With the global recession showing no signs of slowing down, millions of people are looking to save money any way they can. That doesn’t have to mean giving up the game you love, though. Here are some simple tips for stretching that gaming dollar further.Playing free games

Hey, have you heard of this thing called the Internet? It’s full of games, and a lot of them are absolutely free (legally free, I mean. If you’re looking to pirate games, try another article). The trick, of course, is finding the good ones amid the thousands and thousands of awful ones. Some good resources for picking the wheat from the chaff:

  • 365 Days of Free — GamesRadar’s big list is all over the place re: quality, but should take a while to slog through regardless.
  • Jay is Games — The best of Flash and downloadable casual games. Great time-wasters, all.
  •, The Weblog — Mostly free, entirely inventive games from small-name creators.

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    Faith | Mirror’s Edge
    OW! Just skinned my knee while jumping over razor wire. OwieowieowowowOW! F***!
    sk8r | Skate 2
    @HallofMeat Just broke ten bones, including my skull. Good enough 4 U?

    Who the hell put a key in the middle of the maze? This thing is inedible. Blech!



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    Do a Videogame News Roll (Press R or Z twice)

    In this volume:

    • Report: 86 percent of your Xbox Live friends “watching a video or some shit”
    • Tecmo/KOEI unenthusiastically reveals yet another Dynasty Warriors game
    • Supermarket Sweep Live coming to Xbox Live Primetime

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    (Contributors: Kyle Orland, Evan Narcisse)

    We saw many funny, silly, surreal things at last week’s E3. In fact, some of those funny, silly, surreal things were actually us. After processing everything over the weekend and letting our rum hangovers fade, we’d like to hand out a round of unconventional awards for all of those small, unrecognized moments that may have passed most of you by last week.

    Without further ado, here are CG’s E3 2009 Unwards. Ladies and gentlemen: Give them all a nice round of un-applause, will you? You are all un-winners!!!!

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     This week’s question: If you could have any job in the game industry, what would it be?

    Kyle Orland

    Ask the Game Trust: Your Gaming Dream Job

    Kyle Orland: Community Manager, Nintendo

    Why? Well, I’ve had some experience managing a rowdy crowd of Nintendo fans as Webmaster of Super Mario Bros. HQ, and I survived that OK. In fact, I even enjoyed it at points, when the fans weren’t being bat-shit insane (you should see some of the weirder fan fiction I’ve seen). Plus, I already have a near-encyclopedic knowledge of all things Nintendo — save for a huge gap surrounding the Pokèmon series — so I wouldn’t even need much specific training.

    Could it really happen? I suppose if Nintendo were actively looking and asked me and paid to move me out to Washington. I can’t say I’m expecting them to call, though.

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    Kyle Orland

    Ask the Game Trust: If I Could Change The WorldKyle Orland: Unskippable tutorials

    Why is it a problem? Nothing sucks the fun out of the beginning of a game than being force-fed an explanation of the controls and in-game interactions in the form of a boring, slow-paced, playable recitation. I know games are getting more complex these days, but whatever happened to the fun of figuring things out for yourself? Either make the tutorial an optional starter level or space the instructions out through some sort of easy-to-ignore signage.

    What are the chances it will actually get fixed? Pretty good. More and more games offer the option of skipping tutorials these days, and even those that don’t often make an effort to make the tutorials interesting, which is almost as good.

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    This week’s question: What game is your biggest guilty pleasure?

    Kyle Orland

    Ask the Game Trust: Your Guilty Gaming PleasureKyle Orland: Bejeweled Twist

    What’s to be guilty about? Come on, it’s freaking Bejeweled — the game that’s come to symbolize casual gaming and all that is wrong with the industry from a “hardcore” standpoint. Plus it’s super-popular, so whatever indie cred I earned by playing Mighty Jill Off goes right away every time I fire it up.

