P-p-pick Up A SpaceChem: GOG Now Supports Linux

By Alice O'Connor on July 24th, 2014.

Shut up about that pun. Look, these fine penguins are from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Penguins_walking_-Moltke_Harbour,_South_Georgia,_British_overseas_territory,_UK-8.jpg

“The year of the Linux desktop” is a phrase people have tossed around with increasing irony since the nineties, but it was never going to arrive explosively. Linux has slowly grown and spread into homes through friendly distributions like Ubuntu and Mint, installed as easy and safer alternatives to Windows or to freshen up old duffers (my netbook is Minty fresh now). Games have followed.

Steam and Humble Bundles have helped urge devs to make Linux versions, and now GOG are in on it. The virtuous virtual vendor of vintage (and virgin) video games launched Linux support today, starting with 50-odd games new and old. It’s the first official Linux store release for some. And loads of them are on sale too.

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Top-Down Tracy: Third Eye Crime

By Adam Smith on July 24th, 2014.

I’ve been playing Light, the top-down cyber-stealth game published by Team 17, and the art style has set me to thinking about the visuals of stealth. Light has a clean design, like a sedated and sanitised Monaco, which lends itself well to sneaky route-planning. I’ll most likely write more about that game when I’ve completed it, but I mention it here because of its similarities to the just-released Third Eye Crime. Both have the player avoiding guards’ cones of sight while infiltrating buildings but the aesthetic design is worlds apart. Light’s style and substance are in colour-coded harmony, while Third Eye Crime offers a new perspective on noirish comic books.

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Adventurezator: When Pigs Fly Early Accessinated

By Ben Barrett on July 24th, 2014.

Our last mention of the ridiculously-titled Adventurezator: When Pigs Fly was Craig giving it his definitive “hmm” and “yes alright” when they were on Kickstarter a year ago. The idea was in two parts: a drag ‘n’ drop tool for making adventure games, and an actual adventure game built with that tool. After punching through their $20k goal with a cool $4k extra, they’ve now ended up on Early Access with the bare bones of their project. They’re honest in that they need more money to get it finished and have a plan for the rest of development, up to a release this winter. Check that out, and a trailer, below.

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Sounds Familiar: Doom 2 In Name Only

By Alice O'Connor on July 24th, 2014.

What would you expect from a level named Courtyard?

“Imagine a world where Doom II was never released, and the levels never saw the light of day. The only bit of information that ever saw the light of day were the titles of the 32 maps, cryptic as can be. What kind of map would ‘The Crusher’ be, or ‘O of Destruction,’ who knows?”

That beautiful thought from Liz Ryerson (who Cara recently embedded with) sparked Doom 2 In Name Only, a community project where members of the Doomworld forums reimagined Doom II’s campaign based purely on its level names. D2INO was released in June, 666 days after starting. It’s worth waiting for a number like that to roll around when dabbling in Doom (‘cos Satans etc).

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Conspiracies Galore: Episodic RPG Majestic Nights

By Alice O'Connor on July 24th, 2014.

In which our hero fails to charm the bouncer.

Conspiracy theories are fanfic for reality, aren’t they? That particular sort which knows how stories should really have gone. They pack history with exciting twists and turns, jazzing up origin stories with alien intervention, adding excitement and danger to even aeroplane vapour trails, splashing in sexy murders all over the place, and revealing that beloved characters are actually lizard people.

They are all, of course, entirely true. Majestic Nights knows this too. It’s a period RPG set during the ’80s, with two playable characters tangled up in the deepest, darkest conspiracies. Though I suspect it’ll ‘conveniently’ leave out the lizard people.

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Dramagame Technology: Velvet Sundown

By Adam Smith on July 24th, 2014.

a game about sentient hairstyles and their human hosts

As soon as I read the press release, it was inevitable that I would be spending time inside Velvet Sundown‘s ‘roleplaying game’/'social experiment’. It is the first in the ‘brand new genre of Dramagame‘ and I want to be one of the first actors in that genre. Sadly, I’m far too busy to dive in right now but the game is available, for free, on Steam. Set on board a luxury yacht, it’s a roleplaying game in all of the ways that The Crew isn’t. No action sequences, no power-ups, no collectibles – just a group of players attempting to perform the roles they are assigned. Like Spy Party, except up close and personal, and therefore open to all manner of immersion-shattering behaviour.

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Heroes Of The Storm Alpha Update: Orcs & Artifacts

By Ben Barrett on July 23rd, 2014.

I know it would be embarrassing to change the name again but ... I mean, come on.

