Autumn Woods

Games That Are Currently Ruling My Life (And Why)

Going through the first part of this year, I was stuck in a gaming slump.  I wasn’t playing as many games as I had in months and years past, and I was having an identity crisis.  I went through musical genres to fill the void, and I tried out new games to try to find a new calling.  I went through Top Spin 4 and NBA 2K13, Borderlands 2, and even tried getting back into Skyrim. (Side note: I bought Skyrim when it came out, and played it for over 110 hours in the first week.  I am still suffering from burnout.)

Then I decided that something that may bring more excitement into my games was streaming live and hanging out with friends in game and in chat.  I played Minecraft with a friend while listening to music, and streamed it live on Twitch.  I later played some Puzzle Pirates and did the same thing.  I tried streaming The Sims, until I was interrupted to play Minecraft.

After a few days, a friend of mine asked me if I had heard of Minecraft’s Feed The Beast modpack.  I hadn’t so I looked into trying it out.  This is what rejuvenated my gaming over the course of the last month.  I’m going to go into detail now about the three games that are presently holding my collective gaming attention.

Minecraft Feed The Beast (FTB) Ultimate Mod Pack


This mod pack is a combination of other recent mod packs that fall under the collective Feed The Beast system.  It is a Minecraft Forge Mod Launcher (FML) pack with dozens of included mods, notably:

  • Not Enough Items (NEI) – Essentially a system built into the inventory system in Minecraft to keep track of items included in the current pack, as well as recipes to make them and recipes in which each item is used.
  • Buildcraft – One of several mods in the pack that adds complex and advanced machines including hole-digging mining wells, transport pipes and engines, and even a fully functional strip mining quarry.
  • Computercraft – Adds computers and other related devices like floppy disks.  Also adds a computer based robot called a turtle that can be automated to fulfill many different tasks from woodcutting to mining to lumberjacking, given a limited knowledge of LUA scripting or an ability to peruse pastebin.
  • Equivalent Exchange 3 (EE3) – Allows the use of a Minium stone created with items dropped by mobs to transform items into equivalently valued objects or upgrade items by combining them into higher value items.  (For example: four gold bars can be combined with a charge from the Minium stone to create a diamond)
  • Forestry – Adds bees and beekeeping, as well as several other interesting mechanics like tree breeding, automatic farms, and a mail system, in addition extra portable storage backpacks.
  • Industrialcraft 2 (IC2) – Adds other advanced machines (some of which perform similar tasks as Buildcraft machines) that run on electricity generated from generators rather than Buildcraft engines.
  • Mystcraft – Allows the creation of dimension shifting link-books to travel to created realms based on pages placed into the binding of the books.
  • PortalGun – For those familiar with the Portal games, this adds several usable Portal guns with few limits, which can be used to travel between two alterable locations at will.
  • Railcraft – Fleshes out the minecart system to include steam powered locomotives as well as more advanced train systems.
  • Thaumcraft – Adds magic to the game, allowing the controllable enchantment of several pieces of equipment, in addition to other interesting effects like aura and flux creating wisps (both friendly and hostile).
  • Twilight Forest – Adds an entirely new dimension to the game with interesting bosses to kill and loot to be earned.

This is only a list of mods that I’ve experienced first hand and of which I recognized the influence.  The pack has dozens more mods that affect the play of the game, and adjust the difficulty balance (GregTech), that to list them here would take all day.

The draw of this mod pack for me was the massive amount of new content that is in the game to utilize.  While playing on a standard Minecraft server, you don’t realize how truly barren the underground world really is until you play a pack that adds so much.  The feeling of always coming across something keeps mining interesting, and finding things that can be used to make huge, powerful, or fantastic devices like armor and mining equipment is what kept me playing this game all night and into the next day on several occasions last week.

Feed The Beast Download



For a lot of people, this game has taken control of their gaming as well.  After its launch, and after the period of time it took for Maxis to get their servers stable, Twitch streamers from all games gave SimCity a try, some even putting aside their hatred for EA and all things related to give it a shot.  For most who tried it after it stabilized, they weren’t disappointed.

I intended to stream right after launch, but ran into issues getting it to begin downloading.  After download, I was able to get into the game immediately, and the game ran great, save for an annoying bug that caused the game to crash whenever I would tab out of it to check something and tab back in.  After a couple days, these things were fixed, and more servers were opened to deal with the massive traffic, and I got to work.  I’ve played this game for well over 60 hours since last Tuesday.  I’ve enjoyed every minute of it (even the time I left the game on to experiment with what would happen to my city if left unattended making a profit overnight).

RELATED: SimCity Review

So far, my favorite specialization is culture, followed closely by electronics.  Culture is a great way of getting paid for making your city attractive and functional.  Keep traffic flowing and keep the city clean, and you’ll reap the profits of the venture.  Electronics is interesting, because of the difficulty of moving past the processor stage of development.

I am just enthralled with the infographics and upgrade system, as well as the balance and bonds system.  This game will likely hold my attention as long as it’s available and I can always create a new and unique city, or if another game become marginally more entertaining to me at the time.  It at least perpetually remains on the bubble (more on that later).


The Sims 3


This is the final one of three games I’ve played quite a bit in the last couple weeks.  It started off as just reviewing the new expansion pack, but redeveloped into a new found obsession with the game.  This is one of my bubble games that manages to sneak into my current rotation often.

The fact that I can now play several types of people through college, though, works for me in the long run of my play style on the Sims.  I typically make a single guy with some kind of plan, and this just gives a great first step for me to gain a head start on my job, while building social contacts and skills in an awesome social environment.  Also, the addition of uncontrolled roommates makes me really excited, since you can now split the rent of a house with housemate and not have to control them at all.  It was built from the dorm mechanic, and carried over to the regular neighborhood life.

I have all of the expansions and stuff packs except for the Sweet Treats Stuff Pack, and the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s Stuff Pack.  I will likely continue to get each new major content release for this series, as it is one of those game series’ that I’ve been with from the beginning, and I take the good with the bad (though to be honest, the only bad expansion for the Sims 3 so far has been Superstar, in my opinion, primarily because it is basically standalone).

The Sims 3

Bubble Games

These are the games that are currently sitting on the bubble of games I’d like to work into my rotation if I can clear up the time.  I usually have a small list of games like these in the background to have something to go to when I get bored of one of the games that’s in control.

World of Warcraft – This game needs little explanation at this point.  I have been playing this game since late 2005 on and off, and I have a max level character, and several characters within five levels of max level.  With the launch of the new patch 5.2, and with my possession of a 60 day time card I got for Christmas, its certainly there to be played.  Its just a matter of making the time for it, since it takes a serious time commitment to do anything serious in the game.

EVE Online – I played this game a little, but it has been more than 16 months since the last time I played, and there have been major updates to the game since then.  I’d like to give them a try, and I’ve even got a friend willing to give me some ISK and a job in game.  Also, a matter of time.  This game is a time burner as well.

There are always more games to be tried.  What games should I consider adding to my bubble?  Leave a comment below.  I might even stream it on Twitch.TV/WeatheredTunic when I do decide to play it!  Follow @caseyjfer on Twitter for stream announcements, or just follow WeatheredTunic on Twitch to receive broadcast announcements when I go live!