Tired of working and doing the same old? Well, check out these online games that will make the day go by.
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
As someone who spends the vast majority of his time each day on the Web, I've developed a unique love for casual online games. When I'm bored or just want to slip away from work for a while, I head over to one of my favorite online game sites and let the hours pass by.
But I should note that although there are thousands of online games out there, my favorites are relatively limited. In fact, I only play four online games regularly. These are the games I find so addicting that I can ignore the rest.
"Bowman 2" isn't for the faint of heart, but it's a really fun game that you can play by yourself, against the computer, or with a friend.
The premise behind "Bowman 2" is simple: you wield a bow and arrow and your job is to release that arrow into the sky in the hope that you hit the opposing player. Once you do, blood spurts out from your opponent and when two lethal hits are chalked up or four non-lethal hits are made, you win. This probably isn't the kind of game you want to let your kids play without some supervision.
Like the others, "Bowman 2" is designed with fun, not good looks, in mind. In essence, the game is one white screen with silhouetted characters and two patches of green or brown grass. That's it. To control your bowman, you need to click your left mouse button and decide upon the strength of your shot (up to 100) and the direction of your shot in degrees. If your first shot misses, you can adjust it next time to determine the right speed and angle to hit your target.
"Bowman 2" is one of those games that allows you to veer off from the day for a while. Like the others, it's free and will consume hours if you let it.
"The Helicopter Game"
If you're looking to spend hours playing an online game instead of working, look no further than "The Helicopter Game." Trust me, you'll spend hours trying to beat this title.
"The Helicopter Game" is just what you would expect: you fly a helicopter through a maze that features walls flanking obstructions along the route. The obstructions are green rectangles and your helicopter is a simple gray and blue figure shaped like a helicopter.
Once again, the simple design of the game makes for simple controls. To control your helicopter, you only need to click the left mouse button. As you hold it down, the helicopter goes up. When you release it, the helicopter goes down. It's as simple as that.
Playing "The Helicopter Game" is extremely fun. That said, I found this title to be the most frustrating, since you're forced to go back to the beginning each time you lose. Worse, the maze starts getting narrower as you progress through the game, which means you'll need practice to make your way through. But its scoring mechanism (you get more points the longer you stay alive) makes the game addicting and it wouldn't surprise me if you keep coming back for more after the first time you play it.
"Max Dirt Bike" allows you to play as, you guessed it, a dirt bike rider, who is trying desperately to traverse different obstacles through 19 levels. The game starts out easy with a few minor obstacles, but rapidly increases the difficulty throughout the rest of the levels. Much like the other games included here, the controls are extremely simple: you use the arrow keys to control the direction of the dirt bike rider. That's it.
You won't be blown away by the design of "Max Dirt Bike." The rider and his dirt bike are colored in black and outlined in red, while the obstacles are basically white blocks that are outlined in a particular color. The background in each level is distracting and ugly.
Once you get over the game's simple design, you'll be blown away by the gameplay and realize that you'll need to perform certain tricks with the bike to get through each level. It may look simple, but rest assured that it's not an easy game to complete. But once you do finally beat the game, you won't want to move on to something else--each run-through is timed, so you'll constantly find yourself trying to beat your best time.
If you use Gmail, go to your "Labs" tab and enable "Old Snakey", Google's version of the age-old classic. Once you enable it, anytime you're using Gmail, you can click Shift + 7 and the game will be brought to the forefront, over your Inbox.
The game couldn't be any simpler: it features a couple of obstructions, a "snake" that you control with your arrow keys, and a block that you need to run over without hitting the walls and obstructions. It starts out simple with a short snake and slow speed, but it rapidly increases speed and the size of your snake as you pick up more blocks. That's when the game gets really fun and makes it an ideal title for you when you're alone or with friends.
Is it a beautiful game? No way. But once again, the value of simple gameplay and unique fun is all it takes to make a game addicting. If you're a Gmail user, definitely try it out. If you're not, sign up for Gmail just to play it. It's that fun.
Are there games that I missed that you really enjoy? Let us know in the comments.