12 Web Toys to Fill Snowbound Days
If school’s been cancelled, or you can’t get to work due to weather or road conditions, you may be looking for distractions you can enjoy indoors. We’ve got you covered, with another round of web toys. If the weather is fine, you’ll just have to come up with another excuse to enjoy these pleasures of procrastination.
Have you ever imagined yourself in a movie where you have to save the world (or at least solve a crime) by hacking into someone else’s computer network? GeekTyper will facilitate your fantasies. Just select one of the many themes and start typing! Of course, no one uses a mouse in the movies… This might also be useful for that short film you’ve been planning to make. I haven’t used all of the themes yet, but so far my favorite is the Umbrella Corp. Don’t neglect to go to the Download Data file.
2. Jigsaw Planet
Jigsaw Planet has hundreds of online jigsaw puzzles. Choose a picture, and drag the pieces into place until it’s done! There’s a timer, if you want to keep up with such things. You can even design your own jigsaw puzzle with your own picture and specified difficulty. Send one as a surprise to your friends! I made the puzzle above fairly easy for demonstration purposes. It’s my cat Gogo sitting on my desk.
3. Nine Animated Gif Backgrounds
James Koehline designed tiled backgrounds of colorful moving gifs. They can’t be manipulated, but they are awesomely trippy to stare it. Hit the “next” button at the top left to advance to a different one. Don’t stare too long!
4. Gentle Brain
Gentle Brain is an interactive web toy where you can play around with your brain. If you drop it, and you will, that’s okay, because there’s another one where that one came from, and it’s just as good.
5. Line 3D
Line 3D presents you with what looks like a wet noodle. You can move it with your mouse, and if you do it just right, that movement will continue long past your own stopping point, creating odd formations with the noodle. Another click or jerk, or even a screenshot, will move your formation or start the process all over again.
6. Ball Pool
You can have as many balls in your pool as you want with Ball Pool! Clicking will give you more balls, and dragging will move them around. Swim through them, toss them in the air, or just keep adding more. When the pool is filled, you get a new pool! This toy is from Mr. Doob, where you’ll find the typing toy I used to make the banner image at the top.
7. Pointer Pointer
People love to point things out, and they love to upload photographs to the internet. Here’s a web toy that takes advantage of those two phenomena. Pointer Pointer knows where your cursor is. And this toy will point to it. It will only take about two seconds to find a picture of someone pointing it out.
8. Guilloché Pattern Generator
A Guilloché pattern is a decorative engraving technique. It’s been used in fancy documents such as paper money. But to most of us, it looks like what a Spirograph would create. The Guilloché Pattern Generator is an online generator that makes these patterns, designed by Tom Beddard. You can change the pattern by adjusting the parameters in the control panel on the left. Then press “s” to save your masterpieces.
9. White Trash
The page called White Trash is the simplest and most useless toy in the list. Click on Jodi’s face and give him a new look, with MS Paint-style facial hair and accessories. There’s no endgame, just silliness.
10. Fluid Dynamics Simulator
George Corney built a fluid dynamics simulator that makes for a beautiful web toy. Just run your cursor across it, as you’d run your finger trough a tray filled with liquid. You can change some parameters if you want to experiment. Wait long enough and more colors will appear. Just don’t stare at it too long, or you’ll suddenly be late for something!
11. Slow Scroll. Have Fun!
The name of the page is Slow Scroll. Have Fun! This is a demonstration of a Moire pattern or slit animation. By scrolling, you are moving one screen of shapes under the slits, causing them to animate by optical illusion.
12. The Splendor of Color
The Splendor of Color Kaleidoscope Video is not so much a web toy, but a useful and artful video featuring two hours of kaleidoscopic movement. Throw it up on your TV screen or computer while you have a nice conversation with friends, with or without the music. Or you can just stare at it for two hours. I won’t judge.