Articles by Alex Kearns

Top 10 Fighting Games

Unleash your combative alter ego with these ten beat 'em up games that can be played online for free.

I only had one fight at school. I was about five years old and the biggest kid in the class was getting on my nerves for being so big. So I went up to him and hit him in his midriff. Big mistake. I was very soon on my arse on the floor with a bloodied nose. I learnt something important that day. I am not a fighter. I am much better at learning, reading and playing games than beating the living daylights out of people. I never got into a fight with anyone again.

That is probably a good thing but it has left me with a slight sense of inadequacy - a feeling that I have missed out on something that is at the core of being a real man. Perhaps I watched too many John Wayne movies as a kid and have a distorted view of masculinity but I can't help thinking that to be a real man you have to be able to hold your own in a fist fight.

Published by Alex Kearns on 14th February 2011
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IOS Game Round Up

We report on some of the iPhone and iPad games that have caught our attention recently.

Okay, we give in. When we started this blog back in late 2009, we intended to focus on free online games. We did not want to burden visitors with the hassle of downloading or purchasing games. But as Casual Girl Gamer has grown in popularity (many thanks to all the 200,000 odd who visit us each month), so have the calls for us to cover games for Apple's iPad and iPhone devices.

We have up until this point resisted the temptation to do this. We think our focus on free online games is one of Casual Girl Gamer's biggest draws. However, Apple's IOS platform has grown massively over the past few years, and there are now ever more people wanting to read reviews of the latest iPhone and iPad games.

Published by Alex Kearns on 9th February 2011
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Top 10 Goriest Games

The squeamish among you might want to look away for these ten games are among the goriest, bloodiest and nastiest the internet has to offer.

We at Casual Girl Gamer like to think that we are a couple of notches above the average gaming blogger. We take great care choosing the games we highlight on this site, often selecting philosophical or arty games that shed light on the human experience - see our lists of games that make you think about life here and here.

But for this top ten list, we have dropped any pretence of superiority, and plunged down into the dirty underbelly of online gaming in search of the gaming equivalents of video nasties. These gory games won't teach you anything worthwhile. Nor will most of them offer any profound insights into the human condition. They might even make you a little sick. But those who can overcome their squeamishness, and look beyond the blood and gore, will be rewarded by some of the best browser gaming action around.

Published by Alex Kearns on 30th January 2011
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Tank World

HTML5 might still be in its infancy but it is already being used to create some highly impressive games, as Tank World amply proves.

In September last year, we introduced our readers to a new technology for creating online games. HTML5 - as the technology is called - has the great advantages of being both completely open source and not needing a browser plugin. At the time, we published a list of the 30 best HTML5 games to show the potential of this powerful new technology.

Just a few months later and our list of HTML5 games looks hopelessly dated. Few of the games we featured would appear in any list of top HTML5 games compiled today. That is because great advances have taken place in HTML5 game design since we published the article. The HTML games being released today are not experimental prototypes but often fully-fledged games that do not look out-of-place alongside their Flash counterparts (Flash of course long being the dominate technology for making online games).

Published by Alex Kearns on 24th January 2011
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Top 10 Games for Liberals

From a time-management sim about fast food production practices to a gaming protest against British police tactics, these are the games every self-respecting liberal simply has to play.

Can games be political? Do conservatives/Republicans and their ilk prefer some types of game - Deer Hunter, for example - and liberals/Democrats others? To be honest, I don't know the answer. But I thought it would be fun to compile a list of free online games with a political edge. We have started with this collection of games we thought would appeal to liberals but over the coming weeks we will also be publishing lists of games for conservatives and socialists.

We should point out, before our inbox is deluged with angry messages, that this is a very tongue in cheek article. We have purposely painted liberals in the most extreme way we could, hopefully for comedic effect, and will treat conservatives and socialists similarly harshly when we come to them. Anyway, regardless of your political affiliations, these games are great fun, so go enjoy.

Published by Alex Kearns on 21st January 2011
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New Game Round-up

We present the last batch of new games from 2010. Enjoy them while you can.

