Casual Friday: Freaky Free Games (and Music)

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

In our ongoing efforts to celebrate slack, I've found a few great new ways to kill what little free time you think you have this weekend and beyond.

Rush: The Game

After hearing that Aerosmith is getting its own Guitar Hero game this summer, I found myself thinking, "Gee, I wish there was some 8-bit styled freeware to celebrate the life and times of crazy-talented drummers hailing from Toronto who've been bashing the skins since the 1970s." Taking to the Internet, I found Neil Peart--Mission: The Camera Eye. Someone needs to get out of my head! That's right, kids, someone made a game dedicated to all things Rush. Now, while I could wax poetic about how rocking this 2.66MB download is, I'll let the game's creator do the talking, because, quite frankly, this is too awesomely weird to ignore:

Neil Peart--Mission: The Camera Eye
"New Year's Eve, 2111. The members of RUSH have defied natural science and willed themselves to live upwards of 160 years old, in anticipation of the year that their stellar '2112' album was named for. Everyone expects them to play 2112 in its entirety for Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve, but virtuoso drummer Neil Peart has a different plan.

"Hours before the show, Neil announces to bandmates Geddy and Alex that he wants to finally play their lost epic 'The Camera Eye,' as a show of thanks for the almost 200 years of support from their fans. Horrified, Geddy and Alex attempt to lock Neil backstage and teleport his giant drum set into the icy caves of Xanadu. Nevermore shall they return! Little do they know the evil plans of the Portnoybot 1000 will turn everything they all know upside down!

"Can Neil Peart escape his prison and travel to the icy caves of Xanadu to assemble his drum set again? Will he be able to do it in time for Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve show? Can he thwart the Portnoybot 1000 and save Geddy and Alex from his mad overplaying? Will 'The Camera Eye' ever be played live?"

(While you're on the page, look at DXF Games' Hasslevania, a Castlevania spoof where you have to fight the evil that is David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff, among other things.)

Games Become Music

Since we're on the topic, I have another example of games and music getting mashed up--and no, I'm not talking about a PlayStation 2 SingStar game where you belt out hits (and misses) from the 1990s. I'm talking about chiptunes. The gist: video game music from the '80s and early '90s repurposed and remixed. It's been underground for ages but is now starting to surface in some strange places. Besides this column, that is. I've been going to to find new music for years. You should check it out.

Or you could form your own virtual band like the Guitar Zeros. A bunch of ambitious musicians modded their gaming axes to play the real deal. Want to see a concert video?

<object width="350" height="288"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="350" height="288"></embed></object>

Art Attack

D'oh! Props to bennyandthemets, who created this at
I'm always looking for a good, unique desktop image, not the prepackaged junk that came with my computer. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words (or, in this case, about 840) and so is the Web site Graphic artists and Photoshop fanatics regularly compete for top honors in random contests. Even if your efforts barely rate over stick figures (ahem), you're welcome to peruse all the contests and archives. Me? I'm quite happy with my new background art (click on the thumbnail).

iPhone Game Sneak Preview

The news came out this week that the Unity Engine is coming to the iPhone. You're thinking, "What's the big deal?" Well, friend, this particular tech allows for fairly sophisticated gameplay in a browser. That means that if you can get good 3D games in Firefox, soon you can get them in your Apple cell phone as well.

If you're not familiar with what the Unity engine offers, here's a taste of a couple of games from Flashbang Studios that could, theoretically, play to the iPhone crowd. Splume is a Bubble Bobble-like puzzle game where you must connect colored blobs before they reach the bottom--think of it as an inverted Tetris.

Oh, it's just your average racing game where you run over velociraptors.
How about an off-road racing game where you're driving over--and against--velociraptors? And if that isn't goofy enough, Flashbang plans to release its newest oddball browser game, Jetpack Brontosaurus, this month.

What would you recommend? Have you found some great gadget, Web site, or game that you'd like to let the rest of the world know about? E-mail me.

Until next week...

Senior Writer Darren Gladstone geeks out over gadgets, games, and odd uses for humdrum tech. In other words, he's a nerd--and he's okay with that.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon