HalloLink Dump Friday


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Link Dump Fridays

JessHello, faithful readers, and welcome to a special spookified edition of Link Dump Friday! In honor of the season, I've chosen a few of my favorite previously-reviewed games (including a few new ones) with a spooky edge. We've got ghosties, beasties, sleepy vampir-ies, tentacle monsters and, naturally, Garfield! So get out that bowl of candy corn, put on the "Monster Mash" and settle in with one of these fun titles.

  • exmortisExmortis and Exmortis 2 - Designer Ben Leffler's pair of truly creepifying point-and-click titles. You wake in the woods with no memories and a terrible headache, and find shelter in a dark, seemingly-abandoned old house... What could possibly go right?
  • bashingpumpkinsBashing Pumpkins - Similar to the Nest of Moai games but with a Halloween theme. Move the cursor over jack-o-lanterns as they pop-up from behind famous landmarks or slide out of a statue's nostril. Plus: Godzilla!
  • transylmaniaTransylmania - After a long, hard night of sucking the blood of innocent maidens, all a vampire wants to do is take a nice, long nap in his coffin. But nooo, those no-good villagers insist on invading your castle, lighting torches and threatening to turn you to ash! Nothing to do but turn them into the walking dead themselves...
  • deanimatorDeanimator - Based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, Deanimator is a grim, gruesome and ultimately futile battle against zombies that still manages to be scarily entertaining.
  • scaryscavengerhuntScary Scavenger Hunt - One for the kids, though almost any casual gamer will probably enjoy it. Guide Garfield around the haunted house to find sweet treats, but watch out for the monsters that will jump out if you click on the wrong things!
  • anchorheadAnchorhead - An absolutely superb piece of interactive fiction steeped in Lovecraftian mythos. Worth a play even if you've never tried the genre.
  • thehouseThe House - An amazingly atmospheric interactive narrative/game created by Thai designer Sinthai Boomaitree. Enter the abandoned house to discover the tragic truth behind the suicide of an entire family.
  • industrialzombiegrowIndustrial Zombie Grow - A dark riff on the classic Grow games, complete with puddles of goo and industrial-type buildings. Note: May contain zombies!
  • freericeAnd, in a decidedly unspooky note, we have Free Rice, a vocabulary testing game that adjusts itself to your level of knowledge. That's not the good part, though; for every word you get right, 10 grains of rice will be donated to a hungry person by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). So click away, and the combined might of JIG just may do some significant good.

Visit this page for even more Halloween game fun.

59 Comments

May I just say... Going by that pic, I think I'm in love with Jess. :D

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Highest I got on Free Rice before stopping is Level 44 (without cheating, of course) - it's annoying that wrong answers take you down more than right ones take you up.

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I got up to level 50 vocabulary. Man, them's some hard words. I wonder if the UN's made similar games in other languages.

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I'm going to second the recommendation of Anchorhead. It's a little bit more of a hurdle to install and get working if you're not used to I-F, but it's well worth it.

Actually, the only problem I have with Anchorhead is that it ruined mediocre I-F for me. After beating it, there are few Interactive Fiction games that seem worth playing.

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oooh. The vocab level gets quite challenging on freerice. I thought I was going to stomp all over it, but no. nice.

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My pic? Shouldn't you be in love with me because of my exquisitely rendered prose?! Hmph.

Thanks, aj. ;)

And yeah, free rice can be a bit annoying. 3 words to go up a lvl, one to go down. I've gotten up to 47 a few times, and then just bob up and down. That's ok, though....it's all for the rice anyways, I suppose.

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Oh gods, yes, Anchorhead is amazing! And if you like it, I strongly recommend checking out Slouching Towards Bedlam which you can find at http://www.wurb.com/if/game/2186 It is also phenomenal! Not QUITE as good for the Halloween theme as Anchorhead, but it's still got a very creepy story and atmosphere.

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Can I get a quick walkthrough for zombie grow? I really suck at figuring those out...but I love to watch.

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Wow. I'm really horrible at these grow games, but I like like to see what happens.

Walkthrough?

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We've featured Zombie Grow before: Grow Tribute

And a yummy walkthrough to boot!

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Just gotta say that if I ever become a vampire and move into a castle, the first thing I'm going to do is remove all the stray wooden stakes and windows that randomly open to daylight 60 seconds before dawn.

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Oh my, do I love me some Link Dump Fridays.

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Brandon_ha October 26, 2007 4:47 PM

Lol I played the garfield game years ago!!! Thanks for sending me back to my childhood. :)

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Heres the Zombie Grow solution from the lower right corner of the screen:

1) Stonehenge
2) Pink blob
3) Yellow blob
4) Sun
5) Tent
6) Rocket
7) Electric Lines
8) Snow
9) Nut
10) Bowl
11) Lighthouse
12) Hole

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Hey, what about translemania 2? It's way fanci-pancier. With pirates and werewolves and things.