The new year is almost upon us but before the famous annual countdown begins, there is still time for us to squeeze in a few new games from 2010. So just for a few moments, return the bottles of champagne to the icer, take your party shoes off, and settle down on the couch with your laptop, because we are taking you on one last journey through the casual gaming world of 2010.

Along the way you will encounter a city of buildings that make music, one of the most addictive time-management games we've played and a crop of brilliantly inventive platform games. Play them now for very shortly they will be games from the past year, and no self-respecting casual gamer would want to be seen dead playing out-of-date games, would they.

Published by Alex Kearns on 31st December 2010
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Jake Elliott

You won't find any resource-management or mindless slash and dash games in Jake Elliott's portfolio. What you will find are thought-provoking games that encourage you to ponder on the human experience.

There is often no-one more critical of an artist's work than the artist himself. Some have been known to destroy their creations, having spent months - years in some cases - painstakingly creating them, so infuriated were they by some minor imperfection that only they could see. Game developers - being highly creative people too - can also be somewhat self-judgmental on occasions.

Take Jake Elliott, a Chicago-based game developer who has gained a reputation as a creator of arty, thoughtful games. When he completed an underwater exploration game called I Can Hold My Breath Forever, he was so disappointed with what he had made that he came very close to shelving it. "I honestly didn't think anyone would like it, and I almost didn't release it," he says.

Published by Alex Kearns on 14th November 2010
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Con Artist Games

Chris Condon of Con Artist Games has a reputation for developing some of the most polished games on the web. Casual Girl Gamer speaks to him about his gaming philosophy.

You probably will not recognise the name Chris Condon. You may not even have heard of his highly-respected Australia-based games studio Con Artist Games. But, if you have taken more than a passing interest in Flash gaming in recent years, you are bound to have come across some of his games.

For Chris - or Con, as he prefers to be called - is responsible for some of the most popular games on the web. His two most famous games are The Last Stand and Warfare. The Last Stand and its sequel The Last Stand 2 are zombie-themed defend-your-base games, while the Warfare titles (Warfare 1917 and Warfare 1944) are highly-polished war strategy games. Con has also created some lesser-known titles such as action RPG Sin Mark and futuristic survival game Juggerdome.

Published by Alex Kearns on 25th October 2010
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New Game Round-up

Yet another crop of great new games, including a sequel to one of 2009's best point-and-click games, an underwater game based loosely on Herman Melville's legendary novel Moby Dick and an unusual game that aims to unleash your poetic potential.

We really are living in a Golden Age of online gaming. Our hardest task when compiling these new game round-ups is not finding titles that are good enough to be included, because there are literally hundreds. No, our biggest challenge is sifting through all the great new games out there to ensue that we pick only the most brilliant.

There are simply too many fantastic games being released, to make this an easy job. Take The Trader of Stories (the latest point-and-click game from the legendary Mateusz Skutnik and his studio Pastel Games) or Fragger: Lost City (the sequel to one of the most popular physics games ever). Both of these are seriously slick, well-produced games. But they don’t even make it onto today’s main list.

Published by Alex Kearns on 22nd October 2010
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Gregory Weir

By combining great story-telling with imaginative game worlds, Gregory Weir has created some of the most thought-provoking games on the internet.

To say that Gregory Weir thinks outside the box with his game designs is something of an understatement. He was never in the box in the first place. This is a man who draws the inspiration for his games not from what others in the gaming industry are doing but from his own dreams and hyperactive imagination. As a result, Gregory's games are like nothing else you will have seen, and they are all the better for it.

We first came across Gregory when we were undertaking research for our Five games that make you think about life article published around a year ago. One of the games we included in the list was (I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors, a brilliant but disturbing adventure game where you play a scary-looking sea monster. In spite of your terrifying appearance, you start the game as an innocent creature, curious about the world. But your first contacts with humanity threaten to corrupt you. Feeling rejected and persecuted, do you turn bad and use your considerable powers for evil purposes, or do you strive to do good?

Published by Alex Kearns on 11th October 2010
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