Duke Nukem Forever. Earthbound and Donkey Kong 64 on Virtual Console. DnD RPGs and LucasArts adventure games on GOG.com. What an age we live in, in which vidya games we were once denied are suddenly no longer denied. And now, Chip's Challenge and its fabled sequel, classic puzzle games long thought permanently unrereleasable and unreleasable respectively due to copyright issues, have finally been released on Steam (and let's not forget its spiritual successor from during the drought, Chuck's Challenge 3D). But why stop there? Fans have created a bunch of free extra levels for the original game, including three epic collaborative level packs, and a free program (first version, newer version) capable of running them. The latter version also has a convenient bundle including all three level packs and an intro pack that serves as a tutorial. [more inside]
Remember the surprising stealth thing-that's-great Frog Fractions (previously)? When creator Jim Crawford (also previously) and his team released its successfully Kickstarted sequel, they won't tell anyone, and will leave everyone to find it for themselves. Enter the unofficial Frog Fractions 2 twitter account, which bugs Jim about a different possible culprit every day. And for those who didn't back the Kickstarter and thus won't be automatically notified when The Jig Is Up (TM), there's always IsTheJigUpYet, which also attempts to guess at FF2's identity (albeit using a sliiiiiightly different method). [more inside]
User Sparx recently mentioned checking sites of Japanese escape game makers for games of sufficient quality. But what if there were a single, constantly-updated website with links to an obscene number of those frustrating Japanese escape-the-room adventure games? Welcome to
hell No1Game. I figured out the site on my own but if you need help, a guide to navigating the site follows. [more inside]
In December of last year, the NYC-based digital art nonprofit Rhizome successfully Kickstarted an online exhibition of cloud-emulated copies of the three CD-ROMs created by Theresa Duncan and based on young girls' everyday experiences. Last month, they were made available for play for a minimum of one year with probable extension. You can read about - and, thanks to embedding - play them at Rhizome itself and The Verge (or just play them right here). Note: you may have to wait in a queue. Also, you may have to wait a while for the computer running the game, which will be streamed to you, to start up.
Not long ago, 3D Realms (formerly Apogee, not to be confused with the spin-off Apogee) revamped its website and store, including an anthology (several of these games have also been released on GOG.com). A few days ago, after much negotiation with individual rights holders, a Steam version of the anthology (missing Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen, which are (apart from two certain Keen titles) already available on Steam via iD/ZeniMax) was released (direct link to store page). Over the years, they have also made a bunch of their titles freeware. After the break, a full list of links to download those free games via their legacy site (apart from two, downloadable elsewhere) in order of original release. Most of the newer ones are also available in the revamped store for registered users (via the same library as game purchases). Those not available via that store will be marked. Oh, and as always, DOSbox is your friend when running old DOS games. [more inside]
Dwarf Fortress will now include poetry, music and dance in procedurally generated forms. Making individual poems is beyond the capabilities of Dwarf Fortress (for now) but that hasn't stopped fans from making their own poems based on the publicly posted examples of poetic forms. Besides poetry, music and dance forms will also be generated and spread throughout the game as non-player characters teach each other. Dwarf Fortress developer Tarn Adams has been posting about these new additions to the game on his changelog (starting at 01/24/2015) and answering questions about it in his two latest monthly Future of the Fortress forum posts. On Rock Paper Shotgun Adam and Graham Smith delve into this topic to explore why it matters.
History Respawned is a show where historians consider historical video games - like Papers Please, Diablo III, Assassin's Creed Unity and Wolfenstein: The New Order - with host Bob Whitaker, a history PhD and professor from Dallas, Texas.
This War of Mine is a computer game by Polish developers 11 Bit Studios about being a normal citizen during a modern Eastern European civil war, drawing especially on the Siege of Sarajevo. It has been called an antidote to Call of Duty for its unremittingly bleak depiction of war, though it has been criticized for being an unrealistically grim portrayal of life in a besieged city by some, including a survivor of the Siege of Sarajevo. These and other issues are discussed on the strategy game podcast Three Moves Ahead. [This War of Mine previously]
Expanded from a demo produced for the 2012 Something Awful Gamedev Challenge (an annual event which has also brought us Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing, previously), Team Punch the Moon (which includes the creator of Job Dog, previously) have finally finished Pachinko Man, a point-and-click HTML5 browser adventure game about a Japanese salaryman whose addiction to pachinko machines drives him to make a deal with a demon that damns him to Ball Hell (conveniently also Baal's Hell), the deepest level of Office Hell (as in, Baal is renting its basement). [more inside]
Classics Of Game, a series of short-and-surreal context-free game videos, has mysteriously resumed updating after seventeen months. (MLYT)
Writing for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Alice O'Connor shares her favorite excerpts from her collection of the readme files included in game mods.
"Naturally, the record for the largest and most costly single engagement in EVE history was expected to stand for some time. It didn’t."
