What Games/Gaming System to Get?


#1

I thought I’d start a video game thread because I have a few questions that I want feedback on and they don’t fit neatly into a single category, and I figured this could serve as the BB water cooler for video games in general.

My first question: I need a new system. i’m trying to get back into gaming and I am pretty desperate for something that will run current games. My system is totally bottlenecked in all possible ways when it comes to the latest Doom. I was wondering if people here recommend saving for a gaming PC or buying a console and if console, which one? Advantage of a console is that I can buy one sooner, but advantage of a PC is that I can upgrade for a while and it probably has better resale. But then… I kind of like knowing that my system will run a new game if I buy it. Then again, the types of games I enjoy aren’t always well adapted for console play.

If I do go the PC route, which graphics card manufacturer offers the best quality for price?

Second question. Any slightly older games people can recommend I get in the meantime? It might help answer both questions if I give the kinds of games I’ve really enjoyed in the past. I’m dating myself somewhat here, but these are just the “biggest hits” in my mind and I feel like a lot of modern games still don’t quite match up. In any case, I’d also like to see other people’s “Top Tens” because it’s fun.

Almost anything in the early Baldur’s Gate/Forgotten Realms series. I feel like it started to go a little downhill in Neverwinter Nights, but I could be convinced that there are newer games in that series that might be worth looking at.

The Curse of Monkey Island. I know they don’t make these anymore, but it tops my list.

Zelda series, though at this point I’ve lost track of the mythology.

Civilization. I am actually somewhat addicted to the series.

Command and Conquer: Before Command and Conquer 3 which was utter shit.

Quake II Which I’ve literally played a few hundred times by now and I still like to pop in the CD and play through even now.

MDK: What can I say? I like quirky games.

Skyrim: Which was my introduction to the Elder Scrolls series, and I like it for the same reasons everyone else did.

Mass Effect series: Because Bioware.

Assassin’s Creed when it was new. I think the series is starting to wear the premise a little thin.

Thief I and II.

Half-Life series: I demand to know how Aperture is involved in the resonance cascade event damnit! HL-3 needs to happen. Don’t make it into another Duke Nukem Forever.

Good games that don’t quite qualify for top ten, eleven:

Halo series. A little too multiplayer oriented.

XCOM series: A little bit all over the place, but I apparently like micromanagement in games (See: Civilization.)

Deus Ex: Just the first one.

Max Payne: Again just the first one.

I think that’s enough controversy fodder to get the thread started.


#2

Did you see this thread?

This is what the sadly departed Offworld category was for…


#3

Shit, no. I was expecting the BBS to auto generate a similar thread if one was available when I tried to make this topic. It didn’t pop up, though I was kinda surprised that there wasn’t a gaming thread yet.


#4

PC gaming all the way, and Maximum PC for the gamer graphics card reviews. They do a “dream machine” issue every year and review lots of components.

Totes agree x100, but forgot KOTOR.


#5

PC Master race.

ETA: Fuck, I forgot where I was.

You all know what I mean.


#6

Yeah just build up a cheap small form factor PC and explore the massive Steam back catalog for practically nothing.

  • CPU barely matters since they are all so darn fast relative to the craptastic low end Intel Atom-alike that is in the ps4 and Xbone. Any Core i3 of recent vintage will do just fine.

  • :warning: Get the fastest, newest GPU you can afford. If you never plan to game at higher than 1080p you can maybe cut back a bit but in general this is where you want to allocate most of the budget, without a doubt.

  • ideally 16GB of ram to avoid suffering from sloppy console ports that need more than the 8GB found on current gen consoles (Arkham Knight had this problem, for example), and for a bit of future proofing

It really is a golden era we are entering for PC gaming – both current gen consoles are more or less vanilla x86 PCs anyway. Embrace it!


#7

Both day of the tentacle and grimm fandango have remastered and I think the monkey islands have too. Also worth keeping an eye on the humble bundle site.


#8

If I was building a system now, Nvidia’ s new GeForce GTX 1070 probably what I’d go for.

From what I’ve read, anyway. I haven’t built a gaming PC this millennium.


#9

The current generation of consoles is garbage across the board, and all indications is that the next will be too. I was a huge console fan for the ease of use and insignificant (to me) difference in quality for the investment. I changed my mind with the rise of the many, many indy games over the past decade and especially with the ease of use in things like Steam.

That said, my tech is also way behind. Because of that I have been playing older games (Psychonauts 2, KOTOR/KOTORII, etc.) along with new games that are great but lightweight on graphics (I’ve been playing a ton of Darkest Dungeon, and started This War of Mine recently). There is a lot of great stuff out there that I don’t miss the AAA titles ever.

That said, I may cave and upgrade for Overwatch.


#10

Really? I go the impression that consoles were getting a lot more interesting fast. Granted a lot of this hinged on stupid gimmicks like the Kinect.

