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Facebook Games Actually Worth Playing

For this month’s issue I did a one page article discussing the games of Facebook. It was the first feature I wrote for Connect, and in that sense, I enjoyed it. What I didn’t enjoy as much though, was the never-ending string of crappy games I had to play. It was like living in a bargain bin for DS shovelware for a week, while my co-workers played Dragon Age and Uncharted 2.

The problem is that most of the games on Facebook are designed to be popular, rather than fun or challenging. In fact most games on Facebook can’t actually be won or lost – instead they provide endless grinds that reward you for inviting more friends or buying special items via micro transactions.

But during my marathon of mediocrity, I ran across a few games that were actually quite entertaining, and I’m passing them on to you now to help whittle away the work hours. Er, did I say work hours? I meant at-home-after-an-honest-day’s-work hours…

Here are my favorite Facebook games, in no specific order:


Texas HoldEm Poker (Zynga):
Not a lot to say about this one, other than that it’s Texas Hold ‘Em on Facebook. There are better places online for free poker, but since you’re already logging in to check your friends’ updates ten times a day, why not play a quick round?

Bejeweled Blitz (PopCap Games):
Here’s another game that needs no explanation. If you like Bejeweled, you’ll like Bejeweled Blitz. It's like the original Bejeweled, only Blitzier. Bejeweled Blitz.


Tetris Friends (Tetris Online):
You probably think I’m just being lazy by now, but like Bejeweled Blitz, Tetris Friends doesn’t really need an explanation – it’s Tetris, for crying out loud. Tetris Friends offers a couple of variations on the classic game, and allows you to play against your friends via saved ghosts. Tetris Friends isn’t the best port I’ve ever played, but suffices when you need a quick tetromino fix.


Word Challenge (Playfish):
Chances are you’ve played a game like Word Challenge before. Your goal is to make as many words out of a group of six letters within a given amount of time. What makes Word Challenge unique is its cute art style and sense of humor (score poorly and your verbal ability will be compared to that of a mime or pro wrestler). There are also extra modes that can be unlocked by continual play.


Geo Challenge (Playfish):
Geo Challenge is another Playfish game that’s a lot of fun. It shares the same style as Word Challenge, but instead quizzes players on national flags, the shapes of different countries, and the locations of cities and famous landmarks throughout the world (do American schools even teach these things anymore?). While Geo Challenge might leave you feeling a bit humbled after your first couple of rounds, it’s one of the few challenges Facebook has to offer – and you might even learn something new while you play!


MonkWerks (Monkey Gods):
MonkWerks is another spelling game similar to Word Challenge, only the first letter is always constant. Using all of the letters in a single word will unlock a bonus word to find. Hovering over words at the end of a round will give you its definition, making MonkWerks another game that you can learn from while having fun.

That about sums it up; if you think I missed a game worth mentioning, feel free to add your own description in the comments below. For insight into the state of gaming on Facebook, check out our interview with Monkey Gods CEO Jason Rubin here.

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