DEFCON: Shall We Play a Game?

Earlier this year I wrote about how much I loved Introversion Software's indie PC game Darwinia. Introversion just released their newest game, DEFCON.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

Jeff said, “… but the bottom line is it’s very difficult to win convincingly. Games often end with both sides obliterated…” Sounds very life like and realistic. Like real war, there may be a winner politically/militarily speaking, but in effect all sides lose.

Didn’t we learn anything from the movie? The only winning move is not to play…

I like the timing of this post.

I got quite heavily into Defcon on release day, but then (quite by chance) stumbled into Armadillo Run. And since then, I just haven’t been able to get back into it, due to my obsession with a yellow bowling ball.

Defcon makes me pine for the good ole days of Hunt for Red October, and to a lesser extent Harpoon.

H4RO on the XT… now there was a game that could scare you off your seat.

“… but the bottom line is it’s very difficult to win convincingly. Games often end with both sides obliterated…”

As they say: War doesn’t decides who’s right, only who’s left.

TristanK: If you liked both Harpoon and HfRO, did you also play Red Storm Rising?

It combined the submarine focus and playability of HfRO, and the campaign view of Harpoon.

I lost many a night to patrolling the North Sea…

The best way to conduct Global Thermonuclear War is
with a couple of your closest friends

Hey! [insert cynical political joke here]

From the title screen:

Falken’s Maze
Fighter Combat
Guerrilla Engagement
Desert Warfare
Air-to-Ground Actions
Theaterwide Tactical Warfare
Theaterwide Biotoxic and Chemical Warfare

Global Thermonuclear War

Why use nukes? Can’t we just “give away” our politicians?

I had the original Balance of Power. The problem with it was that you could only lose. The enemy was always pushy, irritable and uncooperative to unrealistic levels; if you ever stood up to them even once, that was it - you had magic mushrooms on the horizon; the very near horizon.

Still, it was a good way to finish off some chips, a Coke and the whole human race just before turning in to bed. Wasn’t much of a game for playability though.

Red Storm Rising was OK until I figured out how to effectively hunt the Soviet Diesel Electrics and then it was too damned easy. You simply sat around dead silent for while and they would slowly come in towards you - the first you heard of any sound from them you went full active sonar and started firing torpedos and noise makers as fast as your little digits could tap the keys - they never could effectively deal with that tactic. However, watching a nice Soviet carrier slip under the frigid North Sea waters was also a nice reminder that the sun was about to rise on a new day and you had once again forgotten to sleep.

Of course, if you were really into showing up for work with red eyes, sunken cheeks and sucking back your third Big Gulp sized coffee, nothing could waste away entire evenings and nights like Sid Meier’s Civilization.

Is it any wonder why I don’t play computer games anymore?

"Although DEFCON offers four speeds from real-time to 4x, …"
This is incorrect. The available speeds in DEFCON are real-time, 5x, 10x and 20x.

hmm…Follow the white rabbit into the rabbit hole

Just in time too. . I wonder how the korean part plays out.

I like their tag:
It’s Global Thermonuclear War, and nobody wins.
But maybe - just maybe - you can lose the least.

“Why does the single player experience need a narrative?”

A computer AI is predictable, however clever it is…

A stupid online random, is unpredictable…

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups ;))

I really liked Balance of Power on my old Atari ST.

It was possible to beat. As I remember a lot rided on the percieved credibility of your threats. e.g. if you really wanted to send miliary aid to Poland as USA and refused to back down you would often succeed if previous confrontations with Russia had resulted in them backing down.

“there’s not much of a single player narrative to the game.”

I don’t get it. Why does the single player experience need a narrative? In fact, I can’t see any difference between playing against multiple AI players and playing against multiple human players, which in my opinion is a good thing. Actually, there is one key difference: the single player experience requires no network connection - also a good thing. Of course, I had to tinker with the game files to change the default for “AdvertiseOnInternet.”

dagnabbit - Tim, I meant Red Storm Rising, I always get those mixed up!

I still have a copy of it somewhere, and I’m now itching to go dig it up…

Holy crap! This is awesome. Love the graphics (just like I remember from the movie, but they’ve been updated for today which I know doesn’t make sense) and boatloads of fun. I’m buying this now after playing the demo for a short bit. Now all we need is this on XBL.

Why the beep is a nuclear missile launched from my city (Bucharest / Romania / Europe) ??!