Roll ‘em up
Disclaimer: I like sushi. Strike that. I love sushi. I’m pretty sure that’s all I ate during the four years I was in college and worked at Whole Foods. So when I saw Sushi Go Round, it was pretty much impossible to play without drooling. Does anyone know how to dry out a keyboard?
The premise of the game is that you’re a newbie sushi chef filling in for the regular maker of maki rolls. You’ve got a recipe book, a set number of ingredients, and some sake to satisfy customers if you’re taking to long to fill their order. Each day, you’ll be given a total figure to reach before the shop closes, and as the game progresses you’ll be given more complex rolls to make. It can get difficult clearing plates, ordering more ingredients and sake, and getting the rolls right, but it is hilarious when you screw up an order and it’s represented by a pile of poo with eyes. Even more hilarious is when it continues to scroll by on the sushi conveyor belt until the shop closes.
Go play Sushi Go Round here.
No false idols before me
So, if you and I are of like mind you probably think Jenga would be much more fun if you could just blow stuff up. Behold Totem Destroyer, which is pretty much that same concept. Basically, you've got a golden idol - that looks like a monkey crossed with a duck - sitting on top of a stack of blocks. The brownish blocks can be blown up (black is indestructible), sending the stack down, either orderly or in a complete mess, your choice. The only catch is the idol can't touch the ground or you'll bust it's head and have to start again.
See how far you can get, just watch out for the green blocks, they're slippery and bouncy.
Play Totem Destroyer here.
That Bloody Baron! I'm not the biggest fan of Steampunk - in fact I didn't even know what it was until about a year ago - and I think BoingBoing has run that ship into the ground, but I will admit I've been quite addicted to Dirk Valentine, which puts you into the role of Britain's main man, spy, and "esoteric fighting." I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most people would consider running around with a gun that fires chains esoteric ... well, that and wearing an oversized green hat while doing so. In the game, the year is 1897, and Baron Battenberg is just going around ruining everything with his steam-powered war machine. It's up to Dirk to stop him with said chain gun. It's a basic side scroller, and I'm guessing that I liked it so much based on the fact that it reminded me of the NES' Bionic Commando, which still has a special place in my heart. Any game that can remind me of those days in my parents' basement trying to rid the world of a certain German dictator lookalike is good in my book. Check out Dirk Valentine here.
Looking for El Dorado
Finally! After years of hoping and waiting, someone finally went ahead and combined my love of two of the best games ever: Risk and Trivial Pursuit. It's about time.
Conquiztador is a fun little multiplayer game that puts three players on a map of the US, each answering trivia questions to gain more territory, attack the opponents, and defend their own turf. The questions range from multiple choice to very short answer (just a hint: none of the "none of these are correct" answers is ever correct), but for some reason they seem to lean heavily towards sports, and I apparently know more about pitchers hitting home runs than I thought.
The game needs some tweaks and a little more exposure - for instance, you'll run through the day's questions pretty quickly and there aren't a lot of people playing so you wind up playing the robots often - but it's great fun when you attack a home base and knock a player off the map.
Play Conquiztador here. And if you seem username billypilgrim, let's play a round.
Run, Dino, Run!
I've got a thing for nostalgia. I grew up with a Colecovision and an Atari 5200, and it's everything I can do not to dig them out of my parents' basement closet from time to time. That's probably why I loved Dino Run from the get go, given it looks like it came straight from an 8-bit system or the guys who do Homestar Runner.
Dino Run is a bit like Sonic the Hedgehog, since pretty much all you do is run, jump over stuff, and collect eggs, all while running away from the big meteor and pending extinction. Stepping into the role of what I'm guessing is a velociraptor, you've got to dodge dopey triceratops and rocks and pitfalls, and the faster you reach the end of each course - and with a good number of eggs in tow - you'll get more DNA to spend on better abilities.
Let's just hope Dennis Nedry turns up in time.
Go play Dino Run here.
Dance Dance Revolution Oh boy. Playing Music in Motion makes me feel like it's 1997 and my old college friend is trying to tell me that techno is so great, but I just don't get it. That argument lasted for four years, but it was never resolved. This game is a little weird, but it's a neat concept. It's a side-scroller, so, as the little astronaut-looking guy, you'll run and jump and try to escape the ever-encroaching edge of the screen. As you do so, blocks corresponding to notes in the music will appear in front of you, impeding your progress. You'll have to hop over them to reach the boss and move on to the next level. I played for a bit, but it never seemed to get too difficult. Somebody call Josh Wink, though. I think he could make this a bit more interesting. Get out your glow sticks and play Music in Motion here.
