Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Stoner Games

Okay, I admit it, I'm a huge stoner. And I love video/computer games. And there are some games out there that are more condusive towards a.... shall we say, an altered perspective?

Googling about, I see lots of lists of stoner games. But most of them tend to be about visuals. For me, a good stoner game fits the following criteria:

  • The game has to have a sense of surrealism;
  • Though most likely repetitive, it doesn't HAVE to be - it just has to maintain that state of blissful indifferent enjoyment (In other words, your blood pressure must remain the same or drop) (In other other words, maintain the mellow, man);
  • Bonus if the game can illicit giggles;
  • Cannot make you sweat or hyperventilate;
In my life, I've found a few games that fit this criteria. Space Invaders fit a few of the criteria but it gets mind-numbing after half an hour or so. Pong, same thing. Pac-man and his missus? Nope, BP can elevate with that game.

The first game that I found that truly fit this was Tetris. I'm talking the ORIGINAL Tetris, the one that came from Russia, the one that was on my Mac, in glorious B/W with the weird Russian music in the background. The one I always wish I was playing whenever I play with these newfangled colored ones that you can compete with another on. Ugh. Gimme that wonderful grayscale game any time.

The second game I found that was like this was the little tiny shareware or freeware game for the Mac called Scarab of Ra. My pal Mark still has that on his mac though he has to switch back to OS 9.1 to play it. The thing that made it great was that it randomly generated a map every time you played. Freshness with familiarity, an important factor for Stoner Games.

Anyway, here's my list:

  • Civilization (all three versions on the fairly easy levels - to maintain the mellow, man) Mac/PC: The harder levels are much too challenging; however, the lower levels are great for getting that "I'm taking over the world, Pinky" feeling yet not exerting too much mental prowess. The building of roads, laying down irrigation fields, building railroads and mining hills can qualify as the repetitive part. (BTW, my love and I have figured out a great way to play Civ together... I do the boring repetitive parts, and she does the warring, taking over the world part. And yeah, I'm the major stoner in the family, not her;
  • ToeJam and Earl, Sega Genesis: Up to about 6 months ago, I'd say this was arguably the BEST stoner game ever made. You NEVER lose your mellow on that even when being chased by milktrucks... okay, the crazy dentist WILL make your BP higher but it's such a short burst that it feels more like a rush than a debilitating surge.
  • Pogo games, Internet: All the great addictive little games, like solitaire, slots, bingo, colors, balloons are featured here with a GREAT twist. The whole object behind the programming of these games was to make them fairly easy to win. One of the programmers is the brother-in-law of a great friend of mine and has told me so.
  • Last but not least, Katamari Damacy, PS2: To explain this game is foolhardy. Many have attempted, all have fallen short. The closest is probably this review. My problem is, I'm currently saving my thumbs for Fight Night Round 2. Which actually deserves an honorable mention here under Stoner Games.
  • Honorable Mention - Fight Night 2004/Round 2 Xbox, PS2, GC: While playing Fight Night is not a good stoner activity, watching Fight Night can be. Ever wonder how Muhammed Ali would do against Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran? Or an Evander Holyfield against Sugar Ray Leonard? My other is bracing herself. When March 1st hits (the day Fight Night Round 2 comes out), she's expecting to hear punching in her sleep, either with me as a player or me as a boxing connoiseur. She's going to be getting it too.

Filed under Reviews and Gaming-Obsess Much?.


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