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#1 Edited by mellotronrules (2551 posts) -

hey duders! looking for some help!

and let me preface this by saying this isn't a sympathy plea- prognosis is good, the numbers are in our favour and the vibes are being kept positively PLUR (but yall are good people so thank you in advance).

my old man is due to start a 6 week course of radiation therapy/chemo shortly, and one of the challenges will be discomfort and pain management. i've heard (and personally find) that games are pretty great for this sort of thing, so i'm soliciting suggestions for games that might keep him distracted and pass the time. he's dabbled before (when i was growing up he was known to goof around on the intellivision, c64, and games like day of the tentacle and wing commander)- but i wouldn't say he has a ton of experience.

he owns a very modest laptop- so i'm thinking steam might be the best vehicle, but i'm not above buying a switch or the like if it seems like that's the best platform.

also, he's a little older (early 70s) and he never did the mario thing- so i'm leaning more towards turn-based and slower-paced games than say a platformer or shooter.

lastly- he's a thinker, star trek nerd, and also a history buff (with an emphasis on nautical history).

so far i'm thinking Broken Age, maybe Sid Meier's Civilization VI, maybe the OG Company of Heroes and Into the Breach. does anyone else have any thoughts? doesn't have to be for cancer recovery specifically- i'll take anything that people had success engaging older folks with.

thanks gang!

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#2 Posted by Sweep (10564 posts) -

I was in this exact same position a year ago and, having been discharged from hospital and given a month of medical leave, I was also looking for games to distract me. If it helps you decide, I think there are actually two categories of games that you should be looking for

Short and sweet:

For me this was For Honour, which seems like a weird choice, but the games were short and intense, meaning I could play them in quick bursts as a speedy distraction from any anxiety or depression I might have been feeling. Because of the short/disposible nature of the game I was also able to simply quit and walk away without any gameplay repercussions if I felt the pain/discomfort was becoming overwhelming. I think something like Into The Breach would be perfect for this, so I'd second that choice.

The long con:

Something to invest a lot of time into, this is basically how you deal with the monotony of being stuck at home for weeks on end. Short and sweet games are fun, but they lack the sense of investment/achievement which comes from a more narrative focused game. For me this was Breath Of The Wild. You mention potentially buying a switch and I think this is a great idea, not just because it's a great console, but I found it invaluable being able to pick the thing up and carry it to my bed when I was in a lot of pain and needed to lie down. So the practical implications are also kind of ideal for someone in your fathers position.

Essentially you need a combination of these two types of games, something to play in short bursts as a quick distraction, and something to kill long chunks of time. I think there are plenty of each on steam. If your dad is open to online gaming I'd suggest something like Don't Starve Together as a cool way for the pair of you to hang out, too.

Hope he makes a speedy recovery!

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#3 Edited by diz (1394 posts) -

Speedy recovery!

I think these run on low specs (and are great games for a cerebral senior):

  • Magnum Opus
  • Infinifactory
  • Factorio
  • Hacknet
  • Grey Goo
  • Spelunky
  • Prison Architect
  • Spacechem
  • FTL
  • Wargame Red Dragon
  • 8-bit Armies
  • Cold Waters

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#4 Posted by Anduran (18 posts) -

The Total War series might be a good fit. They're all on steam and the older ones should run on most things.

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#5 Posted by mustachioeugene (596 posts) -

I'll second some games @diz mentioned above; FTL, Hacknet, maybe Spelunky. The early days of my Spelunky experiences were great for solving gameplay elements and workarounds to the problems the game presents, knowing the depth of it might be pretty intimidating to someone just coming back to gaming though.

I'd also add some of the new(er) crop of adventure games; Contradiction!, Kentucky Route Zero, and two games my father (75 now) played and enjoyed while he was recouping from surgery; Gemini Rue and Noir Syndrome.

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#6 Posted by Craigieboy (114 posts) -

When it comes to being "distracted" I think puzzle games could be a good fit if he finds one that keeps him occupied for a good while. I've recently been playing Puyo Puyo Tetris since it was added to Steam but other stuff like The Witness or FTL could be good too.

If you want another RTS recommendation I can vouch for Stronghold Crusader HD which is one of the few RTS games I've been able to get into and it pretty good overall.

Hope everything goes well with the treatment!

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#7 Posted by Nux (2889 posts) -

If you end up getting a Switch Mario Odyssey or Mario+Rabbids might interest him. Mario Odyssey is really chill and spikes in difficulty post game which will be a good destraction while Mario+Rabbids will require a good amount of focus to get past the harder battles.