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Free Rice - eminently laudable! Thanks for bringing it to our attention Jess.

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Wow, awesome site, I really like the collection of halloween games on the go here, thanks Jess :D

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Thanks, guys! Glad you're enjoying the little collection. And Malcolm, I think Transylmania II is soon to be reviewed. :)

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I was half expecting to see the "5 Days a Stranger" series here. They seem like a great group of games, even though I can't even bring myself to play the second one.

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I really liek the Free Rice site.. it made me feel good about donating AND i learned that "incult" means coarse.

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Free Rice was a good diversion. I was shocked by how much I knew; Hit 48 at my peak, average of 43-44. Donated 1.5k.

Swear some of those are made up though. Or most definitely not English. (Maybe, just maybe, Old English)

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I love Anchorhead - anything Lovecraft related is huge in my books.

The House is seriously the freakiest thing I've ever played. The first time I tried it (about two years ago) I only made it through the first room before I had to drag a friend into sitting with me as I played. Even then I squeeked.

Free Rice is simply wonderful - I'm bookmarking it so I can do it daily. Every little bit helps.

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Black Rabbit October 26, 2007 11:53 PM

Seconding the greatness of Yahtzee's "Days" series (also known as the Chzo Mythos) and thirding the fantasticness of Anchorhead. And Free Rice? Not only awesome, but it just asked me to define a "trilby"!

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the rice game is definitely for a good cause but can be irritating because the definitions of a lot of the words are synonyms for synonyms for synonyms, and sometimes barely relevant.

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I just donated 10110 grains of rice! I never got above the mid 40's in level, though. And a lot of the words I was either a lucky guesser, or I could vaguely discern the etymological root of the word and figured out which of the word choices worked best. And it seems the game has got me all sesquidepelian lol.

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Here's another great Halloween game that's been around for a couple of years, at least. 50 Dark Movies Hidden In A Painting.

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Free Rice! Got to 1000 grains and lvl43 before I had to quit for bed. Social games are the future....whooooo.

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The House has, I think, been reviewed here earlier. But, never mind, it's one shocking game, for sure... I remember being shocked not only by the contents but also by how a young guy like its creator could possibly choose such a violent and blood-filled story. No problem, just made me wonder :)

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Anchorhead has a big flaw for those playing on a MAC! Any time you read a book or whatever, you get sent to a menu screen. You're supposed to hit BACKSPACE to get out of it but my MAC keyboard has no such key, and the DELETE key doesn't work. Nor does command-DELETE.

Does any one know a way around this??? If you page back on the browser, the game loses all the info you gathered. It's incredibly frustrating because I love this game!

As for House, I found it a little static, with a lot of sitting around, not knowing what to do, waiting for events to happen. Frankly, I got a little bored. And I scare pretty easily. Maybe I didn't understand how to play it?

Exmortis continues to be one of my favs. Can't wait for Exmortis 3!

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The House has, I think, been reviewed here earlier. But, never mind, it's one shocking game, for sure... I remember being shocked not only by the contents but also by how a young guy like its creator could possibly choose such a violent and blood-filled story. No problem, just made me wonder :)

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This rice game is just the perfect casual game: not too demanding, totally user-friendly (easy to play, but still is a challenge, no pressure of time, no time-consuming strategies and tactics, no reflexes needed and you can't really lose,can you :))).

I was always partial to etymology so it's my game.

My "vocab level" varies between 25 and 40, usually around 25-33. I don't know if it's good or bad for a non-native speaker.

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.. and only now did i read your intro to this week's LDF in which you mention that the games have already been reviewed... I'm sorry about that comment i made about The House.

Shame on me :)

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500 Grains of rice :)

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Call me bored, but I wanted to see how much each word was actually helping for Free Rice.

A grain of rice weighs anywhere from 20-30mg, so I used an average of 25 mg per grain. A large bag of rice weighs about 25 pounds, which equals 11.3398 kg, which again equals 11,339,800 mg. With each word donating 250 mg of rice, every 45, 359 words one large bag of rice is donated to poverty.

Taking an average of the past seven days (I didn't want to go too far back, considering how new the site is), the Free Rice site donates about 26,407,993 grains of rice per day. Converted to the estimated mg, that's 660,199,825 mg, which again is about 1,446 pounds of rice, or about 58 25 pound pags of rice per day. At this rate, in one year, the site will donate 21,170 25 pound rice bags a year. That is, if all my calculations were correct... I make stupid mistakes in math way too often.

