If you're aware of a great game or have coded one, feel free to drop me a line.




a simple yet elegant design
Figure 1
Fig 1. 

best games

These games represent the absolute best freeware games. They tend to have a unique compelling trait, tight gameplay, and a keen attention to detail. No filler, no msg added. 


Viacom's underexposed classic gets the windows & java remake treatment. This game deserves to be cloned quite a bit more than the current output given it's superiority over games like Tetris and Lumines. 

Spheres is an addicting puzzle game released in October 2016 and features superb customizable graphics, excellent music, and riveting gameplay. 

The key to excelling in the game is to swap colors with a sphere so that it matches the color of the sphere(s) behind it. Multiple consecutive colored spheres are then easier to eliminate than a row or column with many different colors.

You must follow the above strategy in order to be successful in the game.  

If this was a commercial game, the first level would be made easier for new players.

You must change the Spheres properties by right clocking the application, selecting Properties followed by Compatibility and then selecting 'Run this program as an administrator' and Apply.

Spheres requires Microsoft .NET framework linked below.

S2 Zoop, released April 2005, is an implementation with excellent graphics.  The original parameters, which were optimal on the laptop originally used for testing, were far from optimal on current computers.  The September 2010 update has more optimized and balanced algorithm parameters. 

S2 Zoop requires the visual basic dependencies linked below.

The windows beta release was the 6th beta by an Everett college student (David Doan) who posted it on a school forum. It's available exclusively on this web site. 

The java version including full source is by former Viacom employee Joel Spolsky. Drop me a line if you'd like to port the java source to one of the C flavors or flash.

spheres. dependencies. screens
s2 zoop binary
. required dependencies. screen [ updated ]
java binary. play. source. screen
david doan binary
kzap binary. source
zooi source

Table Tennis is a November 2007 OpenGL /  SDL implementation with tweaked physics, sharp spin shots, realistic sounds, and advanced ai.  The sophisticated ai necessitated the need for player shots with high spin factors which the player must master in order to be successful.  Read the updated tabletennis.html file prior to playing.  The October 2008 update adds a new icon.  The game requires the msvcp71.dll and msvcr71.fll dependencies.  The April 2016 release fixes a bug where the AI wasn't swinging for many spin curve shots with increased velocity as well as improving overall AI accuracy.  The harder levels are much harder than the previous version.  Level 1 has faster and sharply curving serves frequently.    

The September 2016 HD update increases the resolution of the game to 1920 x 1080. Computers with Intel graphics on Windows 10 don't scale lower resolution games to HD and instead display borders around a game's original aspect ratio.

The game's compatibility properties must be changed to 'Run as Administrator' in order for the options to work properly. 

Table Tennis requires the x86 Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015 linked below.

Table Tennis Pro, by Aidan Mckenna, requires some trial and error with the options to optimize gameplay while Ping Pong 3D has optimal gameplay set as it's default. They both require excellent hand eye co-ordination to beat the highest ranked players. Essentially a skill arcade game with sim authenticity. If you purchase a TTP license you can also purchase PP3D at a nominal cost. The initial beta version of TTP had superior sound effects prior to noise reduction being used. 

table tennis. dependencies. source. screen [ hd update ]
table tennis
. dependencies. source. screen [ updated fix / settings ]
ping pong 3d. screen
table tennis pro
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Watersport simulation with professional polish.



Challenging / realistic simulation with sophisticated physics / excellent graphics. The demo is identical to the registered version.

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Splotch is a game of logic and intuition with very simple rules. You set red dots on the playing board while the computer sets blue dots. The goal of the game is to enclose as many of your opponent's dots as possible, thereby 'capturing' territory. The Advanced and Master levels use sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence. 

Unfortunately, there is one exploitable AI hole that guarantees victory. Without the one flaw, this game is a classic that'll make you forget about minesweeper.

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Polished interface / compelling puzzler.

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Probably the coolest game on this site.  Nice production values / very challenging gameplay. The modified version removes the login and ranking network code / screens for offline play.    