What happens when we stop thinking about videogames as cinema and instead think of them through other media, like fashion, dance, or architecture?
Fans and critics alike held their breath in anticipation of the tidal wave of exploratory, open-ended gaming that was supposed to follow, waiting to be drowned in a sea of new worlds. And then, nothing. The legacy of Myst, 20 years later [more inside]
Memory Insufficient is a free webzine edited by Zoya Street dedicated to articles about computer games and history. The first issue is called Women's Histories in Games [pdf], with a feature on female pirates. Asian Histories in Games [pdf] is the second issue, the feature being about ken, the Japanese game known as rock, paper, scissors in English. The upcoming issue will be devoted histories of gender and sexual diversity in games. [via Flash of Steel]
Davis and Ma wrote up a long list of one-paragraph game pitches to prototype. They would be small, manageable games that two people could complete on their own. The game they chose to go with would have to be finished within a year, because that was all they had budgeted for. Among the pitches inspired by board games, roguelikes and all the genres that excited them was a 2D, top-down management game called FTL. The Opposite of Fail - The making of FTL (Previously)
NEW from VIDEO Magazine, arising out of its popular "Arcade Alley" column, it's ELECTRONIC GAMES Magazine!(page of PDF links) Brought to you by editors Frank Laney Jr. and Bill Kunkel, and filled with all the latest news on programmable home console games, computer games (with special coverage for the new ATARI 800 system), stand-alone electronic devices and arcade gaming. [more inside]
"For the past few years, I have been trying to learn how to do all the various creative and technical things that go into making a video game - programming, graphics, interface, writing, gameplay design - in addition to music and sound, which I do for a living. The 2013 Global Game Jam was this past weekend, and over two sleep-deprived days I completed my first solo project: A game for OS X and Windows where you punch spaceships with your dick. (Probably safe for work, unless your boss considers it inappropriate to see a pink laser beam with a boxing glove on the tip which shoots out of a giant robot's groin.)"[via mefi projects]
Both characters remained fully clothed and there were no genital shots. But this was still the most explicit sexual content Wildenborg had seen in a video game. “It was at this point I decided to release the patch to the public,” he says. “I tossed the name 'Hot Coffee' on the file, based on the fact that the girlfriends would ask CJ in for some 'coffee' as a euphemism for sex. Hot Coffee was the first modification for San Andreas.” - The history of Grand Theft Auto's infamous "Hot Coffee" mod.
Gaming made me - RPS writer Patricia Hernandez on how Fallout 2 shaped her world view, her politics and her sexuality.
A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype, built by the MIT Game Lab, that emulates the visual effects of special relativity.
"Some remarkable Books, Antiquities, Pictures and Rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen by any man now living."
Musæum Clausum is a catalog of invented books, pictures and antiquities written by 17th Century Englishman Sir Thomas Browne. It is a fantastical and witty meditation on the ravages of time on literature and other works of man. The Musæum Clausum is perhaps the finest example of the invented, or invisible, library, a genre which seems to have originated with Rabelais. The genre has been of special interest to Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog (older posts), where he has written about the invisible libraries of writers such as Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, H. P. Lovecraft and invisible libraries in video games. The natural medium for invisible libraries might be pictures, and Musæum Clausum inspired a suite of etchings by Erik Desmazieres.
Sony is closing its Liverpool Studio, previously known as Psygnosis, developer of the WipeEout and Lemmings games (DHTML version, previously). The studio created games for 28 years, first gaining attention in the Amiga era for it's high production values and stunning box art (more, more ).
The Most Dangerous Gamer The Atlantic profiles game developer Jon Blow, most famous for creating the acclaimed and philosophical Braid, now working on "puzzle-exploration" game The Witness. Blow aims to make The Witness a groundbreaking piece of interactive art—a sort of Citizen Kane of video games...“Things are pared down to the basic acts of movement and observation until those senses become refined,” he told me. “The further you go into the game, the more it’s not even about the thinking mind anymore—it becomes about the intuitive mind.” (previously, previously)
Humanity’s long war with the nefarious space-cat Kilrathi has been revived in the fan made Wing Commander Saga : The Darkest Dawn! [more inside]
I remember with crystal clarity when I realized I was making more money from this enterprise than I was at my full-time job. I quickly decided to expand and hired four guys in Singapore to play 24/7. I paid them unreasonably well for the time, almost 3x as much as they would for other re-sellers; this bought me loyalty, and in this enterprise, loyalty is everything."How I Helped Destroy Star Wars Galaxies [more inside]
"The subscription model is dead." says John Smedley, head of Sony Online Entertainment, and creator of EverQuest. Are people willing to pay $15 per month to play a computer game that isn't endorsed by Mr. T? Bioware is betting a rumored $135 million, the most ever spent on a video game, that the answer is yes. Star Wars: The Old Republic launches on December 20th. [more inside]
This year the Games Media Awards in the UK were sponsored by a little know chain of shops from the North East, Grainger Games, looking to increase their profile... well following the last night's events they are pretty well-known now. Cue a next-day banning and apologies from Grainger and the organisers
National Characters is a long, multi-part essay about how computer games deal with the concept of nations and turns it into a game mechanic. The author, Troy Goodfellow of strategy gaming blog Flash of Steel, focuses on how the fourteen indistinguishable national factions of the original Sid Meier's Civilization have been treated by different games through the years. [more inside]
This week the BBC broadcast a Panorama special (UK only link, YouTube links here and here) on what it presented as the alarming rise of game addiction. Thoughtful responses from Rock, Paper, Shotgun and EDGE, both of whom point out a number of problems with it.
