Recently, TIGSource held a competition centered around procedural generation, games that create their content on the fly rather than presenting pre-made areas crafted by the programmer. This gives the player a new experience each time he or she plays, opening the doors of replayability and creating some unpredictable situations. Below are the top five entries as determined by player votes. More than 60 games were submitted, so feel free to peruse the competition page for more procedurally generated goodness!
Rescue: The Beagles (Windows, 10.8MB, free) - A cargo plane carrying a large shipment of beagles crashed in the wasteland outside of the Amita range. It's your job to grab every dog you see before it escapes or is captured by one of the biohazard guys. This sidescrolling platformer features three levels where the action takes place and plenty of obstacles to keep you busy.
Dyson (Windows, 7.6MB, free) - A game of conquest, colonization and strategy, Dyson is a strangely relaxing game where you plant seeds on asteroids and send self-replicating mining machines out to conquer more. Plant additional Dyson trees on an asteroid to bolster your defenses, and send swarms of machines out to expand your territory. Everything is mouse-driven and remarkably straightforward, but a tutorial session gives you a good overview on how to play.
Self-Destruct (Windows, 2.3MB, free) - An insanely intense vertically scrolling shooter where your only goal is to survive wave after wave of enemies. Move with the [arrow] keys and tap [z] to fire your weapon. The [x] button is crucial, as it activates your shield, which you'll occasionally use more often than your gun. The [c] key unleashes a nuke, which should be self-explanatory. Grab items as you destroy enemies to replenish your supplies, and good luck.
dropTD (Windows, 12.7MB, free) - One of the most unusual tower defense games you'll ever play, dropTD uses files you drag and drop onto the playing field to generate the level as well as each tower you build. Each file, no matter what type or size it is, creates a pattern that can then be placed around the maze to fire at advancing enemies. Drop the same file twice and you get the same shape, then remove excess blocks later. A bit awkward to keep a good list of files nearby, but very creative nonetheless.
Everyone Loves Active 2 (Windows, 8.7MB, free) - A colorful arena shooter where painting becomes part of the experience. As you play the background is drawn in real-time. Shoot enemies and the bullets and enemy remains slowly affect the paint behind you. Gorgeous, but a bit intense for older computers to handle.