Eerie Late-Night Public Access TV – 2:22AM

By Alice O'Connor on August 2nd, 2014 at 2:22 am.

I always fall for Tesco's display of Moons by the checkout.

“Play alone,” 2:22AM instructs. “Play at night.”

Approach in that dreamy state of mind and it flickers into life, drawing you into an eerie late-night public access television show. 2:22AM’s a free game made of little vignettes from mundanities like frying an egg to, well, things more surreal and sinister, mixed with bleary video clips and wrapped up in analogue crackle and tracking errors. It’s wonderful to play in that time when the world’s still and blinks are drawn-out rests for your eyes, dreams creeping in around the edges. But if you’re too drowsy for that, the wonders of video mean you can watch me play.

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S.EXE: The Arboretum

By Cara Ellison on August 1st, 2014 at 9:00 pm.

This week on S.EXE I am bringing to your attention the slowburning intimate relationship of two people in Matthew S. Burns’ The Arboretum. The Arboretum was just released on the always excellent Unwinnable dot com, a place that welcomes experimental writing and game design and published yours truly before she really knew who she was. The Arboretum is a gentle and deftly-written text adventure, linear and beautiful in texture. It is a delicate exploration of the feelings of two teenagers whose only dating advice came from hentai and anime, and their fumbling fights their own expectations of romance.

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Dreamy Driving: Glitchhikers Deluxe On Sale

By Alice O'Connor on August 1st, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

You're listening to Night Drive.

I’ve been lost in dreamy games lately. I’m daydreaming about games like Ruah and Into This Wylde Abyss, then nightplaying Proteus, Purgateus, Heartwood, and Error City Tourist. These dreamy summer nights where I want to wander and drive. Glitchhikers covers that last point.

Glitchhikers is a drive through a strange night, chatting with odd hitch-hikers you pick up from the roadside. It is a late-night possibly-a-bit-tipsy favourite of mine. We’ve talked about it before but never devoted a whole post to saying that it’s wonderful. So here: it’s wonderful. And now it’s on sale until the wee small hours of Sunday morning, giving most of the money to charity.

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Wot I Think: Halfway

By Marsh Davies on August 1st, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

Halfway is almost there, but not quite. It’s also a turn-based tactics game in the vein of XCOM, but with a fixed cast of characters rather than permadying squaddies and none of that base-upgrading meta stuff. It’s set in space and often in between it; some mysterious calamity has sent the starship Goliath ricocheting in and out of hyperspace limbo, the “halfway” of the title. As the only surviving crew members, your ragtag group must reclaim the vessel from an unidentified invading force by shooting in their general direction over low walls and hissing with exasperation at the inventory system.

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Final Fantasy 14 Launches Two-Week Free Trials

By Alice O'Connor on August 1st, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Hey, it's one of those bird things which seem to be the centre of the Final Fantasy universes!

Final Fantasy 14 is pretty good since rebooting under the subtitle A Realm Reborn, They tell me. It’s got quests, They say, and monsters and numbers and treasure and all that MMORPG stuff, and colours too. Something like that, anyway. But I don’t know, and if you don’t know either, perhaps we can all find out together. See, Square Enix are launching fourteen-day trials, ooh, any second now.

If you want in, trials have opened this very minute so you can download the installer and start questing. Terms and conditions, of course, apply.

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The Thought Processes Of A Serial Hearthstone Loser

By Alec Meer on August 1st, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

I’m pretty new to Hearthstone, Blizzard’s none-more-slick digital card game. I’ve just about clawed past the point where I’m randomly spamming stuff and hoping for the best, and now have a custom deck I’m continually tweaking and a few solid wins under my belt. Now I’m no longer facing total greenhorns, it’s a different game. I’m losing a lot. This doesn’t particularly depress me, as I know the key is learning, and I know that I’ve got a whole lot of that left to do. It’s rare for me to not run a mile at that kind of prospect, but Hearthstone’s doing a great job of pulling me back and making me battle human opponents – years-long entrenchment is slowing being eroded. I’ll probably do a few videos while I continue to learn the ropes, but let’s start with one that reveals my exact thought processes during a particularly embarrassing match, which involved an epic comeback from my opponent.
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Tiny Wizard Is A Tiny Free Download, Dev Wants Feedback

By Graham Smith on August 1st, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

Definitely tiny.

