Games To Play During The Blizzard - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Life
Commentary
1/26/2015
05:22 PM
David Wagner
David Wagner
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
100%
0%

Games To Play During The Blizzard

Games to play when you're snowbound, bored, or just looking for fun.

If you're reading this on the East Coast, you're probably stuck in a blizzard. Whether this year we call it Snowmygod, Snowpocalypse, or the Blizzard of Oz (because it isn't in Kansas, anymore), you're going to have some time on your hands.

(source: troll.me)
(source: troll.me)

Fear not, you won't be bored: We've got you covered. Here's a gaming and app guide that offers all you need to pass the time. Light a fire in the fireplace (or put on that old Yule Log DVD with the sound down) and settle in for a couple of days of relaxation courtesy of Mother Nature. If you aren't on the east coast, call in sick, turn up your air conditioning, make some cocoa, and pretend you're snowed in.

[ What are the best videogames this year? Read Video Games Of 2015: 10 Hot Releases To Watch. ]

Games To Play Before The Power Goes out

Before you lose power, don't do any mobile gaming. You'll use up your lives or get bored of the game. Stick to your PC or console with these games. Here are some good ones for the snowbound.

Hearthstone -- One of the most highly rated collectable card games ever online. Hearthstone is a tactical CCG set in the World of Warcraft universe. Unlike many online CCGs that rely on an automated set of rules, you can aim your cards at specific enemies (within a set of capabilities). It removes much of the luck and places a premium on skill. Here's a (long) demo of a game:

To be honest, I'm not a fan of the game. I was excited about it, and even joined the early beta testing. I found the game repetitive, and the sound effects (as you can tell from the video) annoying. But the repetition takes a few days to kick in, so if you are new to it, it is a totally great couple of days. Also, if you haven't caught the joke from the World of Warcraft reference, the people who make the game call themselves … wait for it … Blizzard.

Mario and Sonic at the Sochi Winter Games -- Why just look out the window at the snow? You could imagine skiing down a mountain or bobsledding at breakneck speeds. And why not do it with Mario, Princess Peach, and all of your favorite Nintendo characters? I mean, just the humor of watching Donkey Kong figure skating ought to get you through a few hours.

Tropico 5 -- When you're finished with shoveling your car out of a snowdrift, you probably want to dream of being on a warm tropical island. Why not run the warm tropical island? Tropico 5 allows you to be the dictator of a small Caribbean island. You can exploit the island's labor in sweatshops to get back at your boss for trying to make you work in this weather. Or, you can build a beautiful tourist industry so you can imagine lying on the warm beach far from the snow.

Survive coups, make your enemies "disappear," or run a benevolent dictatorship where you make everyone as happy as possible. Your choice. This is one of the best "builder" games ever made. And, if you need more or are on a budget, try Tropico 4. The graphics are less good, but the game play is probably even a little better.

Games To Play After The Power Goes Out

No more electricity? You still have your smartphone. Hearthstone has a mobile app, and here are some mobile games to try.

Disney's Frozen Freefall -- Tired of Candy Crush Saga, but not tired of "Let It Go"? Try this Candy Crush clone and imagine the snow outside was made by a fairy tale princess. And, if you get tired of the ice, you can always imagine what happens "In Summer."

Spaceteam -- If you've got a friend over, Spaceteam is the way to find out if they are friends for life or you if should immediately unfollow them on Twitter. I'm serious. Marriages have probably broken up over Spaceteam. The game is fiendishly simple and impossible not to love. You connect devices over  WiFi (or, in the case of a power outage, via Bluetooth). Each device is given a console with buttons, knobs, and switches on it. You will then be given a series of silly commands like "defrag the hard drive" or "set tachyon field to 4." Only one device has the ability to do each thing.

You will be inundated with commands, and the team must follow each one or the ship will be destroyed. The catch is that not all of the commands show up on all of the devices, so you have to shout them to each other. You have a limited time to follow the command or the ship takes damage. The fun starts when your friends start yelling at you to repolarize the warp drive and you get to yell back that they have the button to do it. Trust me, it is more fun than it sounds. They really should have called it "Chaos with Friends." Skip to the last minute of this video to see what I mean. [Warning: mild adult language.]

