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Retro Gaming Hacks by Chris Kohler

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Play Contemporary Classics

Find and play new games that feel old.

Retro gaming isn’t just about playing old games. That is to say, what separates classic video games from contemporary titles isn’t just their age. Game design as a whole has changed radically since the days of 2D shooters and point-and-click adventures, and to find new examples of those types of games on modern consoles is quite rare.

Luckily, there are quite a few game designers committed to the idea of creating new games using the design sense of a past age. What’s more, quite a few of them are available for free. In this hack, I’ll tell you about some web sites you can visit to download and play games that offer entirely new gameplay experiences. In large part, these aren’t remakes or throwbacks to old classics, but original designs. Imagine it as an alternate reality where 3D never took off, but game design continued on.

Warning

Many (though not all) of the games described in this section are playable right in your web browser, using plug-in software such as Java or Flash. Be aware that while the sites described here are free of spyware, annoying pop-up windows, and other such bothersome things, there are quite a few sites offering free web-based gaming that will assault your computer with all sorts of unwanted things. Use your best judgment.

PopCap Games

One of the most successful web-based gaming sites, PopCap Games (http://www.popcap.com), has nurtured some original, simple designs to the heights of success. You’ve ...

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