A (Brief) Tale of Two Games

In the past couple of weeks I bought Half-Life 2 and Sid Meier’s Pirates!. This is pretty exceptional for me since I can’t actually recall the last time I bought a computer game. After buying a new graphics card for HL2 (the game simply laughed at my pathetic attempt to get it to run on an integrated Intel card), I’ve played it for several hours, marvelling at the wonderful graphics and physics engine. There’s no doubt that it’s the best looking game I’ve ever played and it’s pretty fun, as well. Unfortunately (or fortunately for some) it’s the kind of nail-biting, heart-stopping fun that I last remember experiencing when playing F-Zero X on my own. It’s a tense, twitchy fun.

On the other hand, while Pirates! might not look as good as HL2, its cartoony style suits it perfectly and I happily played it for a few hours last night without any problems. It has the perfect amount of ‘just one more minute’ addiction that Sid Meier is the acknowledged master of, and its learning curve is pleasantly shallow. If anything, it’s a little too easy, although I haven’t tried half the stuff in the game yet; I’ve been having far too much fun with the ship battles and the ballroom dancing…

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