portable arcade games
Portable arcade games and software for your flash drive and other portable devices


Xmoto is a challenging 2D motocross game that’s lots of fun. It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms and it’s portable!

You can also download a level editor to try your hand at making your own levels (scroll down to the bottom of their home page to download it). There are also tons of user contributed levels that you can download here.


Using your iPod for reading ebooks

[UPDATE: See TextWedge File Splitter for an easy-to-use solution for splitting text files for your iPod.]

I recently got an iPod Classic, and I hoped it would make a good ebook reader to replace my very excellent but dying Palm Tungsten. Well, it turns out it isn’t; there are no reading features important to obsessive ebook fans: no automatic scrolling, no screen reverse (black background, white text for nice relaxing nighttime reading), no bookmarking and no support for multiple file formats – only text (this is almost as frustrating as its lack of support for AVI video files!). But worst of all, text files have a size limit: 4 KB!! You can load any size text file on your iPod, but when you view it, it will truncate it and show you only 4 KB worth!!

Not to be outdone by my iPod, I was determined to find some workarounds. I wasn’t able to find portable (i.e. no install) software solutions yet, but if anyone knows of any, please let me know!

iPod library (Windows) takes care of managing your ebooks: you can convert from PDF, HTML, TXT, LIT into split-up text files that resepct the size limit and you can use it to add and remove ebooks (although this is just as easily done using Windows Explorer and going to your Notes directory on your iPod).

There is also an online solution at eBook Hood for converting (that is, splitting up your document into smaller text files) your text, RTF, HTML and RSS feeds.

If your MP3 player (non-iPod or iPod) displays photos but not text, you can download this utility called eBook to Images (Windows). This software turns your books into graphic files.

Finally, you can head over to http://ebookhood.com/catalog to download free, ready-to-go books for your iPod.


Frets On Fire

Are there any Guitar Hero fans out there? Here is a free Guitar Hero clone called Frets on Fire. Select the “Full version ZIP archive” link if you want the portable version. I’ve never played the original game, but I’ve tried this clone and it’s pretty good even though I’m absolutely pathetic at it. This game is really tough! I think I’ll stick to a real guitar.

Frets on Fire has an active fan community at http://fretsonfire.wikidot.com/, where you can get additional songs, how-to guides, troubleshooting and tips. You can create and import your own songs, too. There is a forum at http://www.fretsonfire.net. You can also learn a bit more about the game on Wikipedia.

There are 3 songs included in the download, and the game is compatible with Guitar Hero formats. And good news for everyone: there are versions for Windows, Linux and Mac!

And here’s Frets on Fire in action in a YouTube video of someone playing Canon Rock with it:


Anyone remember Road Fighter? Here’s an addictive remake of the classic game for you.

Download Road Fighter


We can never have enough Galaxian games in our collection, so here’s another Galaxian-like game from Minionsoft called Phoenix.

This fast-paced game has similar features as Galaxian, but it provides a shield option, which comes in handy when those low-flying aliens fire a hailstorm of missiles on your ship. The shield can be activated with the right control key; although, this can be mapped to a more convenient key (thankfully!) in the options. When the temporary shield is activated, you can’t move but you can fire. Fun game to carry on your flash drive that will take up about 22 MB.


Ghostbusters II

After playing your Ghostbusters remake and making your Ghostbusters paper car, you’re probably looking for some more Ghost busting action, right?

We’re all in luck!! Now, there’s a portable game out based on the Ghostbusters II movie



Portable Apps has released a portable CD Ripper and converter called BonkEnc.

Download at: www.portableapps.com

The app is easy to use, runs on Windows (and Linux with Wine) and offers support for 32 languages! And it only takes up about 4 MB on your flash drive!


Portable Stickies

Lifehacker blog pointed out this nifty little stickies app for Windows called Hott Notes. A free app with lots of neat features like alarms, checkboxes and a desktop manager so that you can archive your notes and manage them more easily. Make sure to select the Portable Edition from the author’s website if you want to carry it around on your flash drive.


Here are two PacMan remakes for you…

First, there is Deluxe PacMan. (Windows only, needs DirectX). Apparently, this game has 114 levels – now that should keep you busy for a bit!


And then there is a 3D PacMan called PacManiac.



I have been typing like a maniac since installing the awesome Q10 editor – a simple full-screen editor whose slogan is: your inner critic will hate this editor. This small (400 KB, or 900KB for the spell checker version), completely portable editor is for Windows only.

Opening up Q10 blackens your screen, and displays eye-friendly orange text, reminding me of my beloved old 286 computer. You can change these colours as your moods dictate; the background and foreground colours are customizable, as are font and font size. Another cute touch is the typewriter sound effects, which can be turned off for your more introspective writing moods.

Q10 is really great for writers who need to track word, pages, paragraphs or character counts. The values are all updated in real-time, and can be displayed at the bottom of the screen to help cheer you on. It has autosave (customizable to save every x minutes or every paragraph, etc), autotext, margin settings, paragraph indentation, spell checker and more, without being distracting. It provides save status too (an asterisk denotes an unsaved document), which is a must for obsessive writers like me.

Another handy feature is the timer. If you’re a procrastination expert, writing in timed sessions really helps get the job done! I usually use Instaboss, which is based on the Dash method (work a certain amount of time, take a break, repeat); however, having the timer within the same app is even better! You can even set targets, like 250 words or 1 page for example, and it will let you know, unobtrusively in the status bar, that you’ve reached your target.

Q10 is restful on the eyes, helps you to focus on your writing and gives you helpful tools and feedback, like a timer and real-time word counts, that help stimulate your writing. It makes writing fun again!


(Oh No) More Invaders from Space!

The name of the game is: (Oh No) More Invaders from Space, and it is by far the most fast-paced Space Invaders clone I’ve ever played. The graphics are pretty neat, too! The game has some additional elements such as power-ups, various weapons and apparently, from the site’s description, you have to protect cows from being kidnapped by the aliens (I haven’t got that far yet, but that should be interesting!).

Check out their website for the screenshots and download.


Scrolling App for Readers and Musicians

BPM Notepad is a really simple portable app that allows you to automatically scroll down a text file at variable speeds for hands-free reading. It’s especially targeted to guitar players who need to scroll down a tab while playing – really useful!

Platforms: Windows, Linux
Size: about 2 MB


Work has been pretty hectic these days, but I hope to find some time soon to test out some games-in-waiting and a new emulator. In the meantime, check out all these free games from BGames.

Note that they aren’t all portable; I only had the chance to try out Purebreaker III – a Breakout/Arkanoid clone – and it is available without an installer (click on the “Download the zipped version” link). The game starts off a bit slow, but hang in there: it won’t take long for it to get crazy!

The other games may not be portable, but the screenshots definitely look enticing. I’m going to give the Lethal Judgement series a try as soon as work permits!

Go to BGames: http://www.bgames.org/gamesen.php