Goat Simulator -- If you haven't caught on to this phenomenon yet, you're in for a treat. Goat simulator is exactly what it says it is. You play a goat. You eat stuff. You ruin as much stuff as possible. The developers say it is like an old-school skating game. It reminds me more of the old Japanese classic Katamari Damacy. If you've never played Katamari Damacy, add that to your list of games to play before the power goes out. Want to have a sense of the attitude of the Goat Simulator developers? This is what they say about their own game in the app store: "Goat Simulator is a completely stupid game and, to be honest, you should probably spend your money on something else, such as a hula hoop, or a pile of bricks, or maybe pool your money together with friends and buy a real goat."

Games To Play When Your Battery Dies

Board games are fun, especially by candlelight. Here are two you may not have heard of that are probably available if you run out really fast before the snow hits:

Machi Koro -- A quick, 30-minute game that is a little too reliant on dice, but is made beautifully with very nice art. You are the mayor of a city that only has a bakery and a field of grain. Your people want places to work, eat, and play. Build them amusement parks, radio stations, and convenience stores before someone else does, so you can keep your cushy job as mayor. A quick game to learn, and even non-gamers will like it.

Tzolk'in -- If you got more snow, Tzolk'in is the game for you. It is a three- to four-hour game (two hours if everyone knows how to play). It is one of those games where, when you play it the first time, and you get to the end, you realize all the stuff you did wrong. Then you want to play it again right away. Then you play it again and realize that you've overcompensated and need to play it a third time. Twelve hours later, you are ready to go to bed and dream about it. The coolest part about the game is the special gear system that moves your people around as if they were on a little carousel. They represent the calendar, and as the gears spin, your little people can get crushed on the gears of time if you aren't careful. Build farms, mines, and temples to please the gods. Watch the people go around, and don't anger the gods!

Of course, you can always go out and play in the snow. But if the idea of the cold makes you want to crawl under a quilt and sip some chicken soup, we recommend one of these options instead.

What do you do when you're stuck in the house? What are your favorite snowy-weather activities? Tell us in the comments section below.

Attend Interop Las Vegas, the leading independent technology conference and expo series designed to inspire, inform, and connect the world's IT community. In 2015, look for all new programs, networking opportunities, and classes that will help you set your organization’s IT action plan. It happens April 27 to May 1. Register with Discount Code MPOIWK for $200 off Total Access & Conference Passes.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Angelfuego
50%
50%
Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2015 | 11:20:53 PM
Re: Smart games for dumb consumers
@askskn: Those board games are some of my favorites. Believe it or not, I was playing Scrabble last week. My friend's teenage son said, "What's that?" lol. Next on my agenda is Trivial Pursuit.
asksqn
50%
50%
asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2015 | 5:36:21 PM
Smart games for dumb consumers
And let's not forget what ppl did **before** smartphones came along and dumbed everyone down:  Board Games are still going strong -Jenga, Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, to name a few.
Joe Stanganelli
100%
0%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
1/28/2015 | 9:00:41 PM
Re: Games To Play During The Blizzard
It requires two players (at the same keyboard), but the online game I'm currently addicted to -- when I have someone to play with -- is Wrestle Jump.
Joe Stanganelli
100%
0%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
1/28/2015 | 8:59:07 PM
Re: Snowmaggedon
I've always been a big SimCity fan, and my goal used to be to just get as big of a city as possible while meeting the constant, nagging demands of the citizenry.  I remember buying a strategy book on SimCity 2000 back in the heyday of that game (oh, God, I'm getting old) and in that book they profiled five power players' unique cities, and it was fascinating because these players -- while they had large, thriving cities, certainly -- had focused more on some sort of ideal or utopia or even dystopia.  (One guy's city was almost perfectly symmetrical along all four sides.  Another was a dystopic vision of an overcrowded police state.  And so on.)  These players weren't just playing a game; they were making art.

It really opened my eyes to the vast possibilities of those types of open-ended games from then on.

