Four Gaming Sites to Destroy Your Social Life

I love online flash games.    The last time I owned a gaming console was back in the early 80s with Atari.   Seriously (though I would occasionally rent Supernintendo in the late 80s).

Finally, I am going to share the sites I know and love:


Maybe not always appropriate for small children (the chat has some potty-mouthing by 13 year olds, and some of the games are a tad violent), Kongregate is a standard site where budding and professional flash gamers strut their stuff.   As a bonus, the site offers “achievements” that you can perform (eg. get a certain score, pass a certain level or defeat a certain boss) to earn points that increase your “level” which in turn gives you additional street cred.

Games I like:  Music Catch ,  Gemcraft Level 0, Morningstar

Miniclip Games

Definitely more kid-friendly than kongregate, although I find some of the games a little bit too “advertisey” – meaning that they appear to have a specific commercial interest in mind.   There also seems to be a trend toward sprite-style games with neo-16 bit graphics.   Still, it is a standard and a good number of my favorite games are here.

Games I like:  Raft Wars, Bloxorz, Extreme Pamploma


Popcap is unique in that they offer downloadable versions of their games – trial versions for free and then full versions for sale.   You can also just play their games online.    In general the focus seems to be around puzzle-style games, but they are very well designed and fun for just about everyone.

Games I like:  Bookworm


This site is definitely not for small children without parental supervision, but it has definitely been one of my favorites for a long time.   Tom Fulp started the site with some rather riske flash animations and games (the site was very popular for a game that was a parody of the Columbine shootings), and grew up into a portal for Flash Games and movies showcasing the amazing creativity of internet users.     Make no mistake, many of the entries to the Flash portal still keep the spirit of Tom’s old site (parody, violence etc), but there are also ratings to help make sure you know when the offensive material is going to appear.

Games I like:  Portal Defenders (Ages 17+), Little Wheel (all ages), Exmortis 2 (Horror Game 17+)

What gaming sites do you like?

Why “The Clash City Rockers” is a Well-formed Song


It seems that I converted Mick Jones to librarianship after this video.    (Yeah, that’s the ticket.)   Actually, he really just opened up his own collection to the public library.   Bottom line is, Mick understands the importance of making knowledge of all kinds and formats available to the public.   Thanks Mick!

(July 3, 2009)

A long time ago, I used to be a Tutorial Assistant for a Listening to Music course put on by Adrian Hoffman.   Usually at the time when we discussed the “Classical Era” (ie. Mozart, Haydn, early Beethoven) there was a lecture on form.   Often, form was expressed as a tool for absolute music (ie. how to give a song a structured feel to it).    I always itched at doing a lecture on how form can impact program music (music that tells a story or paints a picture) – and especially I wanted to do this lecture using a piece of popular music.

So I did an explanation of form using “The Clash City Rockers” by The Clash.   I should note that I believe that the brief samples I use here qualify under fair use policies, in particular because I am using them in a tutorial about music, adding considerable amount of my own knowledge and material in the process.    Got any other good examples of how the form of a rock song really suits the lyrics/content well?


You can go through all the verses of the song and perform the same exercise, actually.     Third verse has “everybody gone dry” on the “down” section” and “plug into the aerials that poke in the sky” in the “up” section (sky/up works really well, don’t it?).    Then, the suburbs are down, and the “you won’t succeed unless you try” get the up.   Very simple “up-down” technique that does alot to help the song makes sense.   I’m always impressed when I see this amount of craft put into a song.

UPDATE July 5, 2009

Just watched this with my wife and must admit that the front needs considerable editing.   (yeah, I’m babbling alot about whatever and whatnot – I think I couldn’t decide whether this was a video blog post or a tutorial on music).

Skip to about 1:30 to get to the fun part (where I use the “W” to show how the song is well-formed).   I’m going to spend some time editing this down shortly and I’ll repost it.