    Why do you play it anyway? There’s just enough strategy to keep me from getting bored, but not so much that I feel like I’m actually, y’know, thinking. Plus, it’s just incredibly relaxing to watch those gems twist into place and explode in a beautiful burst of light and color. After a long, hard day in the word mines, there’s no better way to unwind than turning on a truly mindless television show and firing up Bejeweled Twist on my laptop.

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    Street Fighter IV merits, at best, an afternoon rental.” (1) “In some respects, the game feels too old school for its own good.” (6) “This is essentially the same game most of us played nearly two decades ago. … It’s still This Guy vs. That Guy.” (1) “If the Street Fighter scene (or perhaps, more precisely, the fighting game scene) has bored you as of late, I don’t see you finding a revolution in this one.” (9) “Once fans have relived their virtual-martial-arts glory days … once the patina of nostalgia has worn off, most will wonder whether they needed to spend $60 on a game they already own.” (1)

    It Ain't Perfect: Street Fighter IV

    The “anime cutscenes are a bit incongruous … and lame.” (3) “The animation quality is Saturday-morning-cartoon-level bad” (2) and “the quality of the cartoons is uncomfortably close to bad early-90s anime.” (8) “The cringe-worthy English voice acting … won’t be to everyone’s liking” (5) as “the various characters spout their idiotic dialogue” (1) and “many nonsensical, we-don’t-need-no-stinking-writers taunts [are] uttered.” (1)

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    This week’s question: What’s the best-known game you’ve never played?

    Kyle Orland

    Ask the Game Trust: Your Guilty Gaming GapKyle Orland: World of Warcraft

    Why haven’t you played it? I’ve seen first-hand what World of Warcraft has done to some of my grade-school friends. Specifically, it’s turned them into terrible bores who can only talk about World of Warcraft! Yes, there is a part of me that wants to understand the secret language they all seem to be speaking, but there’s a larger part of me that thinks I, too, will become a 12-hour-per-day addict playing WoW in excess and to the exclusion of other games. Of course, that means that I wouldn’t be able to review those other games, so I’d lose my job and then my home and end up living under a bridge somewhere, getting my WoW fix with a hand-crank laptop charger and municipal WiMAX connection. So you see my predicament.

    How do friends/col leagues react when they find out? The non-WoW players completely understand, and usually identify with my reasoning. The WoW players, of course, try to recruit me. “Oh, it’s real casual,” they’ll say. “You can have fun playing just a few hours a week.” But I know they’re just trying to lure me into their sordid little world of addiction. The first taste is always free, right?

    Any guilt about this gap in your gaming knowledge? A little … the game has gotten so big and dominates such a large part of gaming subculture at this point that I feel like an outsider looking in a lot of the time. Why couldn’t SubSpace have been the hot MMO everyone was still playing? What? You don’t remember SubSpace? My point exactly!

    What would it take to get you to play it? I’d probably have to be retired … or at least in a different line of work.

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    This week’s question: What videogame franchise would you like to break up with?

    Kyle Orland

    Kyle Orland: Sonic the Hedgehog

    The good old days: I’ll never forget the first time I saw you, at a Toys “R” Us demo kiosk, your color depth and carnal sense of speed putting the NES I had at home to shame. Of course, I’d had a steady, four-year relationship with the Mario series at that point, but I think we were both looking for a little more variety in our lives. Mario would always be my first love, but his slow-paced 2-D adventures never turned me head-over-heels like your acrobatic loop-de-loops.

    The beginning of the end: I guess you thought you were “getting more mature” when you made the jump to 3-D in Sonic Adventure. All I saw, though, was a series that had given up rock-solid 2-D platforming for confusing camera angles, slow-paced role-playing sections and an odd character named “Big the Cat.” I guess we just had different ideas about what “maturity” meant…

    I knew it was over when: You turned into a werewolf in Sonic Unleashed. At that point you were, quite literally, not the Hedgehog I fell in love with all those years ago.

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