After Dark Games
Windows - 1998
Also available on: Mac
Description of After Dark Games
Save our screen!
A common nineties computing myth is that if you don't protect your monitor with a screensaver that activates after 30 seconds of no computer usage, then you will suffer irreparable damages to your screen. Those damages most likely amounting to a haunting image of your Windows desktop permanently embedded into your display.
Well, this is, in fact, complete nonsense. Unless you have a monitor that's manufacturing date reaches back into the mid-eighties (and if it's still functioning, then congratulations because you own a freak of technology), it's unlikely that your screen would ever have images burnt into the glass without serious, intentional abuse. However, this doesn't mean screensavers are useless - on the contrary, they can not only be wonderfully stimulating entertainment, but they also serve an even greater purpose. They are an endless distraction to the work you should be doing (always a good thing, no?). At least, some are, anyway.
The After Dark series became known for being a leader in the field of the screensaver 'art,' producing many variety of fun and humorous modules, introducing original characters in often zany situations, and generally just being downright more amusing than a bunch of flying Windows logos (damn, I still see those things in my sleep... chasing me... hunting my very soul... oh, ahem, anyway...!). And hey, isn't that worth the $50-80 price tag that used to accompany them?
Well, guess what? After Dark Games - "it's not just a screen-saver anymore!" - is a collection of "challenging and addicting" games, many featuring the characters that screensaver freaks will have come to know and love by now from the After Dark series. In actuality, what we have here is a bunch of 'time-filler' games that are obvious alternatives to Microsoft's own procrastination-encouragers, Solitaire and Minesweeper. Although, oddly, one of the 11 games included in this package is Solitaire, albeit Berkeley Systems' own variation of it.
The games span a small range of genres including arcade, trivia, word games and puzzles, with the common factor between them being anybody - and we are talking absolutely anybody here - can play them. Not everyone will be able to compete at the same level, of course, but they will at least be able to participate.
The 4 arcade games in After Dark Games are, as expected, nothing to write home about. Each of these games will very likely have a different effect on a vast spectrum of people - following closely with the ancient analogy, "one man's meat is another man's poison" (not politically-correct for the vegetarians out there, I know). Personally, I enjoy two of them enough to play for at least 10 minutes or so at a time, and do keep returning, while the other two I've not loaded since the moment I felt I'd played them enough to evaluate fairly for review. My personal favorite is Mowin' Maniac which bears undeniable similarities to the all-time classic Pac-Man as you ride your mower around hazard-filled gardens, frantically avoiding angry gardeners and zombies (!) - that is, of course, until you get yourself a power-pill (gas can), at which point, your mower enters turbo mode and you're able to run down and bag the misanthropes for a short period of time.
The other arcade games consist of (with brief descriptions): Hula Girl, use left/right cursor key to get Hula Girl to drop and land on as many platforms as possible without hitting the 'icky' stuff or being too slow and losing one of her hula hoops to a case of scroll-off-screen-itis; Rodger Dodger, a real retro throwback to the age of "try to move your colored dot around the screen skillfully enough to collect the green swirly things, while at the same time, avoiding the nasty fast-moving dots that ultimately are locked into a pre-defined movement pattern"; Toaster Run, the most surreal of the lot - maneuver a flying toaster around the household, avoiding the dangerous everyday appliances.
Those who relish in solving the daily newspaper's crossword teasers will enjoy the word games included in After Dark Games. Fish Shtick takes place under the sea. A group of fishes swim by from left to right with a big white letter plastered onto their scales. The letters appear in random order, and it's up to you to solve the anagram by unjumbling the letters to make a word. The time limit you have for each word is denoted by how long the fishes take to swim from one edge to the other.
Bad Dog 911 is a Boggle-style word game where you're given 6 random letters, and you have to come up with as many legitimate words as you can within a given time period (words have to consist of 3 letters or more). The computer determines every possible word (in its American dictionary anyway) you can make, so it is plausible that there's a real word which it won't accept, but unlikely.
After Dark Solitaire is, let's face it, rather pointless. I played with it for a few minutes to make sure there's no extra special secret ingredient that makes it more of a Super Solitaire, but found nothing. This is solitaire through and through ("Patiences" in the UK), differing from Microsoft's free offering with some slightly prettier graphics and a few sound effects.
