August 09, 2013, 6:55 AM — The classics are great, but sometimes you'd kill for a fresh coat of paint. Having mastered games like checkers and chess through sound strategy and flawless tactics, you might not have the drive and desire to continue. Well, here's your chance to love them again. Following are three classic games and three radically different ways to play them--all for free online. Be prepared to get your butt kicked all over again!
3 in One Checkers
Sure, you could play the same boring old game of checkers that you used to bust out on rainy winter afternoons--or you can load up 3 in One Checkers and spice it up a bit.
Just as the title says, this Web game packs three different games of checkers. You can play a standard game against an easy, normal, good, or hard computer opponent (I beat the good one pretty handily); play Giveaway, in which the goal is to get rid of your pieces (you are forced to jump if you have the opportunity); or play Extreme, in which taking turns is for chumps (you have to play as fast as possible, and the more you win, the more the AI will level up to get even faster).
Giveaway is the toughest game--trying to reprogram your strategies to do the opposite of what you've been trained to do since childhood is a pain. The AI is also good about setting up the perfect positions to make you triple-jump the heck out of it.
Similar to the extreme version of checkers above, this is the classic, quintessential strategy game of chess--only in real time.
Move a piece, and a cool-down counter starts. The piece is stuck there until the timer runs out. But no need to wait around--grab another piece, and move it right away! The dynamic of chess is changed forever when you don't have even a second to sit back and assess all of your options. You just grab the first one that can kill off an important unit, and go. Quick--get to the king before he realizes you're close! Checkmate.
The game is still in a beta state and may be a little buggy, but it's nothing that a quick refresh won't fix. Realtime Chess is fun and manic, and a horrible way to learn traditional chess strategy.
Tetris is likely to live on for generations. It's so addicting that even when you lose, you don't want to stop. Of course, since it is so popular, you have to expect some interesting variations, such as 3DTris, a true 3D Tetris clone.
You get a top-down view of the board, an unsettling and disorienting sight at first, as outlines of three-dimensional shapes start to drift down. Use Q, W, E, A, S, and D to maneuver and twist each shape while pressing the arrow keys to move it about the plane. Wrapping your head around which way is up is difficult. A small meter to the left gives you a height reading so that you can see just how poorly you're doing.
I guarantee that even Tetris masters will struggle with this variation at first, but it's nice to see a classic game get a fresh, engaging makeover.