The real fruit mystery what makes blueberries so delicious
Last week, I thought about posting a funny April Fool's game, but I resisted. I only lasted a week, and I proudly point you to Fruit Mystery. Made by, it seems, a friend from Down Under, Fruit Mystery is both the most ridiculous and hilariously funny game I've come across. The point of the game, I think, is to pick what fruit a parade of animals (represented in horribly lo-res images) would eat while a MIDI version of Katrina and the Waves Walking on Sunshine blares from your PC speakers. Sounds easy, right? Well, all of the fruits are crudely drawn in what looks like Microsoft Paint, and some don't qualify as fruits, like corn chips. Your selections are either met with some "well done, chap" congratulations or downright derision that would make Gordon Ramsey grin from ear to ear. Either way, both are delivered in English that is as mangled as the fruit drawings.
I'm not sure you can solve the Fruit Mystery, but you do get 38 seconds to try. You'll have to determine how well you do, too, as there's no score (EDIT: Oops! There is a score! It, of course, just makes no sense). If you unravel this, the most pressing and urgent mystery of our times, be sure to let me know, OK?
Play Fruit Mystery here.
It's like Bee Season, but you're all by yourself
I was thinking today of playing a great big joke and directing you to this game, but I figured I'd be nice (check it out anyway as it's fairly hilarious). I realized, though, that I've yet to talk about Bookworm, my personal favorite online game of all time. I've spent so much time making words, you would think this post wasn't riddled with errors before I posted it. You couldn't be more wrong, though.
Bookworm is what would happen if Scrabble and Connect Four had a virtual baby. Basically, you make words on a vertical board by connecting lettered tiles, except there's no sneaky sis to mess things up. You get more points for longer words or for using tough letter - like J or Qu. You've got to watch, though, as someone is sneaking flaming tiles into the mix, and they threaten to burn down the library. What will dorks do if that happens? On the other side, you'll also get gold and green tiles that up your score, and each level you'll be given a word to make by the eponymous Bookworm. Make it, and you'll get loads of points.
Get your dictionary, and head over here.
When Legos attack
So, we right quite a bit about zombies here at the 1-Upper, but I think that's because they're the one life form you can plow through with an Uzi and walk away feeling OK. I mean, they are after your brains and all, right? And you need those to like think and stuff.
Anyhow, the Boxhead games plop you into the role of John Bambo, and guess what ... he's just like Rambo, only boxier. Boxhead: 2-Play Rooms also introduces a few new characters, who are also boxier representatives of movie roles, like Bin and Bonn. If you're familiar at all with any of the earlier games, it's more of the same: kill of an endless slew of zombies and demons all the while upgrading your equipment to fun stuff like cluster grenades, which, I have to say, are the most satisfying things I've ever virtually thrown at someone.
The great part about 2-Play Rooms is the co-op feature, hence the name. This time around, you can have a friend join you as you blast away. Just be careful where you throw those grenades, as they can cause residual damage if you aren't careful.
Go play Boxhead here.
Graduating is a bitch. I'm about halfway through my last semester of college, and I've got a bad case of wistfulness. I miss high school. Driving around my small town before gas prices skyrocketed. Listening to music on CDs I actually paid for. Having a disposable income.
Apparently, Rockstar Games misses high school, too, considering they recently re-released a "Scholarship Edition" of its 2006 game Bully for Xbox 360 and Wii. (You might remember it being mildly controversial.) Boasting eight new missions, four new classes and other add-ons, school seems more fun than it was the first time around. (Ain't that always the case?) Players take on the role of Bullworth Academy student and Bruce Willis-circa-Moonlighting lookalike Jimmy Hopkins, a perpetual reject with a penchant for catching beatdowns.
Bully essentially plays like a more family-friendly version of Rockstar's flagship Grand Theft Auto series. While players can't kill people, they can still live out violent fantasies in a non-linear story rife with profanity and explosions. And, just like GTA, Bully is a hell of a lot of fun. The gameplay is varied and strong throughout; mini-games abound in the form of classes, errands and even arcade challenges. Every so often, it can get tedious, especially as the game map expands beyond campus, but overall, there's a decent mix of fighting, exploring and puzzle-solving.
360 enthusiasts looking for a graphics upgrade will be disappointed — the game still looks a PS2 release, although the new biology class looks neat/gory. The overall freshness of the gameplay experience, however, more than compensates. The blunt, critical eye Bully casts on the traumas of high school — some of those preppy jokes certainly stuck with this La Salle College High School graduate — also lends the game some charm. The 360 port is glitchy, though, so be sure to save as often as possible until Rockstar puts out an online patch to prevent crashes.
So, if there's one thing an adventure needs, it's a set of freaking awesome pants, otherwise it would just be, well, unfashionable. Fancy Pants Adventure: World 2 picks up where its very excellent predecessor left off, finding our squiggly hero and his eponymous yellow pants enjoying a game of fancy pants golf. Once a menacing rabbit swipes his ice creamy prize, it's down the hole for more running and jumping goodness.
If you've never played the first game, think Sonic the Hedgehog meets line drawings. The gameplay is super similar to Sonic - you run around jumping on enemies and collecting things, in this case some kind of squiggle rather than a coin - but the graphics are great, especially for a browser game, and big step up from the first game. The physics aren't to be overlooked either. It's pretty amazing, at least to me, that a game with what appears to be a pretty sophisticated engine can be found for free on the internet. Be careful, though, as all the great things about the game make it pretty intense and can slow your computer down.
