The Austin Chronicle

This Week's Waste of Time

By James Renovitch, February 8, 2013, 2:55pm, Picture in Picture

It's been a while since I dropped some free browser games on you. What have you been doing all this time? Working? Well, that nonsense is about to come to a screeching halt with three games from some of my favorite developers. Seriously, stop what you're doing.

First up is Sacrifice from Waste of Time favorite Yoshio Ishii. His game Cursor*10 was the reason I started this column all those years ago and his games like Hoshi Saga have graced this space as well. More recently Ishii has gone from being clever with his encouragement of mouse antics to being clever in a meta way. His previous game, Parameters, stripped away all of the bells and whistles of role-playing games and laid bare the repetition involved in the genre. Now he brings us the aptly titled Sacrifice which tasks players with making life or death choices with the characters. The whole game takes only a few moments, but Ishii keeps gamers thinking about how they play. And you can play Sacrifice here.

Music creation game January came out a few months back, but its creator, Disasterpeace, has updated it recently offering significantly more options and control. Best known for his soundtracking work on FEZ (my favorite game soundtrack of all time, and my second favorite game of 2012), Disasterpeace shows his programming chops, letting players catch snowflakes on their tongues and associating a note with each successful catch. The new version of January offers various musical tools such as the ability to control the key, note length, number of flakes, and other options that aren't recognizable to my uneducated musical mind (pentatonics mode?), but sound cool regardless. Or you can just set the whole thing on autopilot and let the snow (and sound) fall where it may. If you make something truly remarkable the performance can be saved to a MIDI file. Whatever that means. Find out for yourself by playing January here.

Lastly, Plunger from Nitrome games. There isn't much to say other than like Nitrome's other Waste of Time worthy titles (e.g., Gunbrick, Fault Line, and Test Subject Green), Plunger is a polished game with a fun game mechanic and great level design. Play Plunger here.

Pencils down. Mouses in hand. And … waste some time!

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