Let’s Chatter Over… Action Henk’s Toy-stalgic Butt Sliding

By Nathan Grayson on July 11th, 2014.

Are videogames art? Or are they toys, children’s playthings powered by tech so cutting-edge that it can cut the edges off other edges? Action Henk replies with a curt, confident, “Why not both?” It’s a toy-themed (think Toy Story) racer-platformer that hearkens to classics like old-school Sonic as well as modern leaderboard-driven stunt games like Trials. It’s simple and, as a result, refreshingly pure. It’s just you, the level, and your own easy-to-learn, hard-to-master bag of tricks. You vs other people’s times, you vs NPC ghosts, you vs yourself. It’s already quite good, is what I’m saying, and it’s only in Early Access. Watch below to see me play a bit and show off some of my favorite levels so far. Also I literally die in a fire on a few occasions, which should be fun for some of you.

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The Flare Path: Devoted To Dovetail

By Tim Stone on July 11th, 2014.

Dovetail Games’ vision and mission statements are remarkably similar to The Flare Path’s. Replace “company” with “column”, “hobbies” with “articles”, and “delight and retain customers” with “debag and retrain readers” and they’re pretty much identical. Whether we see eye to eye on flight simulation matters remains to be seen. I was rather hoping that this week’s word slab would serve as a Rosetta Stone to the exciting but enigmatic press release issued by Dovetail on Wednesday. Searching questions were sent Kent-ward, lengthy responses received, yet somehow I still find myself confused by the Chathamites’ aerial intentions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wot I Think – The Wolf Among Us Episode 5: Cry Wolf

By Alec Meer on July 11th, 2014.

Well, how to do this without spoilers? “In the final episode of the first season of Telltale’s adaptation of/prequel to comic series Fables, the current storyline is concluded semi-satisfactorily and there are more quick-time events than usual.” There you go, we’re done here.

Fine. FINE. You want more? Fine.
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Week in Tech: Ode To The HDD, More On AMD Mantle

By Jeremy Laird on July 10th, 2014.


And so on this 10th day of the seventh month, the year of our Lord two thousand and 14, the final hard disk drive verily came to pass. And there was much rejoicing. Or should that be wailing and gnashing of spindles and platters? Whatever, Hitachi has unleashed what it claims is the highest performing and largest 10,000rpm HDD. Like, ever! Actually, I think an additional qualifier may be its 2.5-inch form factor. But either way, with cheap SSDs now approaching the point where you might consider one for mass storage, let alone boot drive duties, the Hitachi Ultrastar C10K1800 – ye shall know it by its name, etc – feels very much like a swansong. Meanwhile, momentum appears to actually be building for AMD’s Mantle graphics API. Does that mean performance-enhancing magic for all AMD graphics owners? Death to Nvidia? Or just a temporary blip on the road to DX12?
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Impressions: The Triumphs And Struggles Of Xenonauts

By Adam Smith on July 10th, 2014.

Xenonauts is a spiritual successor to UFO: Enemy Unknown, which means that it’s also a spiritual successor to many of the most tense and glorious hours of my teenage years. Following a successful Kickstarter and a period in Early Access, the game has been available for almost a month now. With its loyal approach to the original design, Xenonauts doesn’t step on XCOM’s toes, but I wondered if it could succesfully muscle in on the original game’s territory. Several days of playing later, I have the answer. And some anecdotes about intra-squad romance.

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Hands On: Due Process

By Graham Smith on July 10th, 2014.

All of this art will change, but I like the way it looks now.

Due Process is a tactical, team-based multiplayer first-person shooter inspired by SWAT, Rainbow Six and Counter-Strike. After I wrote about its first trailer, the developer’s invited me along to a testing session so I could play it for myself. It is, as the trailer asserts, “alpha as fuck.” It’s also tons of fun.

“I’m going to kick it.”

There’s a thud of a door being kicked open from the other side of the building. The gunfire, between two of our team and the criminals inside, begins immediately. “Blow it, blow it, blow it.”

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Best Boardgames: The Complete Cardboard Children Top 50

By RPS on July 10th, 2014.

It is very easy to lose things when living in the thrall of the endless bear. You make something, you put it down and suddenly it’s gone, lost over the horizon. You type some words into the search box to try to find it again but, alas, the Rock Paper Shotgun Search-O-Tron 3000 returns nothing.