GTA V is a great example of how I've extended that philosophy.  I'll play the game totally differently depending upon which character I choose because I choose to "roleplay" as that character as well, acting and reacting to everything as I imagine that character would.

Needless to say, I get a lot more wanted stars when playing as Trevor.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
1/28/2015 | 8:53:55 PM
Re: Something simpler
Fascinating.  Sounds like Kolejka meets Oregon Trail meets Survivor.
David Wagner
100%
0%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/28/2015 | 1:45:12 PM
Re: Games To Play During The Blizzard
@zerox203- Stay safe. Stay warm. One of the things I'm a big fan of these days with multiplayer gaming is casual mobile games like Clash of Clans. You have a clan and are cooperative, but it doesn't take a quick twitch connection to play it. Another I'm enjoying is Destiny because of the way multi-player is handled. You can play at the same time as other people but they don't have to depend on you. You can be in the middle of a patrol, and some level 5000 guy will just come by and save you from certain death and then wander off. Or you can join up with people until your connection or your level ability makes it obvious you should hang out with them.

That said, I see what you are saying. As i age, the time I'm willing to devote to gaming, the money I'm willing to devote to my gaming rig, and my connection are combining to make me a little slower on the draw than I used to be.
zerox203
100%
0%
zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
1/28/2015 | 10:45:13 AM
Re: Games To Play During The Blizzard
Well, it's the day after the Blizzard - my driveway and stairs are shoveled out in case of emergency here in Boston, but I'm still more or less snowed in. Getting up to my eyeballs in video games used to be a snow day tradition for me throughout my childhood, but you know what I did after I was finished shoveling yesterday? Read a book and went to bed early. Oh, how boring I've become(to be fair, I was scared to play anything multiplayer yesterday because my connection would be terrible). Maybe I'll rectify it by playing through some of my backlog today (which is nigh-endless now thanks to my Steam family plan - what a dangerous idea for human society). Thanks for the list, Dave (I can't believe you don't like Hearthstone, though).

Spaceteam is already an old standby for me, but as someone else pointed out, friends will have a bit of trouble getting to my house, and it's best with more than two players. I've actually heard the Mario & Sonic games are notoriously bad. Wondering if the latest one might be an exception, I looked it up on Metacritic. Average score: 55/100. Guess not. I was not aware of a portable version of Goat Simluator, so that's gonna be a must-try. Glad to see you didn't neglect board games, because this is a great time for some non-electronic family bonding. The fact that it's already too late to pick anything up notwithstanding, I'd suggest Boss Monster. Each player is a boss from a 16-bit era video game trying to build their optimal dungeon to attract the most heroes while still killing them to gain points. It's incredibly simple but strategically deep, with just cards and no extra dice or anything.
PedroGonzales
100%
0%
PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2015 | 6:56:45 PM
Re: Snowmaggedon
great game selection David. After shoveling for the past 2 hours I'm in need of playing  a game.  Fortunatelly, in the New York area we didn't lose any power. I may try the different games and see which one I like the best.  I would love to see sonic running on the snow
David Wagner
100%
0%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/27/2015 | 6:43:05 PM
Re: Something simpler
@jastroff- The funny thing is that I'm not a huge Words with Friends player, so every time someone says WWF I picture professional wrestling. I like to picture you guys giving each other a suplex and trying to take the belt. 
jastroff
100%
0%
jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2015 | 6:33:44 PM
Re: Something simpler
I'm always fascinated that the comptuer makes the optimal checkers move -- and keep at it until I'm so crushed I put it back to level 1 and beat it to a pulp. What can I say, it works for me. I tried Free For all -- interesting -- you just keep mushing your finger around the board and you win -- the sound effects and light show are wonderful, though. I'm so happy.

WWF appears to be my addiction for now
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Slideshows
What Digital Transformation Is (And Isn't)
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/4/2019
Commentary
Watch Out for New Barriers to Faster Software Development
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  12/3/2019
Commentary
If DevOps Is So Awesome, Why Is Your Initiative Failing?
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  12/2/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Video
Current Issue
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20's
This IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll