Folder Dungeon

Folder Dungeon, on, is a short and not-too-difficult game where an adventuring cursor has to dig through the folder structure of a hard drive to find an important file. Each window is a room of the dungeon; entering a Door folder takes you to another room down. You can go back the way you came using the back arrow icon at the bottom of the window.

In addition to doors, rooms can contain items, which can be picked up by clicking on them. Gold is among the items, the value of the coin indicated by a number. Some items cost money; if they do, they’ll have a coin and a number on the item. Some items, notably Health Potions and Ice Cream, take affect immediately; they never enter your inventory, but work immediately on your stats whether you needed it or not.

And, some of the things in rooms are monsters. If you do something other than attack a monster by clicking on it, then every monster in the room has a percentage chance to attack you; if you attack a monster, then it always counter-attacks if it survived the attack, but other monsters in the room don’t get the chance to attack.

Somewhere in each folder structure is an Exit icon. When you find it, you can only enter it once all the monsters in its room have been defeated. You don’t have to defeat all the monsters in a room to leave it, but it does give the monsters in the room a chance to attack you.

The most interesting play mechanic is, every action you take generates “heat.” You can only take so much heat. If heat reaches your maximum capacity, you take one damage per action until you leave the level (which resets heat to 0) or you lower your heat by collecting an Ice Cream.

Note, as you can see in the above screenshot, there’s a display bug in the current version that cuts off the left and right sides of the screen. Or is it a bug? It didn’t actually prevent me from playing? Maybe it’s an aesthetic choice? Anyway, I managed to finish the game on my first attempt, but it was close.

Folder Dungeon (by Ravernt,, $0)

Candy Box 2

As foretold yesterday, today’s post is on the sequel to Candy Box, Candy Box 2.

The Map, where you travel to various locations. There’s a few secret areas to find here….
Those colored boxes are magic spells

It’s a much more developed game, with rather a lot of depth to it, but it’s still ultimately an incremental-style game in form, even if its not as direct about it as most of that benighted genre tend to be. There’s many more places to go and items to find than the first game, and a lot more secrets. If you don’t use the wiki, you’ll probably get stuck and have to search around for a few days until you find (or save up) the means to continue.

This monkey has an item you really want, if you can figure out a way to defeat him

While figuring out all the various ways to overcome the game’s puzzles is fun, I find the most interesting thing about Candy Box 2 to be its engine, which is surprisingly flexible for a game presented entirely with text characters, which is kind of like a deluxe Javascript version of the venerable Unix library curses. There’s windowing, a Z-order so objects can pass in front of others, and colors are used for magic effects, and some areas even have special effects, like scrolling around, zooming in on the action, or being able to swim up and down.

The highlight in this one is the puzzle the Cyclops at the lighthouse can eventually be persuaded to let you try, which as far as I can tell is of a completely novel type, and could be the subject of its own entire game. Good luck with that, by the way.

Like the first game, there was a preposterous Metafilter thread about Candy Box 2, and it’s even more full of spoilers, and equally as bizarre if taken out of context. Please enjoy responsibly.

Candy Box 2’s New Home (

Candy Box

I always thought this shopkeeper guy resembled Tom Baker as Doctor Who. Maybe it was intentional.

Candy Box is pretty ancient now, over ten years old. Here is the Metafilter post where we discussed it, which reads like the rantings of crazy people but is also full of spoilers. It was an early entry in the genre of incremental games, sometimes called “clickers,” like Cookie Clicker and Clicker Heroes, and may well have inspired some of them. It’s still online (at a new home), and its still just as playable as it always was, its extremely ASCII presentation now even more appealing now than it was back in 2013.

While it may have helped kicked off the genre, I feel it’s important to point out that there’s actually a lot more going on here than Number Go Up. You go on quests! You have equipment! You have an alternate currency to track, lollipops, with different production characteristics!

Candy Box is a game that’s best experienced going in cold, but since its gleeful hugeness is less of a hilarious shock now that countless other games have done it too, it might help a bit to give you some starting advice. Eating candy isn’t useless: it increases your maximum HP.

Every time you reach what you think is the pinnacle of ridiculousness, some new aspect is introduced. By the end you’ll be mixing up candy potions, using a a candy alchemy system much more detailed than most AAA game’s crafting systems, using only two ingredients.

There’s a sequel too, but let’s save that for tomorrow….


Candy Box’s New Home (

Sudo Sweep

It’s not a command to delete temp files as root on a Unix-styled system! It’s a fun and free little game over at!

The board on the left is a Sudoku-like game; the board on the right is Minesweeper. The two boards match: the numbers on the Sudoku board are the number of mines in the matching area of the Minesweeper game. You use each to help you solve the other!

It’s not perfect, mind you. There’s currently no way to mark a square that definitely has a mine in it, just the question marks you see in the right-hand board above. There are still cases, familiar to players of standard Minesweeper, where you end up having to guess. And don’t click the “change size” button if you care about the current game: it doesn’t make the boards larger, it starts a new game with bigger Minesweeper and Sudoku boards!

Still though, I have to give creator Rianna Suen props for a cool idea! I found this through the “map obelisk” area during Roguelike Celebration, which is a pretty cool place to find things beloved of clever people!

Sudo Sweep (, free, playable by web)

Oldweb: DHTML Lemmings

The World Wide Web is now over thirty years old. In that time, more content has vanished from it than remains now, but some of it can still be dredged up from the shadowy archives of the Wayback Machine. This is the latest chapter in our never-ending search to find the cool gaming stuff that time forgot….

DHTML means “Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language.” The term is little-used now; it later got renamed AJAX, and now is pretty much just how websites are made if they have any interactive aspects. It was originally presented as an alternative to Flash applets, which were threatening to crowd out actual web pages at that time.

Lemmings, of course, is Psygnosis’ classic puzzle game where you grant members of a horde of suicidal rodent people specific skills to guide them to an exit while losing as few of them as possible to the hazards of their ridiculously dangerous world.

Back in 2004, DHTML Lemmings was a brilliant example of how much could be done with Javascript. Original Lemmings was released in 1991; we’re now further away from DHTML Lemming’s release than the original game was when it was published.

Its first home went away, although the server and even its page still exist. It says that the Lemmings page was taken down (and implies they did it to dodge legal liability), but promises something called The Pumpkins to replace it. It never did, but the promise survives. The game itself has been preserved, relocated as-was to a subpage of the site of Elizium, a dark rock band from the Netherlands.

Only the first ten levels of each difficulty, about one quarter of the original Amiga game, are presented. And this version has not survived the years unaltered: the distinctive sound effects and music appear to be missing. Still though, what’s here is playable, and fun. Enjoy, if you have the inclination and deliberation. And check out those requirements: IE 5.5 or better, or recent Firefox or Opera. And a 500 Mhz processor, wow!

DHTML Lemmings


The Japanese person (or people) behind the website are mysterious to me. I know nothing about them, except that they’ve been making games, first in Flash, then more recently using the Ruffle runtime, since at least 2001.


While the title under which they put up their efforts may not be memorable, if you’ve been playing web games for a while you probably know some of their work. Possibly their best-known game is DICEWARS, which is like a version of Risk that plays much much faster, most games over in minutes, instead, as with the people I know who have played it, of days.

In DICEWARS (several of GAMEDESIGN’s games are stylized with allcaps), you have nation whose territories are represented as colored areas, each containing a stack of from one to eight six-sided dice. Each nation gets a turn to act, during which they can use a stack of dice to attack the dice of a neighboring country. Fights are resolved by rolling all of the dice in the two stacks. If the attacker wins, they move all of their stack save one into their conquest and take over (the enemy dice are lost), with that single die remaining in the stack’s previous home to keep the lights on.

If the defender rolls higher, or there’s a tie, the attacker loses all of their dice in the stack except one and the defender loses nothing. A stack of one can’t attack, and is generally pretty easy to slaughter by other nations; a good element of strategy is figuring out how to keep high-dice stacks near the front, between enemies and your single-die lands, since you can’t manually move dice around between your territories. When a nation is done acting for a turn, they receive extra bonus dice relative, I think, to the largest contiguous group of regions they control. They are placed randomly among all their possessions.

Fairune (Flash version)

Various versions of DICEWARS can be found on mobile app stores, although I don’t think any of them are officially blessed, and they tend to disappear after awhile.

It turns out they have a lot of other games that you may know of. One of particular note is Fairune, which is a capsule, very much simplified JRPG. Fairune and sequels made it to the 3DS and Switch eShops, where they are very inexpensive and enjoyable. Fairune is copyrighted by SKIPMORE, which may be a different entity. It’s still a nice game, worth looking into.

EDIT: SKIPMORE has their own website, which now mostly presents their downloadable console and mobile games.

The works of GAMEDESIGN (

Ski-Free But You Play As The Yeti

Ski-Free is a beloved part of casual gaming from the days before it was called that, before even internet use was widespread. Distributed as part of Microsoft Entertainment Pack 3, it predates even Windows 95, and even Windows 3.1! It goes all the way back to Windows 3.0. Checking up on the game in Wikipedia reveals that a version of it is included as an easter egg in current Microsoft Edge (go to edge://surf in that browser, if for some reason you use it).

