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Geek Call to Arms!

posted on November 4th, 2006 by golden jew

This is a test of the emergency geek system. Were there an actual emergency, this post would have instructions, such as:

A) A list of senator and/or congressmen to kill in order to prove that video games are not violent, and do not require legislation to control.

B) The location of a truck full of PS3’s, ripe for hijacking.

C) An announcement of a pocky shortage.

Ok, in all seriousness, I need some help. A friend of mine who is a casual PC gamer with an older computer was looking for a fun “builder style” game that would actually run on his computer. He’s not very picky, he just likes building stuff and it needs to be a year or two old so he can run it. Wandering Best Buy with him, I came up empty.

Do any of you have suggestions of games that meet this criteria?


  1. jay said on November 5, 2006:

    Depends on what you mean by builder style game. Caesar 3 is a sweet city builder that probably runs on a TI-85 these days.

  2. Chris said on November 5, 2006:

    Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom is a good builder game (Caesar 3 ish, from what I’ve heard)…  Theme Hospital is a good game along the same lines.  Both are kind of rare, but you might be able to get them from an online retailer.  You might also be able to find a copy of Knights & Merchants.

  3. Chris said on November 5, 2006:

    Gah.  Why didn’t I think of this before…  http://emperor.sierra.com/downloads.jsp – demo of Emperor found here.  Demos of K&M can be found but no official website (plus, Emperor is a lot better IMO.  Less learning curve + more direct control + diplomacy).  Have him give it a try. 

  4. matt said on November 5, 2006:

    If you want to get real hardcore about it, there’s a game called Bridge Construction Set from Chronic Logic that sets you out to build bridges correctly. It’s all built on a realistic physics engine, so if you don’t build it right, the wind can send your bridge deep underwater. I’m pretty sure you won’t find this game fun, but I just wanted to get it out there. You can send it right back, though. Here’s the site, though: http://www.chroniclogic.com 

  5. Christian said on November 5, 2006:

    Jay you stole my reccomendation.  Here I am thinking I’m smart and alls.

  6. GoldenJew said on November 5, 2006:

    Thanks guys.  If you have any more, let me know, but this is a good selection.

  7. Stefan said on November 6, 2006:

    I used to be huge into builder games, although in my mind it’s hard to deliniate between them, god games, and construction sets…the difference to me is usually the number of things it lets you do – but there are some good ones, although you’re going to have to go a bit old-school with me here. (forgive all the HoTU links, they have convenient references to where you can get a lot of the games):

    Stunts – and excellent racing/car stunt builder.  http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=2162

    Stunt Island – unrelated, this movie-stunt game is insanely open-ended, and includes a rather complete nonlinear editing and camera motion system for recording in-game activity.  It taught me nonlinear editing so well (in the early 90’s) that when I got to college I could sit down on a media100 system and pick it up in about 5 minutes. http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=1081

    Dungeon Keeper (and dungeon keeper gold) – Amazing game, more of a god game than a pure design/builder game, but like I said I’m not exactly sure where to draw the line. 

    You may also want to check out Populous.   http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=5103

    The Increidble Machine – If your friend hasn’t played this, they should. http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=538

    And then if you really like creating your own stuff – there’s ZZT and Megazeux (for those of you who liked ZZT but haven’t seen the second, it’s a fantastically updated version – pretty much removes all the limitations that frustrated you about ZZT) http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=2627 

    There’s a lot of sim games out that run fine on slower comps, two of my favorites being simAnt and simLife.  http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=988

    And on the off chance that they ever played an old SSI gold box game, Unlimited Adventures is a great construction set for that kind of thing. http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=3092

    Then there’s the civ series – where II and III should run fine on a comp a few years old. http://www.civ3.com/

    Along a similar line, the tycoon games are worth checking out http://atari.com/us/games/rollercoaster_tycoon_2_triple_thrill_pack/pc 

    And there’s the grandaddy of them all – M.U.L.E.  I know it’s ancient, but it’s a _really_ good game.  I still play it on the way home from work sometimes.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.U.L.E.

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