XSketch is an on-line version of Pictionary. Each player takes it in turn to be the sketcher in the game whilst the other players try to guess what is being drawn. At the beginning of each round the players add points to the pot which is won by the winner. If no one guesses the correct word then the sketcher loses points.
There is an overall scoreboard of all the players. The scoreboard is reset every month. The tables that players can play at are divided into levels so the more points you have the higher the table you can play at.
Protagonize is a new attempt at producing 'addventure' stories. An addventure is a type of online interactive fiction that combines aspects of round-robin stories and Choose Your Own Adventure-style tales.
On Protagonize users can enter a story. Other users can then post branches to that story. What emerges is a non-linear narrative, a story in which readers can choose from a number of narrative paths.
Ever since the invention of the internet and hypertext there have been attempts to create non-linear, interactive narratives. These attempts have never really been successful, except perhaps in proving that readers like a linear narrative / plot / story.
However in saying that this site is fun and some good old fashion text-adventure games might emerge.
Crowd Chess is an interesting experiment in bringing the 'wisdom of crowds' to chess. When you sign up for a game in Crowd Chess you join dozens, hundreds or even thousands of over players. Each player votes for a move and the move that gets the most votes is the one that is made.
There is an element of individual competition in Crowd Chess as the top players are decided on by keeping score of the percentage of move proposals to moves made ratio. In other words the top players are those whose move proposals are most often made.
Concentration is the classic card matching game. You know the one where all the cards/images are face down and you turn two over at a time, trying to remember and then match pairs of the same card/image.
The images in Concentration however come from images from Flickr. The player can even enter their own search term so that you can play for example a game of concentration with kitten pictures or pictures of Ferraris etc.
Concentration is a nice game and will probably appeal in particular to younger children.
An idea to develop the game might be to create a smaller embeddable version for users to add to their own MySpace pages, blogs etc. through an iframe, although could prove expensive in server time.
Google have included a secret flight simulator in the latest version of Google Earth.
To open the simulator press Ctrl-Alt-A (Command+Option+A on the Mac) within Google Earth and Google Earth will switch to flight simulator mode. Once you have opened the flight simulator for the first time a link will appear in your tools menu.
Google have a page here explaining the key controls to use the flight simulator.
The flight simulator is only available in Google Earth 4.2. If you have an earlier version you will need to download 4.2.
Google Earth 4.2 also allows the playing of video for the first time. Virtual Tourism has over 200 videos of sights around the world which can be viewed directly within Google Earth.
World of Solitaire is a faithful AJAX reproduction of the card game Patience. The game is implemented with YUI, MochiKit and PlotKit and includes a number of impressive features such as card resizing on browser resize, smooth drag and drop and animation of the playing cards.
Duels is a player vs. player (PVP) strategy game. Each player creates an avatar which then duels against other players' avatars. Rewards for winning include gold and tokens which can be used to upgrade your weaponry and armour. There are also a number of quests to carry out.
To fight another player you issue a challenge. The clever bit of Duels is that the battles can take place whilst you are off-line so there is no waiting around for players to accept your challenge. If they accept the challenge a few hours later after you have stopped playing the duel goes ahead anyway, which means when you log back into the game you often get the nice surprise that you have levelled up and earned yourself some gold whilst off-line.
Duels is already proving very popular. In fact it is so popular that at the time of writing the site's servers are struggling to cope with the demand.
To promote their Live Search Maps Microsoft have produced a Flash driving game, which allows players to drive on top of the satellite imagery of Microsoft Maps. Microsoft Live Derby is a Pacman type game in which you drive around picking up tokens whilst avoiding being hit by the other cars.
The game comes only a few days after we reviewed Tom Scott's Real World Racer for Google Maps.
There are also a couple of flying games for Google Maps, Wings and Goggles.
A game very popular on Digg at the moment is Statetris a Tetris clone in which players slot together American states rather than shapes.
Tom Scott has produced a racing game for Google Maps called Real World Racer. You can race on the virtual streets of Paris, Boston or Swindon. In the game you race against three other cars as you attempt to be the first to the winning post.
The game features an innovative approach to sound in games with, and I quote, "HumanSound™ for maximum enjoyment, make "bvvv, bvvvvv" noises as you accelerate and "EEEEE" noises as you turn"
Maganic Wars is one of those nice little Flash fans games that I keep returning to again and again. For a long time now the makers have been developing an online two player version of the game. They are not being any more specific than saying the game is expected to be completed this year. However they have now released this video of work completed so far and we can at last get a glimpse of the interface. It does look very impressive.
Meganic Wars is a turn based card playing game in which the aim is to defeat your opponent in battle. I like it a lot and I suggest you get some training in now against the computer before Maganic Wars Online is released.