Desert Island Games

Written by Joe Martin

April 23, 2010 | 09:37

Tags: #baldurs-gate-2 #deus-ex #games-i-own #no-one-lives-forever

This blogpost wasn’t my idea, it’s pretty blatantly spun out of the Desert Island Disks forum thread, but I wanted to talk about it some more.

The idea is simple – if you were going into seclusion and you could only take five games with you, which games would you take and why? Read my choices and justifications below, then let me know your own thoughts in the forums.
Desert Island Games

1. Deus Ex

Well, this is an obvious choice, isn’t it? Perhaps the only surprise it offers to those who know is that I chose this over my other favourite game, The Secret of Monkey Island.

The key here though is simply the amount of replay value you’ll need to get out of the game. An adventure game like Monkey Island just isn’t going to entertain you in the long run, but Deus Ex packs a stunning amount of content and has plenty of replay value. You can play it in a bunch of different ways and it’s about as intelligent as FPS games can get, so it’s definitely something I’d want in my library.

Desert Island Games

2. No One Lives Forever

NOLF isn’t as open to different play styles as the other games I’ve included in my selection, but it compensates for that with a lengthy and memorable campaign that’s hilariously funny thanks to the 1970s spy parody setting. If Deus Ex is the game I’d use to satisfy my need for smart gaming then NOLF’s comedy is the perfect counterpoint to that. I’ve played it a dozen times already and know the levels back to front, but I’m sure I could easily carry on enjoying it for decades.

It's just a shame that the sequels weren't up to scratch...

Desert Island Games

3. Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn

Oh, this was a tough one – for the longest time I couldn’t decide between which RPG I’d want to take, though I narrowed it down to Fallout 2, PlaneScape: Torment and BG2 very quickly. In the end though, Baldur’s Gate 2’s sizeable world and larger cast of NPCs won through.

True, the world might not be as unique as Fallout’s and it might not have the eclectic party members and philosophical edge of Torment, but the quality of writing and possibility for multiple romances make it a clear choice. Plus; dragons.

Desert Island Games

4. Hitman: Blood Money

Another difficult decision – I have a big soft spot for stealth games like Hitman, so it was a matter of deciding between the perhaps technically superior Thief games or the slightly more murderous Blood Money. In the end I settled on Hitman though not because it’s a better game, but because it’s a game with a bit more scope and subtlety to it.

Where Thief pretty much restricts you only to stealth (and demands that stealth is derived from staying hidden), Hitman lets you have a bit more freedom through the use of disguises and multiple routes. It’s also the best of the Hitman series by far, if only because of the ability to push people down stairs.

Desert Island Games


I’m actually not personally a huge fan of GTA IV in terms of its story and structure. I think it could have done better if it had sought to create a smaller area in greater detail, rather than a whole city with less content. Still, if you’re looking for something that you could play for the rest of your life then this is probably as good as it gets. You could spend ages just watching comedy routines or completing mini-games before you even though of touching the story.

Then, even after all that is done, there’s still the whole world to explore. I may not be a huge fan of the structure now, but if I was stuck on a desert island with it for the rest of my life then I’m positive that I could learn to love it.

There are many more games I could expand into this list – System Shock 2 and Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines spring to mind, and I’m tempted to try and bend the rules by talking about MMOs and modding content too, but I think I’m comfortable leaving it at these five games.

What about you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

[EDIT: Dammit! I should have included Garry's Mod 10 in there somewhere too, assuming I can include user-generated content with it!]
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