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Greenlit: Black Mesa, Zomboid, McPixel, More

The saga of Steam Greenlight has, thus far, been packed with unexpected surprises, whiplash-inducing twists, and sudden bursts of lava-like sensuality. Unfortunately, hardly any of it has been related to actual, you know, games. Instead, Greenlight itself and its (in some cases, not-so-well-explained) policies have hogged the spotlight, with Valve doing its best to tweak and modify the system as it goes along. Now, though, the first batch of community-tested, Valve-approved games is getting its chance to shine. Also, one of them is Half-Life.

Not that Half-Life, you sillies. This one just stars the same guy and kept us waiting even longer and tries valiantly to adhere to the same design principles. In addition to Black Mesa, Cry of Fear, Dream, Heroes & Generals, Kenshi, McPixel, No More Room in Hell, Project Zomboid, Routine, and Towns will all soon (or soon-ishly) be appearing on Steam.

Now then, some things to note: Black Mesa, Cry of Fear, and No More Room in Hell are all mods, so it seems like those are officially supported by Greenlight. That said, they’re also mods of Valve games, so only time will tell how keen the PC gaming powerhouse is on mods for less noteworthy games and – for that matter – how they’re listed and categorized.

Also, there’s the matter of the rating system’s mysterious inner-workings. None of these games, for instance, saw their ratings rocket up and ding the 100 percent bell. Instead, Valve simply picked the top ten (Black Mesa came in first at 49 percent) with the exception of co-op portion of Slender’s unending one-tricky pony show, Slender: Source (which, interestingly, was in second at 35 percent; I plan to investigate this). So that’s how the system works. For now, anyway.

OH YEAH, THE GAMES. You already know Black Mesa, McPixel’s an explosive adventure minigame thing with an incredibly short fuse, Project Zomboid is a fantastic zombie sanbox survival sim that’s had its fair share of hard times during development, and Heroes & Generals is an extremely ambitious WWII FPS/RTS whose battles span modes, days, and different platforms. Cry of Fear and No More Room in Hell, meanwhile, both seem horror-focused, but I don’t know them quite as well. Same with Routine, except it’s already sold me with one phrase: “first person survival-horror set on a abandoned Moon Base designed around an ’80s vision of the future.” Dream’s also first-person, but focused on atmosphere, while Kenshi’s a massive (400 kilometers!) freeform RPG, and Towns is a Dwarf-Fortress-inspired to-do whose depth hopefully makes up for its, er, un-prettiness.

These sound worth getting excited about. I think I’m going to go ahead and do that. They haven’t been added to the storefront yet, but some are “are ready to be released immediately,” so look for them – well, by that standard – a couple hours ago.

 

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Nathan Grayson

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