Idle Time-Sinks for the Terminally Un-Busy

Culled from blogs much cooler than this one, I recently stumbled upon a few (free!) Flash games to while away the hours between getting to work and lunch, and between lunch and quitting time.

Boomshines

Boomshine (http://www.k2xl.com/games/boomshine):

In this game, little colorful dots float aimlessly across the screen at different speeds and rebound off the walls. A mouse-click creates a small, expanding “explosion” that causes any dots it touches to also explode. The goal is to explode increasing numbers of dots, and the only way to do it at higher levels is to start chain reactions across the screen. There may be lots and lots of skill required for this game, but I’ve found that random clicks and watching the pretty colors keeps me entertained and works just as well. Also, turn the music off to hear the cool, chimey sound effects (which make for the cutest explosions ever, Pulao said once while playing).

Sphere

Sphere (http://www.jigsaw.x0.com/sphere_e/index.html):

A locked-room mystery without the murder. You’re locked in the room, and your goal is to escape. Everything you need is somewhere in there with you. Click your mouse to see a different part of the room, zoom in, affect something in your environment, or pick up and carry an item (or combine your items together). Winning relies a little too heavily on the “Oh!-I-can-click-there?/Didn’t-see-that” factor, but the puzzles are fun and satisfying. When Pulao and I solved it, I was a little sad to leave the room behind. [p.s. when you need to do something else or close the browser, your progress (and items) can be magically saved.]

The Restaurant Game

The Restaurant Game (http://web.media.mit.edu/~jorkin/restaurant):

This isn’t a Flash game, per se, but something cool nonetheless. The goal of the Restaurant Game project, conducted by the MIT Media Lab, is to develop game-engine artificial intelligence that better mimics the behavior of real people. When you play (either as a waitress or a customer) the game learns from what you do, and down the line it will be released as a 1-player game, with game designer credits for all the players. As for the gameplay now, you interact with another person to either buy or serve food, and afterwards rate the other’s intelligence, kindness, etc., and guess their age (and what they eat for breakfast), which is always fun. You know, judging people. [p.s. best time to logon (to guarantee there’ll be somebody to play with) is between 7 – 9 p.m. U.S. Eastern time.]

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