On a snowy Valentine's Day weekend in Michigan Sid Meier creates a game in 48 hours called Escape from Zombie Hotel! He's there to judge a 48 hour game design contest at his alma mater, University of Michigan but decides to also work on a game alongside the student teams. He also talks about his career, focusing on his early days. This is the third installment of motherboard.tv's Oral History of Gaming series. The first profiles Ralph Baer, the inventor of the first home gaming console, and the second is about Eric Zimmerman, designer of Sissyfight. Sadly, the awesome-looking Escape from Zombie Hotel has note been released, but the oher games designed during the contest are available here. [via Rock Paper Shotgun]
Chris Crawford (previously) has released the beta version of his Storytron engine. The first demo? Balance of Power: 21st Century. [more inside]
In this way, Lu Yang became one of the "RMB gamers" she disdains. More than 10,000 RMB was quickly and nearly imperceptibly spent. In the game, the "queen" possessed fearsome power. She carried out vengeance for herself and her friends, she accepted entreaties, and she protected the caravans of the kingdom. At the same time, she went out with the heroes to invade other kingdoms. Her reputation spread far and wide. [...] "Long live the Queen!" People bowed to her in submission. That was the high point for Lu Yang on ZT Online, and for that one fleeting moment, she felt that the time and money she had spent was worth it.The System is a translated Chinese article examining ZT Online, an MMORPG that has taken fleecing gamers to a new level.
Halo 3: Easter eggs, including the excellent Red Vs Blue in-game dialog easter egg; the RvB Halo 3 beta initiation; 3D images and how-to (dig out your glasses); achievements, ranks, armor, skulls, and campaign scoring explained; Bungie's favorites (videos, pics, maps, game variants to download to your 360)... and that grenade stick.
Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw (previously), he of "Chzo mythos" and "Zero Punctuation" fame, has released a new game: The Art of Theft, a heist adventure in grand retro style.
"Blah blah blah, Mr. Freeman." Half-Life in 60 seconds. Or in 25 years. Or with sightings. (Spoilers all.)
Bible Fight [Flash game]
The Twelfth Annual Interactive Fiction Competition begins today. Non-contestants can take part in the proceedings by grabbing a torrent of the competing games and judging them over the next six weeks. If you're new to interactive fiction, Emily Short's "How to Play" will acquaint you with its conventions. And if you're enough of an I.F. expert that even a full slate of Comp games won't satisfy you, you can find every competition entry since 1995 archived at Baf's Guide.
This is what happens when you put some of the best writers in UK comedy around a table to discuss videogames. Needless to say even the above average videogame writing gets a deserved hard time. Via the Spaced Out forums.
New Games Journalism (a Wikipedia definition for the uninitiated), appeared on MetaFilter last December with a link to the now legendary 'Bow, Nigger' article. In the first quarter of 2005 the buzz surrounding the phenomenon grew. Articles like This is Why Your Game Magazine Sucks got the attention of the Guardian, who examined the role of NGJ in a February article. In March, they linked to ten unmissable examples. At about the same time, the movement got its very own publication, The Gamer's Quarter; and in June PC Gamer wrote an open letter to the gaming community requesting articles about, well, anything really.
What do you get when you mix a fiendishly difficult and addictive puzzle game with the feel of a hack & slash RPG set in a cartoonish, slightly tongue-in-cheek fantasy world? That would be Deadly Rooms of Death (DROD for short). The game is freakin' huge, with 25 levels filled with unique rooms, and it also happens to be free.
Get your game on with Kaneva. Billing itself as "The world’s first digital entertainment marketplace!" Kaneva is a beta launch of a concept that maybe interesting to gamers, media creators, and consumers as well. An Atlanta based company, Kaneva.com aims to be an exchange/market portal for game and media creators, who can directly create Massively Multi-player Online (MMO) games using the Kaneva Framework, and for digital media creators seeking distribution. The business model is innovative, and has been described as "a kind of multi-media flickr (pre-fame) meets eBay on steroids, or an online marketplace for folks hyped on digital entertainment. An Intertainment Hub. A platform and host." The company recently presented its concept at the June meeting of the International Game Developers Association, and back in April Computer Gaming Magazine had an article. During the beta test phase, the site's tools are free to all comers, and there is already a limited amount of content available for those who just want to play something new.
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