What's black and white and red all over? There's no point in acting like Shift 2, and it's predecessor, Shift, aren't direct conceptual copies of Portal - at least the Web version - so I won't. Both games are in the same exact vein (you're a lab experiment and must make it through a series of rooms using your unique item or ability), but Shift 2 makes you think slightly differently. Instead of making entrance and exit portals with a portal gun, you can employ the shift key (go figure) to flip over to the dark side of the level, thus enabling you to make your way past spikes, pitfalls, and other assorted nuisances.
One thing that Shift 2 has over Portal and the earlier Shift is that the writing is pretty funny. The opening scene, where the omnipresent mad scientist's spiked wall of death breaks down made me laugh early in the a.m.
Go play Shift 2 here.
I don't think I approve of this game," my father said as I slaughtered an entire hospital wing with a shotgun simply because I could.
Grand Theft Auto IV dropped for the PS3 and Xbox 360 recently, and it's scenarios like this one that sum up what you might have been wondering about the game. Yes, it's violent. Yes, you can make poor life decisions on a whim. And yes, it's pretty awesome.
Players take on the role of Niko Bellic, a Serbian veteran of the Bosnian War. Filled with anger and regret after being betrayed by a fellow officer in the conflict, Bellic tracks the traitor to America — home to good ol' Liberty City. After meeting up with his cousin, Roman, Niko proceeds to make several acquaintances — and a few enemies — in the game. Who he befriends and kills is entirely up to you, the player, as the storyline is much more open to alteration than previous GTA games.
Compared to the hyper-anal
cops of GTA: Vice City and the ridiculous character details of
GTA: San Andreas, IV seems modest in both regards,
making it the true sequel to breakthrough installment GTA III. Enemies are easier to combat — some can be felled in a mere two punches — while the character's
customizability isn't so ridiculously in-depth that one has to watch
when he eats and sleeps. Other than switching up his clothes for dates
(homey gets laid a lot), Niko is a rock-solid kind of guy.
GTA IV has been in development for almost four years, and the detail shows. The maps, based off of the New York City boroughs, are expansive but, thanks to Niko's GPS, not as overwhelming as in previous Rockstar efforts. While the game's in-story is interesting, simply riding around in a yacht through the game's lushly crafted oceans is a gorgeous experience. Plus, you can hop from boat to boat capping rich people.
But despite the hype and positive reviews, GTA IV is not a perfect game. Glitches abound. Some
are small, like the when the GPS messes up your position or when you
end up inside a building/vehicle without meaning to do so. Then there
are the mid-level ones. If you're sharing the game with other players, you're
going to be frustrated when the auto-save feature keeps trying to erase your buddy's file instead of picking a new slot. And then there's the
granddaddy of all console faux pas — the screen freeze. Just like Rockstar's
Bully re-release from earlier this year, GTA IV will freeze
from time to time. And it will suck every time.
Get past this discouraging glitch, though, and there's a good game in store. While the GTA formula isn't close to trailblazing at this point, it's still an awfully fun one. Especially after you get your first gun. Oh my word does it get sweet then.
Go, TypeRacer, Go!
Dear secretaries and kids in high school in the 1950s, I am happy to report that the Internet has finally created a game just for you.
TypeRacer takes everything you love about typing and adds cool-looking cars to it. Not since my parents bought me Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing (go Google her! She's still around!) for my old Tandy computer have I been pounding the keys so furiously. In the game, you're given a sentence to type and you compete against up to six other people for the title of ultimate nerd. Your car will progress across the screen a la The Price is Right, so you can see how you're matching up.
I had a few good races in me, topping out at 60+ words a minute, but then I got smoked on a lyric from Pink Floyd's Time when some other person cranked out 148 words per minute. I'm pretty sure I was playing againshttp://criticalmass.blogs.citypaper.net/blogs/mu/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=831t this guy.
Go see how fast you can type here.
Can't stop the rock
Ok, so I like to think of myself as a pretty dexterous person. I was pretty good when I played baseball, and I'm way into rock climbing, which required subtle hand work. When it's come to the guitar, I just have never been able to make it work. I actually own a stratocaster knock off, but it's been collecting dust for years in the corner of my apartment. Whenever I've tried to play, it really just winds up looking like I'm strangling an ostrich.
That said, I've shied away from the Guitar Hero franchise. I love music, but I've been terrified of looking like an ass in front of friends. So, high on the Flyers putting away the Capitals tonight (I hope Ovechkin knows the rules of golf! So long, caveman-looking jerk!) I retreated to my office to try my hand at Super Crazy Guitar Maniac Deluxe Three. After faring well after one song, I realized I am awful at anything music related, save for listening to it.
Much like Guitar Hero, you mash buttons corresponding to notes as they reach a certain point on screen. You get points for doing so and bonuses for linking a bunch in a row. I was never able to get past the "cool" level, so I can't tell you what comes next, sadly. One of the neat things about the game is that it features original music and links you to the band's site. It's not my type of music, kinda new metal-ish, but I suppose that's what's needed for rockin'.
Check it out here.
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