Time for a bit of an update. So ... what was I playing last? /scrolls up to see
Ah yes. Graveyard Keeper, Driftmoon, and Tower of Time. That seems like such a long time ago. So here, below, is a short list of games that I've installed and spent at least some time playing (note the rather subjective definition of "some") in rough order from oldest to newest:
Crusader Kings: Complete ... This one is completely forgettable. Installed it in mid-September, and I'm sure I played it, but I just don't recall any specifics. I should try to get back to it later. I like the occasional grand strategy, and this one seems like it would fit (obviously since it is in my library). Either I didn't play it long enough to get an impression, or my frail old memory is giving out. [edit: ok, I launched the game after posting this and immediately remembered why this title was so forgettable. I didn't actually play it. The UI is very crude and, unforgivably, there are no sound controls in the options dialog ... and the sound was way too loud. Yeah, I could reach over and twist the volume knob on my speakers, but then every other game that I've carefully calibrated/balanced the sound down to match my speaker volume would be off. No sound controls (especially music mute) is a game killer in my book.]
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun ... I picked this one up and gave it a try based on the recommendation of Jazz (I know, what was I thinking, right?). It was pretty /meh. Cheesy writing/dialog, and it's one of those games that I really have to be in the mood for trial and failure. A lot ... and I'm not ...
King Arthur: Collection (including Fallen Champions) and King Arthur II ... Game play in both of these is similar to the Total War series, except with an Arthurian Legend backdrop. /disappoint in no appearance by Dudley Moore. As I played these, I got really busy at RL work and couldn't devote the time to them that they deserved. So I put them on the back burner. I'll pick them back up another day when I have more time. They are fun in their own way.
Spellforce III ... Dunno why but I've long been a fan of this RTS/RPG series. I've played most of them to depth ... err ... death. I picked this one up on deep discount at one of GoG's many sales and gave it a go. I got past the first mission and again realized I would probably need to devote a fair amount of time on it, so I reluctantly set it aside. I was still in the intro RPG part of the game, and hadn't yet scratched the surface of the RTS play. Wonky camera controls, too.
Warrior Kings ... I must have been going through a resurgent interest in RTS games phase when I picked this title up for cheap. Graphics hearken back to the original Age of Empires (or was that Age of Empires II? - i.e., very polygonal). Decent rock-paper-scissors tactical game play and its own unique features. But soon my interest in this genre began to wane.
As I mentioned earlier, things started getting very busy at work (and still are, truth be told), so I decided that my limited down time would be spent on more relaxing, less energy involved games. I dug back into the list of games I'd previously played deciding that familiarity would be less stressful than having to learn new mechanics.
Banished ... I updated and installed the latest version of this game just to see what changes had occurred. I discovered that the mod community had exploded in proliferation, and there were too many choices ... some of which were reportedly sketchy and marginally broke the spirit of game play. I probably wasted a couple weekends, but left wanting something else.
Craft the World (w/ Sisters in Arms DLC) ... I updated and installed this 2D builder/tower defense/whatever it is which easily scratched my itch for mindless time wasting. I rediscovered why I quit playing this the last time ... it is too simple, dumbed down, and could easily pass for a tablet game. I needed something a little more complex, so I dropped this in favor of ...
Terraria ... right, going to the other extreme - the 2D builder/explorer/platformer that requires two monitors: one for the game, and the other to keep the game's wiki open upon it so you can have a general clue what you need to do, and which component ingredients to combine while crafting recipes. This got a bit too complicated and involved for my limited time, so I went back to an old favorite ...
Starbound ... Yup, I even created a new character and everything. Played this quite a while and then found myself just falling asleep in my chair as I listened to the relaxing soundtrack. It's still fun. As my workload at RL work evolved, I discovered I needed a creative outlet for excess thought. Yeah, my workload was/is so heavy that rather than being fatigued and drained by the time I get back home, my mind needs to wind down from all the furious activity throughout the day. Odd, I know. And TV/movies are not a solution. I just anger the wife by my constant nit-picking of plots and commercials. She's banished me to my man-cave yet again.
Planet Nomads (in development) ... I generally have a rule to wait for games to be finished before buying them. I broke my rule this time. And I don't regret it. The game is, for me at this moment, the perfect combination of creative builder, explorer, and survival. The last is the easiest accomplished solely because the developers haven't made this a challenge yet. The second takes the most time because the planets are huge; but then again, once you've seen less than an eighth of it, you've pretty much seen everything you're going to see - flora, fauna, etc. - except there is a story that is unveiled as you investigate human distress signals and alien artifacts. The first was the greatest time waster of all in that, once I had a basic "economy" in place (i.e., shelter and a steady production of food, water, and mine-able ores), I could then concentrate on building vehicles, bases, and other stuff. Currently there is no material or component penalty for constructing and deconstructing vehicles or buildings. My kid watched me play over my shoulder one time, and he said it was similar to Space Engineers (for those of you who may be familiar with that title) except it is more planet focused rather than spaceship oriented. I don't know how many hours that I spent optimizing my VTOL air vehicle to get the highest combination of ceiling and speed with different weights and engine configurations. Eventually I did just about everything I could do (or think of) at this stage of game development and I'm waiting on the next update to see what more the developers add.
Lords of the Fallen: GOTY Edition ... somewhere along the line I picked this title up thinking it looked interesting; I'm not usually attracted to 3rd person melee combat ala Dark Souls, but I read this one was less difficult than Dark Souls which is good for my advanced age and degenerated reflexes. Also, somewhere between Planet Nomads and this, my Logitech G700 left mouse button finally gave it's last click (god rest its soul). I have a new Logitech G903 mouse and recharging pad on my Christmas wish list, and calendar-wise we're just not quite there yet. So I ran down to the local Office Max/Depot and picked up a cheap wireless Logitech M720 (non-gaming) mouse. It doesn't have sufficient reaction to do justice to play Lords of the Fallen. I briefly considered trying to play it with my wireless XBox One controller, but really wasn't all that immersed in what little game play I did see and thus I have little need to play this title right now.
Parkitect ... this builder/manager title really tickles my spot. It doesn't hurt that the game is a recent release, and it hearkens back to the Rollercoaster Tycoon (I, II, and III) series of sandbox/tycoon games. I have all of those plus a few other similar titles in my library, so I knew this would be a hit. And it is/was. The Steam workshop is chock full of downloadable content. I purchased my version of this game DLC-free from GoG which normally cannot access or utilize items from the Steam workshop. Not to be discouraged, when I was playing, researching, and reading about Planet Nomads, I came across a little browser script that tricks Steam into thinking you have the game on their platform and you can then download workshop files to manually place in your local game directory's mod folder. Awesome little script, btw.
UnEpic ... and finally, the cheap title that I most recently purchased on sale at GoG - only two and a half bucks(!). It bills itself as a humorous platformer/RPG, and yes it is a platformer and an RPG but the humor is hit or miss (mostly miss as it is too obvious and tries too hard to be funny most of the time). I generally don't like platformers due to a personal lack of twitch reflexes and timing needed for most platform titles. I haven't played this one very far (just downloaded and installed within the past couple of days) and it seems pretty easy in the early stages. Lots of pop culture references in dialog, which I understand are called "Easter eggs" these days. Kids these days ... sheesh! Back in my day, we had to hunt to find the obscure Easter eggs in games, or read in magazines about how/where to find them. Now they just dole them out.
So in summary, I'm poking around in UnEpic, playing Parkitect when I have a decent block of time to waste, and waiting on Planet Nomads for new updates.
[edit ... now with more linkages. All links go to each title's page on GoG. Steam users should be smart enough to know how to find these games on that platform.]