It’s 3AM and I need to wake up for class in three hours but it’s fine because I can skip that session and pretend I had car problems and my next class isn't until noon and if I sit in the back the professor won’t notice me nodding off. I squint because my eyes are burning from the lack of sleep and the bright, pulsing colors flashing from my TV. I lower the volume because my ears are pounding from the dull thud my of dying bass. But that doesn’t matter--nothing matters... so long as I beat Kevin.
My friend Kevin and I got into a weird war with Hexic HD and Lumines Live--both of which had pretty fantastic leaderboard support in 2008. But instead of focusing on just one game and sticking to it, we had a back and forth, where we’d trade top positions every week or two as our skill level increased in both games. Every time I’d spend a week dropping blocks in Lumines and destroy his record, he’d swap hexagons in Hexic and beat mine. We were two warring countries, sending soldiers to occupy lands while pulling them from others and making them vulnerable. This went on for a few months, and eventually peaked with a particularly lengthy night of Lumines.
If you haven’t played Lumines you’re denying yourself of one of the best puzzle games of the past generation. Blocks drop, as is known to happen in a puzzle game that doesn’t involve swapping gems (sup, Hexic?), but they’re always two-by-two squares of two colors. When you make a square that's four blocks of the same color it vanishes when a line moves from one side of the screen to the other. It’s all wrapped in an absurdly alluring soundtrack that changes every few minutes and blindingly beautiful visuals that'll make you feel like that time at the music fest someone gave you a weird sugar cube.
And, like any good puzzle game, Lumines outright ruins your brain for the day or two after you play it--especially, as I learned, if you play it while sleep deprived for six hours straight. It sits in your brain, infests your spine, and projects itself into your subconscious mind. You see blocks falling, tiles swapping. For the next day, as I stumbled through a journalism class (that focused on teaching us about writing for newspapers as if that wasn’t the most obsolete thing to do with my tuition) and a seminar on James Joyce (in which the professor just rambled about Timothy Leary for some reason), I’d play out Lumines on the faces of the students around me. It was frightening, to be honest, but I never forgot it.
Beat his high score, though. Sucker.
Looking for stuff to play outside of the stuff we already tell you to play on a daily basis? You're in luck! Every Saturday we'll recommend a random game for you to check out, complete with a story on how we found the game and why we recommend you play it.