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When I was quite young, my family had a gateway computer, a desktop. On this computer was a program called gateway games, which let you play game demos a limited amount of times. Most of the games were terrible, but there were a few games that I truly enjoyed, namely Fate and Geneforge. On Gateway Games there were demos of Geneforge 1 and 2, and eventually 3. I played the demos until they were entirely spent. They were, at the time, amazing.

Recently, years after the computer and gateway were both long gone, I remembered Geneforge and decided to look it up. I got the first geneforge and started playing, and found that the game was far better than I remembered, the story now within my understanding. A few weeks later, exempting a week break, here I am still playing Geneforge (I finally got past the West Gate today, working on Valley of the Wind.) I decided today to look up Spiderweb Software and discovered quite a few interesting things. I was worried at first that the company did not exist any longer. It was rather old I already knew. I found that the company is still making games, that there are, in fact, a ridiculous amount of games by Spiderweb Software, and most surprising at all, we is a royal we and spiderweb is pretty much one person.

So here I am. I'm going to, eventually, get to all the Geneforge games. I'm absolutely infatuated with them (and if I remember 2 and 3 correctly, I'll eventually get an item hotbar). And I've looked on his website to see Avernum, Nethergate, Exile, and all of their installments. How many of them are worth my while? In a day of searching, I've heard ridiculous amounts of praise for all of them. Graphics and sound don't bother me in the least(And for all the [censored] i've seen it get, Geneforge looks pretty damn good to me). So is there any single game that's particularly bad? Or are they all as amazing as Geneforge is?

Edited by Student of Trinity
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SW's games live up to a pretty consistent standard of excellence. Some games are stronger than others to be sure, and everyone has their own personal favorites and least favorites, but none are "particularly bad," as you put it. You probably won't find all of them exactly as amazing as G1 (it's generally considered one of the best) but you probably also won't find many horrible disappointments, either. For what it's worth, Avernum 4 and Geneforge 3 are often less favored than their counterparts, but not to any venomous degree.

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Geneforge 3 is disliked not because of the plot or improvements in the combat/spells, but because players hate having to use boats between the islands. When you finally complete the main quest on each island and move on to the next, you have to pack up all those items that are too heavy to carry in your backpack and transfer them to the next island. By the third island this will take a few trips. Especially because you also have to travel to the storage zone which isn't near the boat.

 

Avernum 4 has a different game engine than the first three Avernum games. That takes a little getting used to playing, but the chief complaint is the plot is too close to Avernum 3. Just a change in the main villain would have drastically improved it.

 

The nice part about the remakes is that there is new content. Same basic plot, but plenty of new things to see and do.

 

Welcome back to playing Spiderweb Software. Please leave your sanity at the door. Jeff will be releasing another new game, Avadon 2: The Corruption soon so you can fall behind even more. :)

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Alright so after doing some more research, I'm going to play the 5 Geneforge games, Avadon (and its sequel when it comes out), Nethergate resurrection, and the Avernum series. I'm not really going to bother with the original exile games or the first Nethergate, opting instead for their remakes (is this a good decision?). I'm not sure about the latest remake, Avernum: Escape from the Pit. Should I play it instead of the first Avernum game? Should I do both? Will playing A:EftP and then going to the older Avernum 2 be too jarring? Are there remakes planned for the other Avernum games? Either way, that's 5+6+1+1=13 games, not counting Blades or Avadon 2. By the time I finish Geneforge it'll have been around a month since I started (I took a week break, and I didn't play /every/ day, but it's still a lot.) I have a lot ahead of me.

 

EDIT: Oh, and what ever happened to Richard White/Crystal Shards? Who/what were they? I could barely find anything. Also, what's Subterra? I found it on the FAQ page?

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I think you'll be fine passing on the original Exile / Nethergate games and the original first three Avernum games (just getting them to run on current systems can be extra work). Stick with N: Resurrection, A:EFTP, and the future A2 and A3 remakes that'll come along someday. In terms of how you approach the Avernum series, the only really serious spoiler issue is that A3's plot centers around a mystery, and A4 totally spoils it. It won't kill the fun of A3, but it might be enough to make you want to shy away from the later Avernum games.

