The Open Racing Car Simulator is a very impressive car racing simulation with incredible graphics. There are various racetracks to choose from, ranging from scenic tours to speedways for some serious high-speed racing action. This is easily one of the best racing games I have found and one I will enjoy for a long time to come.
Tux Racer is a free, cross-platform racing game starring a cute penguin on a quest for some tasty herring. To find the herring, the penguin must navigate its way down a snowy hill with icy slopes, rock formations and other obstacles. The object is simply to make it to the finish line in the shortest time possible while grabbing as much herring as you can. I first saw this game when I tried Red Hat Linux and got hooked. It’s a little hard to download the Windows version of Tux Racer from the dead links at its web site, but you can easily grab it here. This is good clean fun for all ages.
Midlet.org is a cool site featuring a nice collection of Java-based games for your cellphone. Many of them don’t have flashy graphics but are still fun to play. Games like Pong, Jumping Jack, Bowling and even a simple Doom-style shooter should be enough to keep you amused. There are also Internet utilities, graphics viewers and even programming tools to make your phone more versatile and useful. Using your cell phone just for phone calls is so yesterday.
DXX-Rebirth is a project aimed at reviving one of the coolest first-person shooter games from the nineties. Descent is still just as thrilling to play today as you control a ship blasting its way through an abandoned mine on a faraway planet to rescue the hostages and destroy the power reactor. DXX-Rebirth brings this game to Windows and works in some OpenGL-based graphics to tremendously improve the graphics. You’ll fall in love with this classic game all over again.
DXX-Rebirth does require some game files from the original Descent CD so be sure to consult the README file for information on which files to copy.
Mono is a trippy game that’s part Asteroids, part Robotron and part Paint Shop Pro. What’s cool about this game is that you get to paint the screen as you play. Pretty soon you’ll have a screen that looks something like this:
There’s even an option on the main menu that shows you what the last screen looks like. Here you can hit the Print Screen key and paste it in your favorite graphics editor for use as some very trippy desktop wallpaper. The game itself is lots of fun to play and with the background slowly becoming more animated as you play, this game can become a real trip in itself.
Plasma Pong is one of the trippiest and coolest games I have ever played. It’s an updated version of the classic arcade game but with extremely fluid graphics that will blow you right out of your seat. Add its highly energetic music soundtrack and you’re in for one wild ride. Hang on tight.
Wire Climber is an addictive action-packed game from Japan. The object is to collect all the coins in each level by swinging from platform to platform using the arrow keys. This is a great way to enjoy a quick break from playing other games.
Even though this is a Japanese game, the game itself is in English. When you click the above link, the download will start automatically. The game itself is only 204KB.
Voxelstein 3-D is an awesome first-person shooter unlike anything I’ve seen. It’s based on the classic Wolfenstein 3-D and uses the some of the game’s enemies except they are now rendered in full 3-D. Needless to say, this is a pretty bloody and violent game.
At first I was set back by the game’s low-resolution graphics but what really struck me was that these graphics are really small blocks called voxels. There are over 37 million of these blocks in the first level alone.
I like how the game’s world is fully destructible. You can stab through walls and doors, shoot down chandeliers, and knock over tables. This is your chance to show no mercy.
Aside from the violent action, I think the really fun part is just exploring the voxel-rendered world. Some rooms have some clever references to some classic video game characters such as Duke Nukem and even the Dopefish. I especially like how there’s more to this game than meets the eye…
MozPong DX for Windows is a hilarious shareware game from Japan that puts a fresh spin on those breakout type games. Here you control MozMoz-kun, a boy armed with a Butasan on a mission to crack open all the eggs in each level to free the chicks trapped within. Watch out for Josephine, a friendly green dinosaur who will hug MozMoz-kun if he gets too close. Power-ups, bosses and non-violent game action makes MozPong ideal for all ages.
I was lucky enough to grow up in an age of hand-held computer games. One of my favorite toys was Merlin, a strange-looking but very fun toy that could play Tic-Tac-Toe, Blackjack, Magic Square and other mentally challenging games. My favorite feature was the Music Machine where I could program my own melodies. All these games are faithfully reproduced in Virtual Merlin, an ongoing programming project that promises to keep the memories of the original hand held version alive. Its console looks just like the real thing and does not require 6 AA batteries. You will definitely need the manual, available on the site, to learn how to access Merlin’s features. Playing with this program really brings back memories of growing up with a Merlin and I commend the author for undertaking such a worthy project.
As far as I can tell, Virtual Merlin doesn’t write its settings anywhere and runs easily from a USB key drive. After installing it and extracting the contents of the VMERLIN3.ZIP file, just copy the program’s folder to your USB drive. It only needs 640KB of disk space.