Having grown up when Pong was new and cool, I still love video games, and they are without a doubt my favorite time waster. Not much time for them in the summer, but in the winter, when we’re stuck inside, I love to play play play. Especially games that involve exploring. Can’t hardly put them down to go to bed!
My favorite when I was a kid was Adventure, on the Atari 2600. I knew that game inside and out, and all the easter eggs, and every cool thing you could do like carry a dragon around and fight other dragons with it. Spent hours playing around with that.
Then in college we wasted huge amounts of time playing Dungeon Master on the Atari ST. This was miles ahead of anything they had on PCs at the time. Ah, the warm fuzzies I get just from looking at the screenshot! Oh no! A Mummy!
Doom! The ultimate time waster – because now we could network and play together, and hunt each other down, and have giant frag-offs that lasted all afternoon. At work. When we should have been working. Nothing like launching an RPG and hearing a tormented cry from the guy two cubicles over! Oh, bless the people who created Doom. Probably precipitated the fall of the American capitalist system. So much productivity lost…
I don’t think anything gave me as much pleasure as Doom until KotOR came out – that’s Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. For a geek what could be more fun than to be completely immersed in a Star Wars universe, surrounded by familiar aliens, Jedis and Sith, lightsabers and blasters, and ship that looks a lot like the Millenium Falcon? Nothing. Nothing could be better.
But KotOR came out in 2003 or so, and I played it shortly after that, so why reminice about it now. Because it is set in a very immersive universe, and the clever way they worked in all kinds of side quests that you may not even run into the first time you play, and different choices based on if you’re playing good or evil – or switching back and forth, it can be played over and over again. Slightly different things happen, you see cut-scenes you never activated before, you have little adventures you never ran across previously. I’ve played it at least four times, haven’t played it for a couple years but I’m playing it again now, and I’ll be playing it again after that.
One of my favorite things about KotOR is you can play as a man or a woman – finally a videogame that acknowledges women may be playing! Or maybe that option is there because they thought some men would want to play as women – let’s not even go there! I appreciate being able to play as a woman for a change. And that hunka-hunka-star pilot in the screenshot is Carth, the first guy you meet and he is your companion through the rest of the adventure, along with other characters you pick up along the way.
The original KotOR is just the best of the best as far as videogames go, in my opinion. KotOR II was not nearly as engrossing because it didn’t have all the hidden side quests. Pretty much everything in it had to be done to complete the missions. So there was no reason to play it again and again. Recently they announced the next KotOR will be an online version, one of those massive multiplayer games. I don’t have much hope for that, we don’t really have the high-speed connection to play stuff like that out here in the boonies anyway. But I guess we’ll see what the future holds.