 

By the time you make it through 5 Geneforge games, N:R, Avadon and its imminent sequel, and A:EFTP, probably the remake of A2 will be out, and after that you can decide whether to move on to A4/A5/A6 and risk spoilers, or wait for the A3 remake.

 

Subterra was some game made by not-SW, but I know nothing else about it. Likewise, I know nothing about Richard White except that his name is related to some kind of joke on here. Both were before my time.

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Original Nethergate was only available on CD-ROM and is no longer available.

 

Subterra and Richard White games were made by other people and sold here for a while, but are no longer sold here. Richard White stopped collecting his checks for games or so the implants tell me.

 

Homeland is available for a free download, and a discussion and link (no longer works) is here.

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It's an existential horror game. That's like survival horror only not.

 

—Alorael, who would refer you to the vast literature on the Cult of Richard White, implants, and temporal oddities, but he can't do so. That's half because it's a secret and half because all the source material is long gone. It lives on only in the hearts, minds, and implants of the faithful.

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In-jokes aside, Spiderweb used to publish a few third-party games. In particular, Richard White's games were unremarkable strategy games that few people actually bought or played, and so the forum dedicated to them turned into a place for general silliness. Eventually SW decided that working with third-party publishers was producing more work than money, and those forums were shut down.

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Your plan — the entire Geneforge series, followed by Avadon (and Avadon 2, because it'll probably be out by the time you finish Geneforge in a few months), followed by Nethergate: Resurrection, followed by Avernum: Escape from the Pit, followed by Avernum 2 (or its remake, if it's out by then), followed by Avernum 3, followed by Avernum 4-6 — is a good one.

 

That's probably the sequence I'd recommend now if switching engines doesn't bother you. (Nethergate: Resurrection and the current non-remakes of Avernum 2 and Avernum 3 are in older engines that look a little different.) If each game takes you about a month, you're in for a good year or so of fun. Not bad. :)

 

It's hard to pick a favorite among the games — I just tried to and ended up listing almost the entire catalog — but I feel as though even the weakest games are still pretty good. Even Avernum 4 — which I think was Spiderweb's weakest offering — was still worth playing once.

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You should consider yourself a lucky person - what a lot of fun there is in store for you. You could almost spend a year just playing the Geneforge series. Do a game as a Shaper, then up the difficulty and replay as a rebel - it's terrific gaming.

That was the exact thing I did when I was still with my netbook :p although I have never completed buying 1 and 2

-----

-Nightwatcher

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You should consider yourself a lucky person - what a lot of fun there is in store for you. You could almost spend a year just playing the Geneforge series. Do a game as a Shaper, then up the difficulty and replay as a rebel - it's terrific gaming.

Did that already - In fact I spent a year playing Geneforge 1-3, and the beginning of 4. But then A:EFTP came out, so I cut my G4 playthrough short. Still need to get back to that when I have more time.

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  • 5 years later...

So I know everyone hates the guy that bumps a 5 year old thread, but I wanna provide an update on my... progress??? I finished Geneforge 1, loved every second of it, said I'd start 2 in a week or so, and promptly didn't do it for what turned out to be 5 years. Anyways I just blew through 2 in a week. I allied with the awakened, mercilessly hunted down the Triad, crushed Barzahl, and now I'm on to Geneforge 3 before I forget!!
 

