Microsoft Surface: Tablet Gaming Evolved

I was certainly late to jump on the tablet bandwagon. Recently, I’ve noticed my PS3 and giant gaming PC haven’t been getting the attention they are used to. Why? Because I’ve been logging probably more hours than healthy playing games on the Surface. It all started when I went on a two week vacation across the Atlantic. While packing, I realized it’s been about eight years since I’ve gone anywhere without my gargantuan laptop. Having the laptop full keyboard is nice, but using it on an airplane forces me into a contorted T-Rex arm typing ┬áposition.

I was determined not to lug the beast around Italy, so I decided to load up some games on the Surface. Everything went better than expected, and I was able to get in some quality gaming when I wasn’t out exploring the world. The eight hour flight was joyously filled with gaming. I didn’t have to deal with cramped laptop arms while getting to rock 1080p resolution. Sure there were other people gaming on their ‘tablets’, you know ‘games’ like Angry Birds and Words with Friends. No thanks.

Below are four games that get the Patrick Davis seal of approval for maximum surface enjoyment.

Civilization 5: A Brave New World

Civ5

Made for Surface Pro

This game was made for the Surface. I was skeptical about playing it without a keyboard, but the keyboard was completely unnecessary. The type-keyboard sat neglected and lonely, neatly folded behind the screen for the entirety of my playing. I’ve always been a fan of Civ games, but being able to play anywhere can have serious productivity destroying repercussions.

Mark of the Ninja

Mark of the Ninja

Surface Ninja

One of, if not the best Stealth games of all time. My favorite way to play this is to plug in a controller and use the mini display port output to a HDTV. The game plays perfectly fine with a keyboard if that suites your fancy.

X-Com Enemy Unknown

This is another strategy gem I’ve fallen in love with. The original X-Com from the 90s remains one of my favorite games of all time. I haven’t tried to play this sans keyboard/mouse. I prefer the type cover keyboard and a Bluetooth mouse.

Halo: Spartan Assault

Halo always brings back college memories of sixteen guys hauling a bunch of TVs and X-Boxes to a LAN Party. Spartan Assault is only 6.99 on the Windows Store, so it won’t set you back as much as a any of the above games. It’s a top down shooter based in the Halo Universe. I felt comfortable with the touch screen controls after going through the tutorial.

Halo: Spartan Assault

Halo on the Surface

It somewhat reminds me of an old gem from the 8 bit era called smash TV. Whats not to like about blowing up the covenant in a glorious manner. It seems like most of the Halo staples are in the game, including weapons and vehicles. It also features achievements and weapons unlocks you can buy between missions. Fun game, certainly worth the $6.99 price tag.

I never expected the Surface to be a gaming device, but after a few months of ownership it’s filled the role perfectly.