Economy of Effort

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“So Legion”, you say, “tell me something about games!”

Happy to.

First off, if you don’t own an Xbox 360, please remedy that fact now (Ryan! Greg!). The 360 has quickly pushed its way to the center of my gaming world. The number of games both out and coming out for it make it irresistible, especially for online play.

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (Xbox 360): I played through the single player campaign when it came out. It was pretty good. But I’ve recently starting playing it online again. It’s pretty sharp, and runs great online (unlike the last Clancy shooter I tried online, Rainbow Six 3).

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360): I’m an Elder Scrolls fan back from Daggerfall, and though Morrowind didn’t quite work out for me, this game has. It’s a joy just to ride a horse through the lush, green world. I had a problem with this game when I first got it. I didn’t like the fact that enemies level up in accordance to your level. I felt like there was no advancing in the game. I even asked, “what’s the point?”. Eventually, it hit me - like a non-RPG, the point is to go from one place to another and experience the content. It’s funny how we can get hung up on existing conventions and expectations. This is one game worth full price.

Rainbow Six: Vegas (Xbox 360): This will be my next online shooter. The videos I’ve watched look fantastic, and the single-player demo is fun. I hope they’ve gotten past the lag issues of the last Rainbow Six I played online.

Gears of War (Xbox 360): What I’ve heard from interviews on podcasts is that this is going to have some great online gameplay twists, but the meat of the game is an awesome sci-fi single player shooter experience. I’m dying to play this one.

Defcon (PC): Nuclear war is probably one of my favorite topics for entertainment. Defcon scratches that itch. It’s a game that “simulates” nuclear war, played out entirely on a “command room” world map screen, like something from WarGames. You don’t see any realistic graphics, just little insignias representing cities, missile silos, ships, submarines, and everything else needed to wage nuclear war. The premise is simple - nuke your opponents' populations to hell while trying to keep as many of yours alive as possible.

Splinter Cell: Double Agent (Xbox 360): This was the most disappointing single player Splinter Cell ever. It was still good, but not great like Chaos Theory. The multiplayer, however, is a new streamlined version of the Splinter Cell “spies vs. mercenaries” multiplayer that’s been part of the series since Pandora Tomorrow. It’s a lot easier to get into, but I’m not sure how much lasting power it will have.

Club House Games (Nintendo DS): Do you have a DS? Get this game! It’s shockingly good. It’s 42 little card, board, and other touch screen games. Does a game with little versions of poker, blackjack, bowling, chess, backgammon, darts, and some unique mini games like “word balloon” sound fun? It doesn’t? Well, it really is. None of the games are meaty enough to be worth attention by themselves. But a game that sends you jumping from one little game to the next, it actually is the perfect “pick up and go” DS game. Did I mention it has online play and single-cart local wireless? It’s the ultimate DS time killer.

DOOM (Xbox 360): The original DOOM was released on Xbox Live Arcade. I can’t believe how much I’ve played that damn game. I’ll play multiplayer with anyone else that has it.