When I’m sick I sip orange juice with sparkling water or Shirley Temples out of a cocktail glass, gather my tissues and warm but ugly sweater and play computer games. The game play keeps my mind off my leaking nose and overall achiness really nicely. Also, being zoned out on cold medicine gives me a focus I normally don’t have, when I’m feeling just fine I can rarely sit still long enough to get through a level or two of a computer game.
This weekend I played a game I bought last year (which also kept me occupied during a cold) called Wonderland Secret Worlds. It’s the second in a series of games which remind me somewhat of a 3-D Chip’s Challenge. It was recommended by the people who over at Grubby Games who make Professor Fizzwizzle, another game I purchased and really enjoy. Wonderland Secret Worlds surprised me with it’s depth and really well made puzzles, and won me over because you can choose to turn off the game timer, I don’t work so well under time pressure. And there are plenty of level solutions if you get stuck. (I’m a fan of hints, getting stuck or too frustrated is not worth it.) The graphics and music seem dated but I find them oddly charming.
Last year I played Dreamfall written by Ragnar Tornquist, the long awaited sequel to The Longest Journey, and adventure game I bought on a whim and completely fell in love with. The Longest Journey came out in 1998 and is a adventure style game but the story being told is compelling. Dreamfall came out in 2006 (also on Xbox) and has a style all it’s own. As I was playing the game I was initially confused, the gameplay seems a little oversimplified but soon I didn’t want it to end. When I finished it I sort of missed it, the way you miss a really good book you’ll never read for the first time again. The voice acting in this game is outstanding, it really makes the game. I eagerly await the final installment of what is apparently meant to be a trilogy. I don’t think Dreamfall would be all that interesting to those who have not first played The Longest Journey despite the fact that it’s made to work as a stand alone game. I think some investment in the characters of The Longest Journey is necessary to make Dreamfall complete.
A few years back we bought a Playstation 2, and I didn’t expect to find games I would really like to play, I’m not much of a fan of first person shooters (meaning, I suck at them). I found that I really like the Splinter Cell games, which, while still violent, are more about stealth. You can get through most areas without killing anybody (and ideally without even alerting anybody to your presence).
The other PS2 games I like are the Spyro games, despite that the graphics show their age. The first four (Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, Spyro: Year of the Dragon, and Spyro: A Hero’s Tail) get the best Gamespot scores and those are the ones I’ve played. I never thought I’d like a platform game, but this one has good controls and exploring the new worlds is very interesting.
Also, about two years ago I became addicted to Blackshift, a free download. It’s a nice little puzzle action game with lots of cleverness in the levels.
Gamespot rounds up reviews and news of video and pc games, and is a good place to find cheats and walkthroughs.
Jay Is Games, a site focusing on short online games from puzzles to point and click adventure games. There is lots of great stuff to be found here, be sure to check out the Best of Casual Gameplay 2006.
Kottke’s round up of addictive little online games.
Universal Hint System provides one at a time hints for computer games, they nudge you in the right direction gradually. It can be a real help for when you get completely stuck in an adventure game.