It has been a year since the first Michael5000's Internet Funhouse, and y'all are probably asking yourself "how am I going to use the internets to goof off this winter?" This year, the Internet Funhouse is focussing on casual internet games -- the most compelling way humans have devised to piss away our collective lifespans since the immortal Philo Farnsworth invented television! I'll be sharing some of my favorite game titles from the past year, and I emphatically recommend that you avoid following the links at all costs! Your time would be much better spent writing a novel or fighting for social justice.
What red-blooded American man doesn't occasionally enjoy pretending to be one of the stars of the women's tennis circuit? The imaginatively named Tennis Game, from Gamedesign, offers you this opportunity! It features surprisingly compelling and tennis-like gameplay, plus a goofy awards ceremony if you win the tournament. Can cause carpel-tunnel like symptoms if overindulged in.
Dogfight 2, from Rock Solid Arcade, is an alarmingly engrossing and kind of pretty cartoon simulation of WWI aerial combat. Not recommended for people who don't like games in which you pretend to kill people. Highly recommended for anyone who has ever had a hankering to shoot down a really big zeppelin.
Abstract Shape Games
Magic Pen, by Alejandro Guillen, is a nicely-realized example of a new genre of "physics" games. The goal is to knock little circles into flags, and to that end you sketch ramps, levers, falling objects, and other miscellaneous shapes that materialize where you have drawn them and interact according to the laws of gravity and momentum. Good wonky fun.
The Eyeballing Game, which I was alerted to last week by MyDogIsChelsea, is extremely simple -- you are just testing and honing your skills at geometric estimation. "Eyeballing," if you will. More fun than it sounds. Would be ideal, incidently, for scientifically testing the effect of alcohol on one's cognitive and fine motor skills. Report back on what you find out!
Games Which, Strangely Enough, Involve the Google Search Engines
Guess the Google, by Grant Robinson, shows you a montage of Google Image results for a specific keyword, which you must then guess. It can be incredibly easy or fiendishly difficult, depending of which keywords you get.
Where on Google Earth is a puzzle blog that provides a weekly aerial image of someplace on Earth. You try to figure out where the place is. It is wicked hard. Ironically, it doesn't work with Reader, so you have to remember to stop by every week.
Really Odd Games
In Launch the Hedgehog, from Armor Games, you attempt to fire a small mammal into orbit with a slingshot to the strains of hard rock music. It's harder than it sounds.
Finally, American Public Media's Budget Hero is probably the most educational game you'll play this year. Make decisions about Federal spending and tax policy, and see if you can leave your grandchildren a functioning social order! It's disturbingly challenging! Hint: it's basically impossible if you leave the Bush tax cuts in place. But you knew that.
What about Comix?
The only online comic I read regularly is Basic Instructions, which is great, but I just don't feel like I'm taking full advantage of this opportunity to goof off. I welcome recommendations of other humorous drawn entertainment that's available online. 'Cause I've heard there's quite a bit.