I'm just taking a breath here to write up some brief thoughts on games that I'm playing (both video and table-top). You might have heard of these games, you might not have. If you get a chance to play these games do so. They're mad fun.
Faster Than Light, is a wonderful little game (Find it at http://www.ftlgame.com/), a kickstarter success story and a GREAT way to spend a few hours of your life. The conceit is that you are controlling the crew of a space-ship travelling through the galaxy trying to deliver a message to the federation about dangerous rebels (who are chasing you the whole time), it's got flavors of Firefly, Star Trek, Star Wars in a wonderful roguelike. Every game feels different and there's still mysteries to be solved. Odds are you've seen me tweet and post about FTL, because it's a game that asks the player to meet the game part way there. There's something wonderful and simple about the 16-bit graphics and abstraction. You'll care about your crew and the moments of tooth grinding tension, mixed with fist pumping victories make this a must buy. It's pretty cheap, and pretty fun. At around $10 you can't deny it's a good game. (I got my copy as a gift though, and am super thankful for it.)
Mark of the Ninja
Be like unto a silent wind of doom. Flit between shadows and feel like a ninja master. Mark of the Ninja is a sneak 'em up done right. With just, beautiful animation and excellent art the team at Klei have completely updated the genre. The control scheme is masterful, at no point will you blame the controller for a screw up wherein the guards are alerted or alarms sound madly. Generous check-points make it easy to jump back if you make a mistake and the ability to freeze time in mid air so you can take out a light, distract a guard and zip into the cherry blossom branches simultaneously will make you feel like a master of the shadowed arts very quickly. The story is mostly a clothes hanger on which to drape the cleverly designed levels, but I know most of you love ninjas because of being raised on a steady diet of Three Ninjas, Ninja Turtles and Beverly Hills Ninja so I know story isn't really a concern. You can't help but be mesmerized by the beautiful art, and hot chocolate smooth gameplay.
If you've got an Xbox 360 you'll find it on the Arcade is definitely worth $20.
Some games are like appetizers, they're what you eat, before you eat to make you more hungry. Hungry for brains! Zombie Dice is an excellent risk vs reward game pitting your bravery and luck vs. the dice is a tricky preposition. The game is fairly simple you're a zombie chasing down civilians, each dice has either a brain (worth 1 point), footsteps (for a reroll) or shotgun blast (take 3 and you're dead). Each turn you roll three dice, trying to accumulate brains before deciding to stand, but if you accrue three shotgun blasts first then all your progress for the turn is lost. You win if you're the first to twelve brains and nobody can beat you in the lightning round. It's fast paced, takes about a minute to learn and is a good way to get the game juices flowing before a table-top game or between board-games on game night. Give it a shot. Oh wow, and you can play it on your iPhone or iPad for free? Steve Jackson, you're crazy.
Little games, but beautiful and smart and cool so don't complain to me about boredom because there's lots you can do.