Games are expensive, and sometimes, not very good. We all know the pain of a gaming dry spell, and in such dark times it can be helpful to turn to some old classics for a reliable experience. That being said, even the most replayable of games lose their lustre, and that is where I step in to deliver to you another one of my patently excellent advice columns.
As you’ve come to expect from me, this one is chock-full of useful information on how to get the most out your third and fourth playthroughs, and I deliver it to you free of charge. I truly am a servant of the people.
The Sims – funtime neighbour torture murder
The Sims seems like it was designed for two kinds of people: the kind who like to play with dollhouses, and the kind who really want to set their neighbours on fire but have watched too much CSI to think they can get away with it.
How to play:
This is best done with friends, for a competitive feel that really brings out the horrific psychopath in all of us.
Everyone is given one week of Sims playing time, in which they attempt to physically and psychologically torture their friendly neighbour in the most grotesque way possible. Descriptions are written anonymously and read out to the group, and each votes for their favourite. Points are awarded for creativity and horror level. Winner gets jailtime.
This one is fun for the whole family.
Grand Theft Auto – law abiding citizen
Before you all start calling the whitecoats to come and collect me, let me show off my softer side. Grand Theft Auto is typically a game about gratuitous violence and the senseless murder of the masses, but it doesn’t have to be. It can also be an immersive, true-to-life taxi driver simulator.
How to play:
This is exactly what you think it is, but it’s also really, really hard. You have to drive around, obeying all traffic laws and not accidentally murdering anyone. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even be a good Samaritan and give strangers free rides. See how long you can go without committing a crime, and try beat that record. My personal best is three minutes (I had to get up and pay for a pizza delivery).
I think you’re all still a little freaked out by that Sims game, so I’m laying it on thick here. Did you know, kind and benevolent people of NAG, that there are several violent videogames that can actually be completed without peeling the face off a single person? Hell, they don’t even need to know you’re there.
How to play:
I have no idea. I’ve literally never done this, and I’m not sure why the hell anyone would. It’s like taking about 80% of a game’s code, assembling it into a neat little pile and then coiling out a steaming turd right on top of it. You can do this in a surprisingly large amount of games by the way, but the ones that surprised me most were Dishonoured (how you continue to make a living as an assassin while doing precisely none of that is baffling) and Postal 2 (a game that literally revolves around murdering everyone in the most creative, maniacal way possible).
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – fists only
Ah, now this is a great one. I actually attempted to do this myself once, but then got about as far as the character creation screen when I remembered that I’m really terrible at RPGs, and my last (and only) foray into Skyrim ended with me being beaten to death by an angry housewife. Twice.
How to play:
This actually works surprisingly well, if you do it properly. And there is a way to do it properly, with specific items, crafting and levelling that you’ll need (if none of that made sense, I apologise, I’m just spouting random RPG buzzwords at this point).
If you want to know how to do this right, check out this hilarious video from Swedish YouTuber robbaz. This is very much NSFW, expect plenty of foul language spoken enthusiastically.
EVE Online – con artist
My friends have recently been trying to get me into this game, but I outright refuse. I just know it’s the type of vast, complex environment that becomes a black hole for people’s money, relationships and personal hygiene.
Still, one has to appreciate the epic opportunities the game provides – like being an unscrupulous, unethical scammer who steals real money from people and absolutely gets away with it.
How to play:
The way you’re supposed to play the game, I believe, is to mine various resources, build ships, join clans and skirmish others – you know, standard space RPG crap.
Or, you can be like the guy who set up the very first EVE Online bank, who operated completely legitimately for a year or so before taking all the cash and ducking off to the space equivalent of Mexico.
Or a particular enterprising duo, who in 2011 set up a massive pyramid scheme which netted them a trillion ISK, EVE’s in-game currency. That works out to roughly R300,000 – not too shabby at all.