Suggested Browsing: 1/14/2013

Due to my lack of a working computer until just after the new year, Suggested Browsing - along with all of my other work on the site - was temporarily suspended. I can, with many thanks, inform those of you who have followed this feature that I am back and my mind is brimming with content for you. Suggested Browsing is still growing, and forming into a more ambitious feature with each edition; and I am looking forward to what the future holds in store. So, without further delay, let us get to what you came here for - video games. Browser Game of 2012: Guilded Youth

Given that I ¨out of the office” through most of the end of last year, I missed the opportunity to catalog what I considered to be the best browser game of last year. I wrote about Guilded Youthhere; but for any of you opposed to hyperlinks, I´ll simply tell you that this game is absolutely worth playing. A text adventure about a role playing loving teenager in Canada exploring the world around him in fitful youth. Easily one of the most pleasant experiences I had with a game last year, and one I highly recommend to anyone willing to brave the world of text adventures.

Now, down to business as usual.

Frog Fractions (Twinbeard Games):

I should have played this game last year, without question. Frog Fractions presents itself, at first, to be a simple homage to 80´s and 90´s styled educational video games - using simple directives and typing practice as mechanics, where in you control a frog simply trying to eat bugs. Soon, a light upgrade mechanic is introduced to the mix including powers such as a sticky tongue to capture more bugs, and a turtle to ride on allowing more lateral movement. But, then you unlock a dragon and warp speed. Before you know it, you've gone under water, and then into space dodging asteroids until you find yourself on bug mars. Without spoiling too much more of this fantastic browser gaming experience, I´ll simply mention some of the ground it covers to explain the multitude of madness Frog Fractions has to offer. The game at one point, after transitioning to a surprisingly adventurous bug eating game that takes you to bug mars, becomes a deep sea explorer, gives fantastic insight to the history of the sport of Boxing, an in depth text adventure and a light hearted company management simulator. This game can be played here, and I highly recommend it. 2013´s 2012 browser game of the year?

Hey guys, game jams! 

The Lodum Dare recently had a game jam in which the theme was ¨You are the Villain¨. As so many exciting games come out of jams such as this one, and are normally free or at least browser based, I´ll list two that I found particularly interesting - who knows, maybe more will be mentioned next edition! Boss Level (David Léon):

Though you might be fooled by my scathing opinion of Tower Wars, I love tower defense. Seeing as I am also a bit of a sucker for lo-fi sprite models, Boss Level´s combining of the two for a frantic gaming experience where in I get to be a purple dragon laying waste to hordes of would be heroes had me sold at ¨purple¨. The game is fast, fun, and wonderfully free to play here. And if you, like myself find sprites and their origins extremely interesting, here is where you can find that too.

Kroc Le Villain (Geraud de Courreges & Antoine Druaux):

Kroc Le Villain has one of the best, most simple premises I've personally heard in quite a while. Kroc is a final boss, who, being the last obstacle in an entirely torturous forest, has never had a hero survive long enough to face him. This is where the game starts, as you - embodying Kroc - must create safe passage through your own terrifying forest for the hero so that you may kill him yourself. As you scare the dwellings of the forest so the nameless hero might catch them unaware, terrify helpless goats and bats and complete three levels, players will amass a score of ¨evilness¨. Being surprisingly rhythm based, I found myself - as I always do in any rhythm based game - finding the experience far easier once the game ramped up the difficulty. The game is free here at Kongregate, and a great time - and kind of cute?

Hey, Text Adventures are cool too.

CYBERQUEEN (Propentine):

CYBERQUEEN feels more like an interactive bit of fiction than it does a standard text adventure. Taking place upon an apparently sentient and malicious space craft, the game is very much about exploration, discovery, and questioning. Yet, it was not the fiction that drew me to this particular title, but the writing. Not exactly the tale being written before the player, rather the way it is presented. Each of the words given as interactive choices or prompts, along with every other bit of writing, feels so deliberately chosen that I felt as if I were reading poetry at times. The opening screen of the game simply resents the interactive word ¨Wet¨, and nothing else. The power of word choice far surpasses expectation, and the construction of the path laid before players in CYBERQUEEN is certainly to be appreciated, and played.

That wraps up the first edition of Suggested Browsing for the new year, stick around for more.