Nintendo Wii

Of all the next generation consoles (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii), I’ve got to say the Wii does it for me from the marketing. It’s not amazing from a graphics perspective and doesn’t support HD, but who cares!

The Wii Remote is really cool and provides a natural way to interface with games. I’ve seen some demos for Wii Sports which look really nice and I believe that there are first person shooters for the Wii where you can aim with the Remote.

I think the Wii Remote really is the main attraction of the Wii to me. I’m not a hardcore gamer and I’ve always been a casual PC gamer because the controls are just a lot nicer and I can’t see many benefits in games consoles.

The free Opera web browser for the Wii is really nice too. Hook the Wii up to your television and let it connect to your wireless network and you can browse the web on your TV without having to turn the computer on and watch Youtube on your television.

Though Wii Have a Problem does kinda scare me. It seems like the Wiimote has caused ton of people serious damage to windows, television screens and laptops.

Does anybody have the Nintendo Wii? Would you recommend it to a casual PC gamer? Is the Wii Remote really that great or is it overhyped? Or would a PS3/Xbox 360 be more worth the money? 

Trackmania Nations

Sam pointed me at Trackmania Nations, a cool and free fast-paced racing game.

Trackmania Nations ESWC edition is a fast-paced racing game involving precision and agility specially designed for competition in partnership with Electronic Sports World Cup and free for download. It’s a high octane, free wheeling game of insanity where players can construct totally original tracks with gigantic jumps, loops and high-speed corners.

There are some screenshots at the Trackmania Nations website on the right hand side and it looks pretty sweet. You can download it by clicking the link above Screenshots (it took me about 5 minutes to find this link).

It seems to be downloading very slowly for me; dunno if this is because the site is under a lot of traffic or just my connection playing up. 

Messenger Birthday and Games

A lot of people don’t know that today (July 22nd), MSN Messenger (or Windows Live Messenger as it is now called) has turned 7. In those 7 years, the MSN Messenger network has brought millions of people together. I’ve been using MSN Messenger for about 5 years, since the days of version 2.

In that time, I’ve changed my MSN e-mail address about 6 times. I remember the second version when MSN Messenger was very simple; it did very little – it was a bit like what Google Talk is today. I’ve never really used any other IM system or network for an extended amount of time (though I had a brief stint on ICQ before I found MSN.

As annoying as Messenger can be sometimes, there is no doubt that it has saved me a lot of hassle and pain. Homework collaboration and sharing resources is a lot easier as is checking arrangements for events.

Messenger Games

Through MSN Messenger you can play a lot of games with your contacts and you also get a ranking table for each game comparing your wins and losses with your contacts. You can launch Games by clicking on the Games icon at the top of conversation window. In Windows Live Messenger, this is indicated by a chess piece and a card.

The games you can launch will vary depending on your region; for example people in Denmark get tons of games from Sporkle. The games you can get in the UK are pretty poor but you can launch games which are only available in other territories in the Mess.be Games Launcher (click on Games Launcher in the left hand nav; you’ll need to use IE).

The most addictive game is probably 7 Hand Poker. It’s slightly different from normal poker and of course because it’s being played over the internet, it can be easier/harder to bluff. I’ve set up a little poker launcher which will let you launch the game really quickly. It’s really easy to get the hang of – the "Help" button pretty much explains it all. I played a few friends and now it seems like everyone is addicted. I’ve won about 60% of my 110 games so far.

MSN Poker 

Other great activities include Hexic, Checkers, Cubis, Mozaki Blocks and Bejeweled. Messenger games tend to require you to think so they can work as a pretty good workout for the brain.

You can get some additional third party games at World’s Best App. Sudoku Sniper is really nice.

Elasto Mania

Elasto Mania is a "motorbike simulator arcade game. Your goal is to collect different objects in this 18-level game as you race through a variety of dangers and pitfalls." I remember playing this game a couple of years ago and rediscovered it the other day – it’s quite addictive and it does take a little bit of time to master it.

Elasto Mania

It’s shareware and 1.1 MB. The trial version isn’t too crippled; you still get a level editor, multiplayer, etc. The graphics are fairly basic and should run on a pretty low-spec PC. There’s a few thousand levels you can download when you’ve run out.

A very simple game and a fantastic way to fill in those spare half hours.