For Windows 8, right click the file, select Properties, then Compatibility, and select Windows XP SP3  and Run As Administrator.

binary. screen 1. screen 2 [ modified ]
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Acrophobia is a game invented by Anthony Schubert whereby players form humorous / original phrases based on acronyms ranging from 3-7 letters. Variable time is allotted for submitting answers. Acronyms with 3/4 letters are allotted 60 seconds, 5/6 letters allotted 90 seconds, while 7 letters are allotted a 2 minute window. Prior to the voting round, Acrobot issues a 10 second warning for answer submission. Answers are randomized for voting while each player is allowed to choose one acronym expansion submitted by another player. Acrophobia comes in 3 irc flavors: Acrobot | Acromania | Alphabot

The original acrophobia game originated in irc. Berkeley Systems developed windows and java online versions that were quite popular in the late nineties.

The C#.Net version of Acrophobia was released in September 2005. A minimum of 3 players are required to play a game. There are no limits in terms of the number of players in a game. Enjoy.

Acrophobia updated September 2006 with formatting enhancements and a few corrections.  Microsoft NET framework 2.0 required.

acrophobia source. net 2.0. screen
java classes

The first ever computer tabletop hockey game with artificial intelligence.  Other features include adjustable difficulty levels, automatic player selection, and players / rink modeled from an actual tabletop hockey game.  January 2008 release.  Requires directx version linked below or most recent version.

The August 2008 update has a more balanced advanced level goalie ai, a new novice level, and new text graphics.

The October 2008 update improves the icon and includes a new installer.  

A future version of the game will include internet play and more optimized goalie ai for all levels.

The game requires the d3dx9_35.dll file.

tabletop hockey. d3dx9_35.dll. latest directx. screen

Power Shot Basketball is a September 2008 release that features realistic physics with tweaked elasticity and friction variables, a 3ds max basketball machine model, high quality sounds, ball spin options, multiple camera angles, high score saving, and optional background music or arcade sounds.

There are 25 shots per game.  Each successful shot counts as 1 point.  Every fifth ball shot counts as 2 points if successful.

The October 2008 update improves the text / number space alignment and allows for a ball that remains on the rim for an extended period and subsequently goes in to count toward the point total.

The February 2009 update optimizes the speed of the game.  Updated installer to remove administrator icon anomaly for basketball and installer icons for vista users.  The administrator security shield may reappear if you subsequently install a program with administrator privileges in vista.

The revised October 2016 update fixes the prior speed variability problem, increases the frame rate, and increases the resolution of the game.

The subsequent October 2016 update enhances the graphics for the front of the machine.

power shot basketball. screen [ revised update


Great concept whereby the player bounces laser beams off opponent's lasers to capture the majority of the board.  There is one exploitable strategy against the otherwise excellent ai.

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In 1981, Tempest introduced the gaming world to an extra-sensory visual and futuristic play experience that went beyond any video game concept ever developed. 
Despite being perhaps the best arcade game of all time, there've been next to zero clones of this game. The 'Tube' game listed below is more a 3D variant of the game and a great idea that can be refined further in terms of gameplay. The possibilities are endless especially since vector graphics have a timeless appeal that clunky polygons can't match. 

The Tempest C# implementation features high score saving, adjustable speed, and high quality sounds.

G-force is a flat 2D Tempest with tight gameplay, retro vocal sounds, and all the original enemies. Very well done.

Ultra is a visual appealing clone coded by industry veterans. Future iterations with improved eye candy are promised although there hasn't been an update since 2007.

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Sideswipe Enhanced is an October 2016 release and features new graphics including several game boards to choose from, a much higher resolution than the original release, and new music.

Sideswipe Enhanced requires Microsoft .NET framework linked below.

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A stellar Geometry Wars variant coded by a demo scene group. Released in June 2006, updated November 2006.

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Excellent collection of flash based sports game vector prototypes. The athletes are cool looking vectorized robotic figures & the gameplay is sophisticated rather than haphazard making for a quality arcade experience.  Includes Discus, Basketball, Garage Door Tennis, Baseball, Golf, Hurdles, Field Goal, Archery.

The code was modified in July 2005 in terms of playing consecutive games without exiting as well as high score saving for offline play.

Archery added October 2006.  

Hurdles with extensive modifications added May 2007.  Parameters in modified version include speed increase dependent on frequency of z key taps, decrease in speed per 0.1 sec, decrease in speed when hitting a hurdle, max / min speed.   

