real conditions, you have to play ToCA Race Driver 3. On top of all that, I love the actual racing behaviour, especially the AI. I've found that pack racing is done terribly in most games with your opponents basically picking and sticking to a racing line and/or speed, not avoiding you or acknowledging an attempt to pass. In ToCA, as you take an opponent on the inside, you'll see them slow off and move over slightly to avoid collisions -- which are also well modeled in-game, including yellow flags, warnings and penalties for aggressive driving.

There is a fairly active online racing community as well with ToCA since the realistic racing does lend itself well to enthusiast tournaments. Get a copy and join in.

Some of my favorite memories of playing video games include the infamous Mario Kart games and their derivatives. Go-karts seem to lend themselves well to fun console gaming. I always had a soft spot for racing games that weren't too hard to control but had benefits to perfectionism, whether it be in difficult cornering situations or hidden shortcuts that required a level of daring to reach.


Check out the themes for the PS3.

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