Top Ten Games for Hardcore Gamers - Part 3

As we round out out Top Ten Games for Hardcore Gamers, we come to games that require not only dedication and commitment, but also actually teach you skills that are applicable outside of gaming. If you are so hardcore as to apply yourself to these games you will soon be capable of something that is actually useful.



Richard Burns Rally - 2004, PS2, Xbox, PC, Gizmodo

Codemasters’ Colin McRae Rally series, is widely considered to be the benchmark for rally sports racing games, but a lesser known game from Warthog Games usurped the legendary racer in 2004, Richard Burns Rally.

For business reasons, (and the death of Richard Burns) a sequel was never made for the game, but a fervent fanbase developed mods and the game continues to bring new features, such as an online competition. Known for its dedication to the sport and its high difficulty if you master this game, you’ll be more likely to be able to handle a rental car on a dirt road at high speeds in the middle of Australia… (should that come up).



Sneak King - 2006, Xbox, Xbox 360
Acquiring this game required that you go into a Burger King in 2006 and order some kind of combo meal (I recall buying the meal and specifically asking not for it to be served, only wanting the game). Had the fast food employees had done their homework and actually played Sneak King, they could have put their stealth food delivery services to the test and pleasantly surprised me with a Whopper.

The game puts you in the role of the Burger King, who sneaks around stalking people, looking into their homes, turning up at their workplace (this was before Facebook had taken hold) and basically being a creep. He then waits for when his subject is most tired and springs a fast food delivery on them. How is this hardcore? Well, beyond giving you tangible life skills, the amount of suspension of disbelief required to get through the game is far beyond that which a mere casual gamer could manage.



Microsoft Flight Simulator – 1982 PC
Falcon 4 and other Microprose games advanced flight simulators to new levels, and, often with large instruction manuals, many would-be pilots picked up the minutiae of how to get a plane off the ground and back again in one piece. (Anyone who has played a flight sim knows that the take off and landing is what it is all about).

Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, which first released in 1982, is certainly the most comprehensive of simulators that can get you a long way to understanding how to fly hundreds of different planes, all around the world.

Sadly, after it was discovered that flight simulators had been used by several terrorists as a training tool, Microsoft had to defend the game. They stated that Flight Simulator, “could only help hone the skills of an already trained pilot” rather than be the sole source of preparation.

This is as hardcore of a simulation as you can get, at least no other simulator matches its depth and duration.

Top Ten Games for Hardcore Gamers - Part 2

The 10 through 7 slots of our selection of the Top Ten Games for Hardcore Gamers, focused on endurance and attitude, pushing the gamer to their physical and intellectual limits. These next three games are also tests of commitment and endurance.



WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW – 2006, PSP (Also on other platforms)
It may seem a cop-out to include a game that just has to be tediously challenging because… wrestling game. In fact the 2006 version of WWE Smackdown! vs. RAW was well received and praised for the quality and amount of content — so much so that the game can keep you occupied for hundreds of hours.

The PSP version included all of the content of the PS2 version, in fact even more content, and this seems to have taxed the capabilities of the system so much so that when loading a custom character into a match a warning was displayed about the long load times. Site contributor Rob, says that the load times were up to four minutes, requiring patience in addition to the general level of hardcoreness required to complete every aspect of WWE Smackdown! vs. RAW 2006.



Gran Turismo 2 – 1999 Playstation 2
Gran Turismo 2 (and really you could substitute many of the series entries here) requires of the player the same maniacal dedication to the game of that of its creator Kazunori Yamauchi. If you are to complete the game, says it will take a mere 100 to 207 hours, which lines up with the 200+ hours site co-founder Phil Fogg put into the game. Some legendary Gran Turismo gamers have reverted to the rubber-band trick, which has nothing to do with low level AI found in Mario Kart, but the actual use of rubber bands to steer and maintain acceleration during bathroom breaks.

If you are to dedicate yourself to the task of completing Gran Turismo 2 in the 21st century, your sensibilities will not be too offended, though if you find the vasoline-on-fishbowl quality graphics to be too offensive you can track down the Bleemcast disc mod of the game and play it on the SEGA Dreamcast.



DOTA 2 - 2013 PC, Mac, Linux
When a legendary game developer like Valve (lets face it, they were once legendary for the games they released, now they are only legendary in the sense that the idea of them releasing new games is pure fiction) brings out a game that is free, and on their monopolistic and ubiquitous game store, it is natural to think it is going to be a mega hit designed for the masses. In fact, it’s a game that has such a steep learning curve, occupied by the least welcoming people on the planet, that only the most hardcore of gamer would consider getting involved.

