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5 Classic PC Games that are Still Worth a Play

5 Classic PC Games that are Still Worth a Play

Guest Post by: Caroline from Culture Coverage

I would like to thank Real Women of Gaming for publishing this article. They cover everything related to gaming, including conventions and reviews. Check out their Indie Spotlight section if you’re looking for some great new titles to pick up. 

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There’s never been a better time to get into PC gaming. Not only does PC get a majority of the best titles, it also boasts one of the largest catalogs available to users. With hundreds of new games released daily on sites like GOG and Steam, it can be difficult to choose which ones to buy. If you’re not quite sold on the latest releases, why not revisit some of these classic PC games?

StarCraft

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Although not the first real time strategy (RTS) game, it remains one of the most popular PC games even today and has sold over 9 million copies worldwide. It gained a huge following in South Korea, leading to the rise of eSports and the pro-gaming scene. The reason StarCraft stands out against other RTS games of the time is its focus on offering three distinct play styles with the different factions: Zerg, Protoss and Humans. Each faction had different strengths and weaknesses, yet somehow the gameplay managed to be balanced and challenging.

Besides the competitive multiplayer mode, you can also create your own challenge maps or download them if you feel like the game isn’t replayable enough. Before you consider downloading maps off other sites, however, you should first connect to a VPN such as IPVanish as it will encrypt your data and protect you from spam sites. Unfortunately, that has been a problem for some users.

SimCity 2000

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There’s something to be said about SimCity 2000. While not the first of the series, it took the original concept and expanded upon it with new features such as different elevations, underground layers for pipes and subways, and a diametric view. All of these changes improved the overall gameplay experience, making it one of the best simulation games on the market even when compared against more recenttitles. Maxis brought in deeper gameplay and strategy with their improved budget and finance controls. They also included the ability to connect to other cities.

If you get tired of just building up your city, you can also jump into scenarios to rebuild a city after some disaster. Most of these scenarios are based off of real events such as the Oakland firestorm of 1991. The main building mode doesn’t necessarily have an ending, but you can move on to work on a new city. Alternatively, you can unleash your wrath and destroy it with monsters, floods and fires. SimCity 2000 is still incredibly fun to play and even the graphics are acceptable by today’s standards. While not the most realistic game, the pixel art is incredibly detailed and still some of the best in the style.

World of Warcraft

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Say what you will about the game, World of Warcraft remains the most subscribed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) around. Building off of the lore in Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (and other games in the series), World of Warcraft continues the story between the Alliance and the Horde. One of the reasons the game remains so popular today is because of its rich story, great balance and ability to play casually or more seriously. As with other MMORPGs, players can customize not only the appearance of their character, but their class and skills as well.

Regardless of what you choose, you can always find other people who have the same interests in terms of gameplay. Many people have started friendships with other players and some have even forged romances in real life. World of Warcraft continues to update their game with expansions and patches to increase and expand content, update graphics, and balance the various classes. While its subscribers might have dropped since its maximum of 12 million players, there are still millions of people playing the game.

Doom

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With the remastered version of Doom now available, you might want to check out the original game that started it all. The graphics definitely don’t hold up to the test of time, but the gameplay is just as frantic and fast. Generally considered the game that pioneered the first-person shooter, Doom introduced a pseudo-3D first-person perspective. This affected both level design and the overall gameplay experience as well. Players can gauge how far away enemies, obstacles and alternative paths are from their position.

Besides the “3D” aspect, Doom also introduced the ability to equip various weapons from a shotgun to rocket launcher, another feature that has become typical for other games within this genre.

Half-Life

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Half-Life 2 might be the more acclaimed game in the series, but if you want to understand Dr. Gordon Freeman’s back story, you’ll want to check out the first in the series. Debuting in 1998, Half-Life took the framework of first-person shooters from Doom and improved upon it with actual 3D graphics and more realistic gameplay.

Although technically a first-person shooter, Half-Life also integrated puzzles for players in order to progress through levels. This differentiated it enough from many other shooters whose sole focus was on defeating enemies. In another departure, the game did not use cut scenes to tell the story. Instead, it used scripted sequences seen through Gordon’s eyes. Many other developers have used a similar mechanic to make the story more immersive and seamless.

