Monday, October 29, 2007

OT: Gaming

Just felt like sharing some of my favorite games. Surprisingly, most of them are free or really cheap games. Perhaps it's down to my c64 and amiga upbringing but games based on ideas attract me more then games based on polish and bling.
Also, most of the games are physics based. This is only natural as small scale / single developer games can't compete on professionally drawn graphics, orchestrated music, star actor voice-overs... A single guy doesn't have the time to draw all the baddies, but he can program them! So here's a short list:

Tower of Goo

Originally an experimental game-play project game (see below) but one that might have spun a new company for the author. The game is based upon a simple idea of having to build a tower using amorphous substance called goo. All you need to do is pick up a goo blob and stretch it to form a truss. Besides building a solid structure the player is rushed by remaining goo blobs which have a tendency to concentrate on the most precarious, the highest peek of the built structure. This shifting mass makes your buildings somewhat unstable and reaching the target height proves quite challenging.

Crayon physics

Another EGP favorite. The basic idea of this game is that your drawings become physical objects in the game. You draw a box and a box of the same size appears in the game, drops down to a see-saw and flings a ball across the screen. The object of each level is to touch a star with your ball.


I bought this game a while ago but newer versions seem to be free. Also the rendering engine got upgraded a lot! The basic premise of this game is physics based fighting. You control a 3d fighter through issuing basic commands (relax, stretch, hold, grip...) to his joints. After making your moves the simulation continues a certain amount of frames whereupon you're given a choice to again issue new commands. In multi-player mode you have a limited time to issue your commands before the simulation continues. This results in an amazing combat game with no prefixed moves or combos but simply amazingly realistic action. The game is heavily modded and supports a wide array of game rules (most damage wins or player that touches the ground first looses etc.).

Zen bondage

In this game your task is to wrap a wooden object with a thread. Your task is to cover almost 100% of the object so any concave areas must be navigated with care.


An extraordinarily clever game following a unique game design philosophy. You control a small creature that gains size and speed by eating other creatures in the game. You're given free choice of progressing through the game levels (depth) in sequence or skipping through to the final level at once.

Bridge construction set

My all time favorite (although not free!) game. The history of this game started out with BridgeBuilder which was a 2d bridge building game. Next came Pontifex which moved the game in 3d environment and added different bridge building material. The last of the series called BridgeIt upgraded the graphics engine but for me BCS is still the best in the lot. Your task in this game is to use the available material (iron, steel trusses or cables) and build a bridge capable of passing a test (like having a train pass over it). It's one of those games where creativity rules. BBG still hosts contest where the most efficient bridge (read cheapest) which completes a level wins. Some of the entries just blow you away. Also somewhere along the line we started making walking / moving structures :). This was not something the creators of the game ever envisioned but clearly shows the power of building games as a platform for expression a not a collection of pretty pictures.

If you like games like these, then head over to Fun Motion, Experimental game-play project or Introversion Software. Those should keep you busy for months!

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