At first glance Arcanum looks like a role playing game full of great ideas: Its main attraction is its fantasy world, which is set at the time of an industrial revolution, that is about to turn it into a science fiction setting. It is a refreshingly unique place, full of whimsical magic and technical marvels, that has great potential for interesting twists to age-old cliches: How does an ageless being, like an elf, react to the rise of science, which is about to make the magic, that has kept him alive so far, obsolete? Is there a cheaper workforce than orcs, which can be exploited at will, for they are obviously evil and therefore deserve no less? Or what about safety: Should a wizard, whose magical power has an unpredictable effect on machines, be allowed to get close to steam engines or trains? There are so many new stories that could be told…
The first strategy game I seriously played and loved was Dune II: Battle for Arrakis. Before that, I was absolutely not interested in this genre. I never found it particularly exciting to virtually push some combat units around on a map. But Dune 2 nevertheless cast its spell on me and has not let go of many of us to this day. A whole bunch of successors poured over the audience in the years that followed. However, these clones soon lost the appeal of the new. Perhaps I would have found these fresh ideas in other – less well-known – representatives of the genre back then. In search of such pearls, I enter the famous hexa fields of The Perfect General II.
Are you a fan of rollercoasters? Do you like the thrill of acceleration, the feeling of plunging down uncontrolled? What if it weren't just a feeling, but the rails were taken away? Well, it's still just a computer game, don't worry. Though one which does indeed manage to induce some vertigo in spite of – by today's standards – crude graphics.
Tracks raised above the ground and not just snaking left and right, but also shooting up and down and requiring jumps, the one concession towards making the players' lives a bit more secure is the automatic alignment on straights. Stunt Car Racer shows no qualms about letting cars fall off, plummet from greatest heights. That moment of total silence when leaving the tracks, floating through the air, in the knowledge that this will not end well.