This week, word skills and paint skills will go head to head in a dazzling array of visual and wordy deliciousness. In the left corner we have the book smarts, with knowledge of words and quick thinking. In the other corner, painting, featuring brushes, stamps and a burning desire to see a creative vision realized. It's the author vs. the auteur in this weeks... Weekend Download.
Cuba Letra (Windows, 11.4MB, free) - Athough its not the most visually appealing game ever made, this highly addictive word game rests comfortably on the attributes it does have, namely the ability to encourage you to create longer words. Imagine Bookworm meets Bust-a-Move, where letters snake around a path heading towards the game-ending black hole at the other side. Use those letters to spell words and you'll stay in the game. The creation of extended words such as "meanwhile" "creation" and "extended" will earn you extra lives, bonus points, multipliers and special letters. Attempting to use simple words like "use" "words" and "like" will gain you points, but they also create glowing red letters that drop more letters onto the track, forcing everything along at a faster pace.
Tux Paint (Mac/Win/Linux, 9.3MB, free) - And speaking of visual appeal, here is a paint program for children, allowing them to create visual masterpieces without the hassle of actual paint, paint stains, wash rinse cycles or high-quality carpet cleaners! Children are always clambering at the computer wanting to 'help out'. With a couple of tweaks in the handy configuration tool, this program can be set to run full screen and without any easy way to quit the program (Alt+F4 still works) allowing the child to create freely without accidentally clicking through to a sensitive part of your computer's files. The drawback, it seems, is that using the keyboard has little effect. Your child will have to be of an age where mouse-skills are already present in order to take full advantage of the program. Of course, the hardest part is sharing the game, and not just playing with it by yourself because its that fun.