Thursday, January 15, 2009

Let The Games Begin!!

I enjoyed playing games as a kid. I had several board games that were fun, but since I was the youngest and we lived in the country, it was always hard to find people who wanted to play - especially the ones that took a while to play like Monopoly. I learned to play several versions of solitaire to amuse mysel, but I only remember the most basic one now. As I got a bit older, my parents and maternal grandparents taught me to play card games like "Kings In The Corner", "Rummy", "Crazy 8's", "Hearts" and "99". We also played "Yahtzee", "Uno", "Mastermind" and other games. My dad taught me to play Cribbage and I taught myself to play Backgammon.

I wasn't great at "Scrabble", but I loved a game called "Tile Rummy" that I picked up at a garage sale for $2.00 and "Othello" that I got for $3.00.

When I lost so much of my sight, I was afraid that I'd never be able to enjoy playing games again. I knew there were large print versions of many of those games available, but they were very expensive. I did buy a deck of large print playing cards, and I was able to get larger dice to play Yahtzee and to use with the Backgammon, but all the other games pretty much got shuffled to the back of the closet. I bought a few puzzle books that had decent size print, but for the most part, my game days were few and far between.

I knew there were lots of computer games out there, but I didn't think that I'd ever get a computer so I never explored it. When I did get the PC in October of 2006, it took me awhile to get to the games, as there was so much other stuff I needed to learn. I was having trouble with my mousing skills and a couple of people suggested that I start playing "Free Cell" to get used to the mouse and improve the movement of the cursor. I played a lot of Free Cell over the next few weeks and also got hooked on playing "Hearts". The other games that were on the computer were too difficult for me to see and play with any degree of comfort and success.

I knew there were a lot more games out there, but the trick was where to find them and were the web sites safe? I tried a few on line games, but most sites required a membership to play more than a few levels of anything. I was still pretty new to PC's and wasn't ready to put myself out there much even for a free membership.

It took me several months of exploring and trying different game formats, but I figured out that the games that were the best for my sight were ones that didn't have a lot of action or rapid movement. I was lousy at anything that required key strokes. Puzzle and match 3 formats were becoming my games of choice.

While searching for new games in June of 2007, I stumbled across Game Give Away Of The Day. At the time they were giving away a free full version game every day! No membership required! The only condition, was that you had to download, install and activate the game during the 24 hour time period or you would only get a trial version. I thought this was too good to be true, but after watching the site for a few days and reading the comments and forums, I realized that I had wandered into a potential gold mine!

Well long story short, the game site now only offers games on the weekends, but a few of the loyal and dedicated gamers, have created a lengthy list of freeware alternatives to keep people happily passing the time. The games are in pretty much every genre, but there is a master list that was compiled by a member known as g@rgoyle that has links to most of the games they have found so far: Free Weekday Games - ALPHABETICAL Synopsis

When you click on any of the game names on that list, it will take you to the relevant forum thread where the game was introduced. You will find a review of the game, system requirements and a link to the actual site to download the game. Most of the reviews are done by Stephen, who is known as the game guru and "Whiterabbit". Stephen is a dedicated gamer and volunteer who has given his heart and soul to this site! He spends countless hours searching out freeware games and testing them for us, so that we know what we are getting before we waste our time. He details installation, system requirements, game play and any glitches or other problems that may occur. He often includes links to show photos and video of the various games. He, wizzard_of_ozz2004 (games master) and their merry band of gamers post new freeware alternatives on a daily basis. They also inform us of the various games sites reliability for service, product and whether or not the games include commercials or open a browser at the end of your game play. Regardless of what you download or where you download from, you should ALWAYS scan the files with your security system BEFORE you open and install. It only takes a few seconds and can save you a lot of headaches!

Thanks to Whiterabbit and his pals, I have found many games that I can easily play.

If you are looking for some fun, free ways to wile away a few hours/days, then I strongly urge you to check out the games forums. There are several pages of threads and among them you will find some that are dedicated to one specific genre. Most of the games in these listings are unsuitable for my visiona and ability, but there are two threads that I have found several games on: Mahjongg Heaven and Match Three Games Heaven

Let the games begin!



Your Friendly CSR said...

Hey dnsyl57, I wanted to take the time to thank you for endorsing GOTD and the little (not so little anymore) free game project. Your patronage is appreciated and I hope you are still finding some games you enjoy. =)

Alex, wizzard_of_ozz2004

dnsyl57 said...

Hey Alex! Nice to hear from you! I do find the occassional game on the forums, but I don't get quite as much time to play as I'd like lately. I love it that you and the rest of the members are so dedicated to finding and testing games for the rest of us. Finding GGOTD and the people there has really helped me with my PC skills and exploring new games and programs! Thanks!

Keep up the great work!