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Nate Crowley

2 months ago

Feature: How can you even bite someone's teeth off?

Dwarf Fortress Diary: The Basement Of Curiosity Episode Fifteen – A Miner Inconvenience

Last Time on the BoC: The dwarves partied through a siege. The tantruming Udil claimed her first life, before starting an apocalyptic pub fight. The underground was revealed, in all its dank glory.

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Feature: Woah-oh here she comes, watch out boy she’ll challenge your deeply held convictions

Maneater would be easy to condemn if it didn’t look a right laugh

I’ve got two completely separate takes on Maneater. It’s almost as if I split into two people when watching the gameplay footage released at E3 -- two fizzing outlines of myself, roughly tethered to my physical form like a bad 80s special effect. One of those outlines, the crackly red one, loved it. I think he’s my inner nine year old, who used to entertain…

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Feature: Scream if you wanna go faster

Square Enix is making a game based on the paintings of the Avengers on the sides of fairground rides

After so many years of the big screen being dominated by the Avengers as portrayed by Evans, Hemsworth and company, it’s great to see the limelight passed on to some less well-known interpretation of the famed superheroes. Namely, those daubed on the side of janky-looking ferris wheels which appear without warning on turd-strewn commons across the UK.

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Feature: I think Halo is a pretty cool guy

The Halo Infinite trailer is sparse and dull, and it’s a job well done

My friend Josh loves Halo. For nineteen years now, whenever a new Halo has come out, I’ve gone round to his place, and we’ve spent a night playing through its campaign as a sort of ritual. I’m garbage at shooters, mind, and Josh insists on playing on Heroic mode, so the whole experience boils down to him protecting me from aliens while we chat about…

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Feature: Welcome to the reptile house

Planet Zoo has a new trailer, a release date, and a lot of potential

Over in LA, Frontier Developments have just shown the latest trailer for their upcoming menagerie-’em-up Planet Zoo, as well as setting a launch date for November 5th - and it’s looking very powerful indeed. I’ll be straightforward with you here: with the exception of the extremely relaxing Megaquarium, I’ve always been disappointed by zoo games. And that’s not because I’m not into the concept. I…

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Feature: The Lizards' wildest gig yet

Dwarf Fortress Diary: The Basement Of Curiosity Episode Fourteen – The Fight Before Christmas

Last time on the BoC: The dwarves began digging out some grand new accommodation, and the chef Ushat built a legendary chair called the Hot Thrower, featuring a cool picture of a leopard. The tantrums of the furnacehand Udil grew more intense - and so did conditions in the Basement’s zoo, thanks to the chthonic, squawking sorrow of the Bird Hole.

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Feature: Bathyschaphic bathos ahoy

Co-op space submarine game Barotrauma just hit Early Access, and it’s an absolute hoot

I’m pacing the dank, red-lit command deck, haggard even before the voyage starts, and worrying about my crew. They’re an untrained bunch; a mob of roustabouts I hired at the last waystation because I couldn’t afford anyone else. And in truth, I’ve got barely more experience than them - but I can’t let them sense my weakness.

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Feature: Once more, Into the Breach, with feeling

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest review

I can go one of two ways with turn-based tactics games. Give me something like XCOM, where you’re thrown situations full of random variables and asked to make the best of them with inadequate resources, and I’ll go at it like John Henry, digging away in a doomed attempt to beat the machine. Give me something like Into The Breach, however, where there’s less element…

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3 months ago

Feature: make a little birdhouse with no soul

Dwarf Fortress Diary: The Basement Of Curiosity Episode Thirteen – Welcome to the Bird Hole

Last time on the BoC: The Basement’s zoo got some major upgrades, and the fort rode out a goblin siege through the time honoured tactic of hiding. A furnace worker called Udil snapped under the pressure, and some migrants chose exactly the wrong moment to try moving in.

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Feature: Turns out you can spell 'dungeon' without 'fun' after all

Vambrace: Cold Soul review

I wince when people dismiss bad films as “just a load of CGI-heavy garbage”, because I know people who work in the visual effects industry. Thanks to their harrowing anecdotes, I know just how much talent and graft goes into making blockbusters look pretty, and so I always feel bad when their efforts get sidelined as a footnote to an utter roaster of a flick.…

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Feature: Yeah but can I build an illegal zoo in it?

