In 1973, a book called BASIC Computer Games was released. Written by David Ahl, the book compiled type-in computer games for the BASIC programming language. Even though most of these games were simple, mathematically-based exercises, they were the starting point for a number of young developers. If you look at what modern home developers are accomplishing, though, you’d never believe it.Many high school and college students (as well as office workers) have their favorite free gaming sites bookmarked. If you haven’t already, check out some of the offerings at the following sites:

  1. Free Online Games (FOG) (
  2. Miniclip (
  3. Addicting Games (
  4. Game Node (
  5. Candystand (

The first thing you’ll notice is the graphic quality of some of the games. It’s amazing what developers can squeeze out of dynamic HTML (Document Object Model, CSS, JavaScript), vector and raster graphics, browser plug-ins like Flash and Shockwave, and server-side scripting like PHP and Perl. I believe that offering your games on sites like these is the best promotion a beginning game developer can get. Even if only ten people play your game, that’s ten more than had played it previously. And if each of those ten tell at least one of their friends, wellSome of the more multiplayer-oriented games have rabid fanbases, like RuneScape, Pirate Galaxy, and DoomLord. These games have their own servers and websites, and cost a little more money to get off the groundmany are made by small gaming companies with at least some startup money. One (FusionFall) was even commissioned by Cartoon Network. If you can get onto a game development team like that one, you’ve done pretty well for yourself.Chances are you’ll be able to find an entertaining game pretty easily at one of the sites listed above, but if you need some recommendations, I’ve got some:

  • Desktop Tower Defense ( Simple but addictive, like the best games should be. Even the Wall Street Journal covered this one.
  • Corpse Craft: Incident at Weardd Academy ( This is an example of how a good game can be made better by a clever design sense.
  • Line Rider ( Make complex 2D tracks and send your “line rider” racing down them. Featured in Games for Windows: The Official Magazine.
  • You Have to Burn the Rope ( Yes, it really is that simple.

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