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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

what games are you playing at the moment?

I have a vague feeling that we may have talked about favorite games before, but I couldn’t find that old QOTW (if it even exists), which means it was so long ago that it’s worth talking about again, with the gaming environment changing so quickly.

So:

What games are you playing at the moment?

If you’re old-school and play board games or card games — actual, physical games in the offline real world — feel free to share those, too.

I took the plunge and bought an iPad recently (which is something I’ll write about soon, because it’s definitely a device of interest to movie-watchers), and one of the new games I discovered — and have been playing somewhat obsessively — is Flow Free [iOS devices] [Android devices]. It’s deceptively simply — you just have to connect the colored dots with a “flow”:

flowfree1

and fiendishly addictive, because while the levels start out simple, with a small board and just a few dots, they soon look like this:

flowfree2

and you can’t cross the streams. It can be really tricky trying to work out how to finish boards like this.

Your turn. Give me some good iOS games!

(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)


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  • Stephanie C.

    q&!%@!)$&@( CANDY CRUSH.

  • amanohyo

    What’s a iOS? Does it have more bits than a NES?

    On my breaks at work, I’ve been making my way through Kingdom Rush – a cutesy cross between a stripped down Starcraft and Desktop Tower Defense (you can play it for free on any browser but there’s an ipad version too). Sometimes on the train, I play a little Shiren the Wanderer on my ancient DS.

    I have a strict no gaming at home rule (addiction-prone personality). If I did play at home, I’d probably play something like The Castle Doctrine – a combination of Roguelikes and Tower Defense games (my two favorite genres) with a little satirical edge.

  • iOS is Apple apps for mobile devices, primarily iPads but also iPods and iBooks.

  • Overdrive Media Console app: free, and then plug in your local library, sign in with your library card, and check out ebooks!
    I’m a librarian. What did you expect?! :)

  • RogerBW

    I’m terribly old-school: role-playing, boardgames, wargames. Recently I’ve been playing a lot of Flash Point (a cooperative fire-rescue boardgame). I don’t do much computer gaming; when I do it tends to be something obscure and complex like Orbiter or SimSig.

    I like at least some non-deterministic element in a game, otherwise I’m just solving a puzzle someone else generated. I’d rather solve a puzzle that nobody has ever solved before and to which there may not even be a solution. (In this sense, my favourite computer game is Perl.)

  • amanohyo

    I see, I see… sooo more bits than a NES but less bits than a iPod then. What about the iBox 4, my best friend’s neighbor said it’s coming out Thanksgiving and the graphics are like ten times more awesome than the Retina App 3!

    Heh… seriously though thanks for the help. I asked about iOS in jest, but it was a poor joke (when I was a kid, we’d always talk about how many bits something had). Unless you’re playing the straight man intentionally… in which case, well played sir.

  • althea

    I do a hidden-object game, Mystery Manor, on FB. The hidden objects part isn’t the hard part after a while because you get good at it, but the rest is lots of detail and planning, so I get immersed in it and I’m sorry to say I should be in therapy. Also I’m still doing Angry Birds because I just love to fling things.

  • bronxbee

    so… crossing the streams would be bad?

  • Jess Haskins

    Since I’ve been on a bit of a Star Trek kick lately, I decided to give Star Trek Online a try. I know it’s not supposed to be very good, and I generally avoid F2P MMOs like the plague, but for professional reasons I thought I should play through at least one for a while, and I was curious. So far it’s not very good, really, although I had fun with the character customizer. I realize what I really want is something like Mass Effect, set in the ST universe. And yes, the bro-op Abramsverse Star Trek tie-in action game was sort of like that, but also not very good. Finally I did find a good Star Trek game to play — an unassuming little text adventure from 1986 called The Promethean Prophecy that I found running on a website in an Apple ][ emulator. The parser is smarter than I expected, and the writing is actually quite sharp. Sitting on the bridge as you’re under attack, trying to figure out what orders to give to save your skin before you’re all blown up, actually feels like being Kirk in command of the Enterprise. It all just works really well.

    Oh, and I just finished playing Gone Home, which was awesome. Actually, MaryAnn, I think I’d recommend it strongly to you, even if you don’t often play PC games. It’s all about exploration and narrative. You’re a young woman just returned to the new house your family moved into while you were traveling around Europe. Nobody’s home to meet you so you poke around and look at all the objects and bits of ephemera scattered around the house, learning about your family and reconstructing what happened while you were away. It’s also set in the mid 90s, which is neat if you have any kind of nostalgia for or connection to that era. It’s quite short, and only takes about 3 hours to play. If that sounds at all interesting to you I’d urge you to check it out.

  • Bri

    I love King of Dragon Pass, an updated remake of an old computer game from 1999. I would consider it a strategy/rpg game.
    If you like board games done into iOS games, there is the Elder Signs: Omens. It is based on the Lovecraft Mythos, and based on the card/board game by Fantasy Flight.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    After having all but abandoned consoles for most of 7 years to play MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic* this summer I rediscovered my XBox360. Over the last 3 months I’ve played:

    Mass Effect 2 (loved, but the final boss is kinda dumb)
    Bioshock Infinite (omgomgomgomgomg)
    Batman: Arkham City (excellent except for all the rape threats)
    Tomb Raider (the reboot, also excellent, mostly devoid of rape threats)
    Fallout 3 (too open of an “open world”, gave up after about 8 hrs)
    Red Dead Redemption (now this is an open world game, and John Marston is now one of my favorite characters ever, but holy hell is it long)

    a couple weeks ago, I set RDR aside for a while and started up Mass Effect 3 (I think I just needed a FemShep fix).

