Author Archive

Have You Played… Tekken?

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

My first encounter with the angry polygons of Tekken was on a sticky arcade cabinet in a Catalonian holiday resort. I liked this holiday. There was a massive pool, where a bigger boy once dunked me and held my head under the water. “The fool,” I thought, “Doesn’t he know I’m an Iron Fist champion?” Read the rest of this entry »

We were after one guy, say malware flight simmers

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A flight sim company who put malware in one of their jets now say they were only after one person, in an attempt to downplay how many users were affected by what they described as “DRM”. As we reported yesterday, Flight Sim Labs normally sell planes to players of Flight Simulator X, but they recently included a malicious file called ‘test.exe’ in an installer for a popular airbus (you might have seen it if you’ve flown with EasyJet). The malware was designed to dump usernames and passwords saved in the Chrome browser. When this was discovered, the head of the company said the malware was targeted at pirates. It only ‘activated’ if the person installing the plane was using a pirated key to do so, he said. But they now claim they were using the clandestine .exe file to target a single, specific person. Read the rest of this entry »

Flight sim group put malware in a jet and called it DRM

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Update: The developers now say they were hunting for one single pirate.

A company who makes add-ons for Flight Simulator X included malware in one of their downloadable jets, players have alleged. The malicious file is called ‘test.exe’ and it is designed to extract passwords from the Chrome web browser, according to the user who discovered it. The company in question, Flight Sim Labs, have since replaced the dirty jet with a clean one. But they say that to claim the file “indiscriminately dumps Chrome passwords” is “not correct information”, adding that the malware was “only extracted temporarily” and that it was targeted at pirates. The head of the company describes the file as “DRM”. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… this mystery game?

A classic

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

A timeless classic. This game has been indulged by children and adults alike for so many decades that its artistry, ingenuity and grace cannot be denied. It is, without a doubt, one of the best games ever to sprout from mankind’s imagination. But what is it? Look below and you’ll find out. Read the rest of this entry »

THQ Nordic buy up Saints Row and Metro

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THQ Nordic, publishers of the Darksiders games and recent jankfest Elex, have bought Koch Media, the companies have announced. Koch are the father-company of Deep Silver, who publish games like Saints Row, Metro, Dead Island, and Homefront: The Revolution. That means THQ Nordic now own alllll of those bad boys, among others. Due to all the combined plates this company now spins, they could now make a game where the hero of Mighty No. 9 fights jazzy paint-monster De Blob in a doomed bid for supremacy on Mars, aka, Red Faction 3. Although, they probably shouldn’t do that. Read the rest of this entry »

Blanka lights up Street Fighter V next week

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It’s the big mon himself. Blanka, the beast-like brawler who first appeared in Street Fighter II, is coming to Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition next week, on February 20. He’s still got them electrics, he’s still likes to roll around and savage his opponents with his claws, and he’s still upset at the world for accidentally leaving him in the Amazon jungle for most of his formative years. But maybe that’s all about to change in his upcoming story mode. “One day,” says a post from Capcom, “a suspicious salesman approaches him and offers a way to make Blanka famous by mass producing a doll made in Blanka’s likeness.” Wanna see Blanka dressed up as that doll? I have a picture right here. Read the rest of this entry »

A Case of Distrust is a noir tale with many inspirations

3. Shoot him dead

I was sitting at my desk stubbing my cigarette out on my ‘to do’ list when the call came in. “Godammit!” shouted the chief. “Where’s my Monday news post! Alice is off and there’s been nothing on the website for hours!” He was angry. I could tell from the context of the words I’ve just written. Angry as a big dog. I lit another cigarette using the heat of my CPU, cracked my fingers a full 360 degrees, and dived into my in-tray. I pulled out the first thing that didn’t feel wet. A game called A Case of Distrust. It was a detective game, described as a mash-up of 80 Days, Phoenix Wright, and the board game Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. With inspiration from Raymond Chandler novels and the title sequences and poster art of Saul Bass. I spat out some lint. Then some more lint. Actually, my cigarette had fallen apart in my mouth, it was tobacco. I vomited. I continued my work. Did nobody tell the developer of this game they are only allowed to mix two things? How am I supposed to write my headline? I can’t write “This game is X meets Y” when there’s also a Z and a Þ and a ð? This is all too much for a Monday. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

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There’s a race of beings in Final Fantasy XII called the Bangaa. They have the snout of a crocodile, the squat of an ape and the arms of an entire gymnasium. Their ears are colourful leathery drapes, their lips adorned with piercings and trinkets. One of them, a shopkeeper called Migelo, resembles a rehabilitated Watto. Others are menacing bounty hunters. But they all have strange voices. Not otherworldly or fantastical, I mean strange in the sense that the voice actors can’t decide between a Scottish, Jamaican or West Country accent, and often speak as hackneyed villains. In a lot of ways, these scaly people encapsulate how I feel about this late-to-the-PC-party JRPG. They are both good-looking and incredulous. Flawed works of biological art that I can’t help but like, even when my better judgement often says “no”. Read the rest of this entry »

Mountain biker Descenders is out in early access

Weeeeeeeeeeeeee oh no

Hello. If you fancy breaking your neck and tumbling downhill through a dense patch of conifers, you’re in luck. Descenders, the mountain biking game with roguelite undertones, is out in early access today. I wasn’t wholly convinced of its muddy cycling when I tried a preview copy but I did enjoy all the painful giffage that resulted in my doomed attempts to get past the second level. So maybe you’ll be into that. Then again, maybe not. I don’t know. We’ve barely spoken since that night in July. Read the rest of this entry »