The second game was amazing, and felt like an expansion of the first in every way. I loved all the recurring characters and throwback mentions of them, like Eko Blade and Syros still being around. It felt a lot like a finished story? Sucia Isle had this air of their being so much more WORLD to explore, and Geneforge 2 does as well with it being in a remote corner of the world but it also felt less about discovery. It was absolutely perfect and I'm so glad I picked it back up. I promise I'll be back in a few weeks with a Geneforge 3 update! I'm thinking of finally playing as a Loyalist of some sort this time, and also changing up my playstyle. Usually I'm so brutally squishy that I hide my shaper from combat, so maybe this time I'll play a guardian. Get into the thick of it!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just finished Geneforge 3! It was fantastic! I can definitely see why people think it's the weakest entry in the series since it's so different from the first two, but even though there are only two sides I feel like it expands the opportunity for nuance within each side (e.g. Khyryk and Learned Darian)! I was slightly less happy about the lack of a neutral option, but that really solidifies the difference in theme between this game (and its sequel, I assume) and the first two: in those you're a visitor, and outsider exploring a world outside of Shaper control. This time, you're irrelevant. Pick a side or get out. You matter less to the central conflict. Anyways, excited play 4!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finished off Geneforge 4. I loved it, of course! Some thoughts: I played as a servile and was disappointed that it didn't really mean anything game-wise. I think the only effect it actually had was a single shopkeeper in Derenton Freehold giving you cheap items. The fact that it's constantly waved off as not important because you're the exception is the thing that bothers me most. Like, especially when interacting with Shapers. Oh you get a pass because you're a lifecrafter. I would have liked more servile-specific dialogue other than throwaway lines which were almost always just telling you why this thing that normally isn't allowed for serviles is okay for you specifically. Other than that, I found the new combat interesting. The main things that stood out to me were: not needing 5AP to attack anymore (that definitely boosts the power of items), the fix for the door trick which I definitely used in previous games (you can't close doors on enemies anymore ahah) and the way these two interacted to make fighting ranged enemies way tougher. In previous games you could outrun them or trap them in the room with you but that's impossible now since they can fire with even 1 AP. Yeowch. Not a bad thing though! Wingbolts were pretty much the only things I loathed seeing ahaha. Also, I'm a bit disappointed that the Trakovites didn't feature more. I'm very curious about the fate of the Geneforge 3 protag, and also interested in the identity of Shaper Monarch. Actually I'm interested in the fate of all four of my protags. I named my servile Lietz after the little one in Geneforge 1! It's interesting that the rebel ending was canon for 3 (and I assume 4). Other things, I'm glad that there were more little struggles to be fought and people to meet. Geneforge 3 felt sorta lacking in that, some of the map (especially on Dhonal Island) seemed a little like filler to me.

I feel like I sound too negative, I really loved the game! Oh, I was really excited to see Learned Darian in 3 but now I'm sorta sad she wasn't in 4. I wonder if there will be anyone left from Sucia Isle in 5. It doesn't seem like Amena Blade is going to make it. Oh, and since I'm curious: do we know how much time passed between 1 2 and 3?

Anyways, I'm excited to play 5! Until next time!

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  • 1 month later...

I have a similar experience.  Way back in day, must of been early 2000's, I had purchased a PC magazine (PC Gamer?) that had come with a demo disk.  Now I can not be sure if it was Geneforge or not, just that the games was VERY similar in style, sound and play.  Most demos (I was used to the Official PlayStation Monthly ones.) had a short time limit or one or two different levels to play, etc.  This game however let you play through half the game as I recall.

 

Now I do not remember much of it.  Just the simple graphics, simple play mechanics (That I got to or that is how I played the game.), simple sounds, etc.  But simple in a charming, cozy, just enough to get by without becoming a chore to play kind of way.  You used your imagination, but you knew that stick was a stick and that rock was a rock and that plate a plate, type of thing.  There was not so much a music, but a loop of birds chirping.  To me it was really fun.

 

Now why I did not bother buying the game back then I have no idea.  I am not sure if my local Game Stop or Babbages carried the game or it had to be purchased online which I simply did not do, nor have I done ever until Steam came around and even then I use the gift cards I can buy at just about any store.  Anyway many years later and on Steam I find it again or at least what I think is it, Geneforge.  Admittedly I wait for sales, as I do with most games and add it to my collection, but I have 90% of games from Spiderweb Software.  Granted I have hardly played any of them... my mood for certain types/styles fluctuates, but a good deal is a good deal and eventually I would come back to them.

 

As I am now with Avadon: The Black Fortress the very first game I had ever bought from Spiderweb Software.  Sadly I am having issues with a few of the older games and I am hoping I can find work arounds for them, might just be my PC, but kind of disappointing.  But still if Avadon is playable, I am sure the majority of the games are as well.  Even Geneforge is playable, but the static sound due to my speakers or newish, mediocre laptop is not the best for it.

 

Now after saying all that was Geneforge ever on a PC demo disk in the early 2000's or am I thinking of a totally different game entirely?  Thanks.

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