That's pretty good, and the site is likely to get more popular just by word of mouth. In any case, I think it's an awesome idea and I plan to do at least a few words every day.

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No worries, bioLarzen. Most times LDFs are all new, nothing reviewed before, so it's understandable. ;)

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ikonoklast7 October 27, 2007 1:29 PM

I too am having a problem with Anchorhead and the BACKSPACE thing.

I'm playing the online version at ifiction and I'm at a part of the game where you have a menu of several different newspaper clippings to go through, and now I'm freaking stuck and can't get out and back to the game!

(So far, an AWESOME game and a great Cthulhu Mythos atmosphere!)

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Is it just me, or is the link/site in general for Anchorhead not working? I'm very disappointed for that, since I love interactive fiction. D: I suppose I'll check out Free Rice...

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I love the FreeRice thing; I always have fun with vocab, and if it's helping someone, that's fine by me. (:

My level tends to hover from 30-40, usually no higher than 37 and no lower than 33. So far i've donated 1000 grains and I have the site favorited so I can come back.

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If you play Anchorhead online at iFiction you don't have to bother with the whole installation process - the downside is that you can't save your game. On the other hand, once you install the interpreter it's really easy to download and play all of the games at the IF archive.

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I've been absent from JIG for a while (ain't pneumonia fun?), and was looking forward to some "horrible" new Halloween games this week. I've especially been looking forward to Exmortis 3; figured this was the perfect time for its unveiling.

Great to see a re-link to Purtagorium and Exmortis 1 and 2 (amazing games, Ben - you've a rare and wonderfully morbid talent), but quite disappointed that 3 still isn't out. Of course there's a great backlog of games I get to play through, but I still feel ... let down.

It's just me being selfish, I know...but....well...

Any idea of a release date, Mr. Leffler? Just, you know, asking.

(and whatever happened to the Sword of Anamara's part 2?)

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I'm *loving* Anchorhead. The level of detail is incredible. And it's amazingly responsive to complex instructions.

I found that \l works as a backspace on the website version (iFiction?). For the mac laptops, I believe that fn-delete is backspace, not command-delete.

About the clippings..

Be careful with the open box of clippings. It's quite windy outside.

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Hi Merricat! Good to see you back. ^_^

Exmortis 3 suffered an unfortunate setback earlier this year when Ben's laptop was stolen with all his Exmortis files on it.

As for the 2nd chapter of the Stone of Anamara, I check the site often and there has been no news whatsoever. =/

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A lot of these are previously-reviewed games-I know Transylmania was, and I think Deanimator was as well. Why not link to the reviews?


[Edit: They are linked to the reviews. :) -Jay]

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Sorry to be the cynic here; I mean, I love the free-rice game - I love vocab games (I get to waste time and tell myself it's for a good cause) but does the game actually do what it says on the tin and donate this rice or is it just for publicity? For one, there are no links to any UN sites as far as I can tell, and you'd think that companies such as iTunes, Toshiba and American Express would boast about supporting such a noble cause (you have to admit, it's fairly "in" for companies to be greenists and humanists at the moment), yet there is no mention of the game on the advertiser's websites I've looked at.

Don't get me wrong, it's a brilliant game in its own right and well deserves its place on JIG but I just want to clarify the facts!

P.S. discombobulated, must be the best word in the english language!

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Hey elvisharwen,

I think it's legit. This page seems to confirm it: http://www.wfp.org/how_to_help/Ways_to_Donate/freerice.asp?section=4&sub_section=5

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Oooog... level 44 as highest for the free rice, but I love these word challenges. It makes me feel good when I look myself in the speculum.

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poopylungstuffing October 29, 2007 5:01 AM

How many grains of rice does it take to fill a bowl?

Nice of then not to take the grains of rice away when we score badly...

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If you do the math, Every time you get the right answer you donate less than a thousandth of a cent. At least 40-50 times that amount goes to the makers of the game through the advertisements. FAIL!.

Also, why the hell donate food to poor countries?
We can support 25 people, we have 50! Send us food!
We ate all the food, now theres 100 of us! Send more!
Now theres 250...Send more food! Please!
Now theres 500! And the land still supports 25...And eventually they stop getting food, and 475 people starve instead of the original 25.

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That's pretty messed-up logic.

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Woot:

1. The advertisers are buying the rice, not paying the makers of the game for the privilege of sticking their names on the website. Sure, the makers of the game are being paid something, but they are rendering a service, so it's to be expected.

2. And where are you getting that "thousandth of a cent" thing? Think about it: you click 1,000 times, you donate 10,000 grains of rice. That's worth one penny?

3. People will not stop procreating because they're hungry. Also, do they not deserve to have families simply because they are impoverished? Does the fact that we were lucky enough to be born into a first-world country make us more worthy to have children?

