Free Loaders: Dice With The Devil In The Pale Moonlight

Even in the deadly heat of summer, the free games revolution marches on. Stopping for no-one, catering for everyone. Want to be a cowboy playing dice with death? Got you covered. Want to seize the means of production from your capitalist overlords? There’s a game here for you. Want to summon some drizzle over Brighton? Well, just follow me. Yes sir, yes ma’am. Free games never stop.

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What Are We All Playing This Weekend?

I suppose this whole bit assumes that the weekend is when you’re most likely to play games but is that true? Are you a weekender or a weeko? Myself, the huge chunks of free time in weekends mean I’m more likely to get out and away – which I can’t do in mornings or evenings. But, you know, if you’ve planning a little weekend play, what will you be up to?

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Generation Next, Part 1: How Games Can Benefit From Procedurally Generated Lore

Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum, an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the first in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.

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Wot I Think: Kentucky Route Zero Act IV

I don’t think I could name a more beautiful game. I don’t use ‘beauty’ in the straightforward sense of Kentucky Route Zero [official site]’s appearance, although its bold geometric shapes and flat-wash colour absolutely qualifies, as does its wonderful architecture – Americana infused with magic realism. There is the soundtrack and the sounds too, ambience and steel guitar and the lonely sound of engines – gentle sonic beauty, but again that is on the surface.

In fact there is beauty woven through the core of KRZ: its love of images, its love of words, its love of the American landscape, and perhaps most of all in its preoccupation with the warmer side of the human mind. Whether that be conviviality and the coming together of sympathetic souls, or pulling solace from solitude and from the road. This has been a theme, of sorts, throughout KRZ’s first three acts, but the fourth arguably pushes it more to the fore, consciously slowing down and allowing its expanding cast to idle, to find themselves in idyllic rather than unsettling locales. This could be a good life, if they wanted it.

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A-flutter: The Butterflies Of Firewatch

Over the weekend I was playing Firewatch [official site]. I actually played it twice because I wanted to spend time in those environments and with those colour palettes. As I spent more and more time in the game it occurred to me that the game’s relationship with insects is an interesting one.

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Best PC Gaming Deals Of The Week

No matter where you’re from or what you’re into, it’s always nice to pick up something resembling a bargain every now and then. That’s where I come in. Over at Jelly Deals, I’ve been rounding up the best prices, deals and offers on games and hardware as they arrive each day. I check for UK and US deals, so I’ve got both sides of the pond covered as best I can. I also write a lot of puns, as the name of the site may have already suggested. The worse the pun, the better, really.

So, with any luck, I’ll be here each week to give you a round-up of what’s available out there on the big wild west of the internet. Whether it’s a cheap game deal, a discount on some PC hardware or something that’s just really worth knowing about. Let’s take a look at what’s been available this week.

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Have You Played… Richard & Alice?

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

No, Richard & Alice [official site] is not some fan fiction about the time Richard Cobbett and Alice O’Connor fought spacecrime together, although now damn I wish it were. It is in fact a small, very lovely, very sad little adventure game.

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