Fri Jan 2, 2009
This post first appeared in Ipernity, was deleted by accident, and I later rescued it thanks to the Google Cache.
The motivation to write this post is to share some links to online games I enjoyed playing last year.
Long time ago, in the Amiga times, I used to play lots of games. They all seemed to be different and original. Later I used to play graphic adventures, which I found also amazing. The graphics were terrible, but this did not matter. It was the story behind it. But then came the 3D shooters era and I stopped playing games.
On one hand, I had the impression that you always needed to have the fastest computer to play those games, and I did not understand why that was a requirement, when it had been fine to have a slow computer before. I used to have fun even in my 3.5 Kb Commodore 1 Mhz computer, and I know I still would today, because it was not about the graphics. It was about playing something that became increasingly difficult, and learning and becoming better at it.
On the other hand, it felt like everything was 3D, cars, shooters, soccer… I missed the 2D games with weird concepts that don’t imitate reality. Why this attempt to imitate reality, when we can do something totally out of this world? It’s like painters would only do hiperrealism, skipping abstract, minimalism, pop art, surrealism and all other techniques. I felt there was lack of originality, of good ideas. Of course I don’t claim to know all recent games, and there are probably some good ones out there. But I just didn’t do it anymore.
Until last year, when I started finding some online games which I really enjoyed:
- The first one was Desktop Tower Defense. I played a game every day, and got a bit further each time. It was more and more difficult, and I had to adapt my strategy and become faster to go through it. It was an interesting challenge. I liked the fact that a game would last minutes, so you don’t need to reserve hours to have some fun.
- Bloxorz is the next game I played and finished. I found it quite addictive, and it’s great that you can play levels on differnet days writing down some code on a paper. The aesthetics are nice, and the few sounds present are good.
- I found Magic Pen one of the most original ones, because you have to draw shapes to solve puzzles. The shapes react to physics (gravity, resistance, collisions, etc), so I find it quite educative. What you learn by doing you could apply in the real world.
- Mr Bounce adds a new twist to an old game (Arkanoid). It also uses physics: gravity, collisions, wind. One thing I like is that you play also with the concept of time. You can slow time using the space key to give you some more time to think. But only for a few seconds. The music is also amazing, and evolves together with the difficulty of the levels. Very well done.
- Robokill is probably not so original, but I find very well done and very addictive. You have to keep discovering new rooms, getting better weapons, and becoming faster to go through each level. I find all graphics and sounds excellent. I’m considering paying the 10€ fee to go past the level 4 to do some more fighting :)
- Finally Playauditorium introduces a quite original idea. I discovered this one just a few days ago. You control a shower of particles with some modifiers, to guide those particles so they hit some spots in the screen. You have to keep a flow of particles good enough so the target is fully glowing. At the same time, those targets generate beautiful sounds. Again, I find the sounds excellent, and I really enjoy the difficulty. You really have to move things around to find out the solution. It’s also interesting that there are probably many different approaches to solve each level. I managed to solve some of them moving the modifiers all the time with the mouse until I went through.
Some other games I found (not so addictive, but beautiful or original in one way or another) are:
- 99 Bricks is a kind of Tetris, but the objective is to go as high as possible, instead of keeping the thing low.
- Hunted Forever has an original two monochrome aesthetic. From the same people Towering Forever has also a special approach in it’s graphic design, and the idea of defending a tree from some evil robots approaching… nature vs machine.
- Cursor*10 also plays with time and mouse cursors. Quite original concept.
- The nice old Simon says.
- And the beautiful, maybe poetic Orisinal games.
None of the above are multiplayer games, and this might be what’s so good about some 3D games: that you play with / against other players. But these more abstract games could also be multiplayer… Maybe this is something I should work on myself :)
I found this interesting read about why old games have something special: In Defense of Retro Gaming: A Discussion of Abstraction