There are hundreds of other classic games that still stand the test of time in terms of gameplay. Which ones did we miss? Tell us in the comments below.

About the Author: Caroline is a freelance writer who enjoys all things related to tech and gaming. She’s excited to see how games will change with the advent of new technology like virtual reality, but also doesn’t want to forget the classics.

Confessions of an Alt-aholic

By Max Urso

WoW Alt-aholic

Character Creation in World of Warcraft

I love games. If there is a mechanic to create my own character, then I’m hooked; the more complex and flexible the better. New character ideas are always popping into my head, and that’s the problem. I rarely stick to one character. If there’s an account limit on toons (slang from City of Heroes I still use to this day), I will fill up my roster in no time. There might be one hero that gets leveled above the others, but inevitably I will have a dozen in their mid-levels while my “main” sits there waiting for the end game that he can never quite reach.

Why? I think I have a Pavlovian reaction to leveling. In City of Heroes, we would toot our own horns in super-group (guild) chat simply by stating, “Ding.” Our fellow SG members would respond with some version of, “Gratz.” I was addicted to the reward, the gratification of progress. I had a small handful of capes that had reached level 50…and were mothballed. Guess who reached level 50? Guess who’s rolling another new toon? Each capped out hero unlocked another character slot as well. They were keeping me hooked. One game after another, new purchase after new purchase, subscription after subscription; It’s not cheap being an alt-aholic.

Superhero games (there are few) are great for satisfying my Alt-itis. It’s the costume creator that reels me in. Champions Online (based on the pen and paper game) has, in my opinion, one of the best costume creation systems ever. It’s not for everyone though, and why play an MMO that your friends aren’t into? So I switch it up, try new game after new game looking for the one that will end my affliction.

I thought it was RIFT. Finally, I had found a character I could stick with. Life gets in the way and might slow me down, but I managed to reach the cap with my rogue. What was different? The secret was in the class system. There were only four classes, but each one had a dozen souls. These souls could be combined by picking three at a time and making the character you want. All rogues are not the same. I leveled to 65 but found the soul system was simply enabling my Alt-itis as I kept changing what souls I had equipped.

It’s not just video games either. I’m the same way with pen and paper RPGs. I have actually gotten upset when my hero makes his death save in D&D. I’ve begged some DMs to kill off my character so I can play the new one I had waiting in the shadows. It’s not as easy to satisfy that fix among your regular Sunday group, though. Continuity trumps boredom. The level progression in D&D is slower compared to video games, too. There’s less “Ding” so I have to find another creative outlet; I DM. Why create one hero when I can create a whole world? The need for new, an alternate game, is strong here as well. I don’t recall how many systems I’ve learned. All different, all fun.

Each game I play, each character I create satisfies a hunger in the moment. I feel a rush flying around Millennium City in Champions Online as the theme from Superman streams in my ears. I track down each new hunter’s pet in World of Warcraft, debating on what new name to give it. I stare in wonder at the backstory I’ve created for my Sunday group, most details of which they may never know. There is definitely a need that creating fills.

My name is Max Urso, and I’m an Alt-aholic.

Games to Get Excited About: World of Warcraft: Legion

As an avid World of Warcraft player, I’m particularly excited about their latest expansion: Legion. From the Battlenet website:

The Tomb of Sargeras has been reopened, and the demons of the Burning Legion pour into our world. Their full, terrifying might is fixed on summoning the Dark Titan to Azeroth – and they’ve already located the key to his return.

With Alliance and Horde devastated, only you can take up Warcraft’s most legendary artifacts, scour the ancient Broken Isles for relics of the Titans, and challenge the Legion before Azeroth’s last hope dies.

Steel yourself, champion. Extinction is imminent.

How freaking cool is that?!

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Besides having a bad ass storyline about freaking demons, Legion also comes with a new class: Demon Hunter! This class is made up of elves who have been outcast because they chose to wield the powers of the Legion. They can tap into demonic powers and change into new, hellish forms.

