Thursday, April 17, 2014

This 'n That Thursdays: Beautiful Computer Games

Questionaut from Amanita Design

The weather this past winter was so unusually cold and wet that I found myself spending way too much time indoors.  One of the ways I kept myself occupied was by playing free online computer games.  I try not to spend too much time on them, and since my schedule throughout the day is so varied I only play games that can be finished quickly, but there were times when I still ran out of new games.  I decided to check out some older versions of the escape and adventure games which are my favorites, and I was delighted to find quite a few that are fun, just challenging enough without being frustrating, and even quite beautiful in terms of graphics.  If you are a fan of this genre and relatively new to them like me, you might want to check these older games out as well, whenever you have a little spare time.

Kveendolnitza and Kveendolnitza 2 by Jacek Szleszynski

Kveendolnitza 2 is relatively recent, and was the game that inspired me to search for older games that were similar.  In both episodes, a small creature named Triton is on a quest through amusing and fantastical scenes which are fun to navigate.  Kveendolnitza 3 is also out, but it is not yet online for free.

Samorost/Questionaut/The Quest for the Rest by Amanita Design

Samorost is the game that seems to have set the standard for beautiful computer games, with lovely and surrealistic backgrounds through which a small character must navigate to reach a goal.  Questionaut and The Quest for the Rest are also available in full online.  The former, which was designed for the BBC, is delightfully educational, while the latter has breathtakingly gorgeous settings.  Other games by the same designer are offered free as partial demos only.

Memohuntress by SpikeVallentine

In this game, a young girl named Sellar Dore leaves her troubled home to become the Memohuntress, finder of lost items -- for a price.  When she learns that disaster has struck her home town, Sellar Dore must earn enough money to return home.  The game follows her through several hunts, with superb graphics, great music, and an absorbing interactive quest that is a joy to play.  The designer of this game has created others slightly similar to this one, which I have not yet checked out.

Aurora 1 and Aurora 2 by Pastel Games

An Old West prospector literally finds himself drawn into a strange town and must figure out a way to escape -- before it is too late.   There is a dreamlike quality and stark beauty to this game, with a vaguely sinister theme.  The story continues in Aurora 2.

The Trader of Stories by Pastel Games

A young girl with a mysterious past she cannot remember searches for stories from others that could help her discover her own tale.  Her wagon breaks down in the midst of the journey, and she must use her abilities to solve the secret of a small village so that she can get the wagon repaired and continue on.  The graphics are hauntingly beautiful and the storyline intriguing.  If you like this game and the Aurora series, check out the others created by Pastel Games.

Haluz 1 and Haluz 2 by Tomas K.

The Haluz games were developed by a young Slovak man named Tomas as a tribute to Samorost.  The  name Haluz means "dream-like", and these games truly do have that quality.  The unique and rather comical creatures inhabiting the games add to the fun.

Wogger by Bernd Mattiebe

Wogger is an odd little extraterrestrial game which moves from outer space to inner space in a most unusual way.  Some of the hot spots in the twelve levels can be very tricky to find, but the game is fascinating nonetheless.  If you enjoy this game, there is a Woggerworld website with many Wogger mini game spinoffs to play for free.

(BTW, a good site for descriptions of these games and others is Jay Is Games.  If you get stuck in a game, look for walkthroughs on the websites or on YouTube.)

Personally, I find the worlds in which these lovely, slightly quirky games are set to be so enticing I almost hate to reach the end.  Fortunately for real life, the games are not too difficult to navigate and solve, so I can get on with the rest of my day in a timely manner.  I am sure there are more games similar to these available online, and the next time bad weather forces me to stay indoors I may just search out a few of them!


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