If you don’t take a break and relax you’re going to die. There is a time to work and a time to play some of the greatest computer RPG’s ever made. Fuck stress and fuck overextension, this applies to both you and your computer. Autumn is a time to relax and have fun and your computer shouldn’t have to do all the work that you don’t want to do, either.
GOG is a digital, Polish based computer game store. They specialize in DRM-Free reissues of classic PC games and optimize them to work on contemporary operating systems. They also sell some new games and actually allow you to get a refund within 30 days of your purchase. I don’t know of any other video game seller that’s openly offered a refund and I’ve been gaming since 1992.
We shouldn’t run away from films and music and literature just because they’re older and don’t look and sound like something released in 2018. Great art remains great art. All of these games are twenty dollars or less. And just about any PC can run them.
1. Star Wars — Dark Forces 2 — Jedi Knight
There is a new Star Wars movie out, people are interested in the franchise more than ever. But more importantly, play this game. It’s one of the best Star Wars games of any era. Your character is Kyle Katarn. The narrative sees him go from a Han Solo like character to a force sensitive Jedi in training, hunting down a sect of evil Sith. The controls aren’t hard, and the single player campaign is long and a lot of fun. There are also corners of the Internet where people still play this game online.
If your 1997-2002 wasn’t defined by playing this game until 5 AM, you need to makeup for lost time. And since everyone is obsessed with Star Wars now, turn this game into a date night! Drink chilled, sweet wine and play a fucking Star Wars masterpiece with your partners!
2. Planetscape Torment
Originally released in 1999, this is the game I’m dying to play. I’ve always heard it’s the greatest game of all time and I’ve never fucking played it. It is supposed to feature the best storytelling of any video game from any era. I can’t tell you if that’s true or not. But I can’t wait to have my computer on top of me with a Fall breeze coming through my window while enjoying one of the greatest games of all time. For the first time. And hopefully my computer will have fun, too. Your computer shouldn’t have to climb into temperatures no one wants to engage with. It’s Autumn and your computer is as sick of the heat as you are.
And I guarantee you, if you put on your dating profiles that you’re spending your Autumn playing Planetscape Torment, you will get more ass than you would ever assume.
3. Deus Ex
Originally released in 2000, Deus Ex is about as good as it gets. While not the first cyberpunk masterpiece of PC gaming, it sets a standard in story, audio, gameplay and fucking enjoyment.
Your character is JC Denton, a special agent in 2052. The storyline revolves around human modification at the genetic level, the Illuminati, and aliens. Contemporary games like Detroit Become Human owe a lot to Deus Ex. So do television shows like Orphan Black.
The controls aren’t that different than any other contemporary first-person RPG shooter. The biggest difficulty people might have is the lack of a radar system if one chooses to play a stealth character.
Throughout the game you can apply bio mods to your character. They can help improve your character’s ability to jump, aim, move without making a sound and aid in hacking computers. The game also allows you to solve problems as you see fit. You don’t have to engage in combat if you don’t want to. You don’t have to kill people to solve problems if you don’t want to. There are so many different ways to play this game, you can keep coming back and sucking up as much cyberpunk nectar as you desire.
4. Vampire the Masquerade — Bloodlines
This game has it all: Vampire dykes who own goth clubs who send you to cleanse haunted mansions of demons.
Songs in the soundtrack by Tiamat, Chiasm, Genitorturers and a kick-ass original score. You can feel the Grand Theft Auto 3 influence in some of the Chatterbox-like in-game radio content.
Overall, Bloodlines has a punk vs goth aesthetic that is still unchallenged since it’s initial release in 2004. It came out alongside Half Life 2 and Doom 3. But instead of multiplayer it offered one of the best storylines in gaming. You play a character who gets turned into a vampire by some other random vampire. And the vampire lords of Los Angeles are pissed off. They kill the guy who turned you but let you live as an act of mercy, an attempt to gain political favor.
The lore of the game comes from White Wolf’s table top RPG, Vampire the Masquerade. The clans and various storyline basics are all here. The Camarilla, the Anarchs and the Sabbat. As you play the game, you can choose several different paths of character and social and political development.
You move through nights in Santa Monica, Hollywood and downtown LA. The original vampire, Cain, is rumored to be shifting around. Vampire politicians are paranoid. And unlike Dungeons and Dragons and other RPG systems obsessed with combat, Vampire the Masquerade has always been about storytelling and intrigue.
Also, you will develop a lasting crush on at least three different characters in this game. Minimum.
Thursday Simpson is a multimedia artist and a co-founding editor at OUT/CAST, a journal for queer & Midwestern writers. Her first chapbook, Three Gothic Stories, is published with Moonchaps. She composes soundtracks for her writing and maintains a prog, analog synth based aesthetic. She believes in Feline Satan and garlic and onions. Ask her to do an impression of King Diamond or Kevin Steen and she will probably smile. Her Twitter is @JeanBava and her full publication history can be found at www.thursdaysimpson.com