Hands On: Aer

By John Walker on March 16th, 2015.

I can only imagine the sighs that must have emanated from all working on Aer [official site] when Ubisoft’s Grow Home was released last month. Not because the two games play alike – the similarities are only slight. But wow, do they look the same. The polygonal design of both renders gorgeous green foliage against cerulean skies, growing on floating islands. Aer, of course, has been around since late 2013, while Grow Home was announced then released within the same few weeks. Were Aer due to release soon, its thunder could have been considerably stolen. So it’s perhaps oddly fortunate that the flying/exploring adventure isn’t out until 2016.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

12 Comments »

Have You Played… Dungeon Keeper 2?

By Alec Meer on March 16th, 2015.

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

I’d all but fallen out of PC gaming by the time Dungeon Keeper 2 arrived, but a combination of my student house increasingly preferring electronic entertainment (primarily Tekken) over nightclubs and the news that one of my most beloved games was getting a sequel prompted me to request a graphics card for my birthday. And lo, I got to play DK2 with rudimentary 3D acceleration. I believed it to be beautiful.
Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

43 Comments »

Hands On: Jenny LeClue – Detectivú

By John Walker on March 16th, 2015.

Last year saw the extremely pretty pitch for adventure Jenny LeClue [official site] perform rather well on Kickstarter. Aiming for $65k, they finished with a whopping $105,797. And they also broke new ground by setting a realistic release date! December of 2016. In fact, they’re looking likely to beat that by quite some months, maybe even close to a year. And in order to demonstrate how far they’ve come already, a short demo version of a portion of the game has been created, and will soon be released into the wild. I had an early peek at it last week, and am delighted to report it’s looking really rather good.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

7 Comments »

The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on March 15th, 2015.

Sundays are for returning, after a GDC-enforced absence, to compiling lists of links to the week’s finest games writing. It’s nice to read, isn’t it?

  • Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson launched Offworld this past week, reviving Boing Boing’s videogame wing as a website dedicated to those people most ignored by most other gaming sites. I am not one of those people, but I’m enjoying it all the same. Start anywhere.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    , .

    88 Comments »

    Have You Played… Intrusion 2?

    By Graham Smith on March 14th, 2015.

    Intrusion 2 [official site] is an exercise in escalation. You begin as a soldier with a laser pistol fighting other men with laser pistols. Then there are multi-pronged snake beasts whose arms pluck you out of the air. Then there are men with laser machineguns. Then the men are riding wolves. Then you can ride the wolves. Then you are fighting mechs with swords. Then you can pilot the mechs with swords. Then there’s a helicopter with arms. Then you’re sliding down a mountain using the helicopter’s cockpit as a snowboard while fighting robot snakes that are busting out of the ground from underneath the snow.

    This is, like, the game’s first hour.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , , .

    30 Comments »

    The Bargain Bucket: PAX Hungover

    By Cassandra Khaw on March 14th, 2015.

    I am fresh back from PAX! Which, I might note, was an absolutely bizarre experience. Who knew that not running around like a headless chicken could be so exhausting? Never had I imagined that being stationary, while endlessly repeating the same lines over and over, could be such a challenge. (Seriously, being an exhibitor is tough work. I salute those who have done it repeatedly.) Of course, after having survived the ordeal AND PAX plague, I will soon be off to Iceland where I will freeze to death. Sigh.

    So, how has your week been? Ignoring everything else, mine’s awesome because we have a guest plushie! His/her name is Schwein. It enjoys sunshine, unicorns, sleep, and Don’t Starve. (Thanks for the submission, Lene & D3c0n!)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , .

    39 Comments »

    Multiple Endings vs. Split Ends: The Value Of New Tech

    By Graham Smith on March 14th, 2015.

    But what of the beard?

    I’ve seen Adam Jensen from Deus Ex 4* and his hair is lustrous.

    I like to make the time at every GDC to attend one talk I almost certainly won’t understand, because it’s useful to remind ourselves every now and then of the absurd technology that underpins the games we play. This year I picked Augmented Hair In Deus Ex Universe Projects, because not only does it fit this mission, but I thought I might get lucky and hear a few hints about Deus Ex 4.

    Instead I left the talk with a question: does anyone really care this much about hair?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , , , , , , , .

    70 Comments »

    Video: File System Aging – 3. Another World

    By Robert Florence on March 13th, 2015.

    Hey come watch Rab Florence’s new weekly video series, made just for us. Part one is here, part two is here.

    In the third part of this series about games, time and loss, Rab remembers Another World.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , , , , .

    25 Comments »

    Electric Dreams, Part 3: Alien Ideas For Player Expectations

    By Michael Cook on March 13th, 2015.

    Whether or not it’s taken over the industry yet, artificial intelligence and other experimental ideas have been on the mind of people in games lately. So far in Electric Dreams we’ve focused on why it’s so hard to get innovative and risky new ideas into games, but some games seem to manage to push the limits further than others. We’re going to look at a couple of games trying to do this, how they manage player perception, and talk about a new kind of game development that might help risky ideas find their ways into games.

    A few years ago I found myself at a London games event talking to someone from Creative Assembly. They had a new project, an incredibly secret new project, that they were all very excited about. All they would tell me was that it involved some kind of creature, and that they had worked so hard on the AI for it that people invited to play would spend long periods in a single room, fascinated by this animal, trying to understand how it behaved and how they could exploit it. It was the game that was to become Alien: Isolation, and even long before it was announced everyone at Creative Assembly knew that this game was selling one thing above all else: intelligence.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , , , .

    32 Comments »

    Video(game) Nasties Saved My Life

    By Adam Smith on March 13th, 2015.

    Being a teenager is difficult. Games were very important to me during the most difficult parts of those difficult times and when the going got tough, they helped me to survive.

    This is an occasionally grim story, told with the consent of those involved. It involves self-harm, suicide and mental illness.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , , .

    44 Comments »

    Hands On: Gathering Sky

    By John Walker on March 13th, 2015.

    Gathering Sky (nee Apsis) [official site] is an extremely simple game to play. You guide at first a single bird, then two, then many, through a collection of levels. That’s it. While there are things with which you can interact, there are no particular goals, no puzzles to solve, no targets to reach. And yet I sat compelled as I played almost the whole game in one sitting.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , , , , , .

    6 Comments »

    Have You Played… Starwhal?

    By Philippa Warr on March 13th, 2015.

    This picture is from the single player challenge because every one of my housemates is OUT at the moment

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

    Starwhal [official site] – a game where you play as a space narwhal trying to stab other space narwhals in the heart. There’s also a single player challenge mode which I dip into occasionally but the meat of the game is the competition aspect. Tusks jamming into aortas as you waggle about the arena.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , .

    5 Comments »

    Wot I Think: Sid Meier’s Starships

    By Adam Smith on March 13th, 2015.

    Starships [official site] shares a story and theme with Civilization: Beyond Earth but it’s not part of the Civ family. It’s not part of the Pirates! family either, much to my disappointment. There’s a world of wonder in that exclamation mark, a world in which an inept starship captain blunders from one planet to the next searching for pieces of a galactic treasure map, raids a space station and retires on a distant moon, married to the Lunar Governor’s daughter,

    Starships does not take place in that world. After playing for a couple of days, I find myself wishing that it did. Here’s wot I think.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , , , , , .

    35 Comments »