Did you buy Star Trek Online, only to find it unbearable? What about Mercenaries II? Are you sick of Madden Football passing off a new coat of paint as a reason to drop 60 percent of a C-Note every season? Have you paid full price for that new Fallout 3 expansion also known as Fallout: New Vegas? Lets kick it old school--anyone remember the horribly disappointing Resident Evil 3?
Did you buy Final Fantasy XIII like I did, make it through ten hours of the game, waiting, hoping, praying that something would resemble gameplay? What a horrible shame. Getting a third of the way in and still wondering when the actual *game* will start.
This is simply unacceptable. Fifteen years ago we'd buy piece of junk games because they were new and shiny and hyped (Looking at you, "Evil Dead" games), but dag nab it, the Internet is here ladies and gentleman, and there is a diluted market to pillage!
In my quest to avoid spending money on new titles so frequently, I've rediscovered the free online games. There are tons of these things, too. Just now I discovered a wonderful little golf game., It's delightful if not compelling. Sure, these games aren't going to offer you the depth of a Assassin's Creed or Grand Turismo, but there is depth and more importantly, value to be had in this genre. So below are some of the best free online games I've come across.
The Fantastic Contraption (Physics based puzzle) If you've been away from the flash game landscape, play it now and start your own self discovery. You're going to be amazed by the simple depth and escalating level of challenge. Everything you need to beat this game is in your head. The rules don't change, the enemies don't re-spawn, you don't need to junction. It's you, the interface, and gravity.
Cursor *10 (Action, Puzzle, Twitch) - Cursor*10 is the sort of game that can only be had via the Internet. Use your past to influence your future. Every death is an opportunity, and oh yeah, you're a mouse cursor the entire game.
N - (Action / Platformer) I think everyone with a computer has played this game, and if you haven't, play it now. it's a fun, addicting little platformer. The premise is you're a Ninja, you have to collect coins, open gates, and make it to the door. I know it doesn't make any sense, but the game is tense. The game reminds me of Comix Zone in that there's patterns to memorize and exploit, incredibly tough enemies, and you're always a couple of seconds away from dying.
Curve Ball - (3D Pong) - Giving a third dimension to Pong, Curve Ball plays out like those light disc battles in the Tron movies. By the sixth level you're frantic. You could probably spend a good 40 minutes with this game and not get bored. The difficulty increases, there's a score counter, it's polished, and the sound effects create a symphony of chaos in the latter levels.
Meat Boy (Platformer) - I've been stuck using a loner laptop for the past few weeks, and have been sequestered from my normal gaming apparati. Oddly, what I miss most is the progress I made in this game. This is Mario honed to a point. It's more vertical and features a hefty dose of wall jumping, but Meat Boy, like Mario, is capable of being mastered. The reward is a sense of accomplishment, which is why games exist in the first place.
Lets compare Meat Boy to Comic Book Jumper. CBJ cost fifteen dollars. Halfway through the second level, the game and I both desperately wanted it be Earthworm Jim. But it wasn't. For all that game had: Triple A production, a marketing campaign, cut scenes, distinct-styles, achievements, voice overs, and bonus levels for ‘Splosion man, it forgot to be compelling. It forgot to make me want to come back to it. It forgot to be distinct.
Perhaps a more apt comparison would be Meat Boy versus ‘Splosion Man. ‘Splosion man is a better game than Comic Book Jumper, as it remembered to have actual gameplay. Against Meat Boy however...
I started playing ‘Splosion man and Meat Boy around the same time, and after spending ample time with both, I think Meat Boy is the better game. It's...pure. ‘Splosion man has acid and scientists and rising water levels and barrels that explode and other barrels that kill scientists and others that make you jump higher. Talk about Hyper-kinetic. There's too much going on for the game to get good at any one thing. Meat Boy is jumping and sliding and control. Simple and enthralling.
In ‘Splosion man you can barely get good before they start throwing the gameplay modifications at you, so nothing has time to evolve. I mean obviously both games are good ‘Splosion Man is a much sleeker production and has some fine game play including wonderful ad-hoc multi-player, but compare the investment in Meat Boy (free) to the investment in ‘Splosion Man (I paid $5). ‘Splosion Man is 500 percent more expensive than Meat Boy. Is it 500 percent better? Probably not. is Comic Book Jumper 1500 percent better than Meat Boy? Definitely not.
There are a ton more free online games on Facebook and across the world wide web as well. I've just scratched the surface.