Humble Jumbo Bundle 2

The latest Humble Bundle, Humble Jumbo Bundle 2, is packed full of great games (including some of my favorites) for the low price of pay-whatever-you-want.

Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Games

Pay $1 or more for:

  • The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing – Complete Pack
  • Deadlight
  • Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate Edition

Beat the average for:

  • Terraria
  • THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIII Steam Edition
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Legend of Grimrock
  • PixelJunk Eden
  • Orcs Must Die! 2 – Complete Pack

Pay $15 or more for:

  • Age of Empires Legacy Bundle

I have played almost half of the games included in the bundle: Terraria, PixelJunk Eden, Orcs Must Die! 2, and Age of Empires.

Terraria is an action-adventure sandbox game that’s kind of like a 2D version of Minecraft. If you don’t have it yet, it’s worth beating the average for this game alone.

PixelJunk Eden is a minimalistic platformer puzzle game by the same company that made PixelJunk Monsters. It is colorful, beautiful, and relaxing — not one of my favorite games, but definitely one that I enjoyed playing.

Orcs Must Die! 2 is a super fun combination of trap-based tower defense and third-person shooter. Highly recommended.

The Age of Empires Legacy Bundle includes both Age of Empires II and Age of Empires III, which are real-time strategy games. AoE2 is set in the Middle Ages and is one of my favorite games of all time. AoE3 takes place during Europe’s colonization of the Americas. It’s been almost a decade since I’ve played AoE3 and I think I liked it all right, but that it was a let down after AoE2.

I’m most looking forward to trying out Crusader Kings II, a medieval strategy game with a sense of humor that was published by the same company as Magicka. I’ve also heard great things about Legend of Grimrock, a dungeon-crawling RPG.

Civilization V

Civ V: Taking a city-state

Summary

I picked up Sid Meier’s Civilization V (Gold Edition) during the Steam Winter Sale, which is going on through January 3rd. It’s a turn-based strategy game in which you grow your nation from a single settlement into a vast empire.

Civ5: Suleiman
Interacting with other civilizations

During your turn, you manage your civilization by directing troops, producing new units, researching new technologies, founding new cities, improving the land, adopting new policies, expanding your religion, building wonders, and interacting with other civilizations and city-states through trade and diplomacy.

Civilization V has five paths to victory:

  • Domination – be the last player in possession of your original capital city
  • Science – build and launch a spaceship (requires a lot of technological research)
  • Cultural – complete the Utopia Project by filling 5 social policy trees
  • Diplomatic – win a vote in the United Nations
  • 2050 arrives – if no one has won by the year 2050, the player with the highest score wins

Review

Civilization V is the first Civilization game I’ve played and as a big fan of Age of Empires, I was really excited to give it a try. The ideas are similar, but Civ 5 has a lot more depth and strategy than AOE. Well, and Civ 5 is turn-based whereas AOE is real-time strategy. 😛

Civ5: Spaceship victory
Science (spaceship) victory

The game might seem a little daunting at first, but the tutorial does a decent job of teaching you how to play and your advisors (economic, military, foreign, and science) help with decision-making. The game begins with micromanaging a few units, but as time progresses, you start playing the game on a larger scale.

I really like how Civ 5 accommodates different play styles, allowing you alternatives for winning besides just wiping everybody else out. As much as I like being warmongering, it’s fun to experiment with different play styles, too.

I love Civilization V and I keep learning and improving the more I play. Just a warning, though: you’ll lose track of time when you play and you might find that it’s 3am all of a sudden. 😉

Gigabit Internet, AOE, and Bike Parking

A collection of interesting tech-related news from yesterday:

Gigabit Internet coming to Seattle for $80/month

Gigabit Seattle announced its speed/price plans on Monday (source):

  • 5 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload free for 5 years (thereafter, 10 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload for $10/month)
  • 100 Mbps download/100 Mbps upload for $45/month
  • 1000 Mbps download/1000 Mbps upload for $80/month

Unfortunately, I’m not in one of the neighborhoods that will be getting initial coverage, but I’m hopeful that I’ll have access to gigabit Internet soon. 🙂

Age of Empires is coming to Android and iOS

Microsoft announced on Monday that it is working on a mobile version of “Age of Emprires” which will be released by March of next year (source). AOE is one of my favorite games of all time, so I’m excited to see how this turns out. Wololo!

Japan has an amazing underground bicycle parking system

Okay, maybe this isn’t news, but I found out about Japan’s incredible space-saving underground bicycle parking system yesterday. Just take your bike to a parking machine, which will read a chip on the bike and store it underground automatically. When you want your bike back, tap a card to the machine and it will retrieve your bike in seconds.

Age of Empires II: HD Edition

EEEEEEEE!!! An Age of Empires II HD Edition announcement trailer was published today:

AOE2 is one of my favorite games of all time, so I’m totally geeked that they’ve remastered it. Not only that, but it’ll have multi-monitor support, it’s on Steam, and it comes out in a month!

You can pre-order AOE2 HD on Steam for $17.99. It comes out April 9th, but if you pre-order on Steam, you’ll get to play it starting April 5th.

