They should call it Neptune’s Time Sink

If you have the misfortune to follow me on one of the social media outlets I frequent you may have been wondering why I’ve been so quiet of late. I can almost imagine you sitting there at your computer scratching your head, pondering why I haven’t replied to your poke, @reply or email. Possibly you haven’t noticed my absence. No matter, because I’ve been very unproductively engaged in a spot of inter-galactic warfare courtesy of Neptune’s Pride, a free online 4X strategy game (whatever that means) which one blogger called “the most dangerous game ever made”

He’s not far wrong. I’ve dabbled in online games before, you might remember my foray into Urban Dead, but generally I resist these kind of games as I’ve always found them exciting at first but ultimately unrewarding and unable to satisfy my goldfish like attention span. Neptune’s Pride is different because it’s continuous and very, very ponderous. Sending a fleet of spaceships to another planet takes hours, even days and it happens in real time so there’s a limited amount you can do at any one time, then you have to wait for things to very slowly happen.

The real intrigue and interest in the game comes through the chat and messaging systems where you can talk to the other players, and use to plot and scheme against each other. I like to think I’m normally a nice person (doesn’t everybody though?) but whilst playing Neptune’s Pride I had an uncontrollable urge to stab the only other player who was decent to me in the back as soon as I was able. And it felt great. The simplicity of the graphics coupled with some gorgeous avatar illustrations all add to the incredibly immersive experience.

(Artwork copyright of Iron Helmet, I only put it here because they are so lovely)

I’ve only completed two games so far and I’ve decided to stop, for a while at least. It’s the kind of game that gets into your head, I feel a compulsive need to check back on it every couple of hours, just in case the purple player has broken our truce. It consumes far too much of my mental energy and gives my girlfriend way too much ammunition for taking the piss out of me.

Oh hang about, I see the developers of Neptune’s Pride, Iron Helmet, have got another online strategy game you can play called Blight of the Immortals. Maybe I’ll just start one little game to see what it’s all about…

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