Thursday, May 2, 2013
Couldn't Be More Excited for Crusader Kings 2: The Old Gods
I have really toned down the amount of time I spend playing video games, and that's a good thing. Partly because I've become a monumentally more productive person, partly because I am trying new experiences with my free time that I would have never thought up, simply because I used to fill that space with shiny pixels.
But the biggest problem with my compulsive gaming has not been the compulsiveness or even the gaming, but the TYPE of games I play. I am a rabid fan of the studio "Paradox Interactive." Never heard of it, you say? Well, join most of humanity. These guys publish a number of games in a number of genres, but their main titles are all "grand-strategy" games, in which you control an entire country (ANY country) in a certain period of history defined by the game. My personal favorite, the oldest series they have, is called Europa Universalis, and it covers the time period I focused on in undergrad: the early modern era, with its wars of religion, its colonial exploits, its revolutions. Do I really want Henry VIII to break from Rome, or do we just crush those protestants? Do the Muscovites conquer Russia, or does the quasi-republic of Novgorod rule the steppes? I recommend just buying the Europa Universalis 3 Complete Edition, you can find it somewhere on the internet as a direct download, likely for around $15.
A close second for favorites is the newest in their line of games, Crusader Kings 2. Here, you don't control a country, but instead you control a dynasty in medieval Europe. ANY dynasty. I usually try to start as some petty duke in northwest europe, since that's where the ol' fam is from, and see how long it takes me to inherit the holy roman empire or something.
The newest expansion (each game tends to have several EXCELLENT expansions), coming out later this month, is called The Old Gods, in obvious reference to paganism. The timeline for the game is pushed back into the Dark Ages (more like awesome ages), and it includes lots of new mechanics for controlling pagan characters. Hard to get more fun and awesome than planning out and attempting to execute a viking raid, right?
In case you can't tell, this series of games is just BAD NEWS for a history nerd like myself. In case I wasn't already cloistered enough in my obsession with esoteric factoids about the reformation or what have you, there is a company that produces multiple games that allow me to play through those options. Worst of all, maybe like 3 people I know have even heard of this company. So not only was I wasting hour after hour, it was basically done in solemn silence, alone. Well, silent until France decided to join a war against me and plow its papist, blue-clad troops across the Alps to siege Vienna or something, at which point I would shout at no one in particular "THIS IS DUMB I HATE THIS."
Geez, gaming really needs a 12-step program doesn't it. NEVER GAME ALONE, PEOPLE.