4 of the Best Modern Interactive Fiction Games for the PC – Make Tech Easier

Make Tech Easier


Back when home computers were modest machines that ran BASIC with just kilobytes of RAM, text-based games were all the rage. Improved processing power has resulted in games that feature lifelike graphics and cinematic visuals. As such, humble text-based adventure has seen a decline in popularity. However, that doesn’t mean that they’ve gone the way of the Dodo. In fact, text-based games, or interactive fiction, are still popular, with quality titles being released even today.

Relive the awkward nostalgia of teenage romance framed in the window of an instant messenger in Emily Is Away. Set in the early 2000s, the game puts the player in the shoes of a high school senior and his relationship with a girl named Emily. The narrative of the game unfolds through a chat client styled after AOL Instant Messenger. Players chat with Emily about various things from pop culture to parties. How the player responds will guide the story as you follow the relationship through their last year of college. Emily Is Away was released for free in 2015 and earned positive reviews from gaming critics.

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A sequel titled Emily Is Away Too was released in 2017. This spiritual successor allows the player to chat with two people simultaneously and includes references to a number of popular websites from 2006. Unfortunately, Emily Is Away Too is not free to play; however, the game is very affordable. You can grab it for only $4.99 on Steam.

In Digital: A Love Story it is 1988, and players have just received their very own computer. The player begins to send and receive messages through bulletin board systems and meets a user named “Emilia.” As the player’s relationship with Emilia blossoms, they are slowly drawn into the world of computer hacking. Eventually, players find themselves at the center of a wide-ranging conspiracy.

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Digital: A Love Story is a linear game, meaning that the story does not have multiple branches. Therefore, the story cannot be influenced by the actions of the player. Furthermore, a player can never send a “wrong message,” and the player can never lose. That being said, the player will have to complete certain tasks in order for the plot to advance.

You awake in a cell with no memory of how you got there. As you try to piece together the chain of events, you realize you are being held captive by an evil wizard. The Dreamhold is a classic text adventure: no graphics, no pointing and clicking. Instead, players simply type commands and see what happens next.

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The game’s developer, Andrew Plotkin initially made the game in order to introduce players to interactive fiction. As such, the game functions as a sort of tutorial to the genre. The Dreamhold allows newbies to test the waters of text-based adventures and learn how they work. To help players who are unfamiliar, The Dreamhold features hints that appear when you get stuck as well as a reference for common commands.

Because the game was designed with newcomers in mind, The Dreamhold is considered to be relatively easy for players familiar with the genre. If you have experience with text-based adventures, The Dreamhold has an expert mode which increases the difficulty of the puzzles and removes the in-game assistance. You can play The Dreamhold online within your browser. In addition, iOS users can grab The Dreamhold on their iPhone or iPad.

When we think of interactive fiction, we almost always picture text-based games. However, 2015’s Her Story mixes things up by adding video elements. In this mystery game players are given access to an old computer system. The computer contains various files and programs, some of which explain the game’s mechanics, while others advance the plot. The player comes across a database of video clips, with the clips being of a woman getting interviewed by the police. The clips are incomplete, forcing the player to piece together the context of the answers.

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The player discovers that the woman is being questioned about her husband who has gone missing. Foul play is suspected, but the woman has an alibi. The player must sort through documents and video evidence in order to uncover the truth. Her Story was very well received by critics and is available on a variety of platforms.

The games mentioned on this list are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the interactive fiction genre. Which ones are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!



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The ESRB Defends Loot Boxes in Video Games

The ESRB Defends Loot Boxes in Video Games


After months of controversy surrounding loot boxes, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has finally broached the subject. However, the ESRB, which assigns age ratings to video games in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, is defending the use of loot boxes.

Loot boxes, AKA loot crates, have been a thing for a while now. They’re essentially sealed virtual boxes gamers can open to reveal the goodies inside. Sometimes loot boxes are awarded as prizes, but sometimes gamers have to purchase them. And that’s problematic.

The ESRB Weighs In

The ESRB has been silent on the issue since the release of Star Wars: Battlefront II brought the issue to a head. However, after some cajoling from Senator Maggie Hassan, the ESRB has finally addressed the issue, but probably not in the way gamers hoped.

The answer to the problem, according to the ESRB, is a new label for video games. So, from now on, all games that “offer the ability to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency” will come with an “In-Game Purchases” warning.