For his modest laptop I would recommend Pillars of Eternity. Even if he isn't into cRPGs per say he could just put it on the story time difficulty and get absorbed into the world. There is a ton of thing to read and explore. if he can get into it Pillars would be a good distraction for sure.

I wish you and yours good luck during this, cancer has hit my family before it was really hard for up. Stay strong duder, your father will beat this.

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#8 Edited by ShaggE (9215 posts) -

If he can run it, XCOM for sure.

Also, you say he liked games like DOTT and Wing Commander back in the day: Origin Access has the first four Wing Commanders and Privateer (as well as some other games he might like). Might be worth getting a month subscription to Access for him. As for adventure games, there's quite a few fixed-up-for-modern-PC releases on GOG and Steam.

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#9 Edited by mellotronrules (2551 posts) -

my sincere thanks for the suggestions, advice, and well-wishes thus far gang. the gb community is true blue when it comes to helping out!

@sweep- really appreciate your thoughts- it's really useful to have someone who's been through something similar break it down like that.

@diz@anduran - these are all going on the list, sincerely appreciated.

@mustachioeugene - contradiction is a genius call- it's right up his alley.

@craigieboy - i don't know why i didn't think of the witness, that's perfect! thank you and glad to hear your pops enjoyed some of these

@nux - i didn't think of pillars, but he reads a ton of fantasy fiction and it might be worth a shot. and thanks for the kind words- it's not our first go with cancer either but we're good for it!

@shagge - man i hadn't thought of origin...that actually might be a great idea. thanks for bringing that up!

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#10 Edited by clush (704 posts) -

I would probably go with civ V over VI.

Stuff like The Walking Dead or other telltale 'adventures' is pretty easy to get into as well.

And what about Stardew Valley?

Also, for someone who hasn't been into games you can look at older stuff. Hard to imagine anyone not having a good time with Red Alert 2 for example.

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#11 Posted by Gooddoggy (552 posts) -

Maybe Star Trek: 25th Anniversary? Since you said he likes Star Trek and has played some adventure games. It's on Steam and should run on basically anything. Civ and Into the Breach both seem like solid choices.

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#12 Posted by TheFlamingo352 (334 posts) -

My dad hates that games aren't turn based as often anymore, but he's been having a blast with Into the Breach. Advanced Wars or Fire Emblem are great and long if you're familiar with emulation.

Other ideas:

- Civilisation 3 or 5 on GOG.com

- Boardgames on phone or tablet, Ascension is a free deckbuilder I like, Star Realms is also good

- Axis & Allies and Panzer General are good hexbased war games, a little old now but they have good number crunching and some long campaigns to play

- If he likes chess, random scenario chess apps (like Really Bad Chess) are good

- Maybe a little too complicated, but the XCOM reboots are both fantastic

- Anything from Sid Meier, like Ace Patrol, Pirates!, etc.

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#13 Posted by Tesla (2292 posts) -

I think Company of Heroes is a perfect choice based on what you said about him. RTS in general are going to be a goldmine, maybe try some of the Total War games that are set in a particular time period he enjoys. Sid Meier's Pirates! (the 2004 version) is an absolute must for him as well.

Good luck to him!

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#14 Posted by mellotronrules (2551 posts) -

@clush: thanks for the suggestion- out of curiosity, do you think civ 5 is easier to pickup/grasp than 6? that's my primary concern for his sake (i own and have played both, but i don't really know which would be easiest to jump into).

@gooddoggy: that's a rad idea- we actually owned that as kids growing up but i'm not sure he ever finished it.

@theflamingo352: i really dig the idea of some boardgames and axis&allies- thanks for those!

@tesla: i think you've sold me on pirates and maybe a total war- and thanks for the well wishes!

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#15 Posted by The_Greg (535 posts) -

I would have a look on GOG. There are loads of old games on there that I wouldn't class as fast paced or 'in your face'. Plus, they would run without issues (mostly).

Heroes of Might and Magic and Baldur's Gate, to mention a couple.

Best of luck to all of your family.

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#16 Posted by clush (704 posts) -

@clush: thanks for the suggestion- out of curiosity, do you think civ 5 is easier to pickup/grasp than 6?

Yeah, I'd say so. Especially without the Gods & Kings expansion which adds some unnecessary complications (and little else imho). 5 is the one where they went out of their way to streamline a bunch of stuff. It will also probably run better than 6.

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#17 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3766 posts) -

@mellotronrules: I'd also suggest Civ V over VI. I think V flows better than VI does by having less systems to worry about. In VI you have to build your districts and then build your improvements in those districts and to get the most out of them you've to put them next to others and so on and on. In V you just build whatever whenever with very little restriction.