4. Go out and do something with your life to expand your mind and your perspective. There is a terrible imbalance of resources in this world and any measure, no matter how small, to correct it should be embraced.

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Jess, well said. Woot, go away.

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I've committed myself to donating 1000 grains of rice per day for the last three days... I'll be keeping this up for a while!!
Exmortis = best browser horror game ever. Great link dump!

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what the,,,thousandth of a cent? I was thinking tenth, I did the math tenth, and I typed thousandth.. Gah..but still, rice isn't that much, you can get 100 pounds of the stuff for 20 bucks (tastes like dirt, but still rice). Also not every time you click you donate, because you get it wrong a third of the time. So the makers/advertisers get at least a third or so of the profit. And as the guy a few posts back said, it's generated a lot of profit.

Imbalance of rescources? If everyone lived like the average first world family, we would have to enslave several earthlike planets and have them ship us stuff. Since that isn't likely, the only way to correct the imbalance is too live like a third worlder but a bit better (dirt hovel, cow, communism, rebellion, primitive farm tools, microwave oven). I think you might have a hard time convincing people to eat a small meal twice a day (three whole times on Christmas =D).

Yes, it is messed up that being born in a first world country is the largest factor in being able to live a life without being hungry every day and watching your children starve, but in a world of six billion people, it's impossible not to have that. It is messed up, but the only way to end poverty right now is to let them starve. There is simply no possible way for 6 billion people to live on earth with all the first world comforts without expending Earth's rescources.

On relfection of that post, I got a few things wrong, but equally sharing Earth and everyone having a big happy familily just isn't happening. But if the game entertains you, play it. That's what jayisgames is for.

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The Rice game wont let me past lvl ten.. boo.. I am fully aware that a 'boulder' is a 'large rock' but when i click on large rock instead of saying correct it says boulder = large rock and then a lose a lvl.. poor people are being glitched outta their ten grains of rice!

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I agree with Woot, in a way.

If anything we should not be sending them rice, but giving them the tools to produce said rice, improving the infrastructures etc.

And of course not just encouraging them to build more poverty by having 10 children a family that can't support themselves.

If you think about it, most of us live in a lot worse climate conditions than most third-world countries do. Yet we are not starving and are far more technologically advanced than they are. Now, if you say that we have it all because we're ripping them off, then 10 grains of rice are not going to solve this problem. If you say that they're not doing enough because the UN is providing them with enough food, then 10 grains of rice are going to make the problem even worse.

It's a lose/lose situation.

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With apologies as I know this is a gaming forum rather than a political one...are you really suggesting that third world poverty is a necessity to support first world lifestyles?

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RiNSpy:

You're correct, simply donating rice will not be sufficient. Global poverty is not a single problem; the issues surrounding it are as complex and enmeshed as a ball of yarn. Impoverished persons are denied the education and resources necessary for self-sustainment; ignorance makes them susceptible to exploitation as well as enables behaviors that, for example, lead a couple that can barely feed themselves to have 10 children. And what exactly do you mean by "worse climate conditions"? Because my home of Manhattan is more polluted than rural Ghana, do I face greater obstacles?

The question isn't a donation of rice vs. long-term change; the two aren't mutually exclusive. Hopefully one day the global landscape will alter enough to begin to rectify the horrifying imbalance, but at this point we do what we can, where we can, when we can. Who knows, maybe the existence of this game will inspire some to work to enact more profound change! And to the person who receives the bowl of rice enabled by our clicking, it means everything.

And no, I don't think that third-world poverty is necessary to sustain first-world lifestyles. Affluence is not a finite resource. Technology is continually making things smaller, cleaner and more efficient; the world produces more than enough to feed the global population. The problem is that most people are small-minded enough to not realize that, ultimately, the social, economic and political health of the rest of the world affects our own.

And Woot, do you hear yourself? "The way to end global poverty is to let them starve"? That sort of thought pattern is exactly what's landed the world in such a mess. Just hope you never end up on the other side of that statement.

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Well I've gone up to level 45 and donated 10,000 grains of rice. I've done my bit, eh? I agree with those who got frustrated by how long it took to go back up a level if you blew it at all. You miss one word, and you're down, but it may take 4 or 5 right answers to hop back up again. Still, it's a very nice idea, and I was happy to see a wide variety of words including older ones and user-specific.

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Thanks, Jay. Please pass on my sincere regrets to Ben; I know what it's like to have your work stolen and it's a horrible feeling.

I'll try to find a contact email for the "Stone." perhaps they've put the next part somewhere else. I know it took me quite a while to find "Dark Cut 2" because it wasn't next to DC1. Stone's got a great premise and good writing. I hope it hasn't been abandoned.

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