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We got a guide from Play-Free-Online-Games.com. We're giving you the gist of it here. Actually, these things are fun, and you can't beat the price.

Shooter Games. If you like to fly through space, try Battlestar Galactica or Ace Online. If you prefer to fight on the ground and like monsters and werewolves, try Wolf Team. If you prefer mummies, try Mission Against Terror. If you would rather fight the military, and like World War II vintage tanks, try World of Tanks. If you prefer a deadly cartoon soldier, try Lost Saga.

Role-Playing Games. If you like fantasy, join 10 million others in World of Warcraft. If you've been there, done that, try Runes of Magic, Adventure Quest Worlds or Dragon Fable. If your age is a single digit, try Wizard 101. If you want an easy sci-fi game, try Dark Orbit. To perfect the art of crushing your enemies, try Age of Conan. If you like Dungeons and Dragons, try Crystal Saga, Forsaken World, Drakensang, Dark Swords, Dungeons and Dragons Online, or Lord of the Rings. If you're old enough to remember when The Incredibles came out, try DC Universe Online. If not, try Superhero Squad Online. If being a vampire hunting a werewolf is strange enough for you, try Bitefight. If not, try Glitch.

Strategy. If you like a fantasy setting, try Call of the Gods, or Grepolis. If you like a historical setting, try Castle Empire, Travian, 1100 A.D., or Tribal Wars. If you like games with blocks or Legos, try Minecraft or Roblox. To make new friends, try IMVU. If you mainly want to create things, try Second Life.

SPEAKERS AND ALL THAT JAZZ

It has become clear to us over many years that there is a secret meeting place, perhaps in a remote mountain location, where the makers of electronic devices gather to decide what to promote for the coming holiday season. There is no other explanation for what are clearly waves of gadgets and stuff that wash over us every year.

For some time now, we have received pitches for earphones and speakers. Apparently, no one can fully appreciate rock or rap without special equipment, which is quite understandable.

There was a recent wave for smart TVs, one for protective smartphone cases, another for home antennas, and a constant effort to make a smartphone the movie camera of our time.

So we received a wireless speaker for review. We went to a nearby store and found that there were several of these on the market and they seem quite similar. There is little point in trying to figure out which is the best, because that will depend on the individual's ear and taste, meaning pop, rock or classical.

But we can look at what they're good for. A lot of these new portable Bluetooth speakers are about the size of a soup can and range in price from $20 to $350. Sound quality is pretty good and -- if they're waterproof -- you can wash them with soap and water. On a more practical level you can download an app to let you wake up to music or news delivered at a clear, understandable level.

A good way to start is the free Pandora app from your phone's app store. Tap the hamburger icon (three stacked lines) in the upper left corner of the screen and choose "Settings," then "Alarm Clock." Tap it to set the time and the station you want to listen to. A station can be the name of a band, such as The Beatles or Benny Goodman.

We tried the new 6-inch, wireless Sbode Bluetooth Portable Waterproof Speaker. Besides playing music, audiobooks, and other sounds from our phone, it takes phone calls. The sound quality was good.

It's hard to choose one of these speakers over another, unless you go by price. For $36 on Amazon, the Sbode seems a good deal. The manual leaves much to be desired, however. While the sound blared out at us, we struggled to read the tiny print on how to turn down the volume. The speakers also have an FM radio, and a slot for a microSD storage card.

THE CUTTING EDGE

We usually ignore crowdfunding campaigns; but this one broke a record; GlowForge took in almost $28 million in orders for its 3-D laser cutter in 30 days. It's for engraving on wood and similar materials. The basic model is $2,500.

There are cheaper 3-D laser cutters available, but users say the cheapies have more of a learning curve and some use software infected with malware. There are more expensive ones too: A $35,000 laser used in commercial applications is, as you might expect, much faster than the $2,500 or $6,000 model GlowForge.

We saw a GlowForge for $4,000 on Amazon, but users say the cheaper one from GlowForge.com is all most beginners will need. Bob said he would cut Western scenes or a Tarzan adventure on veneer for custom furniture. That's if he ever wanted to go into the custom furniture business.

Take a look at the user forum to find out what others are making. Popular right now: cheap ceramic tiles from Home Depot turned into coasters. Users color in the engraved areas with Sharpie marking pens. The excess ink wipes off the unengraved areas.

Bob and Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at bobschwab@gmail.com and joydee@oncomp.com.

Business on 08/11/2018

Print Headline: Video games are expensive, but you can play for free online

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