Since I'm kinda bored at the moment and I don't have much to do right now, I think I'll create a new thread. This thread will not be for flaming or character assassination, or anything like that. Instead, I'd like to write about a few games that I really enjoy playing, and I hope that a few of you who look at this thread will write about some of your favorites.

Anyhow, here are a couple games that I've spent a lot of time playing lately. I'll add links to where you can download them (they're mostly freeware) so that if you wanted to, you could try them out for yourself, the story for the game, and my review of the game .

1. NetHack 3.4.0 (crossplatform - RPG)

Story: "Recently, you have begun to find yourself unfulfilled and distant in your daily occupation. Strange dreams of prospecting, stealing, crusading, and combat have haunted you in your sleep for many months, but you aren't sure of the reason. You wonder whether you have in fact been having those dreams all your life, and somehow managed to forget about them until now. Some nights you awaken suddenly and cry out, terrified at the vivid recollection of the strange and powerful creatures that seem to be lurking behind every corner of the dungeon in your dream. Could these details haunting your dreams be real? As each night passes, you feel the desire to enter the mysterious caverns near the ruins grow stronger. Each morning, however, you quickly put the idea out of your head as you recall the tales of those who entered the caverns before you and did not return. Eventually you can resist the yearning to seek out the fantastic place in your dreams no longer. After all, when other adventurers came back this way after spending time in the caverns, they usually seemed better off than when they passed through the first time. And who was to say that all of those who did not return had not just kept going?

Asking around, you hear about a bauble, called the Amulet of Yendor by some, which, if you can find it, will bring you great wealth. One legend you were told even mentioned that the one who finds the amulet will be granted immortality by the gods. The amulet is rumored to be somewhere beyond the Valley of Gehennom, deep within the Mazes of Menace. Upon hearing the legends, you immediately realize that there is some profound and undiscovered reason that you are to descend into the caverns and seek out that amulet of which they spoke. Even if the rumors of the amulet's powers are untrue, you decide that you should at least be able to sell the tales of your adventures to the local minstrels for a tidy sum, especially if you encounter any of the terrifying and magical creatures of your dreams along the way. You spend one last night fortifying yourself at the local inn, becoming more and more depressed as you watch the odds of your success being posted on the inn's walls getting lower and lower.

In the morning you awake, collect your belongings, and set off for the dungeon. After several days of uneventful travel, you see the ancient ruins that mark the entrance to the Mazes of Menace. It is late at night, so you make camp at the entrance and spend the night sleeping under the open skies. In the morning, you gather your gear, eat what may be your last meal outside, and enter the dungeon..."

My review: This is an excellent hack & slash dungeon RPG, and I've been playing it for years. I still haven't beaten the game and I think that it will be a long time before I do. Games typically last from 5 minutes to half an hour, unless you're trying to beat the game, in which case games could last from 1 week to 6 months. Try it out...

2. Wrath of the Sea King (Windows - Puzzle)

Story: "You are Dust, a particularly talented thief of ancient artifacts. You are nicknamed for your ability to slip into anything and disappear with a breeze. Your most notorious artifact has merged itself with you - an ancient Egyptian necklace. Every time you are killed, the necklace resurrects you safely. While it sounds like a useful thing to have, you feel the pain of your mutilation each time you die. You heard rumors in a seedy Turkish bar that a group of explorers had deciphered the famous Reis map to Atlantis, and were pooling their funds to take a deep sea exploration vessel to the Atlantic. You managed to steal their sub (you are a thief afterall). With a small lead on the explorers, you entered the grand city...but there was no treasure waiting. You'd entered a death trap."

My review: This is a fun timewaster. Games typically last 20-30 minutes, and as you get more familiar with it, those times go down. Essentially, in this game, you're an explorer/thief and you have to solve a bunch of puzzles so your character can die. Does that sound odd? Well, as it turns out, your character is an immortal who cannot die, and he is looking for a device or someone who can kill him. In other words, it means that there is no "game over" screen in this game. You play until you win (or die for the last time). It's a fun game.

3. Orbital Sniper (Windows - strategy?)

Story: "..the year is 2174, and you have been ordered to function as an orbital sniper. In your world there's just three kinds of people: VIPs, dissidents and normal citizens. VIPs run the world: they must not come to harm. Dissidents must die. If a commoner or two gets wasted in progress, it'll count against you when your post ends. You were a normal citizen only moments ago. If you manage to prove yourself and keep VIPs safe in your area, they might make you a VIP. Or do poorly enough and they might decide that you're the enemy."

My review: Essentially, in this game you have a bird's eye view of a small city and you're trying to protect a VIP with an orbital weapon that can instantly "whack" the VIP's enemies. It takes about 2-3 seconds to reload your weapon so don't miss! Games usually are around 3-4 minutes long, but considering the nature of the game, you shouldn't really expect more (unless you like being stressed out). A fun game to play now and then to shake things up, but not something I'd play all the time.

4. Timeslaughter (DOS - ultraviolent fighting game - click on "Continue to the next page" to get to the Download page)

Story: This is a fighting game...it doesn't need a story. Right? Anyway, here you go...

"William Spade has created a time machine, but creatures called the Takar appear (think 'Hellraiser') and mutilate his body because they don't approve of it. William managed to send them back through the time machine before they could kill him, but in doing so, he badly damaged the space-time continuum and now fighters from various times in history (and the future) are being transported through time and fighting each other. To the extremely bloody death."

My review: You'd think that this sort of game would only appeal to teenage boys, but all things considered, this is a pretty solid game that stands on its own. First of all, this game is not for kids or people who are sensitive about gore, language, or political correctness. Second, this game puts all the other ultraviolent arcade games to shame. The Mortal Kombat and Time Killers series have nothing on this.

At any rate, this game is quite fun to play, as all of the characters are well animated (in a Street Fighter 2-ish way), they show battle damage, and there are a number of interesting arenas that you can fight in. It uses the Street Fighter * system of fighting with Weak/Medium/Strong punches and kicks, and has a number of configurable options so that you aren't left out in the cold. The AI is pretty decent in my opinion, being very easy to beat on the easy skill levels and very cheap on the hardest. There are an unlimited number of continues so you can play until you win, or get tired of losing. You can configure how much blood you want to see, with the highest level pretty much leaving the ground covered with the red stuff after every single battle. There are also a couple secret characters, including a playable fighter with Down's Syndrome.

For a free fighting game, it's hard to beat. ;D

(Note: When using setup.exe with Timeslaughter, you'll need to remove the old time.cfg file from the Timeslaughter directory because the setup program won't overwrite or make modifications to an existing time.cfg file.)