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Lightweight gaming.
September 13, 2008 9:45 AM   Subscribe

I want some computer games that have high replayability, are relatively cheap (0-20$ CAD/USD), NOT need a CD to play, and most importantly, take up as little hard-drive space and processor power as possible. Possible examples including good pieces of IF (especially mystery, who-killed-X ones), Fallout 2, Rogue-likes, games of the lightweight Boomshine/Peggle/Bejweled group, any RTS or turn-based strategy games, and anything by Nifflas. I'd love blogs that recommend good games, too. Any recommendations?

I've seen the all of the 'Best indie games of 2006/2007/2008' etc. posts on the blue, but I don't care about the source so much as it being lightweight and fun, and that's a whooole lot of games to go through, so I'm hoping you guys can help me filter the wheat from the chaff.

My current favourite games, but which may not suit all of the requirements above, include Portal, Half-life 2, Grim Fandango, Starcraft, Civ 2/4, No One Lives Forever, and Alpha Centauri.
posted by flibbertigibbet to Computers & Internet (28 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
You may have already been there, and it's mostly Flash games, but Jay is Games often includes downloadable "casual" PC games.
posted by brundlefly at 9:59 AM on September 13, 2008


jayisgames.com is a great place to get this sort of thing. DeathWorm is a favorite of mine, and it's tiny...
posted by pupdog at 10:00 AM on September 13, 2008


Yeah. In an earlier draft I had mentioned jayisgames. I'm beginning to not like jayisgames on principle because of its continued lipservice to the games made by affiliates, and it's general hit-to-miss ratio. It's bugging me. A better example of things that are up my alley is perhaps Play This Thing!.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:09 AM on September 13, 2008


The old Command and Conquers fit the bill nicely; I used to play them on my old Pentium 166, and they ran great
posted by Geppp at 10:13 AM on September 13, 2008


Kloonigames is a blog by an independent game developer who also posts his games online, for free. He makes roughly one game per month, and some of them are pretty out-there. As far as I know, they don't take up much space, although I had framerate issues with some of his newer works. In particular, he's famous for Crayon Physics, which a Deluxe edition is in the works.
posted by curagea at 10:15 AM on September 13, 2008


Soldat is a multiplayer 2D side-view shooter, free, and absolutely a blast to play.
posted by Real.Wolf at 10:15 AM on September 13, 2008


You know there is a sequel to No One Lives Forever? I liked it far more than the original, and it should run on pretty much any computer nowadays.

One recent lightweight game I highly enjoyed was Armadillo Run. Only played the demo, and it's $20 so it's at the far end of your price range, so I can't vouch for its longevity. Good if you like Incredible Machine-type escapades, though.

You could also try the Penny Arcade game and Telltale's various adventure game series (Sam and Max, Strongbad). Each "season" of the Telltale games will set you back more than $20 easy, but you can download individual episodes to see if you like them (and sometimes they'll even have one episode for free download).

I'd recommend Dwarf Fortress here, but you said as little processor power as possible, and DF does love to suck up CPU cycles. It is, however, a really fun roguelike and fortress simulator all in one, and it's incredibly deep and complex, so if you're willing to compromise on the CPU front... (it runs just fine on my two-year-old laptop, though the cramped keyboard means I have to remap a bunch of commands)
posted by chrominance at 10:16 AM on September 13, 2008


You might want to keep an eye on Good Old Games who are offering (though only to beta-testers at the moment) DRM-free, downloadable old games such as Fallout 2 for either $6 or $9
posted by gregjones at 10:17 AM on September 13, 2008


Gregjones: actually, Good Old Games is part of what inspired this question. I'm defintiely going to grab Fallout 2, so if anyone has a suggestion as to which Interplay game I should get for free (is Messiah or Invictus any good, or should I go with Fallout 1?), by all means mention it.

And thanks guys! It's been less than an hour since I posted this, and already I'm getting great answers.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:23 AM on September 13, 2008


Previously. And here's a thread recommending interactive fiction games.

I'll plug Nethack, but since you mentioned rogue-likes, you probably already know that one.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:34 AM on September 13, 2008


I've found a lot of good, free games by checking out the Highly Recommended category at The Independent Games Source.
posted by Nedroid at 10:54 AM on September 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


The guy who made puTTY, everyone's favorite windows telnet/SSH program*, made a bunch of tiny little puzzle games that take minimal processor and memory. My favorite is Map.

