Online video games are definitely coming of age -- for the first time, they're better-looking (and nearly as addictive) as the Nintendo cartridges I used to beg my Christmas-present-buying elders for as a kid, and they're a whole lot cheaper. (Free, in fact.) It's gotten to the point where big websites will develop mini-games just to keep people clicking around their sites longer, which, so long as the games are fun, is a fine idea. Adult Swim, makers of animated fare like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Robot Chicken, seem to have perfected the art -- the mini games on their site are not only certifiably addictive, they're hilarious, weird, and they cross the line just a little bit. (And you thought Grand Theft Auto was offensive.) Here are some of our faves.

Orphan Feast
You play a Jack-the-Ripper-style character who must run through the Dickensian streets of London circa 1880, filling up your sack with stray orphans and whisking them back to your lair. Your goal? To make the Soylent Green of the 19th century: tasty orphan pies, which you're sure will sell like crazy. But avoid the policemen, angry mothers and overweight strumpets, or it's game-over for you! Here's a fun little gameplay demo:

Head Games
It's A Boy and His Blob meets Weekend at Bernie's. Carl, a rough-around-the-edges New Yorker has lost his head -- literally. You play a bizarre, stretchy meatball who can shape-shift and talk, and whose goal is to lead Carl's body through a mazelike urban world back to his head. Surreal, weird and a bit disturbing, it's not that it's not safe for work, exactly ... more that it could be awkward to explain the game to anyone who found you playing it.

Amateur Surgeon
You're a pizza delivery boy and aspiring surgeon. When you run down a boozy doctor with your delivery truck, there's only one way to save his life -- operate then and there, with the pizza-cutting tools you have at your disposal. A warped version of the classic game "Operation," Amateur Surgeon finds you operating on tramps and low-lifes with inappropriate tools on a pool table, which once you get past the inherent gross-out-ness of it all, can be fun and even challenging.
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Rock, Paper, Scissors: Extreme Deathmatch
Rock, paper and scissors have been having it out for years now; Adult Swim decided it was time to take their age-old conflict to the next level. The old moves are still in effect: rock can crush, paper can smother and scissors can cut, but this is more Mortal Kombat than schoolyard game. Once you've read the blood-and-violence warning and chosen "okay" (rather than "I prefer LOLcats"), you choose your character: either rock, paper or scissors, naturally. From there it's bloody mayhem, with combo moves and death strikes as gory (if less anthropomorphically accurate) than anything you'd find in the arcade. Here's a sneak peek:

Viva Caligula!
caligulakill.jpgYou are Caligula, the third emperor of the Roman Empire, and you've decided that everyone in Rome needs to die. So you rampage through a (surprisingly elaborate) bird's-eye map of Rome, your only goal being the slaughter of all its citizens, innocent or otherwise. The fun comes from finding new weapons with which to dispatch your citizens -- 26 in all, one for every letter of the keyboard. Break open clay pots to find food (health) or wine (which makes you drunk and angry, triggering a "rampage mode" that splatters the screen itself with blood with every kill you make). I didn't try this function, but apparently you can turn your computer microphone on, and shout rageful taunts at Caligula, further enraging him. (How it gauges the tone and/or tauntiness of your speech, I don't know.) Not exactly fun for the whole family ... but fun nonetheless.