Hammerting will be a Dwarf management game with arms dealing and fluid modelling for whiskey

For small developers seeking a breakout hit in the increasingly hard to define simulation/management genre, one of the perennial silver bullet concepts is “Dwarf Fortress, but it looks nice, and people aren’t scared to play it”. Of everything on the market so far, it’s probably Rimworld that comes closest to this goal, but it had the crucial flaw of not including any dwarves. As such,…

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Feature: Wolf Strangler on the Commodore 64

Have You Played… Game Dev Tycoon?

Sometimes, even when playing in the giddily accelerating wonderland of digital entertainment, the best fun is that which we make for ourselves. So it is in Game Dev Tycoon, a business simulation by Green Heart Games, dealing with the history of videogames from the early 1980s through to the mid-2010s. You see, while the game does a great job of presenting thirty years of technological…

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Feature: If the zoo bans me for hollering at the animals I shall face Zon and walk backwards into the Basement

Dwarf Fortress Diary: The Basement Of Curiosity Episode Twelve – Pressure Cooker

Last Time on the BoC: After a catastrophic goblin attack slaughtered the entire military (except Id), as well as their bloodthirsty mayor/captain, the Basement began a frantic programme of fortifications. Former mayor Urist, transformed by grief, was re-elected, and pledged to put aside her differences with Lorbam the Founder in order to make the Basement Of Curiosity the finest zoo in the land.

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Feature: Quaid, start the reactor

Surviving Mars: Green Planet review

I’m trapped on Mars, and it’s getting cold. Despite the reflective sheeting I’ve hung up to insulate my workspace, night has long since fallen, and the heat is leaching from the glass walls. I’m eating boiled potatoes yet again, and I miss my family like crazy. But there’s no way I can see them again, until I’ve solved a lot of problems So I put…

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Experience eternity in five minutes with Ancient Greek Punishment: Chess Edition

The ancient Greeks are at it again. Or rather, Dr Pippin Barr is, as he continues his game-making katabasis with Let's Play: Ancient Greek Punishment: Chess Edition. LP:AGP:CE is the eighth in a series of lo-fi nightmares released by Barr, in what he calls “an investigation around what it means to make the ‘same game’ multiple times”. Each iteration of the series is themed around…

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Feature: Ditch-digging thrills

Dwarf Fortress diary: The Basement of Curiosity episode eleven – The Sect of Troubling

Last time on the BoC: The War Mayor Dashmob’s bombastic drive to militarise the fortress met a grisly end, as a massive mounted goblin army came sweeping out of the jungle. The War Mayor and his entire army died, slaughtered to the last in holding the goblins off. Everyone, that is, except the seemingly indestructible Id. Now, Id and the Basement’s other survivors must pick…

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Feature: A very serious article

Micro transactions in Hearthstone: the last word

This article is not about microtransactions (that is, buying virtual products with small payments) within the game of Hearthstone. It is, in fact, an article about micro transactions; specifically, it's about how the various characters from Hearthstone would react to the initiation of transactions involving very small amounts of money, according to me and my mate Trevar. Micro transactions in the real world are situations…

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Feature: Cat eggs and brute grease

Rise Of Industry review

I’ve spent a while trying to think my way round this, but there’s no way I can talk about Rise Of Industry without discussing its intro cinematic. Or more specifically, the voice that narrates it. “For an enterprising tycoon,” it smarms, as dawn breaks over a sleepy town swaddled in polygonal pine forest, “each new day brings new opportunities in your quest for success.” It’s…

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Feature: This one's about grief, to be fair.

Have You Played… Starbound?

Often, games are burnt into our memories by the light of the events that took place offscreen. Sometimes, the fused structures are happy ones: a snatch of music from Sonic 3 brings with it the smell of cut grass and caravan upholstery, while the cover art for Discworld II dredges up midsummer sweat and wafting net curtains, the night before a family holiday.

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4 months ago

Feature: Beakdogs

Dwarf Fortress diary: The Basement of Curiosity episode ten – Jungle of Goblin Horror

Last time on the BoC: After an Autumn spent beefing up the fort’s military, the new War Mayor Dashmob was spoiling for a fight, when a forest titan marauded into the valley. And while the Mayor and his soldiers made short work of the beast, it turned out it the Titan was only the palate-cleansing prelude to a massive goblin invasion…

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