    * I still play both, but not with the obsessive, nightly engagement I used to. The problem for me is the second M in MMO: “multiplayer”. Almost all of the people I’ve know in-game over the years have moved on, so the games have become lonely places for me.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Ok, important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, I’ve also recently played a couple hours each of:

    Assassin’s Creed 2 (have to go back to that one)
    Dead Rising 2 (cute, but I can’t get into a game that makes replay a required game mechanic. See: Diablo 3)
    Crackdown (awful, and racist, but I got it free)

    Skyrim (almost the same game as Fallout 3, with all the same problems)
    Left4Dead (a good way to mindlessly unwind)

  • Dawn

    This summer I’ve been playing Sabatu, Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, and the card game Hike. I only play board and card games but my husband started playing Forge of Empires a few months ago as well.

  • Guest

    I don’t actually play games, usually. (Not counting the half hour I just wasted trying out Flow Free, thanks. I check my facebook status, then start reading an ebook if I get bored somwhere. Once in a while I’ll play Bejeweled or Taipei (like Mahjong), but usually I’ll read. I used to play Farmville, but got frustrated at its slowness (noo much movement , not enough Flash support) and I’ve played CountryLife and Farm Town, but you never really get anywhere. Plant, harvest, plant, harvest. It’s a worse time-sucker than tv. ( I do watch tv.) I just have better things to do with my time, like making beaded jewelry and beaded pictures while watching (listening to) movies and tv shows.

  • beccity98

    I don’t actually play games, usually. (Not counting the half hour I just
    wasted trying out Flow Free, thanks.) I check my facebook status, then
    start reading an ebook if I get bored somwhere. Once in a while I’ll
    play Bejeweled or Taipei (like Mahjong), but usually I’ll read. I used
    to play Farmville, but got frustrated at its slowness (too much movement
    , not enough Flash support) and I’ve played CountryLife and Farm Town,
    but you never really get anywhere. Plant, harvest, plant, harvest. It’s a
    worse time-sucker than tv. ( I do watch tv.) I just have better things
    to do with my time, like making beaded jewelry and beaded pictures while
    watching (listening to) movies and tv shows.

  • PJK

    I’m starting on War Thunder, which is a online second world war/korean era online combat flight simulator.

    My backlog of games is huge, I’m stuck at the Mr Freeze level in Arkham City, can’t beat a blue teleporting enemy in Fear 3, am having trouble with interegation in L.A. Noire, got stuck in Quantum Conundrum and got bogged down in Tomb Raider: Anniversary. And I have yet to start Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Alan Wake, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, Crysis 2, Assassin’s Creed II, Dead Space, Dead Space 2 and Max Payne 3.

    I’m lucky that I missed the steam summer sale this year, otherwise that list would have probably expanded quite a bit. >B’)

  • PJK

    My actual most played game at the moment is Solitaire on my Android phone BTW. It’s just such a simple little time waster that uou can play on the go.

  • David N-T

    Borderlands, lately. Waiting for a friend to start Borderlands 2.

  • Bri

    Dragon Pass is another game for the iOS as well.

  • Anne-Kari

    In terms of board games, me & the kids have been playing a lot of Munchkin, also Small World and Castle Panic. I’d like to try the video game Gone Home – anyone played that yet?

  • I really don’t play games on my phone, as I feel like I’m better off investing my time in a “real” game that actually has a beginning, middle, and an end. They’re ok for the occasional time waster I suppose, but never as a real gaming choice.
    I just finished The Last of Us, which was amazing.

    I’m now playing the totally insane Asura’s wrath, and having a ball with it.

    Like a couple others here have mentioned, Gone home sounds good, and will probably be my next game to play.

    I’m looking forward to Beyond: Two Souls in October.

  • I am earnestly trying to finish damn Bioshock Infinite before everybody spoils the ending for me *completely*. I already picked up all the basic strokes of how it ends simply by having eyes and looking at the Internet. Thanks, Internet.

    After that it’s a toss-up between getting into Deus Ex: HR or going back for a replay of Planescape Torment now that the updated version is available.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Elizabeth was his sled.

  • lescarr

    It turns out that I’m a complete failure at playing games – I seem to have almost no hand-eye co-ordination, and so I can’t even walk in a straight line in most video games. I’ve just looked at the wikipedia page for computer game genres, and the only categories that afford me any enjoyment are 7.5 (Puzzle Game) and 7.8 (Board / card games).

    It’s a matter of intense frustration to me – I feel as if a whole section of my life is inexplicably missing. I’m stuck playing Solitaire – and it’s not even a metaphor. Still, it means that I can get on with more reading *turns to page 200 of Hull Zero Three*

  • dwa4

    did you play console versions knights of the old republic 1 and 2 before mmorpg old republic? same feel/different feel?…kotor is the only game that hooked me in the last …too many….. years. i think tor is about the only thing i would want to invest in given time constraints if it is of same quality….have not done mmorpgs before,,,wish they would have somehow continued on a console too

  • dwa4

    have read through the reviews of trek games after playing one that was quite disappointing and never found any unanimous praise so gave up…will have to try TPP..
    1986?…..I’m not an online gamer…can you find this and play on pc tablets?

  • Tonio Kruger

    I was all set to play a nice game of Thermonuclear War today but after what happened to London and New York yesterday, I think I’d rather settle for a nice game of chess…

  • dwa4

    Thank you for all the information!!!…It’s like a game to get to the game. I’m not as familiar with these computer mechanics as you are. It may take a good snowstorm for a couple days off work and school before I can get through all that.

  • Jess Haskins

    Well, I would say just try the web link first…you may be lucky and it might work fine for you without any further fuss. But after that it does get a little fiddly. Once you have DOSBox set up it opens up a whole new world of great old games, though!

  • Thanks for the suggestion.

    No, wait, I mean: curse you. :->

  • Kuda

    Trainyard Express. It’s similar to Flow Free.

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