Sunday, 14 April 2013

Online Gaming - Free, Fun and Useful Games!

I have coming up what I hope is quite an exciting series on eSports and gaming in general, given the prevalence of the genre right now. Its fair to say that eSports is right now its own man, and at this point we can stop comparing it with other sports. Even longevity wise in eSports, we are starting to see this element even creep in - pro players from SC / WC3 are still relevant in SC2, which means we are looking at players that have been on the "pro" circuit for over a decade, and games like Counter Strike keep on ticking, and given that its mechanics have changed only so slightly, players have found homes each iteration of the game. Above all else though, and this is actually quite important in my future articles, is players have shown that its not the game, but the player and their skill and mentality to play games that determines success, multiple players have enjoyed success over various games. The reason this is relevant, if you want it to be, is that when we look at what the best gamers in the world do, we can apply some of that logic to improving ourselves, even if we are not playing the same game.

However, today I am just going to look at some interesting games that you can do for free over the internet that have somewhat of a competitive tilt, and possibly could help improve different aspects of your gaming.

I figure we're all interested in games, so maybe these have slipped under your radar, or better yet, we can have some games against each other!

Tetris With Friends

The classic game that I am sure we've all played in various different versions on handhelds over the years. However this in browser version has added a direct competitive element to the game. While you can still play "against yourself", there is direct competition modes, which are encouraged, and rankings which means your going to be playing against people as good, if not better than you.

There are various modes from single player marathon to 2v2 Battle, 5v5 sprint to 4v4 and more.

It may seem like a simple game, but there is a challenge. It encourages fast micro (relevant for most games, but games like MOBA's and RTS's especially) and quick information processing, which is obviously important for any game.The name of the game is speed, accuracy and effeciency, all combined together, being able to plan multiple blocks ahead and set up combo's and control your map and decimate others is all part of it. It makes what was a simple family game into quite a combative environment.

Its a fun, strangely addictive game. Highly recommended, one of those ones where I find myself whittling away for ages trying to rank up after punting 3 or 4 games in a row!

Quake Live!home

Oh how we have come a long way in technology. My first PC's used to struggle to run Quake 3 at a good FPS when it first came out, and now you can play the timeless classic FPS game in browser.

FPS's were probably the forerunner for the eSports boom, Quake 3 and Counter Strike being the first games to rise western gaming celebrities, the likes of fatal1ty or HeatoN.

There has been a debate recently, and I'll try to find the atrticle for one of my next pieces, that current FPS games have dumb down play some what. The likes of prestige, "gun leveling" and in game purchasable advancements. Quake Live reminds us of the days of map control, rocket jumps and being godlike with a rail gun.

The scene is actually quite active, so much so that there are quite frequent tournaments, and I  believe some old Q3 pro's (now much like me are looking at or are in their 30's) going back to nostalgic days.

Q3 is still a great game in its own right, and if you've never played it, or a Quake engine game, you've missed out.This is a great chance to give it a pop..

If these don't get your juices flowing ...

Highlight Frag moments

Fatal1ty come back in OT


A rhythm game much in the same concept of a guitar hero or dance dance revolution, but this has one dramatic difference which actually makes it, in my opinion, some what more accessible and useful - its mouse and keyboard driven.

Unlike the previous two, you do need a client, but all the "beatmaps" are free - the music you can get for it is pretty varied and I am sure most can locate a fair whack that they like.

While any rhythm game is pretty good for micro speed and information processing, this is a lot more applicable, which is why I think subconsciously (or consciously) many gamers are drawn to this game as a break from their core games. Using mouse and keyboard clicks at speed for accuracy is a direct skill for games like RTS's (Starcraft et al) or MOBA's (LOL et al), and its no secret, in fact its a given that in these types of games that micro speed and processing of visual information is critical to high level play.


I don't actually want to link directly to the rom sites, just to be on the safe side, though they are incredibly easy to find.

Now emulators for classic games might seem like the complete opposite for something that I might be interested in. They don't (generally) have versus modes, and are often "dated".

However, some games truly are timeless, the Mario and Final Fantasy series are still outstanding, along with a slew of other games.

