What, ME waste time? Well, occasionally I can stop geeking out on network and such and geek out on something really fun - FREE GAMES! I'm a Mac user, so you Windows Weenies should consider yourselves lucky that I think about you occasionally. All right, I HAVE to think about you, because no one else with a Mac wants to play video games with me. If I want to play games, I either need to boot into Windows, or, preferably, find cross-platform games. I prefer the cross-platform option. So you can have your Windows, and I can have my OS X, and we can play together without having to hear me grouse about how dirty I feel running Windows on my MacBook Pro.
That aside, what does a smarmy geek like me play?
Well, there's the old standby Scorched3D, a game of ballistics and wacky weaponry. While not fast-paced, this is definitely a great time-waster - my 8-year-old son's favorite!
Now, the First Person Shooters (henceforth FPS's) I was talking about:
The most popular one, and one of the most polished, in my opinion is Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory. Set in World War II and featuring a rich set of features, there are almost too many reasons for this the be the most popular FPS. Features include lots of weapons, a robust online gaming community, multiple player classes, and a level-up system that rewards persistence. Oh, and it will run on older computers that have 3D graphics cards.
The only drawbacks to Enemy Territory are PunkBuster (this program somehow keeps people from cheating) and the lack of a Single Player mode. While PunkBuster works well under Windows, it is difficult to make work under Linux and OS X. That said, if anybody would like a tutorial for getting PB working under OS X or Linux, just tell me so in a reply to this post!
Nexuiz is the coolest looking of the established FPS's (I'll tell you about some of the less established in a moment), and, frankly, looks as cool as just about any commercial FPS (except Airborn, that one ROCKS!). It's set in a futuristic deathmatch arena, and has lots of cool weapons. Features include stunning graphics, a good choice of avatars, and fast-paced action. The Single Player mode is fun, and the online community has lots of servers with lots of players.
While it will work on a lame computer, you'll get the most out of it if you have a good gaming system.
Now we get to the lesser-known games. Just because they're lesser-known doesn't mean that they're inferior, it just means that there hasn't been much buzz about them.
World of Padman, based on an obscure gaming magazine comic strip, is best described as Quake meets Toy Story. That's right, you control toy action figures as they battle to the death with zany weapons. This game is under active development, and seems destined for greatness if it keeps up the momentum.
It has only online play available (Single Player mode is still being developed), and when I went on around 5:30 Central Time, there were lots of servers, but noone was playing! Bummer! I'm hoping that maybe a few someones will see this post and decide to populate the servers. Online Community: ignoring this game would be a tragic waste.
Another excellent game that's rapidly coming together is Warsow. It has clean, almost simple graphics, and allows for unique freedom of movement - actions include sliding down rails and jumping off of walls - a kind of Parkour Deathmatch. Again, there is not a Single Player Mode, and there were no players online, although there were a wealth of servers just waiting to be played!