Top Four

Launched today on the Relay.FM podcast network, Top Four features husband/wife team Marco and Tiffany Arment sharing their relatively strongly-held opinions about stuff.

You know.. stuff?

In Episode 1 the Arments discuss their top four favorite video games.1 I have never been much of a gamer, and I don't play many video games now, but for a time I spent way too much time staring at a screen for non-productive gaming purposes. From 2001 to 2006, I probably spent between 15 and 30 hours per week playing one or more games. Then I got married. Then my PC died and we bought an iMac. To finish me off, on the second Christmas following our wedding, Cait asked me to give up all video games for one year. I was already waning in my play time anyway, so it wasn't much of a hardship.

After that year, I tried to go back and just could not handle gaming for more than 20 minutes before I started to get twitchy. I was broken2. Having an iPhone for a few years now has given me many opportunites to get sucked back into electronic gaming. Admittedly, I've spent far more time than I'd be willing to type on one of a few dozen iOS games here and there. None of these are really going to rate highly enough for me to say they're a favorite, and the reality is that I just no longer love video games. I'll play them; I'll enjoy them, and I'll waste time playing a game on my phone now and again[^pho], but I'm just not that into it.

If I had to rate the games I used to enjoy and would maybe kinda sorta enjoy them again, they'd be:

  1. Tecmo Bowl (NES): Yes, seriously. I was so good at this game, even without a Game Genie.
  2. Minesweeper (PC): YES. MINESWEEPER. Once you get really really good at Beginner (~5 seconds) and Intemediate (~14 seconds) and then spend your entire middle school years trying to get a high score under 40 seconds for Hard, it becomes part of you. You dream of mines.
  3. Risk (PC/iOS): Also beloved in tabletop form. I heartily enjoy seeing just how each electronic version varies its own internal strategies when playing "AI" players. RISK II for PC had this multi-turn idea where each player would queue up their moves and then they'd all happen at once. This meant that players could have conflicting moves which had to be "merged" into one another. It was awesome and led to some of the shortest games of Risk I've ever played (I conqueued the world in 5 turns at one point). The latest iOS verison let's you keep playing on a turn so long as you have armies left in attack-able positions. It's good.
  4. I can't pick a fourth. It's a toss-up between Starcraft, Half-Life 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004... all of which I used to love for totally different reasons from one another. I'm unwilling to admit how many hours I spent perfecting my Onslaught strategies from 2004-2005. UNWILLING.

No matter. I enjoyed listening to the Arments talk about their love for their most enjoyed games. If you've been around the world of ATP or any of Marco's prior podcasts, and enjoyed listening to him, this is another great one3.

  1. Ok, Tiff does. Marco lists, like, twenty.

  2. In a good way, of course…

  3. All the great shows…

Aug 17th, 2015