I forgot about that series… I think I know what I might be playing soon. The one thing I hate about certain older classic games is trying to get them to run on modern 64-bit processors. I don’t think KOTOR would have this problem, but Commandos was nigh unplayable the last time I tried.

I got the impression you could bottleneck at the processor. I mean, sure the GPU is the biggest investment and it’s probably a waste of time to get an i7, but I think a lot of AAA titles are requiring an i5 as a minimum. Consider these sysreqs for Doom:

In any case, I do run computational chemistry programs that don’t utilize the GPU because the people who program them know that institutions will pay out the nose for software licenses and probably don’t give enough of a shit. It would be nice to model a molecule of ferrocene in less than forty minutes.


#11

If that is your like-list, I wouldn’t touch a console with somebody else’s ten foot pole. A pretty sizable chunk of those either never made it to the console at all or showed up in forms agonizingly warped by the limitations of the console(eg. Skyrim on PS3… total disaster, or any RTS port where you end up using a thumbstick to control a mouse pointer).

If you haven’t already, I’d definitely check out Fallout 1 and 2 are very much in the Baldur’s Gate vein in terms of feel/UI/playstyle, 3 and New Vegas are Skyrim-esque(but about one generation behind in terms of system requirements: 3 is old enough at this point that it’s a little rought; but Tale of Two Wastelands lets you import all of Fallout 3 into NV as a mod, which is totally sweet.)

If you liked Thief, Dishonored is definitely worth checking out. Fantastic atmosphere.

If you like XCOM, you should definitely check out OpenXCOM, which provides a modern re-implementation of the original XCOM engine, much more pleasant than dealing with the original in DOSBox, with some optional fixes; but the original game’s assets.

I have a strong personal fondness for Dungeon Keeper II. There are some newer pretenders to the crown; but none that I know of that don’t suck.

Pillars of Eternity is definitely worth a look: an RPG very much in the classic-Bioware-y mould; but by Obsidian(substantially composed of the remnants of the studio that did Fallout 1 and 2 and New Vegas); with a refreshingly not-totally-hackneyed-D&D-archetypes setting.

Arcanum: of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is another good RPG contender.

Banished is a matter of taste. I find it strangely addictive; and the fact that it is more or less pure ‘sandbox’ without orks or zombies or anything doesn’t make it any less unforgiving in terms of your population starving and/or freezing to death; but if you don’t like pure sandbox, you’ll probably come to resent the fact that this is one.

DEFCON has slightly rough controls; but is basically genius: minimalist UI pulled straight from the NORAD HQ in Wargames; it’s your job to lose least at global thermonuclear war. Aseptic with an overwhelming undercurrent of pure grim(the scoring system, for instance, completely ignores the survival or destruction of military assets; the only relevant variable is civilian casualties).

Ground Control is worth a look if you like RTS, the sequel was pretty lousy, however.

I have a special soft spot for Mushroom 11; because why wouldn’t I love a game where you are a post-apocalyptic fungus that consumes all the biomass? Your milage may vary.

Xenonauts is said to be a worthy modernization of the more classic XCOM feel(as opposed to the streamlining of Take 2’s release); but I’m afraid I haven’t had time to get into it so that’s purely second-hand.

Kohan(Immortal Sovereigns and Ahriman’s Gift) is a widely overlooked RTS classic. The sequel is substantially less compelling(one of the casualties of the transition from late sprite-based RTSes, which had really gotten gorgeous and atmospheric, to early full 3d ones; which were still too technically limited to do justice to anything other than the robotic hordes of Total Annihilation(also a worthy game, arguably superior to Supreme Commander, though the latter is markedly prettier thanks to being that much newer).

I’m dreadful at it; but Europa Universalis III chewed its way into my Civilization-addiction lobe and refused to let go for a while, also worth a look.

FTL: Faster Than Light is a cruel and unforgiving space-roguelike. I don’t think I’ve ever actually won a game; but I’ve had a lot of fun trying.

If you liked any of the Diablo games, Grim Dawn is definitely worth a look. If not, probably not for you.

Oh, Homeworld is available again; and that is one crazy-atmospheric RTS. I didn’t like Cataclysm much; and Homeworld II didn’t have the same atmosphere; but I think they are all a single SKU now.

The controls really, really haven’t aged well; but with a good reference card on hand, Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising is an interesting one: a sort of Battlezone-like action RTS, without the base building but with heavier emphasis on management of limited units.

System Shock 2 also hasn’t aged entirely gracefully; but is easily the scariest first person RPG, and probably scariest game, I’ve ever played. Bioshock is more technically proficient; but not nearly as good. Also Psionic monkeys are the worst.

Kalypso is utterly shameless about DLC-nickle-and-diming; but Tropico 4 has been out long enough that you should be able to get the ‘all-the-things-given-a-grandiose-name’ bundle; and if you’ve ever wanted a lighthearted jaunt in being a fictional Latin American president for life it can be good fun. 5 is said to be eminently skippable, with only marginal improvements.