One of the most remembered things about Ski Free is, if you get to the end of the course and keep going, eventually a yeti will chase your skiier down and eat him. A submission to GMTK 2023 gamejam, Yeti Upsetti is Ski Free in reverse. You play as the yeti, and try to chase down skiiers. You can run in all directions, but even so it’s very difficult to catch any of those elusive sportspeople. They’re very good at avoiding your abominable grasp. The only strategy that has worked for me at all is trying to chase them into obstacles, which gives you two short seconds to grab them for a monsterly meal before they get back on their skiis and coast away. Except to be told many times that you’ve died of starvation, and that you’re a terrible yeti. Which, fair, I don’t live anywhere near a snow-covered mountainside in real life.

Yeti Upsetti (, $0)

Gorzog the Colossal Needs a Place to Park

This is a silly, free browser-playable game, although one with a basic 3D engine. Use the mouse and cursor keys (or WASD, if that’s how you roll) to maneuver your giant walker mech through a city’s streets without causing too much property damage. The parking spots are represented as green pillars that extend far up into the sky. Finding just one isn’t enough; there’s a whole sequence you have to travel to, as each is unsuitable for different reasons, e.g., too far from the ammo dump, only for compacts, or parking is too expensive.

A lot of the fun is Gorzog’s voice-acted commentary on his parking adventure, so be sure to have the sound up!

Gorzog the Colossal Needs a Place to Park (, $0)

Grimace’s Birthday, for Gameboy Color


All the gaming bigsites have been talking about Grimace’s Birthday, a promotional Gameboy Color game sponsored by McDonalds and made by Krool Toys. Here it is on IGN, and here it is on Kotaku. And, here it is on Gizmodo, and here it is on Retro Dodo.

AND, here it is on Boing Boing (still exists in 2023!), and here it is on Destructoid.

AND ALSO, here it is on Gamespot. And the mandatory ResetEra thread.

TOO, GoNintendo, NintendoWire, GameRant, KnowYourMeme (already??), MSN (also still exists) and (groan) Ycombinator.

This: not present.

Ars Technica linked to it as well. I love their title. It reads, “For reasons no one can fathom, McDonald’s has released a new Game Boy Color game.” Well, I think I know why. It’s an advergame. Judging by how many websites have stories about it, I think the why is freaking obvious. It’s so obvious that I would be surprised if an ad agency weren’t behind this flurry of interest by half the bigweb.

ima grip and sip

Some notes. I’ve seen people say it’s the first “official” Gameboy Color game since the system died. I suppose that’s true, but that’s really tricky language. It’s official in that McDonalds sponsored it, and it uses the McDonaldland characters with their blessing. It’s not official in that it’s supported by Nintendo. It doesn’t have the “Official Nintendo Seal,” and it’s not being released on physical media. Although it was made as a Gameboy Color rom, and can be played on actual hardware using a flashcart or if someone put it on chips (in such a way as to get past Nintendo’s hardware check) and made a cartridge of it, but nearly everyone will play this as a webgame, on maker Krool Toys’ website.

What the game actually looks like. It’s a platformer with heavy inertia.

(Why the bay, take a look at the site design on both of those pages, they’re totally earlyweb relics! I am not complaining; in fact, I love them fiercely. Do not get between me and those sites!)

All of this is of course part of McDonalds’ promotion where they’re cerebrating the Grimace’s birthday, an affair that involves purple milkshakes. In a whole post of surprising revelations, the biggest one is that they remember they have McDonaldland characters to begin with, as they’ve been gathering dust for over a decade.

Anyway, it’s not a bad game. It’s mostly interesting for the novelty value. It won’t win any rewards, but it’s a perfect ordinary timed GBC inertial platformer. It’s mostly notable for McDonalds’ temerity in sponsoring it, but I suppose Nintendo doesn’t much care anymore about the integrity of their (oh frog) twenty-five year old hardware’s library.

Boo the hey: no one paid us for this post, but we’re not against making thousands of dollars. McDonalds, call us.

It looks like Jupiter’s Great Purple Spot! Two Earths could fit inside that vaguely violet blob! The whippede creme is mostly frozen methane! Drink it before it undergoes gravitational collapse and becomes a star! ALL THESE SHAKES ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA

Lode Runner on the Web

Commodore 64 graphics set

This one is going back to my Metafilter posting history. In case you’re unfamiliar with Lode Runner, I really have to give a short history and primer.

