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The holiday weekend gave me some time to do the things I wanted to do without distraction (everyone I know was away visiting family). "Aaaaahhhh," I thought to myself... a weekend to myself, pure gaming bliss!
And what did I do? Nothing, really.... Surprisingly, I actually felt a bit empty. I played a few freeware games and watched a couple of movies. Anyhow, about the games....
I looked forward to getting back into "Baldur's Gate." I booted up "Baldur's Gate," but after less than an hour, I wasn't feeling it. It felt like a "slog." I haven't played it since last weekend, and I couldn't get back into it.
No creative fires were burning, so I sought out some freeware games. I found some pretty interesting ones.
I found a freeware game called Synaesthete, an experimental game created by students of the Digipen Institute. Basically, it's an isometric "Robotron" type game mixed with a music rhythm game (i.e. Dance Dance Revolution). Instead of firing your enemies, you must fire to the "beat" of the music. Playing the game, which has an effective techno/house-style soundtrack and trippy 3D graphics, almost makes one feel like they're "playing" a Eurodemo! I beat the game in about an hour (on easy mode).
I'm not sure "Synaesthete" really works as a game, even though it's a very interesting concept and well-programmed. Trying to maneuver your character while hitting "beat" buttons was a bit too much for my brain to deal with. It's still worth checking out... maybe the basic concept can be improved and made into a more humanly-graspable game.
Then I played two "mouse gesture" games, both with a similar underlying game mechanic, but very different in execution!
The first game was called Ocular Ink, a very slick freeware game that I recommend highly. It's hard to describe: you are a rolling "eyeball" who must save the land.... ah, heck, I'm not even going to try to describe the weird premise (read the link!). Basically, it is an overhead, 3D, cel-shaded action game with some similarities to "Legend of Zelda," but more fun. The "mouse gestures" is the innovation; instead of shooting your enemies, you must use your paintbrush to "paint" your way through the game. That's where the "ink" in "Ocular Ink" comes in: you need "ink" to paint! You can use your paintbrush to "drag" objects into enemies (or enemies into objects!) to destroy them, or you can "paint" secret spell symbols to do damage!
The graphics and gameplay in Ocular Ink are excellent. The only downfall is the lack of an in-game musical soundtrack, but it's not enough to detract from the fun! It took me most of the day to beat this game, but it was all fun!
The other "mouse gesture" game was called Chalk, a simple name for a rather innovative game! "Chalk" applies the "mouse gesture" concept to scrolling shooters. Instead of shooting at your enemies, you draw, using your "chalk", on the screen in various ways to defeat them. You can either draw a line to block shots, draw between two or more objects to destroy them, or draw between a bullet an an enemy to send the bullet back to the enemy to destroy it. There's a bit more, but this is a short summary. I found the frenetic pace a bit too much for me; trying to draw lines on the screen, instead of blasting the enemies, was a bit much for me. The game is simple but slickly programmed (in Multimedia Fusion), so I guess I can recommend it as a "pastime" game.
Ok, here's the rankings: #1) Ocular Ink. #2) Tie between "Chalk" and "Synaesthete," depending on your mood. Occular Ink is a great and very playable freeware game, the other two experiments that may or may not work for you. All three are well worth checking out, though.
(As for the movies I watched: "Star Wars: Clone Wars" was better than I expected, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're a serious SW geek, and "Baby Mama," which I unexpectedly really enjoyed!)
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