Foggy Boxes is a computerized version of one of the most popular paper and pencil past-times for students in a boring High School class - Tic-Tac-Toe probably being the number one work-dodger (known as "Naughts and Crosses" in the UK - talk about a divide between a common language). A two-player turn-based game, you start with a grid of dots, and on your turn, you have to connect a line between two of the dots. The idea is to make a square, and the player with the most squares at the end wins. Sadly, as with all of the After Dark Games, you can only play this alone vs. the computer, but he makes a worthy opponent on the hardest difficulty level. He also makes you want to throw your shoe through the screen when he starts taunting you to go if you take too long to make your move.
Mooshu Tiles is the age-old children's match-the-tile game originating from China, Mushu. Little tiles with a variety of patterns on them are stacked together in varying formations, and your task is to remove them all. But you can only remove tiles that match and have no tile on either their left, right or both. Classic, addictive, and you even get a little fortune cookie proverb at the end if you complete the game successfully.
And finally in the puzzles category - Roof Rats. This match-em-up style game's objective is to remove stories from a building until each of the little characters on the roof are low enough to jump to the ground and enjoy their freedom. Another mentally-challenging game that requires you to think ahead.
The one trivia game in the pack is Zapper!. General trivia questions requiring either a yes or no answer are thrown at you, and the objective is to answer as many as you can correctly within the allotted time. If you answer three in a row correctly, you get bonus points and extended time. This is great for quick breaks throughout the day, and you even learn something new every time you play. You'll find the trick to getting the highest score most of the time is always choosing the answer that seems the most absurd. Say, did you know that the Internet now delivers more mail than the US Postal Service? Just don't answer "yes" to the "does the average American woman weigh over 140 pounds?" question with your wife nearby!
Along with the suite of eleven games, After Dark Games also includes a screensaver (could it call itself "After Dark" without one!) which is basically a continuous running demo of each of the games. The neat thing is, however, at ALL times, whether playing one of the games or having the screensaver activated, there's always a toolbar running along the bottom that allows you to toggle the screensaver on and off, and launch any game you desire. So if you left your computer alone for a few minutes, it's very likely the screensaver will pop on and in a not-so-subtle manner persuade you to play a game.
ADG is also fully set up to allow for multiple users, and keeps track of high scores in each of the games, so you can easily compete with anyone else that uses your PC. And the interface couldn't be simpler, with rules provided online for each of the titles, in case you're not sure what to do.
My only complaint concerning the game engine is that there's no real provision for people who run their system at higher resolutions - the screensaver and game windows all fit tightly against a 640x480 screen, but then on a 1024x768 desktop or higher, you may find yourself squinting at the action. It would have been nice to provide a "zoom" mode that allows you to stretch everything into a larger window.
All in all, After Dark Games is a very competent addition to the "misc" category of PC games, and while a few of the games are somewhat under par, most are actually just as the packaging advertises - "challenging and addicting." $30 is fair, though I'd shop around to see if you can pick it up slightly cheaper than retail. The "gimmick" of the included screensaver works well, and has actually been my pick of screensavers for a while now. Brett recently reviewed Smart Games 3, which may prove better value if you're more inclined towards puzzle and word games (plus, that package includes twenty different titles over ADG's eleven). If, however, you would prefer a more varied selection that crosses into the simple arcade and trivia genres, then check this one out.
Review By GamesDomain
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
Black-Phoenix777 2021-12-15 1 point Windows version
Okay. I got it to run on Windows 10 after running the setup installer in the game files and then setting the game in compatibility mode.
Black-Phoenix777 2021-12-15 -1 point Windows version
Is there a way to get this game to run on Windows 10?
Philly 2021-05-23 0 point
This was the best games I ever played and it also helped me with my typing skills
DOMO 2021-02-21 0 point Windows version
PLEASE MAKE A UPDATE GAME OF AFTER DARK GAMES FOR FUTURE PLEASEEEE!!!!!!!
LawrenceWolf 2020-09-17 1 point Windows version
I run the SETUP app, but nothing appears afterwards. Task Manager says there is a background process, but nothing happens with that.
amold 2020-05-29 1 point
when you put the files into a folder go inside the contents and scroll down until you see setup and right next to setup in the next column needs to say application. click it and the the things it tells you and boom your done
chirk 2020-05-28 2 points Windows version
you cant play it unless someone tell us how to deal with the 12006 message preventing us from playing the game
Mike Ross 2020-03-27 4 points Windows version
Its been decades, since i played this game first time. I tried few versions but it didn't work on windows 10.
This one is working fine even on Windows 10.
