My Favourite Computer Games Part 2 - #6 to #4

Command and Conquer: Red Alert (Playstation, Windows)

Red Alert gave me something I’d never had before – a open playing field, where skill was rewarded. I played it first on a friend’s playstation, enjoying my self, but on a trip to PC World I convinced my father to buy me the pack with the two expansions (one of which I never got to work) and Red Alert became one of my most played titles. I loved the missions, ones that my father even enjoyed playing, but it was the Skirmish mode where I found myself. An empty battle field, resource, and a simple goal – kill the enemy. And the strategies were my own, and I honed. Admittedly I always preferred the Soviets over the Allies thanks to the incredible Tesla Coils, Mammoth tanks, and the air defense, but later I’d move to the Allies impressive naval resources and destroy the enemy in a range way using Destroyer class ships. I loved Red Alert.

Shenmue and Shenmue II (Dreamcast)

"Some Sailors, huh?"
 If Mass Effect was my last great love, Shenmue was the first game that told me games could make you love. Shenmue was a sprawling, so far ahead of it’s time game, astonishing idea and vision – set in a real 1985 the hero was a young teenager, Ryo Hazuki, who saw his father die at the hands of Lan Di, and wanted revenge. Across two titles we travelled from his home town of Yokosuka across the ocean to Hong Kong, Kowloon and then to the remote village of Guilin, where… the game stopped. After the Dreamcast ended, the story was never completed. It was such a fantastical idea, and the ending was such a desparate cliff hanger, I still feel heart broken about it – I’ll never have that confrontation with Lan Di. The game featured realy jobs, money, talking to people, conversation choices, incredible music, wonderful graphics that are still to this day impressive (for a game made over ten years ago!) but most importantly, the scope was huge. And it cost a lot of money, it never made back.

One day Shenmue III will be made, I know it.

Half Life 2 (Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360)
I came to this far too late – I remember seeing the tech demo on a friends PC that showed “real” looking fire and the amazing physics engine, but the actual game was a lot more than that – fabulous story, great set pieces, a mythical run through it, the mysterious idea of what Gordon actually was… but above all it was a technical marvel. It should be held in the same regard as the first proper novels – it showed us what games could do now, and what they still are trying to do. The two sequel/expansions/episodes have been just as great, but are yet to be resolved. And considering Episode 3 should’ve been release in 2009… I don’t really know what is going on with it. Half Life 3? Or Episode 3? After this long, maybe it should be something totally different. Who knows. But it did give us Portal, which will I will mention soon.