Last month my dad asked me a question over dinner: “When did you first get into mechs?” The answer (like my relationship with these walking tanks) is complex, so I briefly gave him some timeline about shows I’d watched, a book or two, and moved the topic elsewhere. But in retrospect, one entry in this list that I should’ve paused for longer for was Activision’s MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries. When it came out in 1996, my experience with action games on PC were first person shooters that emphasized unmitigated speed and explosive excess. But as a simulation, Mercenaries made speed secondary to the much more risky momentum, and its branching narrative about politicking galactic powers (all delivered via atmosphere-building diary entries and news updates) gave nuance to the explosions.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wxeenn/mechwarrior-5-mercenaries-review