I am travelling 20 years back.
katieelyn 2019-11-06 -13 points Windows version
Hey, i downloaded the windows version. and it worked, but it won't let me play a game. do I need the original disk to play? if so, where can I purchase the disk. I haven't played this game since I was a kid. Please help :)
dewdrop3851 2019-10-25 -15 points Windows version
I DOWNLOADED "AFTER DARK GAMES" BUT A CODE #12006 SHOWS UP AND I AM UNABLE TO PLAY THE GAMES. HOW DO I REMOVE THIS CODE AND PLAY THE GAMES? PLEASE RESPOND ASAP!
Niftysupermario56 2019-09-23 2 points
Played this as a youngling, its so good to see it again. Missed you, roof rats :')
GoHybrid67 2019-09-03 2 points Windows version
If you have trouble setting it up, read ASHRAK's instructions above, it works perfectly on Windows 10 following those instructions. I've missed this game, I bought After Dark back when it was still just a screensaver before they actually made games out of it (although if I remember correctly didn't some of the screensavers have playability, like shooting the mimes and things like that?). Must make me one of the "old fart" generation as well. :D
Alppa 2019-05-09 0 point Windows version
I set up a Windows 98 VM and am attempting to play this! So far it's working, I have it running like a disc in the VM, it begins the setup, but then it gets stuck at "Attempting to play Digital .WAV file" and doesn't get past it. Any suggestions on what I should do to get it past that part?
Unicorn 2019-04-23 -2 points Windows version
Hi, the application opens up no problem but when I want to play the games it comes up with the following message 12006. How do I play the games? Thanks
Ashrak 2019-02-23 3 points Windows version
You have to be an old fart like me to know about these older files.
For Windows, including Windows 10. After downloading the file, click on it to open it, then find the Setup file that says Application in the next column. Once you click on setup, go through the setup process and it will work just fine. I just set it up for my father on his new laptop.
B625 2019-01-02 -2 points Windows version
DOESNT WORK WINDOWS DEVICES. tried it and Im very upset, im a adult who loved this game,,,,you need the actual game this file wont work.
mommmy 2018-11-07 0 point
oh my God! Finally I found this and is actually playing right now. SO HAPPY!! :))
Genesis Fazbear 2017-03-06 3 points
I love the games when I was a little girl , and know I want to play again. The games are fun. Good time killer
Bee bee 2016-09-16 2 points
You have to make this into a andriod and ios app! With the original games! I have been waiting so many years! This is an app i would pay for!!!
Wonderfully blessed 2016-06-01 21 points
Please please please please make an Android app for these games these are the best games ever please make a Android app please please
obiwan 2016-05-29 1 point
What is the 'classic environment' and how can I run it to play these games? Downloads fine but my mac laptop wont run it
shan 2016-01-27 -2 points
Can anyone help me plzzzzz am tryna my hardest to download an still een ntn wrks...help plz..tank u.
AustinChase 2016-01-21 1 point
I am obsessed with After Dark Games! I am so happy to finally find a downloadable version for my Mac! My grandparents still play these games on their computer!
Liz 2015-12-15 0 point
I've loved these games for a long time. Still pay them in my computer...I feel like I'm the only one left that I know that still plays them. Please make a android app
ksbbruu 2015-10-01 0 point
I want to play these games again. I suggest someone create them for the app store or just make it available for current software. I miss these games I would jump at another chance to play by them.
Mariemo1224 2015-09-30 1 point
I would like to play again!! Why the company don't make the game again for the new computers??? This are awesome games. Please do it for the new electronics device. Please!!!!!!!!!
Someone's Mother 2015-08-04 0 point Mac version
I loved this program... Roof Rats and solitaire were favorites. My software was for Windows and is original and wont work on my current computer. Is this software only for MAC??? NOT FAIR~~~
ChefDaddy24BabyBaaabyyy 2015-08-03 0 point Mac version
Played these when I was younger. It brings back memories.
Manuel 2015-06-28 2 points Mac version
I have the after dark games 1998 disc for pc desk top and can't download on my apple ipad 2gen why?
Stephnany 2015-05-06 -1 point Mac version
My Macbook Air won't download either. Well, it downloads but its just a text file with codes. Is there something I'm missing?? I really wanted these for the plane ride to germany!
msssrussell 2015-04-26 1 point Mac version
I love these games! I have been trying to find them forever!!
Zezz 2015-03-23 2 points Mac version
I don't know why but my MacBook Pro says the file is broken when extracted with Unarchiver, and iZip says it can't be opened. Sad too, I was really looking forward to playing.
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