Though if you do (and according to the premise of this list to maintain your credentials as a hardcore gamer, you must), you will be rewarded with a world of play that is as complex and intuitive as it is addicting, engaging, and life threatening with multiple deaths attributed to the game.

Top Ten Games for Hardcore Gamers - Part 1

If there’s one thing gamers are good at it’s telling other gamers what they should be playing, and if they don’t want to play what you tell them, well then one has to start wondering just how serious they are about gaming. Are they “hardcore” as they say they are? To take the emotion out of the topic, the editorial board of has created this objective list of the top ten games for hardcore gamers. This will be presented in four parts, as no hardcare gamer after years of twitching, has the attention span to sit through all ten at one time.



Yourself!Fitness – 2004 Xbox, Windows, Playstation 2, Wii
To play a game like Yourself!Fitness challenges the core of hardcore gamers. First you have to find a copy of it, which became easier as the years went by as this game had one of the longest release windows in gaming history extending from 2004 on the Xbox through 2009 on the Wii. 

As a hardcore gamer you’ll be challenged to stretch your concept of what makes a game, as well as your deltoids, as it puts your through a continuum of customizable aerobic exercises under the watchful eye of Maya (who laid the groundwork for Wii Fitness Coach). Stick with it and you’ll end up with amazing six-pack abs.

Bonus information for this game, a DVD featuring Maya was given away at the McDonalds fast-food chain in 2006 with every purchase of a salad and bottle of water.



Marc Ecko Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure – 2006 Xbox, Windows Playstation 2
At first consideration a game about a 34 year-old fashion designer may not seem hard core enough to make it into this list, but consider that this game was banned in a state of Australia (and therefore all of Australia) until it was finally released for PC in 2013, on the basis of its promotion of vandalism.

MEGUCUP, as it’s become known in these parts, is not only controversial, but also an original concept for the time of its release including platforming elements, beat-em-up combat and of course the main element: tagging and street art by use of aerosol cans, rollers and stencils. Beyond the action, the story is worthwhile and once you’ve finished you’ll truly be a hardcore gamer (well, this and the other eight games on the list).



SimEarth – 1990 Windows, Sega CD, SNES, Many Others
In the wake of the critical and commercial success of SimCity the eyes of the gaming world were fixed on Will  Wright and his team at Maxis as to what they would do next. SimState? Sim Country? Why stop there? SimEarth, as a precursor as to what would happen with the over-hyped game, Spore almost two decades later, drew a lot of attention, but ultimately was too much for normal gamers to take in.

For the hardcore gamer though, a quick speed reading of the 200 page manual, will provide all you need to know as an introduction to this sleep inducing game. At times the education is almost too much to take, but hardcore gamers will be able to plow through and create a viable ecosystem for life to exist.

For an extra challenge, the truly hardcore gamer will want to play through the Sega CD version on the original hardware.

Game Under Podcast Episode 114

In Episode 114 of the Game Under Podcast, Tom Towers takes the Mario Kart Tour, but wishes he’d gone on a Thomas Cook holiday instead; he also tries out Sky: Children of Light with a controller, in anticipation of its console release. Phil Fogg shares his first impressions of Judgement, and laments the modern state of childhood, while yelling at a cloud.

And the final parts of Tom’s upcoming PC build, the Silent-but-Deadly Tower of Power, are detailed!

But most exciting of all, they discuss the superiority of fake meat and who they’d rather share a vegan milkshake with: Typhoid Mary, Tokyo Rose, or Lord Haw Haw?

Listen here, if the signal hasn’t been jammed.

Tom’s many-layered nonsense somehow came up on the show. Here’s a music video he made:

Stephen Hicks's Redemption; or, Lack Thereof?

In the final volume of Tom Towers’ 2018 adventures in reading, he posed the question: Could Stephen Hicks redeem himself? In the year 2019 Tom has continued to read, though not write about what he has read, except to answer this all-important question.

Incidentally, Australia’s version of the third (and lamest yet) Red Scare is the only version that actually features the actions of a communist government allegedly infiltrating sovereign institutions. However, it’s worth remembering that academic freedom requires some semblance of freedom of speech as well as the right to to protest. These two privileges may be expressed by collaboration with international institutions and self-censorship. To oppose such actions by law is to actually limit not expand academic freedom.

