Crying Wolf with Chris Marlton
Gamers’ Corner: The Hottest New Titles of 2024
Got time to waste in a virtual fantasy land? These top ranked, must-have video games of 2024 will have you wasting that time in style! Chris Marlton—who has wasted more time than most—gives us the inside scoop…
I play video games for fun and to unwind, and these are my favourites. While not all of them have received high scores or critical acclaim (quite the opposite, in some cases) each offers something innovative, challenging, or both.
Unlike the current school system, these games represent the real industry educating our future leaders. Video games have never been more immersive, expensive, or confusing, so check these out post haste!
Coles’ Pro Trolley Rally (CPTR) VI:
Switch / XBOX / PS5 / Linux / Mobile
The CPTR series has been my favourite online multiplayer racing game for years. The ability to climb inside a trolley and race around scale replicas of the world’s most exciting supermarket car parks has gotten even more ludicrous in this sixth edition of the game, with online multiplayer increased to a maximum of 255 trolleys in a single race.
While most racing games have time or lap limits (I’m looking at you, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe), in CPTR6, you can set any limit you like.
I recently came ninth (of 185 racers – 73 of whom finished) in a 2,000-lap race at the Hemköp Hypermarket Car Park in Stockholm. The race lasted over 78 hours and was only possible due to my sponsorship from Oozy Fusey IV Drips, who had me hooked up the whole time.
I was on a constant diet of vitamins, caffeine, and a unique concoction that the owner/operator of Oozy Fusey, Dwayne Supicks, calls “rainbow water”.
Trolley racing has never been better, so race to get your copy now for hours (and hours and hours) of fun.
Climate God 2 – Antipodean Edition
Gameboy Color / SEGA Megadrive
In a bold move, the southern hemisphere release of Climate God 2 was only available to play on the long discontinued Game Boy Color and SEGA Megadrive consoles. But if you do somehow manage to play, you’ll soon discover that you have a ballsy first-person shooter on—or, more accurately, in—your hands.
As Climate God, Raidon, you traverse the cities of Australia and New Zealand, doling out CLIMATE JUSTICE to owners of big companies and corporations that aren’t climate neutral.
Some reviewers posited that the odd choice of platform was due to the current gen consoles’ fear of legal action.
And considering that the likeness and names of all CEOs and company directors featured in the game are those of real people, including accurate contact information and addresses, they may be onto something.
I completed the single-player campaign in a shade under 380 hours and was pleasantly surprised by the bold storyline choices and realistic violence.
The relationship dynamic, labelled as controversial by some mainstream websites, allows the character to stop delivering CLIMATE JUSTICE in order to meet a lovely partner, have a family, and raise climate-neutral children.
Unfortunately, in my play-through, the child I reared, raised, and loved as my own eventually became the CEO of a mining company in northern South Australia.
And I could only complete the game by ensuring that CLIMATE JUSTICE… was served.
Climate God 2 is a challenging game to finish, both logistically and emotionally. But if you care about the environment… You don’t have a choice.
Switch / XBOX / PS5/ Linux / Mobile /Commodore 64
This throwback 2D platformer is a must-play for any ‘80s kids. As you progress in a simple run-and-jump level design, you gather and collect copies of the most popular video games of the past.
Each level moves the player, a frog-shaped businessman named Business-Frog Johnson, ahead one year in time, where they can collect the hit video games from that year. As the years progress, so too do the graphics style, gameplay dynamics, and controls.
Incredibly, the games you collect are playable as bonus Easter Eggs, selectable on the main menu (I am not sure about the copyright implications, especially as the games get more extensive and more recent). This pattern continues until 2024 where…. Ahhhh, I won’t spoil what happens. You’ll have to play it yourself to find out.
Job Hunter XD
Windows / Mac / Java
Remakes and upscaled re-releases of video games have been prevalent in the last couple of years. Whether a lack of ideas or simple recognition that some games are true classics is the cause, some games simply deserve to be played by the latest generation of gamers.
My favourite is a total 3D re-imagining of the 1997 Liberal Party-funded Job Hunter. Developed by a sub-sector of Centrelink towards the end of the last century, Job Hunter is a hyper-realistic role-playing game requiring players to apply for 20 new jobs every fortnight.
Fail at this—and you will; the game doesn’t allow the applications to be completed in time—and you won’t be able to pay the weekly bills. Once the rent goes unpaid for the third time you’re kicked out onto the street.
Once on the street, the player is confronted by all the real-world problems of homelessness, including street crime, safe places to sleep, and being victimised by the very system that is purportedly supposed to be helping and protecting them.
It’s a hugely difficult game that I’ve attempted to complete many times. All of my 30-odd play-throughs have ended with my character (the player-customiser is very well done) either in prison or dead.
The combat system is challenging but rewarding, and the upgrade tree makes a lot more sense in this version, with several quality-of-life upgrades that make the game more enjoyable despite the depressing and overwhelming sadness of the scenario.
This is not for all gamers, but if sociology is your bag, or need practice writing resumes, this could be for you.
Steam / Windows / OSX
I’ve always been a fan of simulation/management games like Sim City, Railway Tycoon, Christmas Toy Allocator and, of course, Moonbase 2062.
Broken Wing, the most recent hospital sim from Bad- Needle Software, places you as the manager of a human-animal hybrid hospital on the Mexico/Texas border. And by hybrid, I do not mean half vet/half human hospital.
The doctors, nurses, orderlies, cleaners, patients and visitors are animal-human hybrids. And you, the manager of Broken Wing Hospital, are half-alligator.
The logistical nightmare of managing a hospital across the border of two countries creates a tactical strategy game like never before. With two sets of staff, two sets of patients, and the bizarre financials of running two separate in-hospital pharmacies… it’s an absolute blast.
You can use the less expensive Mexican drugs or the dearer, more-regulated USA drugs. But be warned! The DEA raid your hospital from time to time, resulting in hefty fines if found using dodgy meds.
A unique option of this game is the ability to turn the hospital into a military stronghold, arming the staff with weaponry and aligning yourself with the Mexican Drug Cartel. Here, the game introduces elements from XCOM-style squad-based strategy game; a deadly yet welcome change to the drudgery of running illegal drug trials in the basement or syphoning off stem cells to sell to Panama.
Chris Marlton is a comedian, writer, painter, and film. His comedy special Mephisto Waltz is on YouTube. Upcoming shows are available at linktree.com/chrismarlton. Follow @chris.marlton and @laserfirecomedy on Instagram and @ChrisMarltonComedy on Facebook.