Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fun Ways to Pass theTime

Have you ever noticed times in your life where you've 'come to' and realized that you've been enjoying yourself for an extended period of time without even noticing that time was passing?  Such and experience is called 'flow'. (See wikipedia for a bit more explanation)  I've had that experience many times before.  I've had it happen when I'm playing games with friends, when I'm at work, or when I've been enjoying a good video game.  Why do I bring this up?  I feel like my last weekend passed like a dream.

I spent the weekend playing in the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend.  I only had from Friday around noon till yesterday at midnight in order to play the game.  I played in one of their previous beta weekends and I was hooked almost immediately.  One of the things that had me hooked about the game was how beautiful it was.  The graphics aren't cutting edge or super realistic, but the landscapes are pretty stunning for a game.
The game play is very unlike other online role playing games that I've played.  First off, the game rewards players more for being skillful than for having the best gear.  There were many times where I had to stay on my toes in order to defeat one or multiple opponents that were bearing down on me.  It took a bit of practice to figure out what worked and how to use my skills to best defeat my opponents.  Second, the game encourages cooperation with other players!  The game creates a number of 'events' that show up where the players have to cooperate together to solve.  The difficulty of the events increases the more players that show up.  Third, the "quests" and events had variety to them.  Some events involved trivia, some involved defending or escorting people or places, and some involved taking down a rather large and nasty monster.  Most, if not all, of the quests gave players options on how to complete them.  I remember doing one quest where I could either retrieve bugs and grubs for cows to eat or I could go and try to cheer up depressed cows.  Fourth, the game encourages players to explore.  Each part of the game has a set of places to discover and "quests" to perform.  It also has a set of 'vistas' that a player can go to in order to see a short cutscene of the area.  Some of the vistas are rather easy to get to.  One of the more difficult ones I did involved doing an extensive jumping puzzle through some old ruins in order to get to the vista.  The game also has other jumping puzzles for players to explore and experience.  I was only able to find one of them this beta weekend, but I am sure there are many more.

Anyways, there are many things from Guild Wars 2 that I didn't have a chance to experience such as dungeons and player vs player combat.  I could spend the rest of this blog post lauding Guild Wars 2 for so many of things that they've done 'right' in the game (like fast travel, being able to access bank accounts at crafting stations, etc).  Anyways, I would like to share with you some Flash games that I've also found to be entertaining over the years.  Perhaps you will find a new way to pass the time and experience some 'flow'.

Diib's Dilemma

In Diib's Dilemma, the player assumes the role of an apprentice that has to traverse Diib's tower.  Armed with his (or is it her?) magic, the apprentice must defeat all the monsters on a level in order to progress to the next level.  Along the way, the player can find runes which will allow him/her in order to unlock new and more powerful spells.  Some spells set traps, others throw fireballs and bolts of lighting, and others will heal the player.  The game starts out with a few simple slimes to defeat, and eventually progresses to powerful monsters like ghosts that will throw lightning bolts through the whole map.  It is a very difficult flash game, and rewards quick thinking, timing, and careful spell selection before each level.  If you're up for a challenging game, try out Dibb's Dilemma!

Merlin's Revenge

Many years ago, my little brother and I would play single player games together.  It's a little more complicated than it sounds.  It usually would devolve into me controlling the movement of the player and my brother controlling the firing capabilities of the player.  Of all the games we played like that, I think I most enjoyed playing Merlin's Revenge with him.  The story of the game is relatively simple.  Merlin sets out to save his friend Berlin.  Merlin's only defense against the monsters in his way is a powerful magical blast.
After saving his friend, Merlin is set on on a second mission (Merlin's Revenge 2).  In this game, Merlin gains the ability to fire energy beams, summon allies, and even transform into other monsters.  Both games provided my brother and I with many fun times together.


Seedling is a very interesting game that I just barely discovered last week.  It is a game that plays very similarly to the 'Legend of Zelda' series, yet it is much more simple.  I haven't had a chance to play through the game all the way, but so far the puzzles have been a bit challenging.  If you feel up to some sword swinging and exploration, go ahead and give Seedling a try.

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