Free Game Friday: Games with history
Between classic games, old-school games and awkward first experiments in gaming there’s a lot of game history to work with these days. From a game about single-cell evolution to Pac-Man re-imagined as a tower defense game, we’ve got a collection of games that looks around in the bin of history and makes new and exciting things out of it.
Genesis of Pixel
Genesis of Pixel is a game about evolution. It's really not much of a traditional game at all—it’s more like an interactive petri dish that lets you experiment with evolving your own lifeforms. There are some constraints on the simulation based on what nutrition and time you’ve got available, but even for a sim game it seems surprisingly open-ended—to the point of maybe not being about the game at all anymore. Whatever it is though, it’s a lot of fun.
Stranger Than Fiction
In Stranger Than Fiction You’re tasked with translating the holy texts of an ancient alien civilization and you’ve got to do it by swapping out various letters until you find a combination that works. In truth it’s more like very basic cryptography than actual translation, but it’s still an engaging way to tell a story and make you feel invested in the tale you’re being told.
Pakkuman’s Defense is Pac-Man with a tower defense twist. As you run around the level you can press space to drop a tower on a nearby wall that will fire at and kill any ghosts that come near, and that’s good because the game spawns a LOT more ghosts than a traditional game of Pac-Man. Each power pellet you grab will earn you extra cash to build new towers, and you can upgrade them by grabbing an occasional power-up before it turns into a vicious ghost.
Grow Maze doesn’t really have a huge connection with gaming history but it does have some Free Game Friday history. I’ve mentioned earlier games in the Grow series in Free Game Friday before, and Maze is the latest game to be released in the series. Like all Grow games, Grow Maze requires you to deploy items in a specific order to let them evolve and, well, grow into the things you need to proceed, but it also wraps those puzzles up in an extra layer of puzzles as you try and progress your way through a small maze of Grow puzzles.
Visually, Lazerman is self-consciously evocative of Mega Man. The main character is a floating blue head that looks almost exactly like a 1-Up from the original Mega Man. Yet the two games have almost nothing to do with each other when it comes to actual gameplay. Instead of fighting robot masters, you’re rampaging through and eventually out of a secure government lab that’s trying to contain you. Instead of challenging you to traverse precarious platforms, Lazerman makes you use your mouse to direct your floating head through the lab and destroy anything that gets in your path.