Sumer Of (Serious) Sam: Ziggurat

Ziggurat, available in Early Access and gearing up for a full release, is like a fantasy-themed Tower of Guns. As you’ll know if you’ve played Tower of Guns, this is potentially a very good thing indeed. It’s a first-person shooter/smasher, with randomised rooms and floor layouts, and a loot system designed to present a choice of character builds rather than a slow grind toward perfection. Most importantly, while there are crypt-loads of skeletons and other undead, there are also hostile carrots and mushrooms to contend with.

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Have You Played… Kane & Lynch 2?

And then, the murder starts.

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

Scurrying through grubby neon streets like the vermin you are, scrambling from cover to cover that’s too low to conceal your lumbering body, desperately trying to find more ammo as you ineptly spray bullets, that’s when Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is at its best. Its Shanghai is still one of my favourite video game cities. And then IO Interactive (them wot do Hitman) slightly spoil things by giving you fancy rifles towards the end.

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Word; Concept; Image; Icon: Synonymy’s Word Games

Words words words.

Words are interesting, alluring, beguiling, deceiving, betraying, abandoning, don’t you find? The fact that you’re reading right now suggests you consider words at least tolerable, adequate, acceptable. Perhaps you even find words enjoyable, amusing, campy, goofy, idiotic, foolish. If so, you might like the look of Synonymy (sadly not out yet). It’s about synonyms, or rather synonyms which aren’t quite synonyms. It’ll have you getting from one word to another quite different one through chains of synonyms. It’s about the blurry edges of words that make carefully choosing them so much fun, the slight inflections you can add to draw connections. Also, Richard Dawkins is its narrator.

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Lo-Fi Let’s Play: The Colonel’s Bequest

[I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

I know I said no hits, but I’m often surprised to find this classic 1989 Sierra title from Roberta Williams is usually considered niche, especially relative to the classic King’s Quest and other “quest”-themed series. Of course, The Colonel’s Bequest, about the inheritance to be left by a mysterious, cranky old bayou patriarch, also has the word “quest” in the title. Cute.

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Wot I Think: A Golden Wake

There’s something I wish I’d known as I began playing retro point and click adventure A Golden Wake. I wish I’d known that it was, in large parts, a true story. The reason I didn’t know this was because it began with a statement explaining that despite its historical setting, the characters and events were fictional. Here’s wot I think:

It turns out Coral Gables is a real city in Miami, Florida (you may have already known that, especially if you live on that continent), which was really established in the 1920s by a man named George E. Merrick, there really is a Biltmore Hotel, and the city really was affected by the hurricane of 1937. The game’s tale of real estate is based in a genuinely interesting time of boom and bust in American early 20th century history. In what is ultimately a rather bland game, I think I’d have cared a bit more if I’d known.

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Trials And Toribasho: Sumoman

The Trials series is the best place to look for side-scrolling physics-based stunts, but what if a childhood spent listening to Leader of the Pack and watching Easy Rider while hyped up on caffeine has left you with an overwhelming fear of motorbikes? Until now, you’d have been in a pretty pickle but with the upcoming release of Sumoman, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the challenges of Trials without coming face to face with your two-wheeled nemesis. It’s constructed in a similar style but you’ll be controlling a Sumo wrestler instead of a motorbike.

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Freeware Garden: Red Hot Overdrive

High Action Road Racing Adventure! (Outrun's convincing marketing blurb)

I’ve been looking for a decent, freeware 16-bit-esque racer in the style of Outrun for quite some time now and kept bumping into unfinished prototypes, bad ideas, boring implementations and short one-level offerings.

Thankfully and due to the wonders of the internets, I found a terrific one in the most unlikely of places: the Adventure Game Studio forums. A place where people are bound to talk about their mouse driven point-and-click adventures and not racing games of the Red Hot Overdrive variety.

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