They probably fall into the realm of the solitaire-type, that you open when you're very bored and play mindlessly for a while, although they do require a little more brains than solitaire.

*not necessarily everyone's favorite
posted by that girl at 11:08 AM on September 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've just been looking into exactly this myself...

I'm going to Nth jayisgames, but particularly their Weekend Download section, which finds the occasional jewel. They do include a fair few demos, but those are clearly marked. You might be particularly interested in their Interactive Fiction special.

Have you thought about emulation? The SNES has a couple of good emulators (ZSNES and Snes9x) and you can torrent pretty much every ROM ever made easily enough. (It is, obviously, probably illegal where you live, though.) If you're not sure where to start, this seems a pretty good list.

There's also ScummVM which can play a whole host of point-and-click adventures, although again, you'll have to get the game-files from torrents or other dubious sources.

And no emulator post is complete without mentioning MAME

Then there's the remake scene. retrospec is a good database, so if there's anything from the 80s you're particularly hankering to play, they probably have a modern update. I spent most of last night dying a lot at Wizball, for example.

Finally, older DOS games can be often still be run (sometimes with help from DosBox). The magic google term here is "abandonware", although the DOS scene is generally no way near as legit as they pretend. Command and Conquer is free though.
posted by rjt at 11:25 AM on September 13, 2008


You can download the original X-Com from Steam for five bucks.
posted by EarBucket at 11:55 AM on September 13, 2008


Oh, and if you're going to play Fallout 2, I'd start with Fallout 1. It's not necessary, but you'll grok a little more of the story, and there's not really any kind of upgrade in the sequel that makes it massively more enjoyable than the first one. They use the same engine. You'll get more playtime and enjoyment if you play through both games.
posted by EarBucket at 11:59 AM on September 13, 2008


The Marathon Trilogy ate up considerable amounts of my time back in ye olden days, and are still a lot of fun. Best off, you can download them for free. Here's a good place to start.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 12:03 PM on September 13, 2008


I'm currently partial to Desktop Tower Defense and FreeCiv.
posted by rhizome at 12:09 PM on September 13, 2008


In another vein, I really like Jardinains 2, it's like Breakout, but with garden gnomes attacking you.
posted by advicepig at 12:41 PM on September 13, 2008


Escape is a Chip's Challenge/Sokoban-style puzzle game with many hundreds of user-contributed levels. (There hasn't been much good stuff recently, but you can sort the levels by user rating, and there's a lot of amazing stuff among the higher-rated levels.)
posted by equalpants at 1:51 PM on September 13, 2008


Darwinia?
posted by brundlefly at 2:32 PM on September 13, 2008


Dwarf Fortress. There is no way I can convey to you how awesome this game is. Go through the tutorials on the wiki first or you'll be confused. Favorite game of all time.

In what other game can your minions go insane, take off all their clothes, and drown themselves in a river?
posted by blahtsk at 3:06 PM on September 13, 2008


Star Control 2
Actually, I don't know how lightweight that version is. It's certainly possible to track down the original and get it to run though.

Also, have you tried Cave Story & An Untitled Story?
posted by juv3nal at 3:09 PM on September 13, 2008


Cave Story, Cave Story, Cave Story.

You might also look at this post, though it sounds like you might have already seen it.

Seconding emulation - the Super Nintendo, IMO, was the peak of video games as art, though there are obvious exceptions. You might also consider emulating the NES, Genesis, and various game boy systems.
posted by Rinku at 3:32 PM on September 13, 2008


Dwarf Fortress is very good, and well worth getting past the scary interface, but it can and will eat as much of a core as you can give it unless you limit your play area size, fluid flows and creature numbers. Just because a goat is represented by a 'g' instead of 10,000 per-pixel lit textured polygons doesn't mean there isn't a lot going on under the hood.
posted by Freaky at 3:44 PM on September 13, 2008


I third (or fifth, if you count all of Rinku's mentions) Cave Story. One of the best games I've ever played.
posted by brundlefly at 4:29 PM on September 13, 2008


If you like turn-based strategy games: Master of Magic and Advanced Civilization.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:10 PM on September 13, 2008


All of the games by Ben "Yahtzee" Crenshaw, of Zero Punctuation. I particularly recommend 7 Days a Skeptic.

Also the classic Escape Velocity.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:49 PM on September 13, 2008


If you enjoy the Fallout universe, then try the predecessor: Wasteland. You can find it on TheUnderdogs for free (abandonware).
posted by Four Flavors at 3:41 PM on September 16, 2008


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