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Summertime Gaming – Oldies but Goodies

Posted Wed, Jun 10, 2009 by Savanja

Summer is finally here!  We’ve put away the parkas and are enjoying longer days and warm nights and whether you are a student out on break or a full-timer who is currently mourning the loss of good TV during the summer hiatus, everyone is finding themselves with a little extra free-time.  As gamers it is our duty to fill those extra hours with gaming, but what is out there to play?

Summers used to be pretty good for gamers.  Many gaming companies would release this time of year and we all would have plenty to do, but with all the major upcoming titles holding off for fall and winter releases, there is almost nothing to quench our summer gaming thirst, which is why I am here to cure the gameless summer woes!  Step away from that platform system and don’t you even THINK of doing anything remotely productive because no matter whom you are or what you enjoy, we will find something to fill that gaming void this summer!

Oldies but Goodies

Some of these games you may have already played and had forgotten others you may never have gotten a chance to check out.  These are the older games that you should try out this summer!

 

Ultima Online

The grand-daddy of mainstream MMO gaming is still alive and kicking!  Often spoken of as a gamer’s first online experience, Ultima Online is the MMOG version of the popular Ultima series.  You’d expect a game this old might be put on the back burner or showing signs of shut down but no, currently under the development expertise of Mythic Entertainment, UO is still doing pretty well and holds a loyal following.  An expansion, Stygian Abyss, is in the works and a beta will be available for it soon.

Why play it?

Spend your summer getting back to the roots of the genre.  Sure, the graphics are dated but you really haven’t experienced MMO gaming until you get just a little bit old school and this is what UO has to offer.  It’s always a trip to see where the genre has been and compare it to the games of today and when UO finally does hang up its plate armor, you can say that you had been there!

How do I check it out?

You can visit the official website found here to read up on the game and the expansion.  There is a beta sign up and a 14-day free trial that lets you get in and experience Ultima Online without having to drop a bucket load of cash.

 

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Another victim of a less than stellar launch, Vanguard could be one of the most understated games currently on the market.  This game had a rocky start, riddled with bugs and half done content, but it has been a couple of years and improvements have made Vanguard far more stable and updates have beefed up lacking content.

Vanguard is a visually impressive fantasy MMOG that has features that a lot of the latest games do not have.  Non-instanced housing, player owned ships, diplomacy are all unique features within Vanguard that add a new dimension to the player experience.

Why play it?

A bad launch kills a game, but that doesn’t mean the game doesn’t get better.    With huge amounts of fixes and the interesting opportunity to take advantage of the Live Gamer service, Vanguard still has a lot to offer the casual gamer.  Live Gamer allows players to pay real life money to buy items in game which makes it perfect for those who have the money but never the time!

How do I check it out?

Sony Online Entertainment has an official website with everything you need to get started.  Vanguard offers a 14-day free trial and is part of the Station Access lineup if you happen to play other SOE games.

 

EVE Online

If you are looking for a game that is not only well established but also completely different, EVE Online is your game!  A completely unique sci-fi space game, EVE Online allows players to explore solar systems and universes as a spaceship pilot.  While often spoken of as being a hard game to pick up, recent changes to the new player experience have turned that around giving a broader appeal for all gamers.

The most recent expansion Apocrypha added the complex discovery of wormhole travel, custom buildable ships, and end-game mission arcs that are beyond what any player could hope for.  Even though EVE is 6 years old, it is definitely still one of the hottest games out there!

Why play it?

First of all, you drive a spaceship.  It really just doesn’t get much cooler than that.  Next, EVE has the huge benefit of having a long established community that just happens to all be housed on one single server.  That’s right kids!  You can log in and play with hundreds of thousands of players from all over the globe all at the same time! 

EVE ends up being a great fit for a couple of different types of players.  The very competitive do well here with the corporate espionage and high profile PvP.  It also works well for those who like to casually tinker in a game.  You can long in, run missions, mine, and work on skills all without having to be completely glued to the screen.

How do I check it out?

The EVE Online website offers an amazing amount of info.  There you will find buying info, the 14-day free trial, and a wiki full of guidance and new player assistance.  They also are cool enough to offer all of the expansions for free so you won’t have to buy anything more than the base game if you decide you want to keep playing!

 

EverQuest

10 years and hundreds of thousands of players says that EverQuest can still make a gamer’s toes curl even after all of this time.  While the sequel, EverQuest II, is also quite good I had to pick the original because nothing says gamer better than the famously coined phrase of “EverCrack”.

EverQuest has an expansive world, not too bad graphics, and gameplay that is genre defining enough to still be familiar to the new generation of gamers.  Along with that, it is challenging and that means you can pour your time into this game and feel like you have done more than you ever have in any game you’ve played.

Why play it?

If you’re tired of the same old game where you blow through content so quick you can’t even remember where you played last week then EverQuest is for you!  The world is huge and there is so much to explore but then there is also the added danger of death (because death in EQ is NOT trivial).  More risk, more content and real danger makes for very good gaming.

How do I check it out?

As another SOE game, this is also on the Station Access lineup (good to know if you want to check out Vanguard and EverQuest both).  EverQuest also has a free trial but rather than give you a limited amount of days, they offer the first 10 levels to check out for free on a special trial server.

 

I hope you are inspired to get online and try something new!  Be sure to check back at Ten Ton Hammer for more of the Summer Gaming series where we will be covering a wide variety of games for every kind of player.

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