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7 games that will eat up your free time

Keith Shaw | March 26, 2014
Last week, our company hosted an expert on digital efficiency, who gave attendees a great presentation on how to get more out of the workday with a whole range of tips, tricks and tools.

Last week, our company hosted an expert on digital efficiency, who gave attendees a great presentation on how to get more out of the workday with a whole range of tips, tricks and tools.

Key to his presentation was this statement "Wouldn't it be great if we all had an extra hour each day to get more stuff done?" Most of the audience agreed. But in my case, I'd probably use that extra hour playing video games on my Xbox, iPad, iPhone or Facebook account.

In the spirit of today's "Free Story Day" (Network World and IDG News Service writers today are cranking out a bunch of stories on freebies we thought you might find of interest and that we'll be publishing this week), here's the list of free-time-sucking apps and games that are great in their own right, but will also cause you to quickly use up that extra hour that those other tools, tips and tricks try to give you back. Most of these are also free to play, although they all have in-app purchases and other premium content available for real money.

2048 (iOS, Google Play): At first glance, this game seems like one of those old-school tile-swapping games, or one of those games where you have to utilize long-forgotten math skills. But after you play it for a few minutes, you'll be hooked. The game is a simple 4-by-4 grid containing two number 2s. When two numbers of the same value touch, they double, creating a new number. The goal is to get to 2048 (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048). It's harder than it sounds, but incredibly addicting. If you don't want to play the mobile version (there are several knockoffs on Google Play), you can play the original web version here.

Simpsons: Tapped Out (iOS): At first glance, this game feels a lot like Farmville, the classic online time-waster of building a farm and getting your friends to help you manage said virtual farm. In the case of this game, the goal is to rebuild the town of Springfield from the TV show "The Simpsons." You start from scratch after Homer accidentally blows up the old Springfield. You slowly build houses, buildings and other decorations, and the "tapped out" part of the game has you tapping on houses or people to give you experience points and money, which is required in order to complete the quests (basically, a quest is "Build this new building") and unlock new ones. The game has premium offerings where you spend real money in order to get virtual donuts, which can then be spent on other buildings and characters. The game has the show's typical sense of humor, and it knows how annoying these types of games can be. Special events (especially around major holidays during the year) offer up new content (new buildings, characters, etc.) that help keep the game interesting, although at times the tapping can be very grind-y (especially if you're not forking over real money).

 

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