Sad news today: I finally cancelled my A Tale In The Desert account. Having kept me playing daily for nearly a year puts it in close competition with Freeciv and Crossroads II for the title of “Most Time Wasted Playing A Single Game.” Although considering how enjoyable it was, and how nice the people were, I can’t really consider the time I spent playing ATITD to have really been wasted. Time marches on, though, and my oh-so-short attention span is forever tested by the constant flow of new games.

Or not-so-new games. Why didn’t anyone tell ever me how much fun Starcraft is? Oh wait: I guess there were all those friends of mine that did tell me, as well as a significant portion of the population of South Korea. But besides that, not a peep. Next, maybe I’ll pick up this obscure game I heard mentioned somewhere called, like, The Sims or something. It sounds like fun.

Of course, Animal Crossing sounded like fun, too. I tried, I really did. I want to like these non-violent, non-teleological games, where you’re doing something more than bashing monsters until the final video rolls. But this game doesn’t feel like more, it feels like less. ATITD worked as a “sim-life” kind of game because it had goals you could work towards or ignore at your leisure, and a real social network to keep you occupied. Animal Crossing has… weird computer-generated pen pals. And indentured servitude. At least it’s not Harvest Moon, whose work-until-you-die ethos makes it the most depressing game I’ve ever played.

Just when I’m starting to despair, though, I can play a cathartic round of Dr. Blob’s Organism and remember that games can be simple and stupid and hella fun. Crossing Tempest with cellular automata is a pretty reliable formula for straightforward, adrenaline-laden goodness as far as I’m concerned.