I played an online round of Halo Wars, partly to try it out, but mostly to get entered into Microsoft's Play and Win sweepstakes. My opponent was beating me handily when he resigned. He must have also been playing just to enter.
There was some Halo: Combat Evolved and Rez HD for comfort gaming, and some Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth in an attempt to catch up with Rebel FM's Game Club.
After listening to Anthony Gallegos on Rebel FM telling tales of how he destroyed A.I. civilizations in Civilization IV, I became interested in those kinds of games again. Anthony's tales showed me that the reason I've not enjoyed playing 4x and similar strategy games is not the lack of feedback, nor the lack of narrative, but rather that I've been playing like a wuss.
I role-played myself in those games, and tried to build a civilization that would reflect my libertarian political ideals: non-aggressive, maximum freedom for the citizens, wealthy and technologically advanced, seeking out other nations only for trade, and only fighting when attacked. In other words:
So I've decided to give the 4x and 4x-ish games another chance. But this time I'm going to play like a complete bastard. I won't trade with my neighbors; I'll conquer them. My citizens are not there to live their lives and make themselves happy and wealthy; they're there to make me wealthy and produce what my army needs so it can attack other countries. Dissent or rebellion I will violently suppress. Attila the Hun will look like Gandhi compared to me.
So I took Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Age of Empires II, and Empire Earth out of my giveaway bin, and downloaded FreeCiv, an open-source freeware clone of Civilization and Civilization II. Alpha Centauri and Age of Empires II I installed in Windows XP under VMWare Server, Empire Earth I installed in my Windows XP partition, and FreeCiv is a Linux program.
That same weekend I picked up Lost Planet; Extreme Condition in a Steam sale for $5 USD. After installing it in the Windows XP partition and some tweaking of settings I played it a little. I'm still not thrilled by the idea of bugs that live in a cold environment, but for a fin I'll certainly give it a chance.
During the week new DLC for two of my games went up on Xbox Live Marketplace, so I downloaded and sampled them. Prince of Persia: Epilogue continues the story of The Prince and Elika, while Tomb Raider: Lara's Shadow gives Lara Croft's doppelganger something to do. I'll be playing more of both of them later.
Also during the week I successfully backed up the Linux partition on my PC, and that gave me the confidence to upgrade Ubuntu Linux, my ATI video drivers, and Crossover Games. There were some kinks to work out, and that left no time to test games with the new setup.