If you need a break

and who doesn’t these days? Sometimes, it’s just nice to fire up a game on the computer. The programmers at Google have been great providers of distractions for a long time.

When I find them, I’ll often give them a play. At times, perhaps maybe too much. It can be an obsession and at other times, it can be a quick diversion.

For today, I thought that I’d share a few of my favourites.

Rubik’s Cube

For the longest time, you couldn’t just go into a department store and get one. They were always sold out. I finally got one as a gift from my aunt. After an infuriating start, I learned that the stickers were well glued on! It became the toy that you’d pick up when bored and it passed the time on long rides in the car. I did solve it at one time and resolved that I would never play again – until Google put it on its landing page.

Use the Front, Left, Right, Back, Up, Down, X, Y, Z keys for movement and the SHIFT key for the direction.

Crossword Puzzle

Who doesn’t like a good Crossword Puzzle?

Try to solve this one – Google style. This Doodle was created to celebrate 100 Years of Crossword Puzzles.


This game was big. It seemed like it was everywhere – pool hall, arena, drug store, almost anywhere with an electrical outlet.

It was also available for sale as a very popular game going way back. It was also the inspiration for game writing in computer science class. As long as you could peek into a memory location, see what was there, and then make a move depending on that, you were good to go.

So, if you’re looking for a bit of digital recreation, give these a try. Not for too long though, you’ve got other things to do.

Games On Your Computer


If you don’t understand the above, you might not necessarily appreciate the website Kanogames.

There was, indeed, gaming before Xbox, PS4, etc.

All that you needed to play was a keyboard and a monitor.  Sounds were generated by the single tones of you computer and navigation controlled by scanning your keyboard looking for an arrow key to be pressed to move one step to the left or to the right or up for a jump.

If you are in search of a less violent, simple gaming experience, then you might appreciate the efforts here.

My fascination was Hard Hat Hustle.

Oddly, these games reminded me of some of the efforts of my Grade 11 and 12 students.  All that was needed was to understand how inkey$ scanned the keyboard, how to erase and draw an image on the screen, how to detect a collision, and finally keep score.

The rest was just coding fun.  You can learn a great deal by coding your own game.

For Lisa

This post is for @nobleknits2 who stole a bunch of time from me when she suggested that I look at Geoguessr.  Well, Lisa, you know what they say about paybacks…

I re-ran into this site this morning and immediately dropped all productive work.  It’s called the Traveller IQ Challenge.

Presented with a challenge of a location or capital city or famous location and a countdown timer, the goal is to identify the location on a world map.  And that’s just the world challenge.  Test your knowledge of places by zeroing in on a continent or by photos or by flags and test your knowledge.

This is definitely a consumer of time – in a fun and educational way.

See you in a few months, Lisa!


A Puzzle to Drive You Nuts

I’ve always enjoyed a good puzzle.  The more it makes me thing the better.  I love logic and a good mathematics puzzle is hard to beat.

On a cold and rainy day, I decided to go looking for one.  And, I found a good one.

Matchmatics is a faithful replication of the math activity that drove me nuts (but in a good way) in elementary school.

Remember this?

A mathematical puzzle with the digits and the operators created by matchsticks.

I remember them being drawn that way in the textbook and, if you were lucky enough to get a textbook that didn’t have the answer already written in it, you reproduced the question in your notebook and then solve it.

The solution can be reached by moving one of the sticks so that you end up with a mathematically correct expression.

In the iPad version, just pick a stick and move it into place.  When you get a correct solution, it’s time to move on to the next puzzle.

An additional challenge is to do a screen capture as you solve a puzzle.  In this relatively simple one, I completed the equation by changing the six to a zero.

Want to drive yourself nuts?  Want to challenge those learning math?  Download and give it a try.  Oh, by the way, it does keep score so speed of solution is important.  If you’re like me, you’ll ignore that and just want to solve the puzzle!

The free version contains 10 puzzles and three different challenges for solution.  Beyond just playing it, in the classroom I would use it as a launchpad for students to create their own puzzles and challenges for classmates.

A full version of the program is also available for $0.99


When Counters Fail

My friend Andy and I have played DrawSomething for a long time.  How long, I don’t recall.  Perhaps he does and will add it in to the comments below.  We lived through the acquistion by Znyga and were pleased when they extended the number of games.  The new limit of 999 seemed to be unreachable.

Until this week.

It was a target that I don’t think I’d ever intended to reach but it just sort of creeped up on us.

So, what next?

Well, we do play the game as just a way to stay in touch and also make social commentary when it’s necessary.

And yet, there’s still the counter thing…what to do?

Roll your own, that’s what!

Here’s his Robin.

And here’s my recollection of the TTC Subway Map.  I stared at that thing so many times making the underground trip across Toronto.

You’ll notice that DrawSomething has pooped out at 999 but we’re keeping out own scores when we remember.  Andy’s definitely better that I am for remembering.

Anyway, we’re good to continue and if Zynga ever decides to expand the upper limit, we’ll be good to go and will let them know what number to set us to.

Any other DrawSomething fans out there?  How are you handling the 999 limit?