Browser games are well known distractions in work places. I’m sure we all remember the great productivity crash of 2010, when Google inconsiderately replaced the regular logo with a flash version of the arcade classic Pac-Man. Research conducted since, reportedly saw users spending an extra 36 seconds on the Google homepage, causing workplaces an estimated total of 4.82 million hours of lost productivity. That’s an estimated cost of over $120,000,000. Eep.
So just in case you were worried about being too productive, we’ve come up with a list of some of favourite browser games to add to your list of procrastination activities.
Nitrome | Click Here to play
London-based game creators Nitrome are veritable masters of retro-looking pixel art games, and they happen to have a whole catalogue of great games to spend hours procrastinating over. My most recent favourite has to be the adorable Silly Sausage, in which you command an irresistibly cute, stretchable sausage dog around a maze to collect diamonds.
I can’t get enough of the beautifully composed background music, the main theme of which is a sweet, somewhat melancholy piece, which reminded me of music from some of my favourite NES games. Lovers of games like Puzzle Bobble will find it easy to get absorbed in this the delights of Silly Sausage.
Nitrome Must Die is also a winner—a platform shooter with some awesome pixel art levels. It’s easy to grasp and hugely satisfying to play. Just one thing to note with all of these games: I recommend closing other applications before visiting this flash heavy site, as they can run a little slow.
William and Sly 2 | Click Here to play
Following on from the original cute platformer, William and Sly, the multi-talented Lucas Paakh returns with this beautifully illustrated upgrade. You play as Sly the Fox, tasked with finding William's scattered journal pages in the woods, and along the way you uncover mystical secrets and puzzles hidden within the forest.
The stunningly painted background and smoothness of the fox's movements are the selling points of the game; the beautiful music only adds to the experience. The game's format is fairly simple, but the art, music and fluidity of movement of the main character make it a very satisfying and endearing game to play.
Room Puzzle Games | Click Here to play
At 58 Works you’ll find a collection of excellently designed, mentally stimulating puzzle games based around different traditional Japanese rooms and scenarios. On-sen is my favourite, although it takes a little getting used to; you navigate around the room by clicking on the directional arrows. By clicking on obstacles and items, you’ll discover various items that will help you solve your way out of the onsen.
These games can be quite tricky, but there are some very helpful walkthroughs available at Jayisgames.com, for those who get stuck. These have been around for a while now, but new levels are frequently added, so it’s definitely worth checking back regularly.
At Gam.eBB you’ll find some similar style Japanese puzzle games, this time on a smaller scale; here you have to dismantle items using only a screwdriver, including tea canister, bento box, fan, etc. Although these can be incredibly frustrating, they’re also hugely entertaining, and very addictive. Much more, for example, that dismantling your own household items with a screwdriver. I don’t recommend that you try that.
Once again, walkthroughs can be found at Jayisgames, and new levels are regularly added.
Triple Town | Click Here to play
There are literally thousands of Facebook games out there, and when you have to go to the trouble of installing them to your profile, it's easy to see why a lot of people avoid the platform for gaming. Triple Town, however, is a really fun game and I think it's only a matter of time before it's launched on more platforms that its current Facebook, Google+ and Kindle roster.
The game is a cute combination of “connect three” games like Bejeweled, and longer playing strategy games. To score points you need to make chains of three, but it gets more interesting than that as the game plays out - connect three grasses to make a bush, connect three bushes to make a tree, connect three trees to make a house, and so on.
The combinations keep going up, scoring more highly each time, but in the meantime bears come along to try and stop your game. It's surprisingly addictive, as there's something satisfying about the combining things to build process.
Spryfox, the makers of the game, just gave the game a facelift and new world map with multiple levels, and have also recently announced that updates are on their way. So what started as a fairly simple game is sure to grow into something much bigger.
It was recently announced that Spry Fox is suing developer 6waves Lolapps for alleged copyright infringement over its game Yeti Town.
Wonderputt | Click Here to play
Wonderputt is a really relaxing miniature golf game. It's almost worth playing simply just to watch how the little animations play out, and how the next hole is created. For example, a ski slope that you have to navigate melts to become a tranquil pond for the next hole. It's beautifully crafted, and every hole is built within ingenious little puzzles that are all part of the same 3D, static world.
The game seems to have just the right amount of difficulty; there aren't too many frustrating ledges to fall off, and though you don't get the same sense of acheivement when winning as you would from a really difficult game, this one gives satisfaction at every turn. While the puzzles do become quite difficult, the game allows you to gently enjoy the tiny details: the intricacies of artwork and animation in the game as well as the gentle and unobtrusive soundtrack.
There are only 18 holes, but the game does challenge you to beat your score and unlock extra achievements. If you want to play a game to wind down, this one definitely fits the bill.
Orisinal | Click Here to play
Since 2000, flash developer and game creator Ferry Halim has been adding stunning, easy to play, relaxing flash games to the website he calls his "personal playground". There’s games have long been a favourite of mine, despite each one having somewhat melancholy undertones. The game The Crossing, for example, requires helping a collection of galloping deer across a seemingly bottomless ditch. As a gentle, sweet piano piece plays, you try your best to help the deer. But ultimately one always descends slowly down into the ditch, separated from its family, never to return to the surface again.
As bleak as that might sound, these games, nonetheless, are a lot of fun. The latest game, in particular, Constellations, is quickly becoming a favourite. It involves firing jellyfish at starfish, in order to create constellations and looks great. Other ones you should check out include: The Way Home, a surprisingly difficult squirrel platformer; The Bottom of the Sea, where you command a deep-sea diver down to the bottom of the sea using platforms; and Pocketful of Stars, an inventive little game where you play as a little girl, and use your own reflection to collect stars.
Have any personal favourites you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments below.