Daily Archives: January 22, 2016

You Play the Hand with the Cards You Have, Not the Cards You May Want…

I have mentioned in the past that I am on the mailing list for a number of PR agencies who employ the shotgun approach, which means I get a pile of email about new games, expansions, albums, and what not.  Most of it just gets deleted, though I am always amused when I see a post go up on Massively OP that is based off of a press release that I got as well.

Most of it gets deleted because most of it is of little interest to me.

But sometimes a press release comes along that makes you sit back and ponder, “How is this even a thing?” or “How could this come about?” or “No, really, you’re shitting me, right?”

And so it is with Churchill Solitaire.

Paraphrase your favorite Churchill speech...

Paraphrase your favorite Churchill speech…

According to the press release, the 83 year old former congressman and twice US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, working with with a company called Javelin in Alexandria, VA, the president of which is former Rumsfeld staffer Keith Urbahn (who, among other things, was, along with The Rock, one of the first people to leak the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed before the official announcement), with the cooperation of Churchill Heritage Ltd, which represents the Churchill family for the use of the late Prime Minister’s name and image in commercial projects, is releasing a solitaire game for Apple iOS devices.  A special solitaire game that Churchill himself created that involves two decks of cards and some other complications.

On the iPad

On the iPad

If horse racing is the sport of kings, then the press release (available here) would have you believe that this variation of solitaire is the card game of diplomats, Rumsfeld having been taught the game by Andre de Staercke back when he was ambassador to NATO during the Nixon administration. Rummy is alleged to be the last remaining link between Churchill and today when it comes to this game, if the PR material is to be believed.

Of course, we have to get into the FAQ to find the price:

Q: How much does the game cost?

A. The game is available for free. The game comes with three trial deals with In-App Purchases (IAPs). Additional game packs of 25 deals can be purchased for $.99 each, or one upgrade to the premium version for $4.99 gives you access to 200 specific deals, as well as unlimited random deals. In random deal mode, there are so many combinations (1.03e166 or 1.03 with 166 zeroes behind it to be precise) that it’s likely any deal you play has never been played before and will never be played again. Hints and undos are also available for purchase.

A revenue plan only a former government staffer could love.

We’ve worked hard to replicate the game as Churchill would have played it – and believe the final version does justice to one of the greatest leaders in world history.

How Churchill would have played it… on a little glass and metal clipboard sized device, sitting on the couch while half listening to your spouse or some TV show, while is attempts to nickel and dime you.  A legacy worth preserving.  Available in the iOS store today.

MMOs on the List of Most Important PC Games

Earlier this week, over at PC Gamer, which I think still actually has a print magazine version, publishes a list of what they felt were The 50 most important PC games of all time.

PCGamerLogo

And, if you know me, you know I love a good list like that.  Those are discussion starters without equal, and I bring them up pretty much whenever I find them.  I’ve even written about a PC Gamer list in the past, when they were writing about the 100 Greatest Games of All Time, (they do that article every year, here is the 2015 version) that being a distinct and separate category from the 50 most important.

The most important games are the ones we could not imagine not having existed in the genre, that inspired people, or that changed the market.

Wisely, PC Gamer decided to not stack rank the lot of them, choosing to list them out chronologically, kicking off with Space War! from 1962, the first thing that actually looks like what we think of when we say “video game.” (I even wrote a bit about Space War! at one point.)

Of course, this being me, I went storming into the article shouting, “Where are the MMOs?  Show me that online massively multiplayer goodness!”

And I was not disappointed.  MMO titles that made the cut were:

  • Ultima Online 1997
  • EverQuest 1999
  • EVE Online 2003
  • Second Life 2003
  • World of Warcraft 2004

Yes, I am admitting Second Life to the fraternity of MMOs I recognize, and not just to pad the list.  It was a thing in its day, even if Massively totally over-covered it for a bit.  I have even played it a few times.

So that is five MMOs on the list… by which I mean persistent world online games in the mold we all know and grudgingly tolerate while complaining about incessantly… or 10% of the list.  Not bad for a genre.

I suppose it says something the “important MMO” era is pretty much 1997-2004.  Has everything after that been simply refinements and derivatives of what has gone before?

Of course, limiting themselves to 50 games meant that anybody is going to find omissions that they feel are important.  Even the editors had to make an Honorable Mentions list because there was no doubt a large number of titles that were so close.

On the MMO front, I am a little disappointed that MUD1 or anything from the 1980s online era was neglected.  Maybe MegaWars III wasn’t that influential, but what about Air WarriorBut the list does feel a little heavy on the more recent end of things, probably a result of the relative youth of some of the contributors and the general feeling we tend to have that nothing is more important than right now.

Still, there are some good games whose presence on the list surprised me, like Starsiege: TribesFor a fleeting moment of time that was the best online shooter ever.  I played the hell out of that

Ultima IV is on the list, which is interesting because I think you have to have at least ONE Lord British game on the list, but which one?  I suppose Ultima IV was a turning point in the series, but I was always a big fan of Ultima III.  I’m shallow like that.  Also, I had that Ultima III editor, so made my own version of the game.

I find it somewhat odd that DotA is on the list by itself as opposed to being paired up with Warcraft III, since then you could have gotten in a side mention about how much Warcraft III influenced WoW.  Ah well.

And, of course, a lot of the list includes the games you would expect… probably demand… should be included; Wizardry, Pinball Construction Set, Civilization, League of Legends, Quake, Tomb Raider, Diablo, Half-Life, SimCity, The Sims, Minecraft, they are all there.

Yes, of course Doom is on the list...

Yes, of course Doom is on the list…

But I still look back at that list of five MMOs and wonder, is that the legacy of the genre?