Lode Runner was a game released in 1983 for the Apple II home computer, although ports for several other machines were soon developed and released. Created by the late Douglas E. Smith, it asked players to maneuver through 150 levels of caverns and structures, collecting all the gold (little boxes) on each level then ascending to the top of the screen.

Apple II graphics set

150 levels sounds like a lot, and it really was, but amazingly the game keeps finding new ways to surprise with its small number of level parts and their implications. When player were done with those (or even if they weren’t), Lode Runner included a level editor that player could use to make their own levels.

The ostensible subject of this post is a web recreation of Lode Runner that includes hundreds of levels to play and learn and enjoy. But the site largely speaks for itself in that regard, I think, so here’s some musing on Lode Runner itself, and its history.

So, here is the link. If you’ve never played it before, it’s simple to get into, but very interesting to puzzle over. Every level can be completed, even if many of them seem like they can’t possibly be. Good luck!


Each Lode Runner level is composed of only a small number of parts. There’s the player and the guards that pursue them, of course. There’s normal, “diggable” blocks, solid “undiggable” ground, ladders, overhead bars, trap doors that look like diggable blocks but cause the player to fall through them, gold boxes, and hidden ladders that only appear when the last gold box has been collected.

Diggable blocks, the ones that look like bricks, can be drilled into, leaving a hole, but only when standing next to them and they have nothing above them. That means absolutely nothing: a quirk of the game is that even a set of overhead bars or an invisible ladder in the space above a block will prevent it from being dug.

The obvious use for these holes is to trap guards. When one falls into a hole, it’s stuck for a few seconds until it can climb out. Holes close back up after a short while, and a guard in a hole when it closes up around it are killed, usually to respawn randomly near the top of the screen.

Digging layers down to reach buried gold

The inobvious use is to penetrate into the very walls of a level to collect gold that would otherwise be inaccessible. By digging out a whole layer of bricks, the player can jump into the excavated space and continue digging the next level down.

The other thing about Lode Runner is the AI of the guards. They’re run by a simple program, and are easy to manipulate, but they still have a way of keeping the player guessing when they function as obstacles. When used as tools though, learning how to manipulate them becomes essential. The player can stand on their heads, and because they fall faster than the guards, can even use them as momentary platforms during a fall, to quickly step to one side on the way down.

I don’t mean to dive too deeply into the pieces, their workings and their quirks. A lot of the fun of Lode Runner comes from discovering them for yourself, and being introduced, step by step through the game’s levels, to their implications.


Back in high school we had an Apple IIc in the back room that we could play with on breaks. I’m not sure what it was there for, I don’t think any educational software was ever run on it, but the copy of Lode Runner on it (already a few years old by that point) was put into heavy rotation, and students would bring their own disks to school to save levels on.

This is an aside, but it demands to be told: one such student saved a number of levels they had labored over to a disk and left it in the room one day. A friend of his, who had thought that student had erased his disk or saved over his own levels, physically cut their disk up with scissors and left it on their desk! It was all in error, but the two’s friendship was never the same after that. The moral: do not be quick to vengeance, theatricality gratifies only one’s self, and in any case, be sure of the facts first. More times in my life I’ve seen someone take drastic steps in error than in rightness. So, back to Lode Runner!

A number of classic Western computer games got a second life, sometimes one that far outstripped their beginnings, when they got ported to Japanese computers and game consoles. Lode Runner was first ported to an arcade cabinet by Irem, then converted to the Famicom by Hudson Soft, where as a prominent early title for that system it went on to sell over a million units, and became a part of Japanese popular culture. From there it reached a number of other systems, including a version for the PC Engine, called Battle Lode Runner, that much later would make it back to the US as an early Wii Virtual Console release. A few other game series that would become cultural fixtures in Japan, adding hundreds of thousands of sales beyond that of their U.S. editions, were Spelunker, Wizardry and Ultima.

Image from MyAnimeList, still kicking after 18 years

At the time Hudson Soft licensed an adaptation of their Adventure Island game, itself deserving of a long post, as an anime production, called Bug tte Honey, which I’m still not sure how to pronounce. It was a Captain N-style setting, where video game players were transported into the game world to have various adventures. It was used as a showcase for several Hudson properties, including Lode Runner.

Lode Runner is a timeless classic, something that we didn’t realize how good it was when we had it. I mean, we knew it was good, but we didn’t yet know how difficult it was to create something so elegant.

For a history of Lode Runner, publisher Tozai Games has a short retrospective and timeline that still survives on the web.

Lode Runner Total Recall