I just got my hands on a Lenovo S10. It was really cheap on tigerdirect (actually, the day after I ordered it, the price went up by $20 and then it went out of stock) and I ended up paying less than $300, tax included. One caveat: the native resolution is 1024×576. 576? Wow, that’s random. Seeing that the vast majority of casual games run on 800×600, we’ve got a problem. Unless I want to 1) stick to games that are 640×480; 2) use an external monitor to set resolution or 3) have all my games cut off at the bottom, I need a software solution.

Now, while the default resolutions are either 1024×576 or much less, netbooks DO support higher resolutions. You just need to find them.

  1. Right-click on the desktop and choose “Properties”
  2. Click on the tab that says “settings”
  3. Click on “advanced”
  4. Click on the tab that says “Monitor”
  5. Find the line that says “Hide modes that this monitor cannot display” and uncheck the checkbox to its left.
  6. Click ok.
  7. choose any resolution you want. 800×600 should be available now.

Now when you load up a casual game, you can move the mouse up or down to the edges to scroll.

There is a little problem to this particular approach: in order to change your desktop back, you’ll have to go through the steps again and change your resolution back. I’m assuming you don’t want to keep your resolution at 800×600.

There is a software solution that I absolutely love. Best of all, it’s freeware. Download this little piece of software called Screen Mode Switch. It sits in your system tray where you can use the right-click menu to get to any of the modes you set up, and it also works automatically. i.e. If you load up a program that runs full-screen at 800×600, it will change your res to 800×600. Once you exit the program it switches you back to the native resolution. Neat, eh?

I knew I had this in my bookmarks some place, but the mysteries of searching del.icio.us for your own bookmarks is still beyond my abilities … sometimes. The site is Pjio, where “gamers and game makers like to hang out.” It’s like the other game community sites – a huge number of games, some good, some bad, some abysmal. The best part is the rating system – good games float to the top while bad games sink to the bottom so the casual observer can just play the good stuff.

And good stuff there are plenty. Sudoku games that are free and much better than their glitzy commercial counterparts, creative puzzle games based on shape physics, tycoon games – anything that’s available from a major portal is also available here, with a mix of free trials and web games.

Take a look around Pjio – it’s like YouTube for games, and there’s definitely potential.

Another site, The Great Games Experiment, does basically the same thing but is less than perfectly organized. It includes a lot of links to commercial games with screenshots on a wide range of platforms, and you have to dig around for the games you can download and play. As for “freshness,” Azada is listed as their feature puzzle. Enough said. It does have a good community going and all the game profiles are user/developer submitted. It’s ran by the wonderful people at Garage Games, the people who made the Toque Game Builder.

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let’s just say that Grimm’s Hatchery as well as G.H.O.S.T. Hunters were made using the TGB.)

Check out the Great Games Experiment for yourself. You might have better luck finding things than I do.

In An Untitled Story, you begin as an egg in your nest, and the rest is up to you to figure out. Fight 18 unique bosses, traverse a huge game world, and unravel a mysterious storyline. The single player game features non-linear progression and 5 difficulty levels for extra replay value. Also included is Heist Mode, a multiplayer capture-the-flag-style versus mode. Don’t forget to hook up a USB gamepad before starting, to play it as it was meant to be played.

There’s only one word to describe it: beautiful. To describe it any farther would be spoiling the game for you, so please download the demo and see for yourself.

An Untitled Story is $1, and sold through a PayPal donation.