Lost Hours

I thought I would point out that I keep coming around, after what feels like several lost hours, staring at my Linux desktop and not really knowing what just happened for the last few hours. It’s happened quite a few times since the weekend and I was getting quite concerned, so I set up a web cam so I could tell the camera that it had just happened and then rewind the video to see what had happened in the preceding few hours.

The results were quite surprising. It turns out that these lost hours, and I mean periods of between 1 and 4 hours, have been spent playing Slam Soccer 2006 (aka Bolzplatz) 🙂 It’s a fun, cartoony 5-a-side soccer game, in the mould of, say, the old Spectrum and Commodore Matchday game series, with a kind of fun Nintendo feel, as opposed to say EA Sports’ Fifa soccer games.

Essentially you control the players as you might expect but you can pick where you start, in a village league, or another division and build up your stadium with the money you earn (if you start in the village league, you start with a mud patch and trash cans for goals), or you can quickstart a single game or World Cup tournament. And yes, this runs on Linux (the Mac and Windows too).

It’s not perfect however. It’s quite hard, or at least I’m not very good, even after about 8 lost hours of playing. The sound is a little crackly on my uber-powerful laptop, but fine on my ~4 and half year old desktop. And my wrist hurts too from playing too often (not the kind of wrist problem you were thinking…). Also, it requires Java and the Sun Java still isn’t completely Free (in the Open Source sense, for non software Freedom people). I haven’t tried a Free Java, like GCJ, but the game itself is Free under the GPL, though you can donate 10 Euros and get the Gold Edition with a built in team and stadium editor. The other downside is that there don’t seem to be proper Linux packages, just a tarball of the game binaries which you run manually. It also seems to leave my desktop resolution in the game resolution, which I have to change back.

All in all it’s a really fun, addictive game and I’ve lost hours so far, you should too. (Thought: online multiplayer would be nice :))