originals\ Sep 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Games To Make Your Head Explode


With the fourth of July just around the corner, many families are looking forward to some good old fashioned American fun. Not you, of course. Grilled wieners and drunken relatives lose their appeal very quickly, which is why we slink off into the dark corners of our neighborhood, congregate around a dazzling display of light and sound, and let all our troubles melt away.

I am speaking of video games of course, but I realize some of you may feel the need to indulge that barbaric tradition of lighting things on fire and watching stuff blow up. Fortunately, the world of gaming offers several easy (and safer) methods of satisfying your craving for ‘splosions. It’s a great compromise for the modern, civilized gentleman. If your neighbors still complain about the thunderous noise, you can just accuse them of being unpatriotic.

If you’ve still got your old PS2 library on hand, the most practical substitute can be found in a popular puzzle game known as Fantavision. It doesn’t take a genius to see the connection – everywhere you look, this game is full of fireworks. Whether you’ll really enjoy yourself is a matter of some debate, and may depend on how you feel about “Missile Command”. Still, there’s no question it’ll fill your place with digital light shows and festive thunderclaps. A few snappy button presses, and you’ve got a bountiful display of multicolored lights to dazzle audiences of all ages. This is particularly nice if you’ve got younglings running about, because it’s one of the few games with explosives that don’t signal the messy demise of a human being.

Need something more modern, perhaps more chic? Try giving Shatter a whirl. In addition to being an outstanding brick-buster, Shatter is richly laden with glowing effects and mesmerizing swirls of light. There’s a lot floating around on the screen, but you’ve got all kinds of detonation events on the playing field, some of which resemble actual fireworks. The techno-beat soundtrack isn’t half bad either, and if it does scare away other partygoers – well, that just leaves more snacks for you to scarf down.

Though it seems impossible to fathom, puzzle games are not for everyone. Things get a bit more visceral if you pop Mass Effect 2 into your 360 or PC, and there’s no shortage of high-octane combat here. Remember to use the “overload” ability on explosive containers to maximize their ear-drum bursting capability; even if no enemies are around, you can still blow up plenty of stuff. Best of all, make sure to equip the nuke gun in every mission. Nothing beats setting off a massive nuclear blast in your own living room.

Finally, there’s Halo. It doesn’t matter if it’s the original, classic game or a multiplayer match of ODST. Halo is loved the world over, and has plenty of boomy goodness for all to enjoy. Whether it’s a missile launcher or heavily damaged vehicle, debris will fly and houses will shake when you crank up the volume in any play session. Forge is a great way to keep the action from ever dying down, just watch where you’re standing when those “rigged” explosives start dropping out of the sky. Multiplayer is also a great way to keep things loud, just make sure the kids are out of the room first – they’re known to be teamkillers.

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