Tropico 5

An Idiot’s Adventures In Gameland – Steve McNeil

26: This Is My Island In The Sun…Heatwave!

Hello, dear reader. Firstly, congratulations to those who recognised that this week’s title is a seemingly random reference to a line in The Muppet Christmas Carol sung by a rat. I love Christmas and, if you got the reference, I love you too.

Despite loving Christmas, I’ve chosen to spend a lot of the last week on a tropical island. Not on a ‘winter sun break’ like those self-satisfied idiots you work with, but as a dictator, embezzling funds and killing rebels. Before you phone the authorities who, let’s be honest, have got bigger fish to fry this week given the imminent Third World War, I should clarify that I’ve been doing this in a videogame. Which you almost certainly guessed. I mean, this is a column about videogames. What a waste of word count.

The game in question is Tropico 5, the latest in a long line of Tropico games – well, five games, obviously (again, such a waste). It places you in the role of dictator of your own empire, and you attempt to grow the country from the early 1900s through the 20th Century, with all the developments in global politics, technology and the like you would expect. It’s a game I’ve wasted a lot of my adult life playing before, but I just randomly stumbled upon it again whilst idly flicking through my PS4 games and it’s completely hijacked the part of my day I used to reserve for sleep.

If you’re the sort of person who enjoyed Civilisation Revolution, or anything of that ilk, it’s well worth picking up. It’s done a great job of refining the mechanics you’d more traditionally associate with PC gaming (although it is available on PC too) and translated them seamlessly to the less complex interface of a console controller, so you can play it slouched on your sofa, rather than hunched over your laptop. Whereas Civilisation Revolution gave you individual games that lasted 2-to-3 hours, Tropico 5 chooses to break up the game’s single campaign into a series of levels, with objectives set over the course of the 20th Century. If you complete one and it’s nearly time for bed, don’t start another one. You will, obviously. But you’ll be so tired the next day.

I’ve also been playing Need for Speed this week, to review it for Ginx, but the only thing you need to know about that is it’s possibly the game that’s felt repetitive most quickly out of any game I’ve played in the last ten years. Perhaps the speed in the title refers to how quickly it becomes repetitive! AHAHAHAHAHAHA (I know that’s not good enough, and yet I’ve left it in. Turns out I’m less professional when I’m tired – WORD COUNT AHOY!).

Anyway, Need For Speed is not NOT fun but, if you absolutely must have your fast car fix and you’ve played every other game available, it’s one you’ll want to just dip into for short bursts to avoid getting bored.

Before I sign off for the week, there’s one thing I’d like to let you know about, and that’s that we’re doing a very special one-off of our live videogaming/comedy show “Go 8-Bit” on the 9th December in Hammersmith. We’ve got the brilliant Susan Calman and another very special guest that I’m not allowed to tell you about. But it’s GOOD NEWS. That’s a clue, in case it wasn’t immediately obvious. If you’re around, we’d love a friendly crowd so, if you think you’re not the sort of person who comedians hate at comedy gigs (chatty people and hecklers, basically), come along! Don’t bring your office colleagues as a Christmas treat though – chances are half of them won’t be up for it at all, will get drunk, and then vomit all over my Wii.

Bye for now!

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