Robert Wm. Gomez's

PC

My primary gaming device these days. Technically any computer can be called a "PC" but this category is specifically for Windows/MS-DOS based games.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions on PC (10/10)

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

The original Geometry Wars was one of the purest, most exhilarating gaming experiences of the post-arcade era. It combined the visuals of Tempest with the frantic, twin-stick shooting of Robotron 2084 to form a thoroughly modern point-driven shooter. The Wii exclusive sequel Galaxies added level variety and the great risk/reward mechanic of collecting geoms to increase your point multiplier. It's still the game that I play the most on my Wii.

The third game in the series builds on the Galaxies formula but with the mind-blowing twist of moving the game grid onto curving non-euclidean surfaces. The result is nothing short of spectacular.

Tomb Raider: Anniversary on PC (7/10)

Tomb Raider: Anniversary

This was a rare case in which I finished a game that I had started years ago. I really enjoyed the Tomb Raider reboot that Crystal Dynamics did back in 2006 with Legend. I played that game as a freebie back when Game Tap was in its hey day and started Anniversary shortly thereafter but only got about 2/3rds the way through before it was taken off the free list. I only recently got it as a $1.99 game on Steam with the goal of finally finishing it.

The Blackwell Epiphany on PC (9/10)

Blackwell Epiphany

The fifth and final Blackwell game continues in the series' tradition of thoughtful and interesting adventures that are light on the puzzles and big on character interactions. Technically, the games have come a long way. The graphics are top-notch and the voice acting is much improved. The games still are running on the freeware AGS (Adventure Game Studio) platform, which has its limitations. But, for the most part, these last few games in the series have been on par with the Lucasarts games of old.

Wasteland 2 on PC (9/10)

Wasteland 2 - Fighting a scorpitron

Soon after I plunked down a few Kickstarter bucks for Broken AgeWasteland 2's campaign popped up. Back in my Apple ][ days I knew about, but never played, Wasteland. If I was going to commit time and effort to an RPG, it was going to be Ultima. However, after my migration to Windows, the game's "spiritual successor" Fallout was one of the first big games I played (it was also the first thing I ever bought on eBay back in 1998. The box smelled like cigars). I really liked the more recent Fallout 3 / New Vegas games, but, like many old-timers, I longed for the deep, turn based combat of the first two games of the series. Brian Fargo's Kickstarter video promised to bring party-based, turn-based, post-nuclear-based gaming back... to base. To have. I was sold.

Elder Scrolls V - Skyrim on PC (10/10)

Skyrim: Gettin' Some Sun

In terms of overall game-play, Skyrim stays pretty close to the system Oblivion used. You roam a giant open-world map, revealing new locations to explore as go. Along the way you receive quests that you can complete at your own leisure. Therein lies the danger of this game: it is easy to get distracted and veer off from your goals and before you know it you've wasted twenty hours just trying to level up your blacksmithing or collect ingredients. I have already sunk 126 hours into this game, completing most of the main quests, and there's still the urge to keep playing. I think I "only" managed to log about 95 hours in Oblivion.

Tomb Raider on PC (9/10)

Doom Raider

I guess they are rebooting Tomb Raider again? I really liked the last two games in the series and I don't really think this is a franchise that needed to get dark and gritty. But, there you go. These days, f-bombs and blood are what the kids want in their action platformers.

System Shock 2 on PC (4/10)

System Shock 2

Well, I tried. Three times I have started playing System Shock 2 and each time I just get frustrated or bored and just give up. This game just has not aged all that well, especially when compared with its Bioshock successors.

Call of Juarez Gunslinger on PC (9/10)

Gunslinger Screenshot

I thought the original Call of Juarez was a better-than-average shooter that was bolstered by it being set in the Old West. I'm really surprised by the lack of western themed games given that for seventy-five odd years that was the go to "universe" for pulp stories and films.

Sniper Elite V2 on PC (7/10)

Sniper Elite V2

This was a free game on Steam on the day of the sequel's release. I grabbed it without knowing anything about the game. Apparently, the distinguishing feature of Sniper Elite V2 is its over the top x-ray view gore simulation. Make a head shot and watch as the bullet shatters bones and eyeballs. This adds absolutely nothing to the game other than a novelty cool factor and it starts to get in the way when you are trying to make successive shots quickly.

The Blackwell Deception on PC (9/10)

The Blackwell Deception

The fourth Blackwell game continues to make improvements over its predecessors in terms of technical polish. There is also a bit more depth to the puzzles and game play. This is still no where near the brutal difficulty of an old school point-and-click game, but it's nice to have more options in terms of combining inventory items, switching characters and querying your in-game search engine to advance the game.

The Blackwell Convergence on PC (8/10)

The Blackwell Convergence

This and the previous Blackwell Unbound apparently were intended to be a single game with flashbacks and intertwined plot lines. Many of the same characters appear again and it's nice to see a larger story arc developing.

The Blackwell Legacy on PC (8/10)

The Blackwell Legacy - Rosa's Room

The first four Blackwell games went on sale on Steam this week for around 50¢ each. These games have been on my radar ever since I saw this Mattchat interview with Wadjet Eye company founder Dave Gilbert. Basically, he was a hobbyist using the Adventure Game Studio to create Lucasarts style point-and-click adventures. He decided to make a go at transforming his hobby into a business and some dozen or so games later the company has survived.

Spec Ops: The Line on PC (9/10)

Spec Ops: The Line - Screenshot

Have you ever wanted to be the star of your very own nihilistic, anti-war fever dream? Well, look no further than Spec Ops: The Line. This game is, for the most part, a standard cover-based third-person shooter. The mechanics are solid, but nothing out of the ordinary. Where this game separates itself from others is in its dark story that owes a lot to Apocalypse Now and its progenitor, Heart of Darkness. Instead of taking a boat up the river, you are making your way through a sand storm engulfed Dubai on a quest to find Colonel Konrad (Conrad, get it?) and his rogue 33th brigade.