Free alternatives to Minecraft.

I’ve always been intrigued by the world of Minecraft but have been reluctant to part with my hard-earned money to buy a copy. When I looked around to see if there were some free alternatives, I was surprised to see there are quite a few to choose from.

My favorite of the bunch is Minetest. You can play offline using various world version modes or you can easily join one of the online worlds and do some building of your own there. I’m still new to the game myself but there are plenty of  friendly people online willing to help me get acquainted with the rules of the game. It seems like I learn more and more about the game each time I play.

There’s also an Android version of Minetest so you can take your mining ventures on the go.

Free games for your cell phone.

This is a listing of games I have on my cell phone, all of them free and loads of fun.

M-SuDoKu – This is the famed Sudoku number puzzle game. This version has a built-in cheat mode and automatically saves your progress when you exit the game.

Noughts and Crosses – Tic Tac Toe. Why not.

Solytare – A decent Solitaire game. I like its option to allow me to draw one card at a time, as opposed to three. That’s my favorite way to play Solitaire.

Jamtris – A very professional-looking and open-source Tetris clone.

Directory Blaster.

Directory Blaster is a game that actually makes it fun to delete your files. Just browse to the folder you want to delete and your files turn into flying enemies you must destroy with your ship’s lethal lasers. When you put on your red/blue glasses, the gameplay takes on a completely new dimension, so to speak.
Keep in mind that this game really does delete your files as you shoot them so be careful when choosing which folders to destroy. I had so much fun with this game that I had to create temporary folders containing files I copied from various locations on my hard disk. That would be the safest way to try out this game before you render your hard disk helpless on account of your blasting the entire Windows folder to smithereens.

Fun with crayons.

No, this picture isn’t what I drew in kindergarten. It’s a screenshot of  Crayon Physics, which is a fun and challenging puzzle game that combines, well, crayons and physics. Here you use your mouse to draw shapes to move the ball so it collects the stars. This game doesn’t have too many levels but it’s still enough to keep you busy and out of trouble.
The screenshot doesn’t do the game justice as the interface does simulate drawing on paper. What’s really cool is how the shapes you draw interact with other objects in the game, such as the ball and other obstacles you have to overcome to reach the star. This is a very cool game that’s worth the download.
While you’re there, be sure to check out 4 Minutes and 33 Seconds of Uniqueness, a game unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I don’t want to spoil the fun by revealing its secrets here, so you’ll just have to try it yourself.

The return of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Open Sonic is a free open-source game featuring characters from the classic “Sonic the Hedgehog” games that so rocked the Sega Genesis gaming consoles many years ago. The gameplay is a bit different here as you not only control Sonic himself, but also his friends Tails and Knuckles. Each character has different abilities that contributes to the teamwork needed to finish each level. Add the delightful graphics and smooth gameplay and you have a great game sure to delight Sonic fans everywhere.

The ultimate arcade game emulator.

MAME, short for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, has got to be one of the oldest freeware programs still in active development. It’s an arcade machine emulator that allows you to play classic video games such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede and Q-Bert at your computer. To play those games, you’ll need the matching ROM image files, which are easily found all over the web.
Unfortunately, getting your favorite games to work on MAME is a trial-and-error process. Not all ROM image files work, and to add to the confusion, there are multiple variations of a certain video game available for download. At least one of those variations will work, and finding it takes some effort. If you’re patient enough and are willing to put forth the effort, you’ll soon be rewarded with being able to play your favorite game in MAME.
This site has a nice collection of ROMS that work with the current version of MAME. You’ll find all kinds of arcade classics there, including the immortal Bubble Bobble. ROM World is another good site for video game ROMS.
If you prefer a version of MAME with a graphical interface, you can get that here. It sports a cool menu system for easy access to your arcade game collection.

Interesting games from Cactus.

Cactus is a Swedish game developer who comes up with the most imaginative and unique games I have ever seen. The freeware games on his site range from shoot-em-ups to side scrollers to games that are downright weird yet still fun to play. Some of the games have virtually no documentation and leave it up to you to figure things out.
It’s refreshing to see someone take such joy in experimenting with graphics, gameplay and music and sharing the interesting results that materialize. A good way to get started is to check out Cactus Arcade, a 48-megabyte download that features 17 games presented through a unique menu interface. My favorite game of the bunch is Mondo Agency, which simply must be seen to be believed.
My only grouch about some of the games is that not all of them work under Vista. Some of them hang and never finish loading.

Santa Slayer.

Santa Slayer is one of my favorite games, especially during this time of year. It’s a very old first-person shooter in which you control a flying sleigh armed with guns and rocket launchers as you battle the evil Santas and his equally evil elves who have taken over the North Pole. There are explosions and flying body parts aplenty that will make for some serious holiday-related stress relief at the risk of your taking delivery of some coal come Christmas morning.

Avoid Rush.

Avoid Rush is a simple but very addictive game from Japan. All you have to do is use your mouse to steer clear of the boxes for as long as you can. The longer you play, the higher your score but the harder the game becomes as the boxes get bigger. Although the game’s documentation is Japanese, the game itself is in English so you won’t have any problems killing your productivity like never before. The link will start the 1.16MB ZIPfile download automatically.