Thursday, December 11, 2008

Computer games that make you think (at least a little!)

In my last post, I mentioned how I love computer games. But knowing their addictive qualities, I have forbidden the introduction of Wii, Xbox or Playstation at home. I have, however, made a small compromise by buying online games. This enables me to control the type of computer games that my kids play and ensuring that they do not promote over-the-top violence or other unedifying materials.

I buy my games from Big Fish Games because they have a large variety. The first game I bought was Cradle of Rome, which is... surprise, surprise, a puzzle game! It's a Match 3 game where you have to match three tiles to complete each puzzle piece. There are 100 levels and by the time you get to the last 25, they're pretty challenging. I've since bought many other Match 3 games but this one remains my favourite, must have played this more than 20 times (do the sum how long 20 x 100 levels takes, I can't believe how much time I've spent just playing games!) Cradle of Rome is great - the levels are tricky and creative, they really make you think. The graphics and bonuses are also very appealing.

Another great puzzle game (especially if you like maths) is Gemsweeper. We have also tried other puzzle games like Dream Chronicles (adventure type), Luxor (marble popper) and Elven Mists (brainteaser). The last one was more frustrating than fun though, in my opinion.

We also like arcade games, particularly the brick buster type and as a reward to Andre for doing well in his mid-year exams this year, I bought him Ricochet Infinity. This turned out to be a really great buy. Wonderful graphics, lots of variations and the best part is, after you've completed all 216 levels, you can download an infinite number of new levels at no extra charge! (These new games are created by users and are literally never-ending).

Another brick buster game I bought is Magic Ball 3. I bought this not because it's very challenging but purely because of the graphics. The 3D images are just hysterical - sharks, sheep, pirates, dragons, even princesses at ye olde beauty pageants toppling when the ball hits them. Lesley-Anne and Andre love to play this just so they can giggle at the sight. A fun, entertaining game for younger kids.

I still like Cradle of Rome and Gemsweeper best but really, it's up to your individual preference. How it works on Big Fish Games is that you buy Game Club credit packages. The more you commit to, the cheaper each game becomes. It costs US$9.99 each for two games down to US$6.90 each if you commit to 12 (no time frame for completing the purchases). The big plus is that you can try the games for free first so you avoid buying duds - download any game you're interested in and you get to try it for one hour before committing. You may think you only want one or two, then after you start, you find yourself wanting more. How do you think they got me hooked? Sigh...

Just a quick bit of advice - even if you set a limit for computer games for your kids, I would still keep an eye on the clock. It's not an issue of trust, it's just that ALL computer/video games are highly addictive. I've come to realise that my kids usually have every intention of keeping to the time limit but once they start, they lose track of time or find it impossible to stop. So when I say "half hour", I would normally pop in half an hour later just to remind them it's time to stop.

Happy gaming!


Anonymous said...

Mon, I have a digital alarm clock next to the computer to limit the children computer usuage. I used to set the timing for my elder gal when she was younger, now she does it herself & also for her sister.


monlim said...

Wah, it's great your older gal will do it for her sister! Wishful thinking it'll happen here, haha.

Melanie said...

These kinds of games are great indeed because they make kids think a bit. My family's favorite is Gemsweeper (find it at enough for an adult but engaging for kids. As for time limits its hard to set one for the kids when I play way past my bedtime!

ejoyzamora said...

This game called Gemsweeper is great. I'd played it several times and it always made me play it all over again. It has cool graphics and style. I love the sound effect. I love thinking under pressure. It has numbers beside the puzzle that could help you solve it. This is awesome. Try the trial version at

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