Casual Gamer

Lately, gamers had been recently reclassified as either casual or core gamers, and in my own case, it’s too easy to conclude that I’m a casual gamer for a long time now.

One of the reason for this is that, all of the computers that I had owned from the first to my present rig were all underpowered, generally unfit for power gaming. Because of this, while the rest of the world are ranting about new advancements in gaming, I’m always stuck on last-gen games. The last real game console I had played on was the Nintendo 64 (the game was Zelda: Ocarina of Time). Meanwhile, the last core DirectX game I finished was Diablo II, which I was only able to finish last year because two of my PC’s broke before I was able to finish the game (the game was the suspected culprit), and then, I only had renewed interest in the game last year when Blizzard released patch 1.12. As for the rest of the core games, I had played a lot of old games using console emulation, including Final Fantasy, Castlevania games, Pokemon, Metroid and others.

Besides, I had never gotten any interest in first-person and RTS games which best describes an stereotypical PC game. (On a related note, I was initially outraged when I learned that the next-gen update to Metroid was an FPS [Actually, Metroid was more of a first-person adventure than an FPS].) I didn’t do a lot of online gaming either, either browser-based or MMOG. I was addicted to Gunbound a few years ago, but I stopped playing it when our 56kbps Internet connection were disconnected in 2007.

Instead, most of my gaming hours were spent on the following games:

  • Bejeweled Twist

    I was addicted to this game way back when there’s a Windows Mobile version. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch up with the times. The later versions were unsupported by my phone, so I’m keeping the latest desktop version for my fix. The game was hard because of the inclusion of timed jewels and coals, which can’t be eliminated by normal means. The game mechanic has also changed, in order to do the game, you need to rotate 4 jewels in a 2×2 formation in a clockwise direction.

  • Bookworm Adventures

    I was so addicted to the old version that at one time I have been playing the game for more than 4 hours, and there’s no sign of any game over in sight (I scored 2 million). The newer version is more action-packed than the previous version. Spelling words using tiles were still the main mechanic, but you can now use nonadjacent tiles, unlike the previous game. Once you made a valid word, you can now attack your opponent. The longer your words are, the more damage you can deal. Trust me, you won’t get far if you don’t use words with more than four letters. Powerups and power tiles can help you on your quest, which you can obtain after completing levels or by spelling impressive words.

  • Text Twist

    I have the latest version, aptly named Text Twist 2, though I don’t play it a lot because it was insanely hard. To think that it’s normal for me to reach a 7-digit score on one gaming session in TT1, in TT2, I had some difficulty reaching a 6-digit score using the 7-word setting, and certainly much lower using the 8-digit word limit.

  • Mystery Case Files

    Of all the hidden-object games currently available, nobody can beat the MCF series because they have the best graphics. I’m already done with the first two, though I wasn’t done yet with the first Ravenhearst game. The antique look of this game makes it harder to locate the items, even with obvious traces of anachronism.

  • Scrabble Complete

    I had been playing this game since 2001. I recently tried the more recent Scrabble 2007, found out that it sucked, so I reinstalled back this game. I also tried the GameHouse version, but sadly it doesn’t appear to work in Vista. Well, anyway, it’s Scrabble, the ultimate word game. It contains OSPD3. Maven, the game’s built-in AI, was such a b!tch on high difficulty such as Expert.

  • Sims 1

    I didn’t play 2, the 3D-ification of the game was pointless, and there’s a certain charm in the isometric view of the original. I have also installed several expansions for the game, from Unleashed to Makin’ Magic. I’m proud of the mansions I have created in the game, which I was able to construct without resorting to cheating. I have yet to try Sims 3. It seems interesting but I don’t know if my lappie is capable of running it.

  • Geometry Wars

    No wonder it was XBox Live’s first killer app. I couldn’t describe the satisfaction I felt everytime the enemy shapes explode into fireworks and causes disruption in the playing field. Besides, the rotational keyboard/mouse combo control scheme  was beyond cool, and you can feel the intensity of the game particularly when the whole field was swarming with enemies. Hell, there were several instances when I dreamed about colorful shapes and fireworks, obviously inspired by this game. This game is absolutely flawless.

  • Vista games

    On the sarcastic side, playing Windows’ built-in games is a sign of desperation. But believe it or not, the graphical facelift these games received in Vista somehow made the games more addictive. Solitaire just feels refreshing, Minesweeper somehow became a bit more violent, Mahjong Titans was incredibly challenging, and Chess Titans… well, it’s a 3-D chess game, at least I don’t need to find another chess game on the net, this one will suffice.

* * *

Anyway, my latest casual addiction was the game Plants vs Zombies. It’s classified as a tower defense game, in which you have to fortify your base against an invading hordes of enemies, a large army of undead with differing attributes and capabilities. In this case, you have a default army of plants, each with a unique capability. Sunflowers are the most useful, because they provide sun powers which you will need to plant additional units. Your default attacking plant is the peashooter. More plants (and fungi, which are in a kingdom that’s completely their own, separate from the plant kingdom) can be unlocked after completing a level, in addition to the other game modes and features in the game. You’ll also be battling in various terrains (starting in your own lawn, but you soon will moving to your pool and rooftop) and various environmental conditions (sun power isn’t a problem in the morning, unlike at night where you have to rely on sunflowers. You’ll also encounter fog, and, at one time, play on a dark and stormy evening). The default gameplay mechanic was to plant your units and let them do their things, but once in a while, you’ll be using other methods, such as bowling and Whack-a-Zombie.

It’s quite odd. I had never liked playing strategy games before but this one was so great, I will probably be playing this for a very long time. Anyway, here’s a cute video I got from the game:


2 comments on “Casual Gamer

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