This will apply across the board, with loot boxes essentially branded the same as bonus levels, skins, music, virtual coins, subscriptions, season passes, and upgrades. Which means pretty much every new game will be stuck with the “In-Game Purchases” label.

The ESRB sees this as a parenting problem. So, it has also launched ParentalTools.org designed to help parents “manage the amount of time or money those crafty kids spend playing games”. Which is great and all, but doesn’t fix the problem of loot boxes.

A Blight on Gaming

DLC and in-game purchases are here to stay, and most of us are OK with that. However, loot boxes, which sees you buying something sight unseen, are a blight on gaming. Especially when they buy a competitive advantage, as is the case with Star Wars: Battlefront II.

Do you play any games filled with loot boxes? Have you ever purchased a loot box? If so, did you consider it a gamble? Or just a fun form of monetization? Should the ESRB be doing more to tackle the problem of loot boxes? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Frédérique Voisin-Demery via Flickr


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Chromecast Games Can Be the Best!

Chromecast Games Can Be the Best!


If you own a Chromecast, you probably use it to stream videos


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and movies or view your photos on the big screen. But you can also play games on it with your mobile device.

Finding those games that support Chromecast


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and are worth your time isn’t all that easy. So we have a list of casual games for you that are fun, simple to pick up and play, and connect to your Chromecast easily.

1. Tower Construction 3D

How good are you at building a tower? Find out in Tower Construction 3D. As the crane moves back and forth, tap the screen to drop a piece of the building. Then, continue to do this, piece after piece, to create your tower. The trick is, you must line up the building pieces well, because if your tower falls over, you lose.

Number of players: Single-player | Up to five in multiplayer

Download: Tower Construction 3D for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Fire Team

best chromecast games

Fire Team is a pixelated arcade adventure made up of maze-like environments, ghostly enemies, and powerful bombs. You can choose from four game modes including survival, deathmatch, team versus team, or flag capture. This gives you the option to play alone or against a worthy opponent. Your device has easy controls to move, drop a bomb, or take an action. So keep your eyes on the action and have fun with Fire Team.

Fire Team offers in-app purchases for additional maps and to remove the ads.

Number of players: Single-player | Up to six in multiplayer

Download: Fire Team for Android | iOS (Free)

3. Deer Hunter

If you enjoy hunting games, then Deer Hunter is a terrific one for your Chromecast. You get to hunt in spots around the world, track down the big game animals, and master your skills as a sharpshooter. Customize your firearms with attachments you collect, like scopes and bigger magazines. Just make sure you are ready for the hunt to begin before you become the hunted.

Deer Hunter offers in-app purchases for gold packs and game subscriptions.

Number of players: Single-player

Download: Deer Hunter for Android | iOS (Free)

4. Scrabble Blitz

best chromecast games

Scrabble Blitz is not your ordinary Scrabble game. This one challenges you to make as many words as you can from the letters you receive. You have a limited amount of time, can take advantage of letters with double or triple scores, and play alone or with your pals. Just tap letters in the right order to create your words and swipe to submit them. If you like word games


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, then outscore yourself or a friend in Scrabble Blitz.

Number of players: Single-player | Up to four in multiplayer

Download: Scrabble Blitz for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Risk: Global Domination

Who doesn’t want to dominate the world? Risk has been around for many years as a physical board game


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. This digital version with support for Chromecast is a great way to play with people worldwide. Plus, you can choose a single-player game, one with your friends, or pass-and-play in the same room. Risk: Global Domination has four difficulty settings, multiple maps with awesome graphics, animated avatars, and much more.

Risk: Global Domination offers in-app purchases for themes, game packs, and premium mode.

Number of players: Single-player | Up to six in multiplayer

Download: Risk: Global Domination for Android | iOS (Free)

6. Monopoly Here & Now

best chromecast games

The classic Monopoly board game is for more than one person. But the digital version lets you enjoy the same type of gameplay with a friend or on your own against the computer. Either way, just roll the dice, move your token around the board, and check out a card from the Community Chest. Be careful that you aren’t sent to jail—directly, without passing Go, or collecting $200.

Monopoly Here & Now offers an in-app purchase to unlock the full game.

Number of players: Single-player | Up to four in multiplayer

Download: Monopoly Here & Now for Android | iOS (Free)

7. Angry Birds Go!

Get into your race car, strap on your seat belt, and head to Piggy Island in Angry Birds Go!. The game has your favorite characters like Red and Chuck, exclusive rewards, both campaign and multiplayer modes, and tournaments in an amazing 3D world. If you like both Angry Birds and racing games, then this is a great one for your Chromecast.

