Do you like to play games?

A few news items:

  • I sometimes play on Sitosis, a free public Minecraft server. It’s totally vanilla, with a mature user base, and has been wonderfully free of drama and griefing — I strongly recommend it, if you’re into that game.
    But did I say “free”? Someone has to pay for the server, and that requires voluntary donations. If you play there, and you can afford it, it’s time to pay for the hosting, and they’re looking for a little bit of money to keep it going.
  • Lately I’ve been playing a little bit of No Man’s Sky, a space exploration game with a bit of minecraft-style creative construction thrown in. I live-streamed it last week, and I’ll be up to mischief again on Friday night.

    I’ve also been thinking a bit about that Netflix show, Alien Worlds, and that it has a lot in common, both strengths and weaknesses, with NMS. I’ll probably babble a bit about that while I build a primitive shack on a strange planet.
    By the way, there is some obnoxious interaction between NMS and Linux that I haven’t been able to track down that does funny things to the sound. I’ll probably sound like I’m inhaling helium the whole time, for extra fun.


  1. cartomancer says

    I recently downloaded Pathologic – the most Russian game of all! It’s about being a physician trapped in a creepy and isolated steppe town during an outbreak of a horrible plague, and it tries its hardest to create a palpable sense of despair and unfairness towards you. Unexpected hyperinflation, having to steal from the bins to trade with children for bullets and knock-off drugs, everyone hating you for crimes you didn’t commit – a welcome breath of stale and dangerous air!

  2. PaulBC says

    cartomancer@1 When does the interactive “Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” come out? That sounds almost as much fun.

  3. mailliw says

    @1 cartomancer

    I recently downloaded Pathologic – the most Russian game of all!

    I have been playing Workers & Resources – Soviet Republic for over a year now. It is the planned economy answer to games like Sim City or Cities Skylines, but in may opinion much better than either of them. The attention to detail is remarkable with the Soviet era vehicles lovingly recreated.

    You can build steel mills, car factories and nuclear power plants and of course statues of Lenin.

    The game play is very compelling too.

  4. PaulBC says

    mailliw@3 I remember thinking that Sim City (at least the first version) was gentle propaganda for Reaganomics. It is true that increasing taxes has risks, but the “Laffer curve” is not a brilliant observation. You just have to figure out which side of the peak you’re at, and I believe that in practice (i.e. reality) an incremental tax increase almost always increases revenue. (And of course the “starve the beast” movement is quite explicit that they’re trying to decrease revenue, contradicting Laffer.)

    I am not sure how they set the model in the original Sim City. You definitely could get penalized for setting taxes too high. Another thing I remember is that it could hurt to have too many high-quality residences. It’s almost like you were forced to create slums, though I forget the details now. (I always found Civilization a lot more engaging.)

  5. mailliw says

    PaulBC @4

    I remember playing Sim City and wondering if you could get a socialist plug in to override the default free market capitalism mode. Cities Skylines is somewhat better in this respect – maybe because it is Swedish.

    Economic growth was it its highest in the 1960s when taxes on the rich were as high as 95%. Isn’t it called the Laffer curve because they are having a laugh at our expense?

  6. axehand says

    I noted in a previous post that you were not a fan of Spider so What because it had nothing to do with evolution or the real world (which it does not). You might find Heaven’s Design Team of more interest because it deals with real-world limitations. Also Cells At Work for the immune system commentary. Both anime, so there are serious scientific limitations, but not entirely stupid either.

  7. fossboxer says

    @6 – Probably best to shelve the bong for at least a day before attempting to compose something intelligible to others.

  8. fossboxer says

    @6 – Okay, so my partner here at home has explained your post to me (How does she know about Japanese comics?). I guess it’s not so unintelligible, if you preface that you’re talking about comic books rather than video games which are the subject of this post.

  9. drivenb4u says

    Gotta put in a recommendation for Kerbal Space Program. I think it’s the best game ever made.

  10. tacitus says

    If you like Civilization-type games, Galactic Civilizations III is available for free from the Epic Games until next Thursday. I haven’t played it myself, but it gets high marks in reviews. They offer a new free game every week, many of them well reviewed.

    I had a lot of fun with the first free game ever offered on the Epic Games store was Subnautica, an open world adventure game set on an alien ocean world. Not as ambitious as No Man’s Sky, but an engaging story nonetheless.

  11. dannicoy says

    I believe Darren Naish of Tetrapod Zoology fame, worked on that show. He talked a bit about the compromises they made in making the show in the latest episode of their podcast. he would be very interesting to talk to about the subject.

  12. MHiggo says

    I second the praise for Cities: Skylines, Subnautica, and KSP. Subnautica and The Long Dark are 1 and 1A for me as far as survival games go. Hades is pretty fun, too — easily my 2020 game of the year.

    There are so many great games out there… so naturally I’ve ignored them all and started yet another farm on Stardew Valley.

  13. vole says

    I haven’t played No Man’s Sky, but it’s well-known to me for the music, by the post-rock band 65daysofstatic. It is cunningly organised so that the music for each and every planet is different – and I believe the game has many thousands of planets to explore.