Online Games for Everyone

MDNG Primary Care, February 2008, Volume 10, Issue 2

Keeping with our "timewaster's" theme, we've compiled a few links to some of our favorite online games and game collections. There's something for everyone here: sports games; puzzles and logic games;

Keeping with our “timewaster’s” theme, we’ve compiled a few links to some of our favorite online games and game collections. There’s something for everyone here: sports games; puzzles and logic games; action and adventure games that range in difficulty and complexity from simple shoot-‘em-ups to rather immersive experiences with intricate plots and graphics; one-note games with no real purpose beyond the initial visual joke; and games with fiendishly convoluted rules, objectives, and scoring systems. The best part is, all you need to play these games is either Flash Player or Shockwave, both of which are available online for free from Adobe (chances are, you have one or both of these already installed on your computer).

The 50+ games offered at this charming site couldn’t be simpler, requiring only your mouse or perhaps the use of the spacebar and arrow keys on your keyboard to control the game characters. Each game asks the player to perform one or two simple tasks, usually summed up in the title of the game itself (Milk the Cow, Aim and Fire, etc). The true appeal of these games lies in their colorful, whimsical graphics and characters. They really are a joy to behold and demonstrate how simple Flash animation can be used to create an engaging and entertaining game experience.

Favorite Game

This is a tough call, but we’d have to go with Friends, in which you control a rabbit-and-turtle team (the rabbit carries the turtle on his shoulders, naturally) as they walk through an orchard. The turtle, who of course is armed with a slingshot, attempts to shoot apples and oranges off the trees, timing his marksmanship to cause the dislodged fruit to fall onto the snakes that seem to infest this particular orchard (mistimed apple shots are no cause for alarm—a quick tap of the spacebar repositions your team, enabling the bunny, now astride the turtle’s shell, to rap the offending reptile with a stick). Oh yeah, we almost forgot: our heroes are also beset by murderous crows intent on spoiling their orchard stroll with a blitzkrieg of old-fashioned bombs (the kind that look like cannonballs, feature a lit fuse, and are most often seen in old Three Stooges shorts). What provoked the birds? Who lit the bomb fuses? Why is the rabbit wearing an unbuttoned red vest? We may never know the answers to these questions.

Strangest Game

Hold the Rope, a “game” in name only, which depicts a tug-of-war between a rhinoceros and five men, who weaken as the game progresses. Players must constantly click each man to replenish his strength; otherwise, the rhino runs off, dragging the men behind it. That’s it; no strategy, no tactics, just lots and lots of clicking.

The Guitar Shred ShowThe Way of the Exploding Solo

Play this hilarious and dangerously addictive game, and unleash your inner Zen guitar wizard. Guitar Shred Show combines comical cartoon visuals (the character you control, Mr. Fastfinger, looks like a cross between a kung-fu master and The Dude from The Big Lebowski) and educational, interactive guitar lessons. Use your keyboard to play epic solos, ragin’ riffs, lightening licks, and noodly runs as Mr. Fastfinger strikes textbook guitar hero poses (our favorite move is his high-steppin’ running-in-place routine with kimono/bathrobe flying akimbo). The game also displays notated guitar tabulatures as you play. After a little practice, you’ll be ready for a musical showdown on The Mountain of Tapping Dwarves and all set to embark on The Magic Carpet Tour. Don’t ask, just do yourself a favor and check out this game.

Boomshine

This marvelous little game consists of a square, around the inside of which slowly bounce little colored dots. When you click one (and only one), it inflates like a balloon (or maybe it expands like a supernova?), remains at its maximum diameter for a brief second, and then deflates. Each time any other floating dot collides with your little supernova, it, too, will inflate, setting off a chain reaction as additional dots come into contact with it, inflate, and touch others. To advance from level to level, you must inflate a certain number of dots: one out of five to get past level one; 2 out of 10 to get past level two; and so on, all the way until the 12th and final level, which requires the Herculean task of exploding 55 out of 60 dots. So simple, yet so maddeningly addictive. We dare you to give up before completing all 12 levels. You can’t do it. Go ahead and try. We’ll wait…

We have no idea why, but the venerable candy maker has assembled a pretty sweet collection of online games at this site. You’ll find dozens of sports games, arcade games, card games, and puzzle games. All you have to do to play any one of these is sit through a few seconds of some rather innocuous gum commercials (and who doesn’t like Big Red?).

Favorite Game

Gotta go with Line Golfer here (with an honorable mention going to Chalkboard Football). Features include superminimalist golf courses that look like they were drawn by five-year-old Escher wannabes using an Etch-a-Sketch on a background of what looks like crumpled paper; a stick-figure duffer who must hack his way through some maddening and death-defying holes; and even a design-your-own-course option for aspiring desktop Robert Trent Jones Jrs.

Strangest Game

Round the WorldThere’s really no point to this game that combines a grinning caped crusader-type equipped with wrist-mounted grappling hook launchers, some rather dubious physics, and a completely absent sense of proportion. To wit: players are supposed to use the hooks to latch onto various everyday fl ying objects (helicopters, balloon-powered gondolas, etc) as they swing, well… around the world. Yet your score is measured in yards traveled.

Most AddictiveHaving said all that, it’s mighty habit-forming trying to maneuver that buffoon as he swings from UFOs and other flying contraptions.

UGOPlayer.com

Another fine game collection, UGO definitely has cornered the market on games with odd titles that describe exactly what gameplay entails. Exhibit A: Light People on Fire, which is not as gruesome as it sounds; Exhibit B: Kitten Cannon, which is. Other interesting games and titles include The Last Dinosaur, Santa Launch, One-Ton Gorilla Warfare, and Yeti Bubbles.

Favorite Game

Idea Killer

“You are the client in an advertising agency and you have to kill the ideas of the agency staff.” Also qualifies as “Bitterest Game.” We’re also partial to the puzzle game Draw Play, which presents the not-as-simple-as-it-looks challenge of drawing simple black lines to create paths, platforms, and other stepping stones/obstacles as you try to navigate your way through various levels.

Strangest Game

Avoid Responsibility, which is better experienced than read about (Runner-up: “Bitterest Game”).

Worst Game

Disco Fish, hands down. Despite the promising title, it’s like the designers weren’t even trying.

Statetris

All the fun of Tetris, mixed with 7th-grade US geography. Use your arrow keys to properly align and position each state as it falls toward a map of the United States. Failure to correctly orient a state before placing it in its proper position means you’ll just have to try again the next time it comes around. It takes fast work with the keyboard to move and manipulate big ol’ California and shuffle it out West once you start filling in the Plains states. Figuring out the proper alignment of the smaller New England states ain’t easy, either.

White DwarfIt’s not a drink, or even Tom Cruise’s on-set nickname. No, it’s another devilishly simple-yet-fun game involving colored dots drifting around a monochrome playing field. This time, the instructions are simple: use your little white dot to collect the green dots; touch a blue dot to bank points; dodge the red dots. As you touch each green dot, they stick to you like, well, like something sticks to something else (attention: there is an opening in Simile and Metaphor Procurement at MDNG), until you’re trying to maneuver around something that looks like a mutant bunch of chardonnay grapes, desperately avoiding the red dots (are they picking up speed?), waiting for a blue dot to make an appearance. The more green dots you can collect prior to docking with a blue, the more points you score.

Two other variations are also available:Collect,” which requires you to touch the green and blue dots (no sticking, this time) and avoid the red dots, all three of which go faster and faster as the game progresses; and “Avoid,” the point of which is to avoid touching anything, like when you’re in a rest stop bathroom… or on a date with Lindsay Lohan.