Long Jump was completed in July 2007.  The flash assets were tweaked while some new math was added to produce a new game that was not part of the gameroom series.  The jump distances have been decreased for more realistic values in the august 2007 update.

discus binary. source on request. screen 1. screen 2 [ modified ]
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hurdles binary. screen 1. screen 2 [ modified ]
long jump binary
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basketball binary
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archery binary
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baseball binary
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golf binary
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swf files


Absolutely stellar platform game by two very talented Flash developers based in Toronto. Gameplay is in the same league as Lode Runner and the level editor adds infinite replay value.

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Air Hockey Challenge is an October 2016 release featuring a realistic air hockey model.

air hockey challenge. screen [ 12039k


Wicked curve shots abound in this excellent shockwave rendition of Table Tennis. A standalone windows version can also be ordered through their website. The previous version had more balanced opponents than the seriously challenging current version. You can purchase the current version and substitute the previous version listed below if you'd like to tone down the level of difficulty. You could also take part in the multiplayer aspect of the game for a reasonable subscription fee. 

Tip: Swing across the ball for some very cool curved shots in the single player version. For the current  multiplayer version, use quick forward movements for shots. 

play. order. previous version


An arcade game with tight, optimized, challenging gameplay.  Microsoft .NET framework required.  The game can be played effectively with just the arrow keys although other keys have functionality. 

The February 2009 update resolves an issue with the 64 bit edition of vista.  Updated installer to remove administrator shield icon for vista users.

The version with the white background may be updated with sound effects in the future.  

sideswipe c# with sound. source. net 2.0. directx. screen  [ 1706k ][ updated ]
sideswipe c# with sound. source. net 2.0. directx. screen [ 1906k ]
binary. source. net 2.0. screen 1. screen 2 [ 95k ]


The object of the game is to center each successive 4 square point interval simulating a tunnel. Features a high score list and adjustable parameters. August 2005 release.  The September 2006 update adds music during gameplay. 

The September 2016 HD update increases the resolution of the game to 1920 x 1080. Computers with Intel graphics on Windows 10 don't scale lower resolution games to HD and instead display borders around a game's original aspect ratio.

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Ballistix is a physics based arcade game with adjustable parameters (in Regular Mode only) and various graphics options. Features include gameplay uniquely based on variable physics, high score saving (level based), solo and vs computer mode, modifiable physics in Regular Mode, 14 backgrounds to choose from, and sound and music options.  This 2010 version is vastly superior to the previous version in terms of much more optimized parameters and new graphics at a higher resolution.  The game was inspired by the Psygnosis version.  

The November 2010 update resolves high score saving compatibility issue with decompilation protection method.   High scores now saved for highest level completed rather than reached.  Changed config settings to random backgrounds and Set A text graphics.  

The game's properties should be changed to 'Run as Administrator' in order to avoid any error messages when exiting. 

ballistix. dependencies. screen


Willem Janssen's 2001 delphi coded windows version has cool retro vector graphics, excellent frame rates, configurable parameters, and most importantly superb gameplay. The version on this site features optimal gameplay default parameters and more attractive colors for better visual appeal. The physics were implemented in a manner such that the ball hits the walls more often than standard newtonian physics would have you believe. In this case, that's a good thing if you're after the fun factor. Parameters like Gravity and Effect enable the physics to be adjusted any way you desire. The win xp update was released May 2006. The game is similar to the Compute! Magazine PD game Bounce Zone.

Pong3D, released in July 2005, is a Visual C++ .Net implementation that is remarkably similar to Willem Janssen's version. The options screen is practically identical. :) Updated Sept. 2005 with the sharper MS Sans Serif font.

The September 2016 HD update increases the resolution of the game to 1920 x 1080. Computers with Intel graphics on Windows 10 don't scale lower resolution games to HD and instead display borders around a game's original aspect ratio.

pong 3d. screen [ hd update binary. source on request. screen
delphi binary
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Java implementation of a classic ascii game originally for the cpm operating system. 

Arrow keys for movement / Space Bar for jumping. Avoid the falling rocks and find the treasure (shown as $) before the bonus time runs out. A new lad is awarded every 10,000 points. Extra points are awarded for touching the gold statues (shown as &). You receive the bonus time points that are left when you have finished the level.

Link updated August 2006 to reflect the December 2005 version 1.3 revision that resolves the background color issues under Java 1.5. Requires Java 1.5.