By the way, sorry about all the links to games and stuff recently; I guess I’m pretty busy and I just need to get away from it all.

X-Moto

There is an open source clone of Elasto Mania called X-Moto. Looks like it has much better graphics.

BZFlag

BZFlag

BZFlag is a free and open source multiplayer tank capture the flag game.

I’ve been playing it quite a bit over the last few days and it’s certainly quite different from other games I’ve played – you navigate by positioning the mouse cursor towards the top of the screen to accelerate, to the left to turn left, etc. You drive around a map destroying enemy tanks. You can also capture flags which give you special rewards for example making you smaller, bounce more, invisible except on radar, etc.

For some reason, tanks can also jump. 

BZFlag is available on Linux and Windows.

  • The "Games" category of the blog has links to some other free and mostly open source games. 

Armadillo Run

Sunny Boy pointed me towards Armadillo Run which is an ultra addictive "physics-based puzzle game". The "physics-based puzzle game" did put me off downloading it initially but it is definitely a cool game and addictive. The beauty of the game lies in it’s simplicity.

"You have to build structures with the purpose of getting an armadillo to a certain point in space. There is a selection of building materials, each with different properties, which can be combined to form almost anything. The realistic physics simulation gives you the freedom to solve each level in many different ways."

The game starts with a 10 part tutorial which guides you through how to play the game – how to add materials, tension, timers, etc. Unfortunately there are only 6 levels in the demo but they should give you a pretty good taster what the puzzles are like and should last an hour or so.

It’s a 1MB download

Neverball

Neverball and Neverputt are two cool cross-platform open source games. Neverputt is a classic 3D golf game which has been done a few billion times. Neverball is a bit more original – it involves tilting the board. Actually, Neverball makes me feel a bit sick when I play it

There are 75 levels for Neverball and 62 for Neverputt so you probably won’t run out of levels any time soon. It’s a nice game to fill in the spare few minutes you have.

Other cool free, open source games I’ve covered before:

GLTron

GLTron is a simple open source retro style game where you are a "lightcycle" which is a futuristic bike (view screenshots). 

The game takes place on a grid. Everywhere you go you leave a wall behind. The aim is to stay alive as long as possible by not crashing into any walls. You can win by forcing other players to crash into walls or simply by holding out for the longest.

Enemy Territory (another free but not open source game) Fans: There is a tron map

On the topic of games, I’ve also been playing Battle of Wesnoth recently. It’s free, open source and quite addictive. Kinda similar to Age of Empires.

We Play Here

I’ve been playing the multiplayer games at We Play Here a bit recently. There are three multiplayer flash games:

  • Oddballs Bowling – This is a nice bowling game. My Highest Score is 155.
  • Dinky Bomb – A bit like worms. I’m not great at Dinky Bomb but it’s still a fun game.
  • Voodoo Magic – This game involves more tactics. Be careful teaming with people; often people will team with everybody and then stab them in the back

You need to register as it tracks your wins and loses to give you a rating. I also found that it works better in Internet Explorer (Dinky Bomb wouldn’t work for me in Firefox).

Enemy Territory

Who said there aren’t any good free, open source games? Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is a free, open source (some parts) first person shooter game. It was originally going to be an expansion pack to Return to Castle Wolfenstein but for some reason they decided not to release it as a commercial expansion pack and chose to release it as a standalone free multiplayer-only game. It was released in 2003 and it’s still quite popular – the server list is jam packed.

The game has a very healthy modding community – ETPro, some awesome third party maps (such as Venice, Caen, 1944 Beach, Supply Depot, Minas Tirith). There are 6 official maps – Oasis, Battery, Goldrush, Radar, Railgun and Fueldump. The official maps are fantastic – fuel dump is probably my favourite. You can host your own Enemy Territory servers for private games with some friends (run the etded program which comes with the download or choose the option inside the game). When you run your own server, you can do all kinds of cool stuff such as having low gravity allowing you to jump over walls, grenade wars, etc.

It’s a 258MB download and you’ll also need to download a patch. Sure, it’s not got cutting edge graphics but it’s a very playable game and it’s free so fantastic for casual gamers. There is also a total conversion modification, Enemy Territory Fortress.

If any one knows of any other good free games, please let me know 🙂