2011 is already shaping up to be a great year for gamers, whether you're into flashy new hardware, upcoming sequels that may or may not have baked confections, or just new releases from your favourite talented indie developers. But, of course, auld acquaintances should not be forgot, and all that jazz, which is why this week's edition of the Vault features several stellar titles from the last decade. Yes, that's right. I said the last decade. We're all officially gettin' old. I don't know how you're coping with it, but I've seen "Up"; I'm already hoarding balloons.
- Hitchhiker's Illustrated Guide to the Galaxy - I have wanted to include this in the vault so badly, but up until recently, the game appeared to be broken. No longer! Now you, too, shall feel the soul-spanning anguish of the babel fish puzzle in this giddy, silly, tricky remake of the original 1984 interactive fiction game based on Douglas Adams' iconic work. The story follows the first novel; you are Arthur Dent, a rather spectacularly unlucky individual (or lucky, depending on your point of view) with a very unusual friend who turns out to be from somewhere much farther away than he suspects. Full of humour both dry and bizarre, with a snappy narrative and memorable cast, this is about as good as interactive fiction gets. The only downside is that if you're unfamiliar with the books, you might find the logic to some of the puzzle solving doesn't exactly make sense. But then, NEITHER DOES YOUR FACE. Yeah. I went there.
- McDonalds Videogame - Molle Industria created this disturbing yet satirical simulation game of everyone's favourite clown eating establishment back in 2006, and it still remains just as entertaining, addictive, and worrisome to this day. The job is to juggle everything from buying the land you need to raise your cattle, to hiring (and firing!) employees, and handling marketing decisions. Whether you think its entirely satirical doesn't really have much of an impact on the fact that this is simply a great, though challenging, game with a lot to recommend it, including its simple but appealingly cartoonish visuals. It's probably even better if you actually worked in the fast food industry at some point. (I made it exactly one afternoon shift before I quit in a rage.)
- Transylmania! - Do you remember when vampires were cool? You don't have to go all the way back to Spike McFang (although I recommend you pay a visit) when 2005 has this painfully adorable little action arcade game from Zeeks about a vampire who just wants to get some beauty sleep. The goal is to convert all the intruding villagers to mindless undead servants and get back to your coffin before the time runs out, avoiding hazards along the way. It's extremely simple to pick up, but hard to put down, and eternity as a shambling monster was never so squishably cute. If you're looking for something sweet yet challenging to put a smile on your face, you could do a lot worse than this treat. Sure, it's not Halloween, but when has that ever stopped us from having fun?
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!