Ladder C# is a June 2007 release.   The September 2008 update enables all levels to play in the proper sequence.

ladder c#. source. screen
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Qix / Vectrex inspired Toronto Game Jam 2007 entry with four way directional shooting (WASD keys) and arrow keys for movement. Firing a bullet creates a trail line which forms the edge of a box. Use 4 lines to create a box to trap / destroy the triangles inside. The amount of points attained is dependent on the size of the box and the number of triangles inside.

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Superb graphics with simple yet refined gameplay.

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Independent Games Festival entry for the 2007 competition.

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Future Pinball is a more graphically advanced pinball simulator than Visual Pinball with higher quality tables.  

The physics are decent but nowhere near as sophisticated and authentic as Farsight's Pinball Arcade.  Flipper aiming accuracy is lacking with the implemented Newton Game Dynamics physics engine.  The Unity 3D based Ageia Physx engine would have probably been a better choice.  Many of the tables look excellent though which makes the game worthwhile enough.

On Windows 8, run the game as administrator with Vista or XP compatibility.

future pinball


Excellent pinball simulation with many classic table conversions. Must have tables include Operation Thunder, Black Knight, Flash Gordon, Supersonic, Round Up, Twilight Zone, and Cavaleiro. Four of the above 6 tables were created by Kurt 'scapino' Herman. Operation Thunder, in particular, is excellent. 

Both visual pinball and vpinmame are required to play most of the above tables.

If you're having difficulty getting the Operation Thunder table to work properly, download this opthund.nv file and place it in the nvram folder.

The Operation Thunder table doesn't work properly with recent versions of visual pinball.  It works fine with version 6.1 which can be downloaded at the link below.  Place the file in your visual pinball directory and run that version for Operation Thunder.  

The game should be run as administrator.

binary. source
visual pinball 6.1
(for Operation Thunder)


'Lumen is a simple and beautiful puzzle game for OS X and Windows. The objective is to light up checkpoints by bouncing, coloring, and maneuvering a laser beam through obstacles.'

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A minesweeper variant with a fresh approach.   

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Cool vector / wireframe tunnel game inspired by the Playstation game Nitrous Oxide, as well as Tempest. The directx version is a [ visual c++ ] windows implementation with enhancements and improvements including optimal speed, more challenging enemies, 3 difficulty levels, a high score list, and a very cool motion blur type effect for the waving levels. The second November 2006 update tones down the difficulty for the medium / hard levels while increasing it for the easy level.  The march 2007 update adds intro / gameplay music.

tube. source on request. screen [ music added ]
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Mark Sach's faithful conversion of this vector classic with enhanced ai. Mark also worked on the Windows 'Combat' release for Atari.

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Excellent graphics and challenging gameplay.

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Old school 3D tunnel effect coupled with sensitive controls. Probably the best game entered in the 2006 javagaming 4K competition along with Gravitator 4K.

Use the cursor keys to accelerate/decelerate & roll left/right. If you hit any of the blue slabs, the speed will reduce to 66% of the maximum speed.

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This version has photo-realistic cards, a clean interface, more stats than the Microsoft version, as well as a Save / Open option.  This version employs a card shuffle algorithm identical to the one Microsoft uses.  Released August 2006 with a few updates since then. Microsoft .NET 2.0 required.  The October 2007 update adds several new backgrounds as well as some card graphic adjustments.

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Polyhedra puzzle on Google's Code pages.

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Best online version of the game.

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An excellent 16 bit windows game that slipped under the radar. Solid gameplay / nice graphics with elements of Lode Runner.  

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Excellent Quadnet inspired game coded in c++/directx featuring a rotating play field. This is an enhanced port of the java version with the following improvements: increased speed, triangle speed identical to obstacle speed, obstacles spawning quicker, high score. Windows versions updated to limit the maximum obstacles to 4 for more balanced gameplay. 

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One of those 'just one more game' diversions. Deceptively fun.


Old school arcade game employing sophisticated n-esque rigid body physics and tight gameplay balance whereby you propel yourself upward while avoiding mines in order to attain the maximum elevation / score.  More iterations of the game are likely in the future. 

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Added current and saved best times for this networked game which can now be played solo against the clock.  Rigid body physics, friction, and damping determines car velocity / angle.

racer c#
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Spiderman-esque tendencies as web strands are shot toward your mouse pointer in order to attach to surfaces to propel yourself forward. The object of the game is to maximize your distance while remaining within the confines of the game screen.

double wires. screen


Top notch arcade puzzler from Japan with good production values.

