Free time is always a premium. Yet you have to get a few minutes after the kids go to bed (and the wife dozes off on the couch) to unwind and perhaps play a short video game. I do sometimes spend a bit of my down time hacking away in some online game or another. One of my current favorites is pretty simple and I think that says something important.
All too often, the advertised latest and greatest game around needs to be large, expansive and complex. Life-like high-end graphics, realistic artificial intelligence and physics engines that would make Newton cry are the norm for the store-bought games you'll find on the shelf of your retail outlet store.
But are these monstrosities really what the average gamer is looking for? In fact the gaming market might be (read: should be) seeing a back-swing response to these games and their reviews. The Nintendo Wii is somewhat a manifest response in the sense that the console maker has abandoned the escalating war to create the highest end machine but instead strives to improve game play and the fun rather than higher resolution and rip-roaring frame rate. But what should someone do who doesn't yet have a Wii?
Turn to the simplistic flash-based web game. Sometimes what you really need is a simple abstract type of game where all you are doing is blowing little bad guys up. Desktop Tower Defense is a good example of this.
In this point-and-click game, you control the placement and layout of different types of automated gun towers within the playing field. The basic premise is that you must protect the East (and South) edge of the map from the enemy approaching from the West (and North). The enemy in this case are small amorphous blobs of varying types and difficulty called creeps. It sounds simple and at first it certainly is. However it gets difficult fast and carries an addictive quality that is hard to withstand.
Bonus: You can also get a good idea for how this game is played by watching some fast-motion videos of DTD on Google Video.