Angry Birds Go! offers in-app purchases for gems and kart items.

Number of players: Single-player | Up to four in multiplayer

Download: Angry Birds Go! for Android | iOS (Free)

8. Angry Birds Friends

best chromecast games

While Angry Birds Friends is a game played with your Facebook friends, it’s not a turn-based one. You play in tournaments that change weekly, sometimes daily, and climb to the top of the leaderboard. The tournaments include six levels that you can play whenever you have time. If you are an Angry Birds fan, then check out Angry Birds Friends on your Chromecast for some large screen, bird-flinging action.

Angry Birds Friends offers in-app purchases for coins, bundles, and slingshots.

Number of players: Multiple player tournaments | One-on-one challenges

Download: Angry Birds Friends for Android | iOS (Free)

9. Motion Tennis

Tennis anyone? Motion Tennis not only lets you play virtual tennis, but get a workout at the same time. When you pop the game onto your Chromecast, you use your smartphone as your racket to swing like a pro. There are four difficulty levels, an attack mode to challenge other players, and an approximate calorie counter with each match.

Motion Tennis offers in-app purchases for in-game items.

Number of players: Single-player | One-on-one challenges

Download: Motion Tennis for Android (Free) | iOS ($4.99)

10. FitFlap Motion

Another fun game to help you get and stay fit is FitFlap Motion. In this challenge, your device uses the camera to put you right on the screen. Flap your arms to control the character


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, fly to collect coins, and watch out for obstacles.

FitFlap Motion offers in-app purchases for coins, boosts, and to remove the ads.

Number of players: Single-player

Download: FitFlap Motion for Android (Free)

11. Alien Invaders Chromecast Game

best chromecast games

If retro is what you like, head to outer space. You play Alien Invaders just like the classic Space Invaders. Move your ship left and right on the screen while dodging bullets and shooting back at enemies. There’s nothing fancy about this game; the controls are easy and the gameplay is simple. If you like the arcade genre, this is a good option.

Number of players: Single-player

Download: Alien Invaders for Android | iOS (Free)

12. Scramblegram

best chromecast games

How many words can you create in three minutes from seven letters? Find out in Scramblegram. This simple word game challenges you to find words with three, four, five, and six letters as quickly as you can. You can see the number of available words for each letter amount on the screen. Score for the words you create within the time limit and then try to outdo your own score.

Number of players: Single-player

Download: Scramblegram for Android (Free)

13. HangDroidCast

best chromecast games

Up for a game of Hangman? HangDroidCast is just that. You will see blanks for the number of letters you need in the word. Tap letters to fill in the blanks and guess the word. You have a limited number of guesses, so if you run out and haven’t guessed the word, the game is over. There really isn’t much more to it than that: a basic test of your word puzzle solving skills.

HangDroidCast offers an in-app purchase to remove the ads.

Number of players: Single-player

Download: HangDroidCast for Android (Free)

Do You Use Your Chromecast for Gaming?

Maybe you would prefer to keep your Chromecast and mobile gaming separate. Bu, if you like the option of throwing that game you’re playing up on your television for a bigger view, why not? And, if you just bought your Chromecast and need help getting it running, check out our Chromecast setup guide


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.

Do you use your Chromecast for gaming and if so, do you have additional games you want to recommend? Tell us down in the comments!

Image Credit: RasulovS/Depositphotos


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“Classic” Windows Games – Hearts/Minesweeper/FreeCell etc

Collage image of windows games minesweeper solitaire hearts




Like most people, you’re probably not a huge fan of the new ad-riddled Solitaire games that Microsoft included with Windows 10. Fortunately, a team of folks agreed with us and created something called “The Windows 7 Games for Windows 10” – which is exactly what it sounds like. Replicas of the games Hearts, Minesweeper, FreeCell, Solitaire, Mahjong, Internet Checkers and all your favorites, all for free.

Collage image of windows games minesweeper solitaire hearts

Head over to the game download page here. Download the .zip file, extract it and run the setup file. During the installation you’ll be provided with the option to choose which games you want to install. Simply remove the check mark from the box next to each game you don’t want to play.

Once the installation has completed you’ll find a new Games section in your Start Menu, with all of the newly installed Microsoft games.

That’s it – kiss your productivity goodbye! 🙂 Update: Thanks to helpful reader Davin for his comment (see below). These games may be removed when you update Windows, so keep the installer file handy or bookmark the download page.



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