And so here we are, to gather Rab’s Complete Top 50 Boardgames posts into a single set of links, better that you might bookmark it, print it out, study it, love it. Did you ever wonder what boardgames you should play? We’ve got five videos and five articles that will tell you.

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Dote Night: Fairness, Tactics And The Poirot Of Esports

By Philippa Warr on July 9th, 2014.

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart.

“Dota 2 is not about kills, it’s not about how many towers you can take, it’s about killing the throne. That’s the game”

I’m talking to Alliance’s manager Kelly Ong Xiao Wei about the “rat Dota” tag you’ll often hear applied to her team. I’ve been thinking about the phrase since I overheard her asking one of the Dota 2 commentators at ESL One to stop using it. Her point is that it’s not a neutral term. Rat Dota is also a judgement on the team and it implies they’re using an inferior or unworthy playstyle. That’s why she’s asking the casters to refrain from using it. But the more I think about the problem the more I wonder if there’s another solution.

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Impressions – Habitat: A Thousand Generations In Orbit

By Alec Meer on July 9th, 2014.

Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit is a strategy/simulation/survival game about constructing an improbable spacecraft out of debris floating in a post-disaster Earth’s orbit. It’s out on Early Access now.

The first time you move is incredible. You’ve slowly built this absurd, rickety contraption of rockets, buses, burger restaurants, fire-breathing animatronic T-Rex heads and cruise liners, and it looks like a stiff breeze would tear it into so many lethal pieces. Yet now you have to fire up assorted jet engines and thrusters, and make this absurdist space hulk travel across the skies. Never mind that there are deadly, mine-spitting nanoclouds and inconveniently-placed explosive gas cannisters strewn about Earth’s orbit – simply going up and a bit left feels comparable to asking a massive, skinheaded Londoner in a red and white football shirt if he’s a Tottenham supporter.
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How Epic Hopes To Avoid Pay-To-Win With Fortnite

By Nathan Grayson on July 9th, 2014.

Fortnite is, technically speaking, Epic’s first free-to-play game. The crayola colored smash-and-shoot-and-loot-and-build-er is being designed primarily as a co-op thing, but with persistent MMO-style progression underlying it all. There’s also still-nascent PVP in the works, further necessitating balance in the name of fair fun. Fortnite is, however, a giant mixed bag of moving parts, multiple genres (action, building, crafting, a Gears-of-War-style horde mode, etc) mashed together. How do you make all of that free-to-play without mucking it up?

I asked producer Roger Collum about Epic’s plans, influences from games like League of Legends and Team Fortress 2, the potential emergence of a tedious grind with things like XP boosters in the mix, whether or not you can really equate time and money as free-to-play devs so often do, and more. It’s all below.

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Cardboard Children – Merchant of Venus

By Robert Florence on July 8th, 2014.

Hello youse.

Many thanks for watching that epic Top 50 Board Games of all time video series. I had a lot of fun doing it, and it made me revisit a lot of my favourite games. Today we’ll talk about something new. Merchant of Venus is a trading game set in space, and it’s considered a bit of a classic. Does it still stand up today? Read on.

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A Mysterious State Of Mind: Virginia Interview

By Adam Smith on July 8th, 2014.

Virginia set up camp in our collective consciousness the moment we saw its stylish agents and what looked like a small town diner. Inspired by Twin Peaks, The Outer Limits and The X-Files, it’s a game about the investigation into a missing person case in one of America’s first States. This is an America in touch with its fictional history as well as its actual past, and I wanted to know more about how those influences will sit together, and how the game would actually play. I also took the opportunity to ask the team about a few of their favourite things. The team are designer/writer Jonathan Burroughs, animator/artist Terry Kenny and composer Lyndon Holland. Here are their answers.

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Video Preview: Epic’s Fortnite Is… Interesting, Early

By Nathan Grayson on July 8th, 2014.

For the past many years, Epic was known as the One True King of console grimdark. Gears of War was about colossal mountain men with veins running rivulets through their stone hewn necks and stubble-dappled chins, their rage matched only by their apocalyptic sorrow and love of running in slow motion to popular songs that described their situation eerily well. But now we have, well, pretty much the opposite. Fortnite is bright, silly, and PC-only. It’s also basically Gears of War’s ever-popular horde mode plus Minecraft, Left 4 Dead, and a bunch of its own ingredients. It’s certainly unique, but I don’t think it’s great. Yet. Watch below to hear my impressions after a full day of playing a pre-alpha build.

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