Have You Played… The Settlers?

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

The Settlers is one of the games that defined my early years. I was thirteen years old when I first played it and I fell in love with the world as soon as I saw the first lumberjack chopping at a tree. I didn’t realise then, but it’s a simple example of a game’s systems working like a machine: functional, each part reliant on another part, visually cohesive. It’s also a game that doesn’t require conflict to work.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for exploring – not to discover Pokémon, but for the pure pleasure of going for a walk and seeing new things. Let’s first catch the week’s best writing about videogames.

A lot, a lot, a lot has been written about Pokémon Go over the past week. I haven’t read most of it, but did enjoy Austin Walker’s simple take at his new home at Vice: Pokémon GO isn’t very good but will be huge anyway.

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Have You Played… It Came From The Desert!?

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

Cinemaware made interactive movies long before that should even have been possible. It Came From The Desert was first released in 1989, and you’d better believe it turned heads. I remember reading the magazines of the time and it felt like just about every company that sold games tried to squeeze in picture of one of those giant ants intimidating this small American town. Surely that alone filled up the disks?

You’d think. But no. It Came From The Desert was movie magic and I mean magic.

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What Are We All Playing This Weekend?

It’s July, isn’t it? I should be saying something about sunshine and playing outside, shouldn’t I? Since moving up from London to Edinburgh I’ve become confused about what seasons are meant to be, what the weather should be like. I think my internal clock is running two months slow. Thankfully, the seasons are (nearly) always the same for everyone everywhere in video games. Good old reliable virtual lands. Speaking of, what are you playing this weekend? He’s what we’re looking at:

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How Doom’s Glory Kills Maintain Momentum

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Doom [official site].

Doom, the new one, has one heck of a sense of forward momentum. It’s a game of aggression and constant movement. You’re the Doom Marine: you move like the wind and your shots are unbroken by the need to reload.

At the heart of how Doom creates this response in players is a single feature which, paradoxically, is all about pausing your interaction with the game, pressing you so close to the enemy that they often fill the screen. It’s a feature, after all, that was intended to capture something special about the original Doom that had little to do with movement, but it turned out to trigger all kinds of secondary effects. The feature was:

THE MECHANIC: Glory kills

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The Secret Ending To Inside: How To Find All The Orbs

I finished Inside [official site] recently and then started reading about it to see what other people had to say. One of the things they had to say was a discussion of a secret ending which I then resolved to seek out – here’s how that went and how you can do it too…

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