[And the geekdom keeps rolling on...]
Certain computer games have established a cachet so great that you almost don't have to say anything about them. The games were so fun, so addictive, so interesting that a certain generation of gamers just know, from the brief incantation of the game's name, that you're part of the brotherhood.
Here's a sample invocation:
MASTER OF ORION.
You know what I'm talking about.
If you don't, imagine the game that went beyond any science fiction book, TV show, or movie. You were in charge of a civilization clawing its way into the galaxy. Colonies on other planets! Space exploration on a galactic scale! Scientific breakthroughs! Aliens! Space battles! Add some diplomacy, economics, politics, and you have the recipe for one of the most engaging games you've ever played.
By engaging, I mean a game so good you could not tear yourself away from it. With all the dramatic events described in the previous paragraph unfolding in parallel, there was always a good reason to play for just one more turn. You had to see what happened when you declared war on the sneaky aliens that kept stealing your hard-earned technologies. You had to add to the defense of a colony that the sneak aliens were sure to attack. You had to build and deploy a fleet to intercept the sneaky aliens before they reached that colony in the first place. You had to upgrade your ship designs, before building the fleet, to incorporate some new wonder-weapon you just developed. Whoops, there went another hour...
Unfortunately, the pinnacle of space empire bliss, Master of Orion II, was published 12 years ago. The third in the series degenerated into a tedious accounting exercise, and would-be heirs just didn't have the alchemy of Master of Orion.
I've started playing a new game, Galactic Civilizations II, which has every promise of being the new Master of Orion. The first version was a bit funky; the new version is just plain cool. Here's a quick video overview:
I'd say more...But I have an empire to run.