I’m terrible at keeping up with this.
A game everyone should play? I can’t pick just one. I’ll pick three instead.
1) Plants vs Zombies (PC, Mac, Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network, Nintendo DS, iOS, Android)
I always recommend PvZ to people. It’s cheap, has low PC requirements, it’s available for pretty much every platform imaginable and it’s insanely fun and addicting. If you have an iPhone or Android, it’s pretty much the perfect game to play with a touch screen. While the PC version is more feature-rich, the touch controls works phenomenally well, even compared to a mouse.
2) Minecraft (PC, Mac, Linux)
I would describe Minecraft as the most pointless game ever, yet I have a feeling I’ve probably spent somewhere between 50 and 100 hours playing it.
When you start Minecraft, there is no tutorial. There are no tips to tell you what to do. There’s no correct way to play it, only the general consensus that you must seek or create shelter by nightfall or face certain death at the hands of zombies, spiders, skeletons and the much beloved creepers.
The world is randomly generated and goes on forever. Everything is made of blocks, and each block has different properties. There are blocks made of dirt, gravel, sand, wood, stone, etc. Use the wood to make tools, use the blocks you gather to create different blocks and build anything you can imagine.
There’s also online play, so you can build things with other people.
Minecraft is in beta right now, but if you buy it now you get it at a discount and get access to the full version when it comes out November 11. You can also play the old free-buid version of the game, which can give you an idea of how the building works, though it’s pretty outdated.
3) Mother 3 (Gameboy Advance)
Let me preface this by saying you should probably play EarthBound (Mother 2) first. This can be a little challenging since a supposed nightmare of copyright issues prevent Nintendo from re-releasing it in North America, despite the fact it was re-released on the Japanese Wii’s virtual console, as well as Gameboy Advance with the original Mother. Right now, the only legitimate way to play EarthBound is to find a SNES cartridge of the game.
Of course, there’s always emulation.
Now that you’ve jumped through hoops to play a 16-year-old Super Nintendo game, you have to jump through a few more to play Mother 3.
The first hoop being that it was never released in North America. Solution? Import the game from Japan.
Oh no! The game is out of print. Looks like you’ll be paying marked-up prices on ebay!
Got your copy of Mother 3? Good. Now, assuming you have a GBA, DS (not a DSi) or a Gameboy Player, you’re ready to play Mother 3! What’s that? The game is in some crazy moon language? Time to learn Japanese!
Luckily, there’s an absolutely fantastic fan translation out there by the
insane cult dedicated fans over at Starmen.Net. The bad news is it’s not going to work with that cartridge you just imported. You’ll have to either emulate the game or use some pirate hardware to play it on a GBA or DS, which is ironically a much cheaper route than actually purchasing the game today. I would actually recommend this route over emulation, since the rhythm-based battle system doesn’t sync up right on emulators and only really works if you’re playing it on actual hardware.
The pay-off is worth it, in my opinion. I could explain more about why you should play it, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be writing more about the game later.
On a related note, used copies of Mother 3 start at $96 on Amazon! It’s very tempting to cash-in on the copy I imported from Play-Asia for $30 in 2006…