GeekNights Tuesday - The 40 Games You Must Play

Tonight on GeekNights, we try to hack together live a list of games that are, for one reason or another, must-play games. We've done this as a panel at PAX before, but for tabletop. This time it's everything.

In the news, Interplanetary is good to play, and so is The Fox in the Forest. PAX Unplugged isn't sold out and you should definitely go. We Judged the upcoming fall season of anime!

Things of the Day

Episode Links

This was a fun episode, but does not sound like the start of a good lecture or panel. Scott’s conclusion is spot on, that all you need to do is say the most obvious or first example of a category or genre.

The thing that makes “40 Tabletop Games You Must Play” good is that, at a tabletop gaming convention, you could probably knock four or five of those off your list by the end of the weekend. And because the games aren’t based on technology, even old games are super accessible. You could even print them out and have a go. And each game will only take an hour to learn and play and get a hang of, except maybe DnD or other long form roleplaying game.

The tabletop list feels useful and attainable.

But expanding this out to include all games, video games and sports, makes it supremely un-useful. For example, playing tag won’t really help you understand all sport better.

To play Breath of the Wild is a good recommendation for anyone, but it’s going to cost $400 and 40 hours minimum. Tennis is equally inaccessible due to cost and specialised equipment.

Doom 2 sounds like a fun idea, but I typed “how to play Doom 2” into Google and the first result is wiki page that begins “Playing Doom under Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 can be troublesome.”

My suggestion would be to make it a companion to the tabletop panel, but about video games. Keep it restricted to games that are easily emulated, free, cheap or, at a minimum, run on current hardware you expect people to own (like PC, Switch, Playstation or Xbone). And give people an estimate on how long they would have to play until they might fully understand the lesson that game imparts, or until they’ll be able to get the feelings you want them to have.

The title can still be “Top 40 Video Games You Must Play” but at least you can do a pre-amble about how they might not be the best or first of a category, but the examples that are possible to play in 2018.

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Or make it a game design thing. 40 games you must play as a designer. Pick games that have exemplified different tactics and concepts of game theory and design.

And a home decorating game if there’s any, because that’s technically design. :stuck_out_tongue:


It’s on Steam. It just works. One click.

How to play Doom 2:

  1. Open Steam
  2. Buy Doom II for $5 or Doom Classic Complete for $15
  3. Click Install
  4. Click Play

This will give you an experience with Doom II that is very authentic to how it was to play Doom II in the '90s. That’s a good thing, but also not a good thing. Primarily, the controls on original Doom are going to be very annoying for anyone who is used to using wasd + mouse in modern FPS games.

If you want to play old Doom with modern sensibilities and improved graphics, you want to go download a doom engine. There are many of these available. I’m not sure which is best. You will probably do just fine with GZDoom. ZDoom - Downloads

The way it works is you install the engine of your choice. Then you go to find your legal Steam version of Doom in your file system. Somewhere you will find the .wad files. These are the data files for the original doom games. You copy those .wad files over to somewhere your doom engine wants them to be located. Then you run the doom engine, and congrats. You now have a very upgraded Doom experience.

Well done, both of you, for being the most internet-nerd-pedants possible and willfully missing the majority of my points, and also my main point, and even the exact point about that exact game. Or avoiding those points.


DDR 6th and 7th Mix are still my favorite DDR versions to this day. Also Mario World is better than Mario 3. There’s something about how Mario 3 controls that just always feels off to me, can’t quite articulate what it is. Mario World just feels right.

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To me, Super Mario World is infinitesimally more slippery than Mario 3.

I think you nailed it, in which case it really is just a subjective feel preference.

You guys I’m working on this panel too, need to change the title.

ITG II is the best ddr game. Fight me.
Don’t actually fight me, I won’t die on this hill, but odds of convincing me otherwise is nil.

ITG arrows are kind of garbage and never feel like they fit the music well, especially at higher difficultues.

Not only are the step designs bad, the graphical rendering also has issues. The arrows don’t go up the screen smoothly. They pulse nicely. They look flat on the screen. It feels like the bootleg it is.

Some good song choices in there, though.

ITG has like 10 arrow designs to choose from. Any veteran changes off the default every time.

Also if I’m actually gonna defend my position some, give me handsets in ddr. Or give me bomb avoiding or pulse arrows in ddr. It’s like ddr but like, an actual iteration. It’s fun as hell.

DDR doesn’t need alternate designs. It’s perfect out of the box.

Customization options are a failure of game design. The designer couldn’t figure out what was best, and made the player do their job for them.

I’m seeing this a lot these days with board game rulebooks that offer tons of variant rules and tell players to choose what they like best. NO. Didn’t you playtest this at all? Tell me which variant is best and don’t even bother telling me about the other possibilities.

Fair, but Just Dance is more fun than DDR ever was and you’re just gonna have to deal with that fact.

15 treasonous characters.

Unless there’s expansions or something, Just Dance is full of crappo American pop as far as I’ve seen. Half of the fun of DDR is that the music was something different. European and Japanese dance music of various genres as well as custom songs made just for DDR. If I want to dance to Katy Perry I can turn on the Top 40 station on Spotify.


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