Archive for 2007

Mountain of Joy

Avez-vous joué la démo de Montjoie? You should. It’s tres bon. Tchounga Games, a fledgling French studio, have taken a relatively obscure Hundred Years War board game and turned it into the kind of light, lively historical TBS that weary wargamers like moi adore.

The catch is the demo isn’t available in English yet. To maximise your chances of conquering 15th Century France you’re going to need either a smattering of French or a play primer like the one that follows the jump.

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Marvel Dies, Wolfenstein Lives

Well, hello. I’ve just gone six days without the internet. Cursed steam-age parents. Remind me to never, ever leave my house again.

Clearly, I’ve a lot of news to catch up on, once I’ve finished staring in fascinated horror at some of the angry reader comments on the Eurogamer Top 50 Games of 2007 feature, which all four of us RPSites contributed to enthusiastically. My prediction: by 2009, Halo and Mario fans will have reached such numbers and ferocity that they’ll have formed their own nation, constantly at war with the rest of the Earth.

One story that has caught my haggard post-Christmas eye is another suggestion that Cryptic’s Marvel Universe Online MMO is dead, as originally rumoured back in November.
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Bargain Basement

So, you wanted a Weighted Companion Cube plush toy, but never managed to get one in time for Christmas? Never fear! You can surely be one of the lucky few to pick one up from eBay for a snip!

Only $8 shipping!

That’s right, for only $290.00 you could be the owner of your very own soft cube from off of a videogame. Why delay? Buy today!

But wait, there’s more! If you buy a Weighted Companion Cube plush today, we’ll throw in this bar of gold bullion, and bag of diamonds!

Thanks to some guy or other called Jeep for pointing this out to us.

Advent Calender: The Followers

You were almost certainly one of the almost-infinite hordes who gathered around the universes’ internet connections to discover whether or not RPS were going to devour chocolate today. If so, after the endeavor was over, you may have been left wondering why certain games didn’t make the cut.

Good or baaaaad?

Here’s where. Why did we ignore Supreme Commander? Why wasn’t a game about slapping quite enough? Do we actually hate RPGs? Answers to these questions, and more, beneath the cut.

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Paintball 2.0

Need a completely free game? (And delightfully, free as in speech, as well as in beer, published under the GPL). How about Paintball 2.0?

Less bruising than real life.

Using a modified Quake 2 engine (but not needing Quake 2), what it exchanges in graphics it makes up for in speed. And although simple, there’s some really nice level design here. As you’ll have guessed, it’s a multiplayer paintball game. But unlike real-life paintball, it doesn’t SUCK OUT LOUD. Wow, I hate paintball. What a stupid, stupid way to spend your time. It bloody hurts, and the only way it can possibly be fun is if you get to vet every single person taking part for being not a complete shithead. But that won’t happen because whenever you play there will be a group of neanderthals from a stag do, who think it’s just so bloody funny to ruin everything by playing like morons, ignoring all the rules, and shouting their oh-so witty nicknames for each other before belly laughing at them for the 945th, then announcing just quite how much beer they’re going to drink that night.

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X Motor Racing Demo

I’ve just been having a look at the demo of X Motor Racing, an indie racing game that prides itself on its realistic car physics and damage modeling. As if to prove that the physics are realistic you can even press the ‘3’ key to bring up a physics overlay, which explains the stresses and forces on each of the tires, as well as adding big pink arrows to them to illustrate something or other about grip and/or wheel-physics.

Numbers and cars. It's a match made in Swindon

Irritatingly the demo doesn’t feature all the physics options or any of the damage modeling – which seems to me to be one of the crucial things you’d want to show off in a demo. Nevertheless it’s an reasonable entertaining car game, and the digital download is DRM free, so you can burn it to disc and install it on your reinstalled PCs and laptops on demand. How refreshing.

The Age of Decadence Trailer

I cannot think of a time when I’ve seen more polite combat.


Gametrailers, it is toward you that we aim our thanks cannon.

I find this is a lot more fun to watch if you narrate it with comments like,

“Ouch, do you mind?”
“Gosh, your sword came awfully close to striking my face there old chap.”
“Goodness me, I’m quite exhausted from all this. I’m going to have a bit of a lie down.”

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Girls Who Gank Boys

Runescape, actually
Mediamark Research & Intelligence, a sinister-sounding consumer survey group, has concluded from its 26,000 person survey sample that just under 80% of American children aged 6-11 play games online on a regular basis.

The percentage of boys and girls who played online games was virtually the same, 77.7% vs. 78.5%, respectively. Boys, however, were much more likely to report they went online to get “Tips” or “Cheats” for their gaming.

