The Lancer Link
Computer games for free?: Open-source games allow gamers to download fun games legally and freelyMonday, April 07, 2008 By Kyle T.
We live in an era in which we relentlessly seek entertainment in many different ways, depending on the individual. Some prefer physical activities, such as team sports and running; others prefer more laid-back entertainment – movies and music, for instance. One of the more popular avenues of entertainment – especially among teenagers – is that of computer gaming. It combines the competitiveness of sports and the laid-back atmosphere of movies and music. There are different types of games to suit everyone's interests, as well. Action, adventure, racing, strategy, arcade, role-playing (RPG) and fighting games are among the many, many different types of games out on the market today. The only problem with computer games is their pricing. Many games cost upwards of thirty dollars, sometimes even more for large, complex games. This seriously impedes the ability of many teenagers to pursue that avenue of entertainment, due to a shortage of money or an unwillingness to spend such a large sum. Gaming fans rejoice, however, because there is an option that requires no monetary commitment and still provides exciting and fun games. Enter the world of open-source software. Open-source software, in a nutshell, is software that is free for the general public to download, alter and distribute as they wish. Commercial products – the games sold in stores – are closed-source, meaning that consumers have to pay for it and cannot alter or distribute it at all. There are many open-source alternatives to many of the popular games sold in stores. Here is just a sampling of a few of them. Frets on Fire is essentially an open-source version of the mega-popular Guitar Hero series, in which gamers play a simplified guitar along with popular songs. The gameplay is very similar to that of the original Guitar Hero. One of the neat things about the game is configured as such that gamers can actually hold the keyboard like a guitar and play, mimicking the Guitar Hero controller, or gamers can choose to use their PC or X-Box Guitar Hero controllers to play, as well. The one downfall to the game is that the default song selection is pretty skimpy. It only comes with three songs, but users have the ability to add songs via the actual Guitar Hero game, though it takes a while for the songs to transfer. Overall, Frets on Fire is a worthy substitute for the expensive Guitar Hero games, with each running upwards of $100. The concept of Super Mario War is really quite simple. Take the wildly-successful Super Smash Brothers series from Nintendo, in which famous Nintendo and other third-party characters battle each other, and imagine it on the original NES or Super Nintendo and you have Super Mario War. Of course the gameplay is much simpler than that of Super Smash Brothers,but it is still a lot of fun. The objective of the game is to battle an opponent on a two-dimensional course by jumping on top of them and stomping them in true Mario fashion. Holding true to the Smash Bros. style, there is a variety of characters and courses to choose from. In addition to the basic Nintendo characters, users can also play as the character from the popular elementary school game Number Muncher, Pac-Man, the motorcycle rider from Excite Bike, and Mega-Man. Though I would still recommend playing Smash Bros., Super Mario War is still well-worth a try. Wormux is an open-source version of the Worms series, which is sort of a cult-classic. In the game, cartoon worms form teams and battle each other on two dimensional courses with human weapons, some more ridiculous than others. Wormux – the word itself a combination of Worms and Linux, an open-source operating system – uses the same concept as its inspiration and is almost identical in terms of gameplay. The only differences are the amount of weapons that are available and a different set of characters that are used. Instead of worms, users can choose to use mascots from many popular open-source programs, such as the Firefox fox and the Linux Penguin, Tux. Despite the differences in gameplay, Wormux is a very comparable replacement for Worms. The original game is a blast to play with others -- it is one of the best multi-player games out there for computers, in my opinion -- and Wormux holds true to the standard that Worms set. If you're running low on cash but still want to play exciting and challenging games, checking out these open-source games, plus many more, is the way to go. If you are interested, google “open-source games” and you should come across hundreds of different types of games for every genre under the sun.