I’m up North visiting my parents for a week with the kids, so I’m stuck with a dodgy Internet connection (tethering a weak 3G signal through my iPhone to my laptop), hence the lack of updates. Or at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Stuck with only a laptop as a gaming rig, I’m downloading games it can run with its limited video card (thank Zod for Steam), so I snagged the Railroad Tycoon Collection. It’s a great deal: the aforementioned Railroads!, Railroad Tycoon 3, and Railroad Tycoon 2 Platinum for only 15 bucks! That’s a lot of spike drivin’, and you don’t have to be J. Pierpont Morgan to afford it.
I’ve been playing the heck out of Railroads! It’s the definitive game for SMRR fans; the apex of the series, really. It strips out all of the annoying minutia of building your railroad, and adds a lot of graphical flourish and wonderful detail. It also features a delightful musical soundtrack that dynamically adjusts to the locale in your view at the time.
Sid Meier’s Railroad games are a stalwart of computer gaming… after all, it was the first Sid Meier’s Railroad Tycoon, released in 1990 by Microprose, that put Meier solidly on the track of being considered one of the gaming gods of the industry. The man-hours of productivity lost to the original in nigh incalculable, although a guess might be that you could probably ring the Earth multiple times with railway track with all the time spent building virtual ones.
With its vaunted pedigree, the release of Railroads! in 2006 was naturally eagerly anticipated. And on the whole, Meier delivered. There is, however, one glaring flaw that turned a lot of people off, nearly myself included. The problem is the absolutely atrocious AI routing in the game. You don’t notice it as much at the start, when you only have a few stations connected, without a lot of multiple tracks heading into cities. But as you add more trains and their routes into the equation, you need to start putting in more and more multiple lines to avoid congestion. And once you start doing this, the problem starts driving you nuts. There is nothing quite as frustrating as having four or more lines side by side, with proper switching track connecting everything nicely so no trains should ever have a problem negotiating through a route, and still trains bunch up because they keep heading into the same fudging lines as oncoming trains. Here’s four lines wide open, and still trains are halted because for some goddamn reason they want to occupy the same goddamn space! AAAAAAARRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!
Still though, Railroads! is a fun game that can burn away hours like so many shovels of coal into the tender box. All aboard!
P.S. I also noticed this while playing. Looks like Coco’s career hasn’t gone too well after losing The Tonight Show.
|Proof Conan O’Brien is a time-travelling warlock|