Rust is out of early access – here are its best patch notes

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The nasty, brutish and (often) short survival game Rust has finally crept out of its early access cave today and is sauntering around firing shotgun shells of joy into the sky and also into bodies of people it doesn’t know and doesn’t trust. That’s a simplistic reduction of a five-year process which has seen this Prometheus of the survival genre go from being a janky axe-flailer to a more polished gunslinger. How can we possibly chart all the small changes that shaped this game’s development? I know! By looking at its patch notes without context. Read the rest of this entry »

Rust’s designer on casting off the early access ‘crutch’

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In Rust, everything comes from a single rock. From rifles to radiation suits, it’s all thanks to a naked caveman hitting things with a big stone. Today, if you were to examine a family tree of the survival genre, you’d see Subnautica and No Man’s Sky sitting on the same level. Distant cousins who can’t stand to be in the same room as each other. Whether they like it or not, Rust is their common ancestor, their rock. Of course, you can trace Rust’s lineage back further into DayZ, Minecraft and eternity. I just wanted a flowery intro metaphor so you’d come and read an interview with its chief creator.

Today, Rust leaves early access. So we spoke to Garry Newman, head of Facepunch, about survival, Plunkbat and whether leaving early access even means anything anymore. Read the rest of this entry »

Abandon Ship splashing into early access this month

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Hoist the brig! Swab the powder! Fire the stew! Yes, it’s soon time to see how good you are at captaining ships in the high, low or medium seas. Adandon Ship, the FTL-inspired roguelite of managing oldy-worldy sailors on a map of the ocean (actually a giant painting) is smashing a big bottle of early access champagne across its bow. That is to say, it’ll be playable on February 21, say the devs. Here be krakens and upgrades and ship-to-ship combat. You will probably go on fire and die, as you are a notorious… *checks crumpled grid of pirate slang* … seal sniffer? I, on the other hand, will be an excellent captain. You there, reload the compass! We have crabs and such to plunder. Read the rest of this entry »

Rumour: Crash Bandicoot coming to PC in remaster

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Get your posh pink Himalayan salt ready, for you will need at least one pinch of it. Crash Bandicoot miiiiiight be coming to PC, if the loose lips of a gift shop manager are to be trusted. The marsupial mascot of the early 2000s reappeared in the remastered N.Sane Trilogy on PlayStation 4 last year. Max Arguile, a manager of GB Eye (wholesalers of officially licensed posters and other gifts for games, movies and TV shows) was interviewed by a trade magazine and he said these words:

“The new game was a huge success at retail with no marketing spend,” he said. “Next year it will be going broader (Switch and PC)…” Read the rest of this entry »

Subnautica’s time capsules contain hidden treasures

*singing* Wouldn't it be ice if this was frosty / then we wouldn't have to live so looong

Underwater survival game Subnautica has a feature I neglected to mention in my review – time capsules! These titanium pods are player-made containers. They can hold a message, a screenshot and a few small items. At a certain point in the game you get to make one of these capsules. It’s then put through a voting process, vetted by the developers and – if it’s good enough – finally plopped into the ocean for other divers to find. Some of these gifts have been useful, others sentimental. One is even an easter egg from the game’s technical artist. Here’s the best ones we found when we went trawling (through Reddit). Read the rest of this entry »

Dungeon-diving Delver done and dusted declares dev

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The dungeon crawling and doddering daggers of sprite-filled roguelite Delver is good and pure, if you believe my early access impressions. So it’s a happy day for all you “I’ll wait until it’s finished” types. Delver has left early access and is considered complete by its developers, Priority Interrupt. They’ve also doubled the price on Steam, now that it’s done. It used to be about a fiver in British quids, but now it’s over a tenner (a change from $7.99 to $14.99 for US folks). My instinct when this happens is always “ugh!” But on reflection, no, it’s fine. Read the rest of this entry »

How Slay the Spire was tested on Netrunner pros

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Roguelike card game Slay the Spire has swept through the RPS dungeons like a powerful disease, covering us in tiny, number-shaped pustules. In search of a cure, we spoke to its designers, Anthony Giovannetti and Casey Yano of Mega Crit Games. Read on to learn some of their methods and future plans. We’ve already told you they’ll “almost certainly” be adding more characters. But did you know they tested the game on expert Netrunner players? Read the rest of this entry »

In Carrion you play a horrible bag of meaty tendrils

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“What’s it called in movies,” I asked my collegues this evening, “when a scientist sees a big alien or a monster, and all they can do is say how beautiful it is before they are eaten to bits?”

“That’s admiring the abomination,” explained Adam.

Well, you see this disgusting crimson abomination of bloody tendrils in monster videogame Carrion? I admire it. Read the rest of this entry »

This Is The Police 2 will be set in the cold north

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Freeze! Put your hands on the keyboard! That’s it, nice and slow. What? No, I won’t show you my badge. I’m a certified law officer, I’ve played several hours of police management sim This Is The Police. And you know wh– hands on the keyboard please, sir – you know what else? A sequel is coming out. This Is The Police 2 is due for release “later this year”, say the developers. It’s set in a cold, northern border town and puts you in the role of a new sheriff called Lilly Reed. Here’s a trailer setting up some of the characters and, uh, the tone? Read the rest of this entry »

Slay the Spire adding more characters ‘almost certainly’

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The roguelike card game Slay the Spire has marched into RPS and conducted a coup. Now a slug with a pocketwatch is forcing us all to write articles about how great it is. For example, I’ve just done an interview with the game’s creators, which you can read later. For now, let me sneak out this bit of info, while the slug isn’t looking: They plan to add new playable characters after the game’s full release. “We will almost certainly have more than three characters,” said Anthony Giovannetti of Mega Crit Games. OK, it’s no huge surprise, but at least you know they don’t plan to dust it off when it drops out of early access in the summer. Read the rest of this entry »