But that's not all. Nostalgia games have actually spawned their own somewhat competitive community in the speedrun (or min-max) side of things. Remember the first time you ran through Final Fantasy VII (the best game of all time? probably!)? My time was something like 25 to 30 hours, the record, as far as I know, is 7 hours 41 minutes!

Just check out this site:

Its actually interesting that many classic (or even recent) single player games that we may not pay second thought through our minds have huge followings for the likes of speed runs or optimal runs. When Baldur's Gate got the update treatment recently, my brother and I started looking at what builds might actually be "best" rather than just "fun" - and we were surprised to find theorycraft on levels that we used to use in WoW.

Thinking in terms of efficiency in any game you play is a skill, being able to pick up a game and quickly identify more profitable options, routes, skills (and rotations) makes games significantly easier. Its no shock that players like Kungen from WoW transfers through games upon release and enjoys success in very short times in the game, as he just has these skills that he can pick up a game quickly - be it Everquest 2, World of Warcraft or Diablo 3.

Final Fantasy Speed Run


Plenty more of course, but that's it for now from me, I hope most of all I've given a few people some fun things to do while trolling around the internet, maybe turned someone on to a new favorite mini game. Personally I am mildly addicted to Tetris (tag - Bullylol).

There is an absolute metric ton of freebie games out there on the net. None bigger than League of Legends, the premier eSport of the moment. Obviously today we were more focused on free games that are less focused on going "all in" - obviously you could play anything casually though. 

Right now a lot of MMO games are going free to play just simply because they cannot compete with the giant that is World of Warcraft. Games like SWTOR and GW2 have failed, despite hype for the "next wow killer". These make for games that require very little in terms of cash commitments.

So thats it from me today, I am lining up more articles to do with the competitive side of gaming in general - and obviously, given the nature of the blog, will relate this back to what we can use to improve ourselves in 40K or conjecture over what might be a positive move for tournament or competitive 40K. One of the next pieces will be a piece on ELO in tournament 40K, in relation to a article I saw on BOLS early this year, this will be followed up with various more broad ranging articles associated with practice methods, meta gaming and other such fun things! 

Also I imagine a fair few of us here play various games from league, wow or starcraft that we may even delve into more specific topics every few articles!  


  1. Nice one Bull. Different and refreshing.
    One word... quake!!!
    Rocket jumps!
    Brilliant.. When I grab a few spare minutes, I'm so getting on quake!

    1. Yeah I love rocket jumps!

      Actually I miss stuff like strafe jumping, I still do it now days out of habit having played Q3 and RTCW for so long it sort of indoctrinated it into my mind lol

      Got the next piece nearly done which is sweet, bit of a discussion one, I think I have you pegged (even use you as an example) for what your view might be, but I wonder if its right!

      I was going to play some tetris now, but I am on a stupid dongle and the lag means I can't win at my ranking :(

  2. Currently awaiting elder scrolls online and blade & soul. Need a good game to kill time in the meanwhile..find me one woman!!

    1. You know my answers son ... !

      Though seriously, if your waiting for a "big game" it could (and probably will be) a long wait - LoL isn't going anywhere, nor is SC2 (until blizzard release some new RTS and clean up heh) - maybe a FPS? But it seems that FPS's are short lived unless their name is CS now days just because of how quick and fast the releases are.

      Though the "mini" games like blade and soul are the sort of thing I fancy picking up as a side game myself. Prob gonna do something like FFXIV (Got the beta) as well.

    2. I got beta to FFXIV...Its shite..RP rs dream..and maybe for fanboys. Combats awful..pve yes..pvp no

  3. World of Tanks. Getting better with every update! no idea what the organised clan matches are like, but the random PvP is just incredible fun.

    1. Still yet to play that - but yeah its another freebie game. Though again without playing it I couldn't tell you in what way it would help you in other games - I know the effect of the above games.

      There's plenty of games if you search around.

      One great game that I played for about 3 years was a nation building strategy game called cybernations. My team ended up winning multiple tournaments and what not. Its very slow though, but cool.

  4. Thinking in terms of efficiency in any game you play is a skill, being able to pick up a game and quickly identify more profitable options, routes,

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