Factorio is one that has eaten a certain amount of my attention recently. There’s something hypnotic about weaving elaborate arrangements of belts and pipes to keep all the production units flowing from raw materials to assorted intermediate and finished products. Another fairly sandboxy one; but oddly compelling.

If you liked Civ, you should probably pick up Alpha Centauri. Civ, in space, with xenofungus.

(Edit: more generally, if you want back-catalog goodness, hit gog.com assuming you haven’t already. Selection can’t match Steam; but no DRM and a bit more TLC put into compatibility and some good indie offerings as well. Prices typically comparable; occasionally markedly better or worse if one party has a sale going on.)


#12

Have you played Crusader Kings 2? There’s lots of micromanagement in that, with your family, the nobility and your armies. And if you get bored with medieval Europe and Asia, you can always do all that in Westeros and Essos.

Just wait for a sale to get the DLC though, most of it is cosmetic but some of it does change the game.


#13

The only real argument against the 1070 is that the ‘founder’s edition’ version is $450, prices and availability of partner cards not yet known; while people upgrading to 1080s and 1070s should mean a spike in availability and nontrivial price cuts for 970s and 980s.

If you want buttery-smooth 4k or aggressive future proofing; that’s not really relevant; but if you are targeting 1920x1080, even with all the pretty dialed up, there are going to be some attractive options at at least $150 less, quite possibly more.

I definitely wouldn’t waste time messing around with SLI-ing last gen cards, unless you really like wearing hearing protection and get your power and AC for free(and enjoy SLI-related driver issues); that’s a pitifully false economy; but if you were actually considering a console for price reasons; the upgrade brigade’s dump of relatively new 970s and 980s into the used market is something to keep an eye on.


#14

Mass Effect is a love letter to pretty much every science fiction franchise of the last 40 years, while also blowing kisses to John Carpenter, Epcot Center, Syd Mead, and 1970s NASA space colony concept art. Plus it’s lots of fun and tells a great story with well-written characters. Definitely recommend the series.

Also, if you dug Monkey Island, I’d definitely recommend checking out Psychonauts. It’s by Tim Schafer, the same writer behind Monkey Island, and I think it’s one of the most inventive and playful video games I’ve ever seen.


#15

Holy cats, they have Relentless and Twinsen’s Odyssey available for OS X. Never thought I’d see the day.


#16

[quote=“ActionAbe, post:10, topic:78384”]
Really? I go the impression that consoles were getting a lot more interesting fast. Granted a lot of this hinged on stupid gimmicks like the Kinect.
[/quote]Kinect lost Xbox the current console war, and most games can only run at graphics settings that are terrible. The appeal is an online store with direct downloads of content and online play… you know know, like a PC.

Even if you want to play on a TV I would stream Steam to it instead, much more cost effective, there’s a better library of games, and there’s barely any exclusives anymore.


#17

How is that Steam Machine idea going?

I’d be half tempted if much of my library were compatible but I suspect it isn’t.


#18

A friend of mine got one, and returned it after a week; as it’s Linux-based, it severely limits the number of compatible games available on the Steam store. YMMV of course.


#19

They’ve gone full retail with the controller designed to work with it(though it works with conventional PCs and their little Steam-streaming box as well); and I think that you can get them from various PC OEMs; but there isn’t much talk about them. Valve has excellent strategic reasons for trying to build an escape hatch for the day when MS decides to go full iOS-and-app-store on them; and that’s the sort of work that takes time and ongoing pressure(and, from what I’ve read, they have gotten significant results in terms of Linux GPU driver work and number of games that they can claim to support); but until MS actually does turn to the dark side, a copy of Windows Home Edition just doesn’t cost very much compared to the difficulty of getting the stuff that was never built to be compatible up and running.

I suspect that Valve will keep on it, since MS seems enthusiastic about ‘Trusted Windows Store Apps’ and ‘UWP’ and they can’t really afford to let MS use their platform control to squish them; but it’s a hard sell except as a contingency plan so long as MS is practically giving away the non-enterprise versions of the OS and hasn’t yet substantially cracked down on 3rd parties.

It probably doesn’t help that gaming computers are one of the areas where the cost of hardware predominates, so having a ‘Wintendo’ for games and another computer or a bunch of VMs for the OS you actually like is fairly practical for most people who would prefer to avoid Windows just because it rubs them the wrong way. You really have to loath Windows to find its behavior during the bootsplash-to-steam process offensive; and it just isn’t as common for your gaming computer to be your only computer(even more so if you count VMs; but also because of the proliferation of laptops and macs and mac laptops which are too GPU-bound for anything serious; but otherwise very popular).


#20

Aside from deep-diving into seriously skeezy abandonware, GoG is pretty much your best shot when it comes to getting the retro classics. Especially the ones unpopular enough that install media are virtually nonexistent in the secondary market.

I do wish they’d manage to score Metal Fatigue. I remember that one fondly; but it only shows up in fairly sketchy places.