The Demon Hunters have two specializations, according to Battlenet: Havoc and Vengeance. Havoc – which focuses more on Damage Per Second (DPS) – wields “fiery demonic powers,” while Vengeance – a tank – focuses on melee combat and can withstand massive damage.

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The new expansion also offers five new weapons. These “artifacts of legend” are particularly effective against the Burning Legion. First, we have the Ashbringer, which is a two-handed sword wielded by Paladins. Second, the Maw of the Damned is a two-handed axe for Death Knights.There is also a mage staff called Ebonchill, a monk staff called Sheilun and a hunter’s bow called Thas’dorah.

A new World of Warcraft expansion always features a new area to explore. In Legion, we get to see The Broken Isles. This is where the Burning Legion has its start. The Broken Isles are also home to ancient elven civilizations and other dangers, such as satyrs, drogbar and Kvaldir.

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Along side these awesome new features, we also get Class Halls, where you can bring together NPCs from your class’s order to complete missions at your command. Legion also offers new dungeons, new raids and new world bosses for you and your guild to conquer.

In an effort to bring in new and old players alike, Blizzard has raised the level cap to 110, revamped the PvP system, improved social features and added a character boost to level 100.

Everything I’ve heard about Legion has been absolutely amazing. My guild members have been talking about it for months. Several of us have even pre-purchased it, which has its own benefits: giving you the boost to level 100 and early access to the Demon Hunter class.

It’s bound to be light years better than Warlords of Draenor… hopefully.

If you go to battlenet, you can opt-in for beta testing or pre-purchase Legion today for $49.99 (standard) or $69.99 (deluxe). As of right now, it is set for release on or before September 21, 2016.

We have a long six months ahead of us.

Women were a rarity, A Guest Post

Magic: The Gathering

Hi there, everyone!  I was asked by my friend Crymson Pleasure to write up a guest post about women in gaming. A little about myself first.  I have been playing tabletop RPG’s since around 1985-86, Magic: The Gathering from 1993, and MMORPG’s since 1999 with Everquest being the one I have played the longest.  

What are my feelings on women in gaming?  There aren’t enough!  Gaming of all types is lacking in female representation, and it shouldn’t be as it’s something that anyone can do no matter their sex, age, color, or any other factor.  There is no reason for women to feel excluded from gaming or made to feel like it’s for boys only.  If more guys would put an effort into welcoming women or getting them to try the games it would expand the amount of available players, and bring more creativity to them.  A great example is my friend Kate.  I met her through my friend Justin, and have introduced them both to Pathfinder and the wonderful world of tabletop RPG’s.  We ended 4 books into a 6-book module set, and they were both enjoying it greatly.  It was first time either one of them have ever played anything like it and she is having as much fun as he and I are.  She asked just as many good questions as he did, and got just as mad as any other player when the dice won’t fall in her favor.    

While I was growing up and playing Magic and early D&D games, women were a rarity, and I think that was at least partially the fault of gamers, and also of the companies making the games.  It wasn’t that we were purposely excluding them, but more that it wasn’t “accepted” as much for them to ask about, and join games.  The advent of online MMORPG’s helped break that mold as – unless you asked – you never knew if the persons you were playing with were guys or girls.  More women started playing games and taking their love of them to the outside world and into tabletop/LARP games.  

Pathfinder Table Top Game

When you look around today you can find women playing and running D&D games, and competing at magic tournaments.  Feline Longmore, and Jadine Klomparens are both women who play Magic at the competitive level and consistently get high placings at the tournaments they go to.  I hope to be that good myself one day.  I am sure there are many more that show up at the individual tournaments and Friday Night Magic in their local area, but there is still not enough.

All in all, we as gamers need to take it upon ourselves to bring more women into the games we play, as they are made to be fun and enjoyed by everyone.  We need to share our love of the games with our friends and loved ones.  Maybe they haven’t joined you in playing because they haven’t felt that rush of a critical hit rolled at just the perfect time, or pulling off the perfect play to a win a game of Magic.  All it takes is that one moment and boom you have them hooked.  

-Henry