A disclaimer: Once again, I'm talking about stuff I like and am not endorsing anything. As I've said before, I'm not a cool enough blogger to get paid to say any of this stuff. I get on average about ZERO hits a week. I just like to ramble about stuff, so I put it out here hoping someone else will like to ramble too and we can have a conversation. That's it and that's all.

Note: Some of these games are old, so I don't know if you can find them anywhere for sale or if they will work on newer computer systems like Windows 7. Also, don't hate me for playing some violent and gory games. These aren't for everyone and I'm not suggesting everyone, especially children, should play some of these.

I'm a game geek. Always have been. I can't say that I've been more deeply into one type of game over others, though I do like real-time strategy games and hack-and-slash "dungeon crawl" games more than most. I never really got into sports games, but being a geek I never really got into sports much at all.

Lately, I've dug out some games that I've never finished. I've had some of these for a long time, but for one reason or another, I never got around to playing them through to the end. Since it seems like a waste to have spent money on a game and never finish it, I loaded them up and gave them a shot.

The first one is Diablo II, with it's expansion pack "Lord of Destruction". This is probably the most violent and gory of the games I own. This is your typical hack and slash dungeon crawl. You take a character into a maze and you kill things that are trying to kill you. You pick up treasure and weapons and armor and make your character bigger and stronger.

I had played the original Diablo when it came out in the early 90s and while very gory, I was impressed with it's replay-ability. It randomly generates new mazes every time you start a new game, with unique bosses and items in each maze. Diablo II follows that model with more character options and much larger mazes and more play time.

Should I talk about tips and tricks? I don't think I will. There are literally hundreds of sites out there to help you through the game. I will say that to get to the end of the expansion pack, you will die a lot. A LOT a lot.

I got the game out about a week ago and played about an hour a day before I got to the end. (Having played it before, I knew all the best weapons and spells and armor to get, so I went through it pretty quick.) I had gotten to the end before, but never finished the "Big Boss". Took me another couple of hours to figure out the best way to get him, but I did. And now I can file this one away.

The next game is StarCraft Brood War. Technically an expansion pack, it's more of a sequel to the original StarCraft, a really great sci-fi based real time strategy game. Again, maybe a little gory, but not as bloody and "icky" as Diablo, though it was produced by the same people.

In StarCraft you take one of three races and battle against, or form alliances with, the other two. As the story progresses you will get to play the same story from all three sides. The expansion pack picks up where the original leaves off, taking you to a final showdown that is really hard and really impressive.

The way you play is you harvest resources to build a base that allows you to produce soldiers and weapons. Unlike the hack and slash where you just go kill things, a real time strategy game makes you think about the best uses of your resources and allows you to choose what to build and when to attack. But your enemy is doing the same thing, so you need to defend yourself as well.

Game play can go on for hours and days on a single level. I've only gotten as far as the sixth level out of 30 on the expansion pack! I don't have tons of time to play, so it may be a really long time before I get through it.

The last one I wanted to talk about may also be the weirdest game I've ever played. It was an attempt by a game maker to make a so-called "Christian" alternative to some of the violent games out there. However, it comes off as pretty violent itself. Based on the popular book series of the same name, it's "Left Behind".

Without going into the theology of the authors of the book series, or the violence in the game committed by the heroes (Christians), let's just talk about the game itself.

It's a real-time strategy game, very much like Starcraft that I mentioned earlier. You gather resources, build structures, complete missions, and so on. Except the resources are people that you "convert". And many of the missions involve tanks and gun-fire. And while that does go along with the basic story line of the books, it seems illogical to make a game to compete against "secular" games that are "too violent".

I've had the game for quite some time and have not played all the way through. There's a lot of exploring the same city map over and over again. While the objective of each level is different, the basic game play is the same each time, no real variety in the strategies needed, just very repetitious. I pull it out every once in a while when I need a distraction. After a mission or two, I get bored and put it away. While I am interested to see how it plays out, I really don't have the where-with-all to push through how boring it is to get through the game.

So that's my rant for the week. What games are you playing?