An Incompleat List of Great Games
(And a titular parody of a UIUC tradition)

To be on this list, a game must satisfy a few criteria.

Now for the list.

Similar to Risk, but with more strategic variety. Also less tedious, since no dice rolls are involved.
The General
Related to Risk, but with abstract country borders, food to grow, and generals to train. This game is actually quite hard to master, requiring a balance of gameplay and a good anticipation of how your neighbors will react to your moves.
A remake of the classic empire game, Civilization II, FreeCiv will have you developing technologies, building wonders, and, well, civilizing the barbarians late into the night. Lead your favorite nation onward to glory.
Alter Ego
Simple to play, this game lets you simulate another life. Make dumb decisions, be a goody-two-shoes -- either way, this web-based game is an interesting take on life. Originally written by a psychologist. Fun anyway.
Similar to Sim City, LinCity is a city construction game. Develop your city, educate your people out of the stone age, and launch rockets to escape the pollution on earth. The NG edition adds new graphics to a classic game.
Formerly a commercial game, this truly 3D RTS game is now being freely developed here. The original commercial release can be downloaded here.
Frozen Bubble
A nice, arcade-style puzzle game. Catchy gameplay and tune.

Star Commander II
This is a really well produced game that, while an easy play, does involve some thought. Numerous distinct races, each with their own technologies and cultural quirks. Unusually well-written dialogs.
My own history with this game: I was given a copy of this for the Atari 1040ST many years ago. I tried playing it, but long floppy disk access times took the fun away. It took so long that it almost felt like I really was landing on each planet. For some time, I've been remembering the game, wondering what it was, and if I'd like it. Then fate brought it to me. While I'm only halfway through, its been quite fun.
One of the great classics, Nethack is an extremely detailed dungeon game. Lousy graphics, very good gameplay. Most dungeon games are hack-and-slash. While Nethack has its moments of glorious battle, the experienced player will know when to pause and re-evaluate the situation. Many will scurry to learn secrets of the dungeon or read a monster almanac to see what is safe to eat.

This game is very unassuming. I'd heard about it for years, but never given it much thought. Then I started playing. And dying. And trying again. Wizards, priests, archaelogists, tourists, knights, and many other poor souls died in the vain attempt to please the gods. After a while, you start gaining respect for the depths, you live a little longer, and you die an even more spectacular death.

Selling points: What other game outfits you with a pet from the get-go? Where else can you use a camera as a primary weapon? Which game features a multipurpose towel?

Copyright 2005, Daniel Herring
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