I need a very specialized game!
November 12, 2006 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Help me find the perfect PC game to help my productivity!

When I'm working on a project, I typically cycle 50 minutes of hard and undistracted work then 20 minutes of "cool down" consisting of games or pleasurable reading. It's the only way I've found to reign in my easily distracted mind to get results!

So, I'm looking for a PC game that can be quickly loaded and played for 20 minutes at a time with noticeable progress. I'm not talking about a game that can be completed in 20 minutes, but rather a long game in which the accomplishments achieved during the time frame are carried over to the next session.

A few caveats: First, the game has to be playable on a laptop with somewhat limited graphical capabilities. It's a nice modern laptop, it just doesn't have a lot of 3D horsepower. Second, the environment in which I work does not allow for an actual mouse, so it needs to be easily playable with a touchpad.

With your help, MeFites, I will be playing my way to productivity!
posted by Willie0248 to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Tumblebugs. Available through zone.msn.com (yes, I know, Boo! Hiss!) amongst others. Zuma clone, but much better and more fun. Also mindless and wonderfulyl distracting.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:24 PM on November 12, 2006

Emulated versions of console sports games--use arrow keys instead of a keypad, and play a whole season of Super Tecmo Bowl or NBA Live '95 or whatever.
posted by box at 8:31 PM on November 12, 2006

Thanks, that looks like a fun game! I'm playing it now actually. :)

However, I should have been a little more specific. I'm looking for games in which my progress carries over into the next session; I'd like to just save my game and pick up where I left off next time.
posted by Willie0248 at 8:32 PM on November 12, 2006

Two words: Mother. Load. Oh, crap. Now that I've thought about it I'll have to play for 6 hours.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:40 PM on November 12, 2006

I've always relied on the jayisgames blog for my quick-fix games. The site has an excellent interface that allows you to save your favorite games so that they're in the sidebar on the site, easy to jump to and play. There's a great variety there, and that was where I, too, found motherload. Yeesh that's an addictive game.
posted by incessant at 8:44 PM on November 12, 2006

posted by shivohum at 9:31 PM on November 12, 2006


Old, old game but bloody awesome (I still play it). You can save any time. Given that it's such an old game, it loads/quits pretty much instantaneously. The Wikipedia article isn't nearly enthusiastic enough about it. It's neat to see a recruit (who you can rename, say, after yourself or your friends) gain skills from successful use and (not necessarily) rise through the ranks. There are a bunch of modifications that make the game even more enjoyable (esp after you get used to the tactics employed) that randomized the terrain or alien AI, &c.

This is one of the seminal PC games out there and the gameplay is such that the dated (although ... timeless? When there were steeper limitations, developers had to work harder, and it works) graphics isn't a consideration. It looks great (but not modern).

The Windows port from DOS (which can be made to work on WinXP) was released for free distribution on a PCGamer CD some whiles ago. You can still find it floating around 'out there somewhere' - if you can't (or can't be arsed to) find it, email me and I'll email you the package.
posted by porpoise at 10:00 PM on November 12, 2006

Old text adventures, now generally called "interactive fiction". Noticeable progress, check. Saving across sessions, check. Limited graphics, check. Mouse not required, check.

The interactive fiction archive can get you started.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:43 PM on November 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

I need to put in the obligatory plug for Nethack. Play a little bit at a time, finish a level every 20 minutes or so. Very minimal graphics requirements. Called by some the "best game ever made".
posted by ontic at 11:02 PM on November 12, 2006

Kingdom of Loathing is an awesome (and hilarious) web-based RPG that is perfect for playing in small doses. You get a certain number of turns per day, and you can stop in the middle of a battle and come back an hour later with no negative consequences.
posted by JZig at 2:53 AM on November 13, 2006

You have to d/l Tumblebugs, and pay for the full version. I've heard there are cracks, though. And it saves every time you exit.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:32 AM on November 13, 2006

starcraft! starcraftstarcraftstarcraft! okay, so games take longer than twenty minutes, but if you're playing against the computer you can always PAUSE. this game is a BEAUTIFUL GEMSTONE that is considered "ancient" in terms of computer games (circa 1998 or so) and therefore the graphics aren't very advanced (yet totally playable).

another oldie (oldy?) i recommend is MONKEY ISLAND 1, 2, and I believe there's a 3. this is an RPG in which you are a young man going on a low-quality-graphics adventure with lots of satirical commentary.

and i totally second Kingdom of Loathing, or KoL. beautiful online RPG that i got more than a little addicted to about two years ago.
posted by alon at 4:55 AM on November 13, 2006

A Sid Meier Civ game should be very playable without a mouse and definitely fit the 'long game, accomplish something in 20 mins, easily interrupted' requirement.

If you're more into aliens than barbarians then try Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
posted by Ness at 5:19 AM on November 13, 2006

How about Neighbours From Hell? Fun to play. Easy to pick up.
posted by Otis at 6:04 AM on November 13, 2006

I'll second the roguelikes (like nethack). When I was in NZ and had to use university lab computers I played it every day for about four months. Soooo addictive.
posted by craven_morhead at 6:09 AM on November 13, 2006

Good classic puzzle games like Lemmings, The Incredible Machine, or the newer Crazy Machines are excellent games to fill in slow times. They have no story line and each level presents different challenges to solve.
posted by JJ86 at 7:52 AM on November 13, 2006

« Older Looking for Info on the Guilded Age   |   What kind of thing is a note? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.