You can read the full PDF release just here. And what does that tell us about gaming? Well, perhaps it tells us that my generation, that thinks itself so gamer-orientated, will nothing to the generations of ubiquitous gamerdom to come. Those boys are going to Ebay some serious gold, mark my words.

IndieGames.com

Comrade in righteousness Tim W has some news: his blogging on the independent games scene is now going to be found at IndieGames.com. That’s a part of CMP Media’s blog network, which already includes the excellent GameSetWatch and Worlds In Motion. We like to think of them as our sensible cousins from across the pond.

GSW’s Simon Carless explains:

This whole concept started a couple of months ago when Tim announced that he might have to shut the Independent Gaming blog unless he got some help in hosting and partly paying for his time working on the site. We wanted to help out, and we’d already launched IndieGames.com to help educate people about independent games, so having him move his blog over here made a lot of sense.

It surely does. Good work.

As Narbacular Drop Is to Portal

Is that the guy from Doom?

I was just about to do some proper work when I thought this: “Perhaps there’s a room for a blog post looking at indie games that could potentially be the germ of a commercial idea; games that are as Narbacular Drop is to Portal.” Hmm. That does sound better than doing any proper paid work, I must admit.
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Lego Portal

No, not some incredible hybrid game announcement, but an awesome piece of Lego modeling over on Brickshelf.

Today, incidentally, is Boxing Day, or the UK’s official “Day After Christmas Day”. It is traditionally the day that gamers spend the entire day locked in a room playing something awesome. (To be fair, we spent most of yesterday playing videogames too, but hey.) If gaming were a religion, this would probably be our holy day. So that’s what I’m going to to do, right now… But what to play? That copy of The Witcher is looking peculiarly tempting.

What did you get for Christmas, readers?

RPS Advent Game-o-Calendar: December 24th

But one door remains on our RPS-approved fairtrade advent calendar. Behind it lurks the truth, the wonderful, chocolately truth. Our game of the year. And, thank heavens, the end of about half a dozen increasingly laboured running gags. Oh, lawks. We’re going to have to think up new jokes next year, aren’t we? Aaargh.

It’s okay. Let’s not think about tomorrow just yet. Let’s think about right now, and the game behind this final, inviting flap of coloured tree-pulp:

Would you kindly open this calendar?

Whatever could it be? Last chance to guess. The clues are all there. It’s a door, after all. Or, to put it another way… Read the rest of this entry »

EG Top 50 Madness Mayhem Spectacular

While it seems almost impossible that you might need another Christmas run-down, the handsome chaps at Eurogamer have shamelessly copied our idea by starting their annual (oh, wait) Top 50 countdown.

“So, as we often point out, the EG Top 50 is not definitive. Top 50 lists never will be unless they fairly reflect what everyone who plays games thinks, and even then they will be open to criticism because not everyone has played everything. The point of ours is to show you how we approached, digested and now view 2007 collectively. And so we can argue with Alec Meer about how much he likes Peggle.”

It just so happens that you might find witty, incisive comments from us chaps popping up throughout, and if that’s not an incentive to look, then it’s like I don’t even know you. The list continues, 10 games a day, for the rest of the week. So stay tuned, between stuffing yourself with stuffing.

Quite Good Tennis

Eurogamer publishes my preview of Empire of Sports from the same trip Jim described here. Being a preview, I talk about the game a wee bit more, starting like this…

You knew that, eventually, it was coming. Perhaps the only surprise is that it came from a relatively obscure French team rather than one of the mega-publishers. You’d have thought that – say – Electronic Arts would have figured that getting paid twelve times a year may be a better bet than getting paid once for an update. But no. It’s developers F4 – in a joint venture with the financial muscle of Sports Marketing company Infronts – who have had a crack.

And then continuing happily along, as is my previewing-wont.

JETPACKS!

While I weight up the possibility of starting Christmas shopping and/or working out how to get back to my hometown of Stafford, Colin Pyle brings us news that Shacknews brought him news of some leaked footage for something that looks an awful lot like Starsiege Tribes from GarageGames… founded by members of Dynamix… who… made… Starsiege tribes. Woo!

NOT tribes

Garagegames have stressed this is alpha footage and wasn’t meant for anything other the internal use – which always makes me image everyone crawling into the Lead Designer’s guts any time they want to look at it – but it’s over at Shacknews, along with some other captures too. It seems to be part of Garagegames InstantAction initiative, which will be launching next year. If you haven’t heard of it, imagine ULTRA-FLASH meets Post-Steam. Or something.