Eight Geeks

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Online Gaming

I've spent a lot of time gaming online over the years. From MUDs to puzzlers and strategy games, I've probably played on thousands of different sites. Here are two that I'm currently playing:

Cyber Nations

This is an online, massively multiplayer nation simulator. Frankly, it's the best I've ever come across. There's real depth to the factors you control in your nation, from religion to taxes to what "coalition" you belong to. Not only that, but everything is interconnected; Infrastructure affects happiness and your environment, which affects the taxes you draw from your people, and so on. The military simulation is pretty good for a browser-based game of this size, with several different types of troops and weapons, and there's actual benefit to waging was of aggression. Trade is pretty deep, too, with different commodities affecting different aspects of your nation. Many have compared it to that old fad "Nationstates". Frankly, there is no comparison. Cyber Nations is fun, where Nationstates just got tedious. It only takes a few minutes a day to manage the basics, but the minutiae is there for any hardcore player. Forums provide a venue for RP and support, and there's an extensive network of players to work with.

One of the more innovative aspects of the game is the use of Google Maps to show the nations of the world, both in location and size. It's like a giant, competitive pinboard, and lets you see your potential opponents close up. Admin also provides a lot of hidden info and easter eggs for players to find. All in all, this is a highly recommended game, and I'm sure it's going to be viable for a long, long time.

eTapout

Sometime around 1999, I stumbled on a website called Neurogames. It was a collection of four different fighting league simulators; Boxing, Pro Wrestling, MMA, and Streetfighting. It was free, well-managed, and filled with a wealth of detail to create and manage your fighters. I played in every league, and even gained a minor title in the MMA sim. Eventually, they got too large to maintain free status, and went pay-to-play. The site promptly died a fast, horrible death.

Enter eTapout. This place is like a Neurogames Lite. There's only MMA; there are only four fighting styles available; and the number of participants is far smaller. The fighter management, on the other hand, is strikingly similar. You place experience points into your various statistics; manage separate strategies for different stages of the fight; fights are staged several times a week with a text output of each match; and you make fights by challenging and receiving challenges. The only major functionality that doesn't seem to at least have some analog is the injury system. Neurogames had a comprehensive system that affected stats in both the short and long terms, and that would eventually force fighters into retirement, ensuring some turnover in characters at the highest levels.

I've been searching for a game like eTapout since Neurogames closed. This is the closest thing I've found in terms of form and function. Since I'm not managing twelve fighters on this one, nor does it have a simulator to help you judge challenges, perhaps my wife will have less reason to be irritated when I play it.

So, try these out, and respond with your thoughts.

4 Comments:

  • check out www.realityproduction.com

    Jungle Chaos is the name of the MMA and Boxing sim. Free. Fun.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:41 AM  

  • I used to play neurogames... it was huge in my highschool. I was responsible for its downfall I think, actually -- the challenge system/spar system/etc (I forget the rest) were very easily 'hacked' by writing your own local webpage that sent your own version of the form to the server -- ie you could spar ANY wrestler, not just the ones they put in there. and send challenges, post fake messages, i forget what else... oh well. eventually had a championship belt winning wrestler, beat the Black Widow or whatever but it had all fallen apart by then. nevermind.

    By Blogger Andrew, at 3:20 PM  

  • Wow, I thought I was the only one who remembered Neurogames. It seems most references to it have been wiped off the face of the internet. I can still remember a few of the top wrestlers, tag teams, and stables. The Battle Royales were awesome.

    Anyway, I came across a new MMA game at www.mmarmy.com. It's just getting started but it's pretty fun and should only get better. Check that one out if you're interested. Later.

    By Anonymous Tyrone "Bonecrusher" Jones, at 3:43 AM  

  • Every so often I'll google 'neurogames' and find nothing. Today I stumbled upon this post. What great memories that was. I still have printouts of a bunch of my old promo posts. It's a shame it had to die out. I remember you Tyrone 'bonecrusher' Jones and Andrew if you were Penance I remember you too. You really had my creative spirit going back then. Good times.

    By Anonymous Eric Snatcher, at 8:29 PM  

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