Cities Skylines is probably another good one. It's pretty foolproof and runs itself, but it's fun to create your own little town and watch it grow into a city.

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#18 Posted by Hamst3r (5480 posts) -

The PopCap bundle, for stuff like Plants vs. Zombies, Bookworm Adventures, Heavy Weapon, Peggle, Bejeweled, and Zuma in particular. Pair that with some podcast subscriptions, like maybe Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, This American Life, Joe Rogan, The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe, Serial, or Criminal perhaps. If you know of any people he already likes, they might have a podcast too. There's probably even a nautical history podcast.

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#19 Posted by dudeglove (13684 posts) -

Planescape Torment perhaps? It's maybe a bit left field and a teensy bit obtuse, but a lot of the game can be played through (really good) dialogue and it's a heck of a story.

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#20 Edited by OurSin_360 (6119 posts) -

RTS and 4x games could end up being a bit stressful so that's something to keep in mind. I find ARPG's a good way to deal with sickness as i can just turn my brain off (for the most part) and just click on stuff. Diablo, Grim Dawn, Torchlight, POE, etc. Puzzle and match 3 games also work similar, so maybe something like that battle chef brigade game (i haven't played it personally but it looks pretty fun).

Trying out new things may also be good too so maybe trying to learn something like a shooter (maybe destiny could scratch that mindless loot grind of ARPG's itch). I love xcom, but again it stresses me the F*** out so I don't really play it when i'm sick lol.

Anyway, wishing your pops a speedy recovery!

Edit: Vermintide might actually be good for this sort of thing too, i only played the first one though.

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#21 Posted by MillaJ (287 posts) -

I would add The Room games. Great puzzlers.

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#22 Posted by mellotronrules (2551 posts) -

@the_greg thanks chief- i haven't used GOG before, but i think that's a real solid choice to try to rekindle some of his old interest in games.

@clush@jesus_phish: you've sold me, 5 it is! and yes- city skylines also seems like a great idea.

@hamst3r: man the podcast thing is a great idea...i'm not sure he ever jumped on the bandwagon but you're right, there's so much great history content out there that seems like a real solid suggestion. thanks!

@dudeglove: you've got me real curious about that- i think i'll check out the QL because although i know nothing of it- that sounds great!

@oursin_360: yeah, the stress factor had crossed my mind, but fortunately i don't think he's above cranking most things down to easy, and honestly i think he always found twitchy, performance-based games more stressful. but diablo is an outstanding suggestion, and thank you for the well wishes!

@millaj: YES. i had totally forgot about that series- great idea! thanks!

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#23 Posted by Captain_Insano (3477 posts) -

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Civ V

Rome Total War. The original Rome game. Wont be too taxing. Historical theme would be a good draw

Cites Skylines

Tropico series is pretty fun

Prison Architect depending on his sense of humour/humanity

My favourite game of all time is Transport Tycoon Deluxe - you can find OpenTTD online. Theres a new Railways game by Paradox that looks good, though ive not played it

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#24 Posted by soulcake (2643 posts) -

When i had Cancer i played a lot off Borderlands at the time but i don't know if that's a thing your dad is into. Maybe go the Paul Rcykert route and introduce him to something that's dumb and fun like a goat simulator.

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#25 Edited by noizy (977 posts) -

I wouldn't dismiss so called casual games like Poker, Mahjong, Bejeweled, Solitaire, Hidden Object games. That sort of stuff is a good time killer, and if he's not into too involved type of games those would do well. I know i installed a Texas Holdem Poker game on my dad's laptop years ago and he played a lot of it, and all sorts of card games.

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#26 Posted by longevitous (259 posts) -

The Go series of turn based puzzle games from Square Enix. They run on everything.

Hitman Go

Lara Croft Go

Deus Ex Go

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#27 Posted by TheHT (15797 posts) -

It's very short, but I'll never stop recommending Splice. It's not an especially complicated puzzle game (nor long), but I found it incredibly relaxing.

Civilization is a great suggestion. Gunpoint might be fun for a spell too, but that's also short, and everything's very tiny so I dunno if that'll be an issue.

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#28 Edited by BaneFireLord (3556 posts) -

If he has the patience for learning a lot of rules and likes history at all, the Paradox grand strategy games (Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV and Hearts of Iron IV specifically) are excellent for keeping your mind off real life and have very low system requirements (I played a lot of CKII on a netbook back when it first came out).

