The lights are on
This weekend, our North American readers will join the GI staff in celebrating Labor Day, a day off to reflect on all the hard work we've been doing. What's the best way to reflect? VIDEO GAMES. Rather than force you outside for even a second of your much-deserved weekend of rest, I've put together a list of free games that you can check out from the safety of your computer. From Flash games to free MMOs, there's something for everyone and plenty to help whittle away your weekend.
Charles Barkley's Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden
This traditional turn-based RPG calls to mind 16-bit Square classics such as Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger. Except it stars Charles Barkley. And it takes place in Neo New York after The Great B-Ball Purge of 2041. I'll let the website's description speak for itself:
"A tale of zaubers, b-balls, and atonement; brave dangers unheard of, face spectacular challenges that even the greatest ballers could not overcome, and maybe... just maybe... redeem basketball once and for all."
This clever puzzle game tasks you with sucking aliens out of your ship and into the cold depths of space while saving as many crew members as possible from a similar fate. GI's Jeff Marchiafava loves it for the old-school graphics and sci-fi aesthetic. And, hey, if you really like it, you can pick it up on iPhone/iPod Touch for $1!
Every Day The Same Dream
If you want a more mature Flash game that helps make the argument that games are art, look no further than Every Day the Same Dream. This simple title uses its stylish visuals and infectious soundtrack as a gateway to a strange world where you must figure out a way to escape your mundane office job existence.
The Linear RPG
Whether you view it as a damning revelation of how stale linear RPGs can be or just a fun distraction, you've got to admit that The Linear RPG totally nails the core elements of the genre it's playing with. You move in a straight line from town to town. You grind. You level up. And during it all, an epic plot unfolds in the background. Make sure to read the ridiculous text scrolling behind your character as you play.
Robot Unicorn Attack
The Cartoon Network has done a great job of bringing their quirky Adult Swim brand of late-night weirdness into the Flash games space, and Robot Unicorn Attack is probably the best example. It's one of the simplest games ever -- you only need to figure out two buttons -- but the bright colors, addictive scoreboard, and terrifying soundtrack can easily suck up hours of high score hunting.