Play the game here. It also gives you the option of playing the first version, so make sure you check that out, too.
To anyone familiar with the Nintendo WarioWare series, Four Second Frenzy will seem like a complete rip off. It is, but it's OK as this collection of 50 minigames was developed by a group of programmers and artists from across the globe. There are quite a bit of countries represented, each presenting its own four-second game for the ADD set.
The game is incredibly simple. You're presented with a series of very, very, very, short games (hence the title) that only require you to use the arrow keys and the spacebar. You'll be tasked with everything from parking a car, mowing a lawn, chainsawing a zombie in two, or snapping a photo of a UFO shooting across the sky. There's no real skill required, just fast-twitch muscles. It may take you a few tries to figure out exactly what to do in each game, so keep playing until your eyes bleed, which I think is a very real side effect of this.
Go play Four Second Frenzy here, and try not to think of the missing hyphen in the title.
I stumbled across Bow Street Runners a week or so ago, and I'm hooked. I used to love the old point and click adventure games, and this mixes live action, elements from those old games, and historically accurate (from what I can tell) live action. Great music and sound effects don't hurt, either.
Bow Street Runners pops you into the role of a Bow Street Runner, a member of an 18th-century London police force. In your role, you'll be tasked with solving the murder of a well-to-do socialite who was about to give his fortune away to a tart he fell in love with. It'll take a keen eye and good deduction skills to figure it out. And, from the looks of it, there will be more episodes coming soon, so sign up and get solving!
Go play Bow Street Runners here.
Remember the Hamburger Helper, the friendly hand that's been helping moms whip up quick dinners since the '50s? Well, he's back, and he's really pissed about something. My guess is the proliferation of chicken-based meals.
Pillage the Village lets you take on the role of the grumpy floating hand — probably not really related to Mr. Helper — as you move from level to level, grabbing villagers and flinging them and their thatched huts into the air. Each level has its fair share of common serf, but as you progress the game throws in some tougher enemies, and they'll force you to rethink your strategy.
Each time you smite a villager, you'll get a little wellspring of coins, which you can use to buy items to help make your dirty work a little quicker. One of the neat features about Pillage the Village is that it lets you chose to be somewhat beneficent and use tactics like euthanasia or downright mean and let Acme-brand anvils fall from the sky.
Check out Pillage the Village here.
The only time I ever rode a horse, my mom broke her ankle dismounting, thus ending our family vacation early. As much fun as I had on that ride, I decided in the ER that it was definitely not a sport I would like to pursue. Yet now, at the age of 19, I still want to own a pony because they’re just so damn cute. I decided to settle for a virtual horse since I highly doubt one would be comfortable living in my apartment.
Atari’s latest PC game, My Horse and Me, may not have a grammatically correct name (perhaps because My Horse and I would be infringing on Bat for Lashes territory), but it succeeded at bringing out my inner 10-year-old.
Trotting around a barn collecting stars on Billy Idol, my Tobiano-colored steed, was actually a bit relaxing once I became accustomed to the awkward arrow controls. I soon had several ribbons and was looking fashionably equestrian in my hard-earned turquoise Nordic sweater with matching argyle socks. That’s right — in addition to stocking your trophy cabinets, you can win articles of clothing ripped from the pages of a Land's End catalog. Horses + new clothes = pre-teen dream game! You can even spend quality time grooming your horsie, but it’s one of the more boring parts of the experience. If they really wanted to simulate realism, mucking stables would be level four.
Show-jumping competitions are the meat of My Horse and Me, and overall they're the most fun, whereas the pointless mini-games are simply not worth the time. My personal favorite, though, is the frustrating "Chickens ‘n Corn," the entire point of which is galloping around to protect corn from an army of hungry chickens. Those birds just don’t quit, even when threatened with being squashed by hooves.
Impossible-to-defeat poultry aside, I’m proud of my medals and snazzy wardrobe. I might even continue to pay the pixilated stables a visit once in awhile, despite mockery from my roommates. Breaking the special bond between a girl and her Billy Idol is a difficult thing to do.
The Simpsons Game has arrived on Xbox 360 (and Wii and Playstations 2 through 3), and it finally settles something that I've always wondered: What sounds do my favorite Simpsons characters make when I punch them in the gut for no particular reason? Well, usually I can get a quip from them before they pass out, but sometimes they scream.
That's pretty much the only thing this 3D platformer has to offer. Like many Simpsons games before it, The Simpsons Game doesn't add new elements to gaming so much as graft beloved characters onto tired concepts. This release is like any other shoddy platformer - players collect bric-a-brac and fight foes while dealing with the game's horridly spastic camera angles. Expect inexplicable cuts and jumps when trying to scale walls or clear chasms. The game takes its clichés very seriously, as players are rewarded by Comic Book Guy for spotting them.
Of course, being a Simpsons release, the lackluster gameplay could be forgiven provided the writers threw in some tasty jokes to season the experience. To their merit, they try, sort of, to spoof video games during the game's 40+ minutes of animated sequences. But, this being from the same team that's generated the last 10 or so seasons of the show (a.k.a. the bad years), many jokes come off as tired. It's clear the best material was saved for The Simpsons Movie.
While The Simpsons Game shows promise in its first level, in which Homer dreams about fighting and consuming chocolate foes while they scream in disturbingly funny pain, the game quickly devolves into a series of uninteresting puzzles and special moves.
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