I Have Always Found Swapping Two Items’ Positions to be Hugely Entertaining

My computer is not what you would call a “gaming machine”. Whatever the current hot PC game is, I guarantee I can’t run it. I probably can’t run the hot game before that one or maybe even the one before that one. There are a few reasons for this. First, my hardware isn’t really top of the line, and second, the PC game offerings haven’t inspired me to make my hardware top of the line.

Lately, though, I have been playing some games on the PC, and I don’t just mean Diablo 2. Dan turned me on to Puzzle Quest, which is actually for the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS but has a PC demo version of it available. Here’s an idea of what it’s about:

It’s an RPG, but the “combat” is fought through a puzzle game like Bejeweled, where you swap two items on a grid to make lines of three or more like items. Doing so either harms your opponent or generates mana you can use to cast spells. I had no idea that the “item-swapping puzzle game” genre had become so huge and elaborate!

Unfortunately I finished the PC demo (downloadable here) and the real deal PC version is, at the moment, a pleasant idea that may or may not ever become reality.

However, all is not lost, because I have a second avenue for getting my item-swapping ya-yas out: Cradle of Rome.

The idea here is that you’re building Rome. Once again, this involves rearranging items on a grid, just like in real life Rome. In this case the items represent things you need to build with: food, money, and supplies. You can also, if you accomplish seemingly random tasks, add little citizens to your growing empire that will help you acquire goods faster. I got a couple of these helpful people but I have no idea what I did to earn them.

It’s not all just moving tiles. Another game I’ve been having fun with is Peggle, a game of a completely different type. In this game, you shoot balls into fields of pegs in the hopes of clearing out all the orange pegs. The balls ricochet all over the place. It’s fun and addictive, and what’s especially cool is that the game itself is like two rabid anime munchkins after a pixie stix binge: everything you do seems to freak it out and cause wild cheers and applause and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. I’m almost anxious about what kind of orgasmic paroxysms this game will launch into if I beat all the levels.

And finally I’ve also been enjoying the PC port of the boardgame Settlers of Catan. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available.

So that’s my PC gaming these days. Addictive little puzzle games and ports of boardgames. Mind you, if someone would release a Baldur’s Gate or Fallout, I’d play it, but that doesn’t seem to be anyone’s priority.

And now, I have tiles that need swapping.

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