Tiny Wizard is about a hot pink little wizard kicking spider butts with laser blasts. Tiny Wizard is a “procedural death labyrinth”, which is a death-heavy dungeon crawler for those too respectful to invoke Rogue. Tiny Wizard is this freely downloadable alpha from a developer soliciting feedback. Tiny Wizard is, based on my short play experience, already as fun as the trailer-length GIF below suggests.

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Zed Is (Not) Dead – Z: Steel Soldiers Comes To Steam

By Graham Smith on August 1st, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

We could just spend all day, every day writing about the ancient games being re-released via Steam, but this is one people actually care about. Z: Steel Soldiers, the Bitmap Brothers RTS and sequel to Z, lands on the service later today. There’s a new trailer below, but first I want someone to explain to me: why did you like this game?

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Beyond Good & Evil 2 Continues As Ancel Goes A Bit Indie

By Alice O'Connor on August 1st, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

Still waiting.

It’s nice to have a reminder that Ubisoft really do intend to release Beyond Good & Evil 2, isn’t it? After six years, I don’t really think of it as an actual game I might play one day, more a pleasant idea I’m glad Ubisoft still share. The latest of many casual statements that yeah, they’re thinkin’ about it too comes to assuage concerns after news that BG&E head honcho Michel Ancel (of Rayman fame too) is going indie. Sort of.

Ancel has joined a new small indie outfit, named Wild Sheep, but will continue to work at Ubi too.

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The Flare Path: Belt-Fed, Bipod-Mounted, Beer-Cooled

By Tim Stone on August 1st, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

For the last three years this column has used an ancient bolt-action Lee-Metford to dispense sim and wargame news. This week, as an experiment, we’ll be trialling a far more modern fact flinger, the MG 42K. According to its manual, this Mauser-manufactured marvel can fire 20 separate story snippets in under a minute! Obviously, the high ROF comes at a price. Accuracy – “especially at the end of long bursts” – can be “slightly compromised” says the bumph. Give me a second to insert my ear plugs and press my cheek against the porcelain-cool steel stock, and we’ll set about finding out what “slightly compromised” means. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mid-Level Loading Be Gone! Thief 3 Gold Mod Leaves Beta

By Alice O'Connor on August 1st, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Gently does it!

A mod removing the mid-level loading from Thief: Deadly Shadows is a good thing. We cooed a bit at the Thief 3 Gold mod before in May when the first beta version arrived–coo!–so now that Version 1.0 is here we’re duty-bound to coo longer, more intensely. CoooOOo! Along with smooshing mission segments into single load-free levels, Gold makes a few other tweaks, including adjusting wonky guard paths and positions.

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Freeware Garden: (The Aptly Named) 3DTextAdventure

By Konstantinos Dimopoulos on August 1st, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Freeware Garden searches the corners of the internet to highlight one free game every day.

Sometimes experiments don’t need one of those fancy imaginative titles and, appropriately, 3DTextAdventure doesn’t have one. It’s content with attempting to do what it says on the tin and, crucially, succeeding.

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Wot I Think: Sacred 3

By John Walker on August 1st, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Sacred has always been Diablo’s cheeky little cousin. Made with none of the precision or flair of Blizzard’s series, they’ve been bumbling action-RPGs that have attempted humour, mostly missed, and been generic but inoffensive click-a-thons. Hey folks, that’s all about to change with Sacred 3! This game is properly, unambiguously rubbish. Here’s wot I think:

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