When tiles are joined, their sum increases their corresponding total. Blocks with the same total will disappear once the number of tiles next to each other equals or surpasses the numbers etched on them.  Z joins tiles together, X advances tile rows upward.

Requires latest DirectX and Microsoft .NET framework 2.0.

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You are given a grid of dots. Your aim is to draw a single unbroken loop from dot to dot within the grid.

Some of the square spaces between the dots contain numbers. These numbers indicate how many of the four edges of that square are part of the loop. The loop you draw must correctly satisfy all of these clues to be considered a correct solution.

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the tunnel.

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JTransversion is a remake of an old ZX Spectrum video game released in 1984. The original game was very difficult. This new version includes a new element (black holes) and implements a "loss of energy" mechanism that makes the game less frustrating.

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Sudoku lovers will love this open source game involving logic and math. Inspired by an obscure puzzle in a weekly tv guide in the 70's! High marks for the simple interface without unnecessary clutter. Infinite randomly generated levels and solver ensure plenty of replay value.

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The goal of Linkz is to connect all the ends to form a fully closed figure.

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MSN online poker game developed by Carbonated Games for Microsoft.

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Rainbow Wars is a retro styled Geometry Wars variant with 6 unique enemies and unlimited waves. Gamepad and mouse/keyboard support. Developed by Luke Schnieder of Volition Inc.

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Linux game ported to java. 

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Illuminate absorbers by directing laser beams.

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Excellent puzzle arcade game by a russian coder. Algorithm used is such that there are infinite levels with all levels being solvable. Very impressive. High marks for the graphics as well.

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binary v1.1


Chess Genius is a world championship winning chess program. It's available for windows, palm, pocket pc, and phone platforms.  The newer chess pieces for the mobile versions leave something to be desired.

The multiplayer chess game is a lean 48K executable with a nice simple interface.

Chess.NET features exquisite chess pieces, a nice compact interface, and 6 ai levels.  Full source included.

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Puzzle arcade game where a rolling ball flips tiles.

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Various implementations of the Rubik's Cube.  

Cube Twister features superior graphics and  includes a solvable script routine.  The java applets run at a much higher resolution than the application.  

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rubik's cube .net
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magic cube
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rubik cube solver
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Valence takes place in a hexagonal arena where red, yellow and blue Atoms bounce around, exhibiting realistic collision and deflection mechanics. The object of the game is to link the Atoms together to form Molecules. When you are satisfied with a Molecule, Right-Click on one of its atoms to score it. Molecules are scored based on their size and complexity.

Each level has specific molecules that must be scored within a time limit in order to advance. Later levels introduce Viruses that attack Molecules by eating their links, Antiviruses that hunt down the Viruses, and Generators that push the Atoms and Molecules around the arena.

Valence is a fast-paced puzzle game developed by Peter Chapman, Steve Kihslinger, Ryan Peterson, and Kevin Wallace as their 3rd year game project at DigiPen.

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Excellent coleco handheld simulator including source.

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Proximity Ball is an original arcade game with a physics basis released December 2007. The player must position and aim the ball such that there must be contact with both the left and right walls, in any order at least once, prior to reaching the far wall where a triangle is located. The goal is to land the ball as close as possible to the triangle with 3 shots per game. High scores for the average of the 3 shots per game as well as for individual shots are saved. 

There are 2 versions included with varied motion blur for the opening screen.

proximity ball. source. screen 1. screen 2


Verticube is an excellent Lumines clone with a cool soundtrack. Lumixed is the most challenging of the 3. Quattro may be the most visually appealing version.  It requires Managed DirectX 9.  Luminex is a psp clone.

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A selection of sudoku puzzle games released since 2005.

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simple sudoku

simple sudoku solver
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sudoku spoiler
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The MFC implentation weighs in at a lean 20 kb zipped. Excellent interface and algorithm implementation. Freak Othello, coded by a russian, has strong ai, a clean interface, and nice pieces.

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minimax binary


Borrows from mastermind's gameplay.

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Spacewar has it's roots in the MIT computer science labs. The Winspace variant is a great find with cpp source included. It's locked at 40 fps / 25 ms. A lower fps would likely improve gameplay. Highly recommended.

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Control a missile flying through a tunnel by maneuvering through cut out shapes of varied / rotating disc obstacles.

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One of the more graphically pleasing online casino games where you can play with 'play money.' Developed by Playtech.

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