Dote Night: 16 Things Only A Dota 2 Player Understands*

By Philippa Warr on October 1st, 2014.

My two loves: Dota 2 and gifs are coming together for this here Dote Night so buckle in and prepare for LOOPING IMAGES. Here are 16 situations you’ll only get if you play Dota… (I can only apologise)

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Wot I Think (So Far): Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor

By John Walker on October 1st, 2014.

I haven’t finished Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor, because for whatever tiresome reasons Warner refused to give us (and seemingly us alone) code before the game’s release. This is after a couple of lengthy days spent plugging away at what is a huge, detailed, and really rather fantastic brawling action game, set betwixt Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings (and importantly, it’s fun even if you don’t care about either). Here’s wot I think (so far).

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Wot I Think: Endless Legend

By Adam Smith on October 1st, 2014.

A cursory glance might lead you to believe that Endless Legend is a duck. In this instance, Civilization V is the Platonic ideal of the duck and that brief glimpse of Endless Legend shaking its tailfeather might be enough to convince you that it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck. Closer investigation reveals something altogether different though. Sure, it has feathers and you’re likely to find it paddling around and flashing its bum at the world while it grabs something to eat, but Endless Legend might be best thought of as a swan in a pond full of ducks.

Either that or it’s Howard the Duck. Here’s wot I think.

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Have You Played… Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble

By Adam Smith on October 1st, 2014.

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

A game so old that Kieron wrote about it before running away to join the X-Men, or whatever it is he does these days. Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble isn’t quite a product of the Jazz Age that it so stylishly emulates, but it does date from the distant year of 2007.

Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble is a parlour game that has never graced a parlour. It’s a boardgame that never sat heavy upon a board. Set in a high school with a population of flappers, vamps, sophisticates and boys. With your chosen team of dangerous girls, you’ll navigate the turbulent waters of etiquette, rough-housing and petty politics, as well as the mysterious world of adults and the unpleasant games that they play.

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Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Tass Times in Tonetown

By Leigh Alexander on October 1st, 2014.

[I've been doing a series of Let's Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that's one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

A few of you have asked about Tass Times in Tonetown, Michael and Muffy Berlyn’s 1986 love letter to weird neon new-wave. I’d never played it before, so I spent some time with it for the series, and it’s immediately evident to me why it’s so well-loved. There’s so much charming and offbeat detail within — I’d go so far as to assume that many things about Tass Times set the tone for the big adventure game boom of the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s. Perhaps you’ll see what I mean if you watch the video.

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Cardboard Children – Sons of Anarchy

By Robert Florence on September 30th, 2014.

Hello youse.

You all know how I feel about the Spartacus board game. It came in at number one on my list of the 50 Best Games Of All Time. (It’s worth mentioning that Cosmic Encounter was so high on the list it hovered ABOVE the top spot, as the best board game of all time.) Now, Spartacus was based on a TV show that I’ve never watched. Regardless, it was a slam dunk from the first play.

Now comes Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem. Another board game from the same company who brought us Spartacus. Another game based on a show that I’ve never seen. Can Gale Force Nine do it again?

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Virginia Hands-On: 30 Flights Of Lynchian

By Alec Meer on September 30th, 2014.

Virginia is an upcoming first-person ‘interactive drama’ infused with unabashed Twin Peaks and X-Files influences, which had already very much piqued the interest of Alice and Adam. I played a short demo build at the EGX games show over the weekend.

It’s not fair on any game that’s primarily about tone and mood to experience it whilst sat a stone’s throw from a man bellowing into a PA system about Street Fighter. That was murder-mystery Virginia’s lot at EGX, sadly, but testament to how well its demo pulls off a languid Lynch-does-police-procedural style is that I nonetheless had a moment when I closed my eyes and let its sounds – and all they meant – wash over me.
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DG 2: Defense Grid 2 – Wot I Think

By Alec Meer on September 30th, 2014.

Defense Grid 2 sees you building elaborate mazes of mounted guns which shoot, burn, zap, freeze and otherwise slaughter vast armies of dumb aliens who are attempting to steal ‘cores’ from a techno-thingy at the centre of the level. In other words, it’s tower defence. It’s also the sequel to one of the most-acclaimed and charming tower defence games around. Privately invested into existence after a failed Kickstarter last year, it was released on Steam last week. Here’s wot I think.
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Have You Played… Anachronox?

By Alec Meer on September 30th, 2014.

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Aka ‘the one where a talking planet joins your party.’ Sure, Deus Ex gets all the Ion Storm cred, but let’s not forget that the other half of the John Romero-founded outfit also pulled off something pretty special, with gonzo roleplaying adventure Anachronox. Robo-chums, malignant aliens and interplanetary detective-work might be the superficial appeal, but it’s the strength of ideas, wit and cheerful weirdness that keeps it an essential part of the PC back catalogue.

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Interview: Gearbox On Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

By Paul Dean on September 30th, 2014.

With every new release, the Borderlands universe becomes increasingly ridiculous. It’s been happening for a while now, with the puns, the slapstick and the hidden pop culture references that pepper Borderlands 2 and further season its DLC. I’m hardly complaining, because I’ve gradually disengaged from the first-person shooter over the last few years, confronted again and again by far too many po-faced, monochrome military affairs. Borderlands 2 has been a welcome exception.

Like a sudden burst of ketchup from a thoroughly-spanked Heinz bottle, even more of that often unsubtle flavouring is set to season our PCs very soon. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel comes out in two weeks. Developed in conjunction with 2K Australia, the Pre-Sequel is exactly what you’d expect from the series: more jokes, more cartoonish violence, more character diversity and a further expansion of a gun collection that would already make any Tom Clancy fan spurt like… well, like a sudden burst of ketchup from a thoroughly-spanked Heinz bottle.

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Wot I Think: Sherlock Holmes – Crimes & Punishments

By John Walker on September 30th, 2014.

In publishing these short sketches based upon the numerous Sherlock Holmes games from Frogwares, it is only natural that I should dwell rather upon their failures than their successes. And this is not so much for the sake of their disreputation – for, indeed, it was when I was at my wits’ end that my energy and vitality were most miserable – but because where they failed is where one should not spend one’s money. And this one’s rubbish. Of Crimes & Punishments, here’s wot I deduced.

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The Lighthouse Customer: TUG

By Christopher Livingston on September 29th, 2014.

I'm here to chew gum and kick ass and I'm all out of... enthusiasm.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, a little digging, a little building, and a lot of failing in survival crafting sandbox TUG.

I’ve survived the survival modes of many survival games, and I went into TUG figuring it wouldn’t be any different: I’d whip up a house, dig a mine, get my smelt on, build an arsenal, kill whatever animals were around, and consider the game conquered. Instead, I built half a house, dug a shallow hole, got killed by a cat, and spent the rest of the time fighting with the smallest backpack in video game history.

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Editorial: We Need The BBC In Videogames

By Graham Smith on September 29th, 2014.

We know what television is. We also know what the publicly-funded BBC’s role in television is. Neither was the case in 1945. All that people knew then was that both the BBC and television itself had tremendous power, and that they were going to be important in the decades ahead. So people sat down and said: what is this new medium; what could it be used for; and how do we make sure that whatever happens, it’s used for the benefit of all people?

We should be doing the same for videogames. The BBC should be doing the same for videogames.

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