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#29 Posted by soulcake (2643 posts) -

@banefirelord: Oh yeah these are great recommendations this week alone i wasted 20 hours in Hearts of Iron IV trying the rebuild the Byzantine empire with Fascist Greek, just to be backstabbed by Mussolini... Never trust a Fascist....

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#30 Edited by PeezMachine (451 posts) -

I'll echo the call for those Zachtronics joints (Opus Magnum, SpaceChem, etc).

Bastion. With its "no sweat" mode and very modular do-it-yourself difficulty modifiers, should be perfectly accessible, and is great!

Reus. A charming little god-strategy game with short sessions (runs capped at 30, 60, or 120 mins). Easy to get into and have a good time with, but has a kind of nuts high-level rabbit hole if your paps is so inclined. Fully pause-able!

And speaking of Reus, maybe the other jam from those folks, Renowned Explorers. A little visual-novel adventure, a little turn-based tactics, a lot of fun!

Stellaris. You mentioned Star Trek, and it's essentially turn-based.

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#31 Posted by OhBabes (147 posts) -

How about Minecraft on Switch? Or laptop for that matter. If he can get to grips with the 3D movement then it's still a completely absorbing experience.

I'd maybe consider something like Shovel Knight or another fairly simple retro-ish platformer....speaking personally (albeit never having been anything like that ill), I think in that situation I might gravitate towards a simpler experience with less to think about around the edges i.e. not a strategy game.

The Witness might be a good option along those lines too...not sure if it would run on the laptop, but it is on phones now.

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#32 Posted by someoneproud (486 posts) -

Best wishes duder, I'd recommend Stardew Valley as it's pretty simple to understand and play, you can play at your own pace and have fun and it'll run on most computers.

It's not gonna scratch any sci-fi itch but you can put a lot of thought and time into planning crops and it's shocking how much time you can kill playing it.

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#33 Edited by BootyMcJohnson (8 posts) -

Most of what I'd suggest are already in @diz's list. I'd add:

  • Amanita games (Botanicula, Machinarium etc.)
  • World of Goo
  • Bridge Constructor
  • Democracy 3
  • Windward (I don't know how accurate the nautical aspects are.)

Hope things go well.

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#34 Edited by Bonbonetti (107 posts) -

When it comes to PC gaming I prefer GOG (www.gog.com), so my selection is based on their offering.

Adventure (point & click, puzzle stuff): The Dig, Syberia 1 & 2, the Tex Murphy series, Samorost 1 & 2, Jazzpunk, the Sherlock Holmes series, The Witness, Zak McKracken, Starship Titanic, Loom, Grey Matter, Samaritan Paradox, Gemini Rue, Quest for Infamy, Resonance, Infinifactory, Unrest, Shadowgate, Technobabylon.

RPGs: King's Bounty The Legend or Crossworlds, Legends of Eisenwald, Shadowrun "1-3", Lords of Midnight + Doomdark's Revenge,

Strategy: Startopia, Civilization IV, Pharao + Cleopatra, Zeus + Poseidon, Emperor Rise of the Middle Kingdom, Alpha Centauri, Tropico 5, Port Royal 2, Children of the Nile, Patrician 3, Caesar 3, Star Wars Rebellion, Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds, Empires Dawn of the Modern World, Stronghold Crusader, Banished, Crusader Kings, Kingdom New Lands, Block'hood, Factorio.

I also highly recommend the Creeper World games, made by Knuckle Cracker. They are awesome sci-fi strategy puzzle games.

With older people it's quite difficult to predict what they will enjoy (they say one thing but ...), the best is to probably let him try out a whole bunch of games and genres.

GOG has a fair number of older gamers who are active in their forum, you could try asking there as well.

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#35 Posted by Crommi (401 posts) -

Considering comfort, look for games that can be played with gamepad. I can tell from experience that when you're dealing with discomfort and pain, it is much more comfortable to play with a gamepad because you can shuffle around and find comfortable position far more easily than when using keyboard&mouse. Wired Xbox 360 pad is great and very convenient to use with Steam games + wire is really long, I recommend that over Xbox One gamepad because wireless is pain in the ass to deal with and build quality & feel is really bad compared to X360 gamepad. Plus, for senior citizen you may also consider that wireless controllers are much heavier because of batteries.

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#36 Posted by bombedyermom (439 posts) -

My dad is mid 60s and loves crusader kings 2, hearts of Iron, civilization, europa universalis, and skyrim. Obviously he's big on the grand strategy games. He's also a big history buff, hence the lean in that direction.

(I'm very proud/mortified by my father's 1,000+ hour play time with skyrim)