For more McCarthy cartoons, click  here .

For more McCarthy cartoons, click here.


While illustrating my answer to The Stephen Hicks Question (any suggestions for a final solution?), I came across this re-purposing of a McCarthy-era anti-Communist propaganda poster. This is the sort of thing that makes people think satire is a difficult business to be in these days. But I did write this, so as you can see, it’s really easier than ever! Of course, I wasn’t paid for writing it…

Game Under Podcast Episode 113

In Episode 113 of the Game Under Podcast, Tom Towers and Phil Fogg return to discuss rugby league, The Residents and a little bit of gaming. Specifically, the state of games magazines and the gaming industry itself: has this last gen been a creative failure? Did Phil end up being able to play a CoD, after all? And what were Tom’s final thoughts on Sky: Children of the Light, That Game Company’s adaptation of The Book of Leviticus.

Listen here.

The Residents and Tierra Whack

Tom Towers wrote some more things about music and poetry. You might be thinking he did not, but what are lyrics if not poetry? Don’t believe me? Take it up with the Nobel Committee!

Whack World has 5 million views on YouTube. The biggest Residents videos can barely manage a million. Yet The Residents, to celebrate their 40th anniversary, were able to sell (or at least offer for sale) 10 fridges filled with first editions of their CDs, records, DVDs and games (as in, computer games), for $100,000 each. So what is internet fame really worth? What is fame really worth, considering that people still pretend not to know who The Residents are/were to this day!

You can enjoy a version of the album cover below where the genitalia has not been airbrushed out here. Incidentally, that’s also where you can read what was referred to above.

The Beatles could not have been The Residents; but it’s conceivable that The Residents could have been The Beatles.

The Beatles could not have been The Residents; but it’s conceivable that The Residents could have been The Beatles.

Call of Duty Black Ops III

I won’t be playing Call of Duty: Black Ops III, but not because I don’t want to. In fact I so wanted to play the game that over the last two and a half months I’ve been downloading and installing it on my Xbox One — so far spending about 60 gigabytes of my internet usage quota. Despite buying the game in physical form, and expecting it to be able to be play once I got it home, (and downloaded what has become an expected 10-20 gigabyte day one patch or similar update), I thought I would be ready to go. Instead it has been a constant dribble of updates and installing without end.

If it was not my internet allocation, and the fact that I really want to play the game, it would be funny, indeed in Brian Provinciano’s latest game, Shakedown Hawaii, a game that broadly satirizes almost all aspects of modern life, there is a mission where a character buys a much anticipated game, eagerly sits down to play it and has to wait for it to update. An update that is so long that the real game interrupts the installation and has you go back to other missions and check back days later (where the game is still installing and updating). In the video below the second part of the commentary touches on predatory in-game purchases (a joke that I wish the developer took all the way by including them in the game itself).

On top of the ridiculous install time and size of the Call of Duty: Black Ops III update, even worse for the small minority of Call of Duty players that only play the campaign, is that the campaign is the very last component of the game to download. The final straw came this morning when the download of the campaign was paused so that the game could download a 23 megabyte update for the online multiplayer! I’m not prone to anger, but seeing that, and that I still had 40 gigabytes yet to download of the campaign, prompted me to eject the game disc and throw it across the room. It got off lightly given that I once shot a copy of Too Human with a shotgun, then lit it on fire and finally drove over it with a tractor.

I’d love to write a review of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, but this is as far as I got in the game.

I’d love to write a review of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, but this is as far as I got in the game.

Activision’s ambivalence for their campaign mode in Call of Duty was made fully evident in the next annual installment after Call of Duty: Black Ops III where the multiplayer mode was dropped altogether (apparently due to a multi-path campaign becoming too much for the development team to handle in the allocated time).

Campaign mode has now returned to the series, but after this experience with Call of Duty: Black Ops III I’m reluctant to risk the purchase, which is a shame, given the enjoyment the series has provided over the years.

Phill Fogg

Deadly Premonition II: A Blessing

There is a God, and He has seen fit to bestow upon us puny mortals this divine blessing, transcending worldly barriers like language.

Judging by Twitter, it looks like Swery is writing and directing it; he retired a couple of years ago, but apparently that was just a ruse!

While you wait for its 2020 release to roll around, you can reacquaint yourselves with Francis York Morgan, as the original has just been surreptitiously released on the Switch eShop! Physical copies for Americans coming in November.

Or better yet, you could also listen to our show discussing Francis York Morgan’s original adventures here!