“Me too!” cries Heroes of the Storm as it sprints after big siblings League of Legends and Dota 2. “No,” they say as they slip behind the bike sheds, “you can play when you’re older.” Infinite Crisis titters in the background, the nerdy friend who gets in because it does their homework. Heroes of the Storm stamps its feet and sulks. It just wants to share its new patch.

I’d basically forgotten about Heroes since Pip’s hands-on report in April. The ongoing “Technical Alpha” is still invite-only and mostly unavailable to regular humans, but Blizzard are still blitzing out information about the patches to the general populace. The latest adds a new map, a new hero and changes customisation and progression options.

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Get Out Of Here: Areal Kickstarter Suspended

By Alice O'Connor on July 23rd, 2014.

Howl.

“Spiritual successor to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with its lead designer onboard” seems a foolproof Kickstarter pitch but crumbs, Areal has become a comedy of errors. Beset by accusations of lies and scamming (some, at least, unfounded), developers West Games lashed out with the worst PR-ing I’ve seen, claiming everyone was out to get them rather than addressing legitimate concerns.

It’s not wholly surprising, then, to see that Kickstarter have suspended the campaign. It had two days left to go, and had passed its funding goal. West Games say everyone’s out to get them, but they will persevere.

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Thieves, Cyborgs & Hitmen: The Humble Square Enix Bundle

By Alice O'Connor on July 23rd, 2014.

This bundle does not include Killing Floor.

$15 is a very fair price for Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut, Just Cause 2, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, and Kane & Lynch 2, if you don’t already own them. It’s still not bad even if you do have some. That you’d also get at least a dozen other games, ranging in quality from old Thief (at the high end) to Daikatana (on the low), is just gravy.

Square Enix are flogging 16 or so games cheap in the latest Humble Bundle, coming in three tiers depending on how much you fancy spending. It’s well worth a look.

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You’re Probably Prepared: Curse of Naxxramas Released

By Ben Barrett on July 23rd, 2014.

The left hand side of this image lovingly dedicated to Richard Cobbett

As we enter the third year of the Valve-Blizzard-Riot war for all of the money, everywhere, ever, the latest offensive from the mega-juggernaut weather system has arrived. While the above picture is supposedly a marketing image, I choose to believe it’s a photograph of Mike Morhaime offering up this morsel to those who’d broken the Hearthstone habit. Curse of Naxxramas is the first expansion to the free-to-play, difficult-to-quit card game and went live last night, with the first of five “wings” free to all who step foot in it before September.

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The Creed Of Speed: The Crew’s Closed Beta

By Adam Smith on July 23rd, 2014.

I’m not cruising around inside The Crew’s closed beta so I’m going to analyse the content based entirely on the video below. It’s the video that has finally pulled back the curtain for me, revealing the man yanking the levers that create the illusion of ‘open world driving’. What I’ve learned is that The Crew is very much in the Ubisoft open world mould, which means lots of icons scattered across a map, a thousand different tasks jostling for attention, and what looks like just enough connective tissue to tie focal points together. But is it a grander take on Burnout Paradise or something more akin to Assetto’s Creed?

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Gone Home And Moon Dock At Verde Station

By Alice O'Connor on July 23rd, 2014.

Gone Home. To space. Like a space man. A space Sam.

A year alone in space and it’ll find anyone, They say: space madness. The big black boredom. The horizonless heebie-jeebies. The endless ennui. Lunarcy. A year aboard Verde Station tending plants with only an AI for company and the mundane might start to seem very weird indeed.

All of which is to say that Verde Station is a video game, a first-person explorer set about a space station where you’re all alone. I’m getting a big hit of Gone Home with a bosh of Moon, and I dig it.

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PC Gaming Alliance Reforms With Mobile As Open Gaming

By Alice O'Connor on July 23rd, 2014.

Poor dodo :(

“To advance the PC as a worldwide gaming platform” was the mission statement of the PC Gaming Alliance upon formation in 2008. Microsoft, Intel, Epic, AMD, Nvidia, Activision, and other big names were dedicated to the exciting but vague cause. It’s now even vaguer, as the PC Gaming Alliance has embraced mobile gaming and branded itself as the Open Gaming Alliance.

All we’ve really seen from the nonprofit over the years is reports telling us people spend money on PC games. One big goal it stated was assuaging system requirement confusion through certifying gaming PCs, but it’s never come together. That particular plan’s seemed futile since Microsoft and Nvidia left in 2011. Many others have left over the years too.

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