Dr Strange-Toby, or How I Learned To Love The Train Journey

As someone who regularly catches trains to visit family and whatnot, I often play games on my laptop to while away the hours. I decided to put finger to key and list my top 6 video games to play whilst on a train.
“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the PvP carriage”

Before I get into the list, lets first work out what we need from our video games. Firstly, the game needs to not be intensive in anyway, as it may be running for a long time off battery, and most laptops down-clock the CPU to save power. Sitting in a seat on a train, you may not always have headphones with you, or a large amount of space around you, so sound dependent games and games that require quick mouse movement are also all out. Being on a train, you most likely will not have access to the internet, so all games must be able to run offline. Finally, we need a game that can be started and stopped whenever, as I guarantee you the train will not wait for you to get to a save point before pulling out again.

1. The Civilization series.
A master of keeping attention is of course the Civilization games (We’re gonna focus on 6) that have had years perfecting their ability to while away the hours, often classed the ‘one more turn’ syndrome. It sees you building up a civilisation and growing in power while managing various needs and finances.

Running on most laptops and not requiring too much power and being able to be played with nothing but a keyboard and touch pad, Civilization is my personal top pick for a train game. We did a review of it here actually.

2. Doom
Doom (not that new one, I would recommend 1,2 or final doom) is another great pick with it being incredibly light on your laptops systems. These games will ensure that you get the most value for your watts, giving you as much time as possible before the battery runs dry leaving you instead to stare out of the window at the passing reality. Requiring nothing but a few keys on your keyboard,

Doom needs no table and external mouse to play. Just make sure you check there are no little kids nearby, or you may get an earful from their parents due to the huge amount of violence and gore splashing onto your screen..

3. Prison architect
Prison architect, an indie classic, is a great way to lose an hour building an intricate prison with all the bells and whistles.It’ll see you managing a prison, catering to prisoner needs, guard needs, and various other elements that keep your prison in a sturdy shape.

While it can be played on a laptop, a mouse is required to fully enjoy it; building is all well and good, but I would not recommend trying to stave off a prison riot with a touch pad. Nevertheless its enjoyment and simple art style earn it a place on its list.

4. Political animals
Another indie title brings Political Animals, a title that offers several hours of political cunning, tricks and coups.You play the role as an animal of your choice and with the selected personalities and specialities. You’ll then be running your campaign to victory!

While it may not be able to engross you for that long, it does run fine on many systems and requires nought but a trackpad and is a delightful little game. We did a review of it here.

5. Super smash bros or other similar DS game.
Any short-term DS or 3DS game fits this spot, but my personal favourite is Super Smash Bros, A game where various characters we all know and love come together to…beat each other up in a side-scrolling environment.

Short games mean that it never grows old, the 3DS’s battery life will easily give you 6 hours, and the DS was purpose built for public transport, with its small frame meaning it can be put almost anywhere and the flip lid making it quick and easy to pack up and hop off the train.

6. Train simulator 2016.
No, this is a bad idea. Long term games mean it is not a good fit for a ‘get off now scenario’  because a mouse and keyboard are needed and the battery life is nothing to write home about.

Train simulator 2016 also requires an internet connection and It may be funny to play a train game on a train, but don’t expect to have too much fun.

Alternatively, instead of playing video games, you could always write about which video games to play on a train, as I am right now! If you have any suggestions as to good games, stick them in the comments below, or hop onto our discord and discuss them with the team!

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1 Comment
  1. Dann Sullivan says

    I have to say, on your mention of Civ, that Alpha Centauri was always my go-to holiday game. XCOM & Jagged Alliance are other good ones due to the turn-based nature.

    This was back in the day though, I’d probably take Battle Brothers, or CKII/HoI/Dungeons of Dredmore. All of these are pausable whenever, although CKII (like Civ) can be a massive resource hog, and I’m unsure how they react to being shoved on standby.

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