Assorted Casual Games I Used to Play

I used to play most of these games at a call center job I had while I was in college. In between calls, we were allowed to do homework, study, read, play games, or whatever as long as there weren’t other jobs to do. Because I had to be able to drop what I was doing to answer a call at any moment, I had to find games that didn’t require my constant attention.

Shakes and FidgetShakes & Fidget

http://www.sfgame.us

Shakes & Fidget is a Flash-based role-playing browser game. You can go on quests to gain gold and experience, buy gear from shops, battle other characters, join guilds, and fight bosses in dungeons. The characters are pretty autonomous, though; they do their own fighting and you control their gear and tell them what to do. It’s not a challenging game, but it was a nice way to pass the time.

GodvilleGodville

http://godvillegame.com

Godville caught my attention when it claimed it was a massively-multiplayer zero-player game. I wondered how the heck it could be a zero-player game. Kind of like Shakes & Fidget, your character is autonomous, though Godville takes it to the extreme. You have very little control over your character’s actions. They fight things, go adventuring, buy and sell gear, learn skills, join guilds, adopt pets, fight other characters, etc. all on their own. As their god/goddess, all you can do is use your limited “godpower” to make suggestions, encourage and punish them, and resurrect them when they die. Godville is available as a mobile app and a browser game.

Lord of UltimaLord of Ultima

http://www.lordofultima.com

I was really excited when I heard about Lord of Ultima, a massively-multiplayer real-time strategy game. It is reminiscent of Age of Empires – you start with one small town and build an empire. New players’ cities are protected for the first week, but after that, other players can attack you. You can join alliances for protection, though, and you can trade goods with other players. I had a lot of fun playing Lord of Ultima for a while, but things became too difficult to manage once my empire got too big, so I gave away my cities and stopped playing. Lord of Ultima is done in JavaScript, rather than Flash, which I thought was pretty impressive.

Kingdom of LoathingKingdom of Loathing

http://www.kingdomofloathing.com

Kingdom of Loathing is a silly primarily text-based humorous MMORPG playable in web browsers. Unlike Shakes & Fidget and Godville, you directly control your character’s actions. Kingdom of Loathing uses a turn-based system and incorporates a lot of humor through word play, pop culture references, and goofy ideas. Players can complete quests, join clans, and fight each other in PvP combat.

Corporation Inc.Corporation Inc.

http://armorgames.com

Corporation Inc. is a browser-based strategy game. You start with a little money and the goal is to build the world’s most profitable company. You can build offices; hire, fire, and promote workers; add decorations to improve workers’ moods; etc. It’s a fun game, but, like Lord of Ultima, it becomes difficult to manage once you have a large corporation. I recently started playing a similar game, Tiny Tower, on my phone. Tiny Tower is different in that you can only build your tower vertically and you can move the workers (called “bitizens”) between different jobs. Bitizens also have dream jobs and vary in how good they are in certain types of jobs. So if you like Corporation Inc., be sure to check out Tiny Tower (or vice versa).

Kingdom Rush

I really like strategy games like Age of Empires, Risk, and PixelJunk Monsters… so I got really excited when I heard about Kingdom Rush, a free online tower defense game.

Kingdom Rush

Kingdom Rush is very well done. The difficulty increases at a good rate and although some levels are pretty challenging, they’re not impossible to overcome. I also like the heroic and iron challenges for each level, which require players to rethink their strategies. The achievements are another smart way to keep the players having fun (it took me forever to figure out how I was supposed to make the sheep explode!). I really enjoyed playing Kingdom Rush, so why don’t you give it a try? Play Kingdom Rush! 🙂

From WoW to Rift

WoW - Eris and Lich King
Me and the Lich King (WoW)

After over 2.5 years of playing World of Warcraft, Nick and I finally called it quits in early February. In that time, I played all 10 classes (every class except for two (rogue and hunter) up to level 80+). We had fun questing, raiding, and PvPing together, with friends, and from people we met from all over the world… but eventually we grew a bit tired of it. And the task of leveling my eight level 80’s to level 85 with the new expansion, Cataclysm, was daunting… having to repeat the same quest chains over and over again did not sound fun. 🙁

We had (or, are having?) a heck of a time finding a good replacement, though. We played Little Big Planet 2 for a while. Then, we started playing old favorites like Age of Empires 2 (best game ever?), Warcraft 3, and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Nick and me (Rift)

A month ago, we started playing Rift with some of our friends from work and personal life. It feels a lot like WoW. It has a couple of nice features, like rifts and invasions, that keep the game interesting. It also handles groups well. In Rift, you are able to easily join public groups and merge groups to form larger groups. This comes in handy, especially during a zone invasion, when everyone in the zone is working together to extinguish the rifts and invasions. When it’s over, hitting “unmerge groups” removes your original group from the larger group. Very cool. Nick and I are still learning a lot about Rift (so we haven’t made our minds up about it yet), but for now, it’s a fun outlet… even though there aren’t any gnomes. 🙁

We’re also looking forward to playing Diablo 3, Torchlight 2, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. 🙂