Portal 2 has finally hit the streets, and despite a somewhat rocky start with their controversial promotional ARG (previously), it looks to be a huge success. Interestingly for such a critically-acclaimed blockbuster, the title's core ideas steam from a pair of concept projects from student design school DigiPen: the original portal system from Narbacular Drop (video - download - previously) and the sequel's physics-altering gels from Tag: The Power of Paint (video - download - previously - previouslier). Combine these innovative ideas with some Lost-meets-Life After People level design, excellent voice acting, and top-notch writing, and it's easy to see why so many people called in sick this past week. But playing the game is just the beginning -- look inside for a collection of easter eggs, story theories, videos, and other goodies from the post-mortem. [more inside]
A video has leaked online showing Microsoft's vision for their next generation gaming platform. The video comes from the WGX (Windows Gaming eXperience) team, and as ZDNet reports, the video shows "[the] team’s ambitions for next-generation gaming between Windows, Xbox Live, and mobile platform[s]." [more inside]
Minecraft mastermind Markus "Notch" Persson has officially announced his company's next project: a hybrid online board game/trading card system called Scrolls. Spearheaded by Mojang co-founder Jakob Porser (interview) and with backstory penned by Penny Arcade wordsmith Jerry "Tycho" Holkins, the game will consist of turn-based battles between collectible "scrolls," illustrated character cards strategically deployed on an abstract gaming grid. In an interesting inversion of the Minecraft model, the game itself will be free, while updates in the form of additional scroll packs will cost a nominal fee -- a business model gaming analyst Sean Maelstrom decries as "snake oil." Mojang, for their part, is unafraid and even eager to target an untested slice of the gaming market, and is angling to get their playable prototype of Scrolls ready for a possible Alpha release this summer.
Super Mario Brothers X The greatest fan game tribute to Super Mario of all time! Gameplay video here. hat tip to tigsource!
Halfway through the third book of the Hitchhiker's Guide series, there is a throwaway reference to a doomed starship, one whose incredible splendor was matched only by the cosmic absurdity of its maiden-day annihilation. But the story didn't end there. Unbeknownst to many fans, this small piece of Adamsian lore was the inspiration for an ambitious and richly-detailed side-story: a 1998 computer adventure game called Starship Titanic. Designed by Douglas Adams himself, the game set players loose in the infamous vessel, challenging them with a maddening mystery laced with the devilish wit of the novels. The game was laden with extra content, including an in-depth strategy guide, a (mediocre) tie-in novel by Terry Jones, a whimsical First Class In-Flight Magazine, and even a pair of 3D glasses for one of the more inventive puzzles. Key to solving these puzzles was the game's groundbreaking communications system -- players interacted with the ship's robotic crew through a natural language parsing engine called SpookiTalk, whose 10,000+ lines of conversational dialogue spawned 16 hours of audio recorded by professional voice actors, including John Cleese, Terry Jones, and even Douglas Adams himself in several cameos (spoiler cameo). Want to experience the voyage for yourself? Then watch this narrated video playthrough (intro (ads) - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9? 10 11 12 13) ...or click inside for a information on how to run the game for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux (along with a bunch of other goodies!). [more inside]
League of Legends is an indie game inspired by the Defense of the Ancients map for Warcraft III. [more inside]
The Commodore 64 - arguably the most influential PC in history - is back. They've beefed up the specs a bit.
2D BOY made around $100,000 in a week. That’s $50,000 each for writing a blog post about a game they finished a year ago. By letting people pay whatever they wanted. 2D Boy stirred up a lot of discussion (previously) about game piracy when they used online scoreboard data to estimate an 82% piracy rate for their fantastic indie game World of Goo (previously). For World of Goo's first birthday, they decided to try the Radiohead model and let people buy the game for any price they choose. Now they've released extensive data about the results. Short version? "A huge success," even though the most commonly chosen price was only a penny. [more inside]
Strange Adventures in Infinite Space is a game of space exploration that can be played in under twenty minutes. Its adjustable difficulty and random maps make it very replayable, and for the first time ever, it's completely free. PC and Mac versions are available. [more inside]
15 Classic PC Design Mistakes, along with explanations as to what exactly they were thinking at the time.
Beta-registration has already started for Onlive, a revolutionary cloud-gaming service that promises to put an end to costly PC hardware upgrades, videogame piracy and the entire console industy and game retail sectors. There's just one small problem: it can't possibly work.
World of Goo was released last year on PC and Wii and, despite an 82% piracy rate (previously), still went on to become one of the best selling games of 2008 and win a swag of awards. In a recent blog post (the first of seven) the developer, 2D Boy, has been detailing the early days of development for World of Goo. But just don't read about this proto-Goo... play it! They have made this early version of the game available to download for free. And don't forget that the soundtrack to the completed game is also still free and available for download.
Microsoft announced today, it will open a small number of stores to compete directly against Apple. Some think it's a dubious idea. "In a statement, Microsoft said the first priority of Mr. Porter, who is also a 25-year veteran of Wal-Mart, will be to define where to place the Microsoft stores and when to open them."
Mac Vs. PC. Inspired by Transformers, this short visual effects piece shows us what would happen if our home computers could turn into robots and started beating each other up.
The History of Computing Project is a collaborative effort to record and publish the history of the computer and its roots. The site includes a chronological timeline, biographies of computing pioneers, a look at computing hardware through the years, as well as software and games. [more inside]
An Untitled Story. (apologies, pc download only). An action-platformer by Matt Thorson in the tradition of Seiklus, Knytt (previously 1 2), & Metroid It is full of awesome. [more inside]
Total Annihilation, released over ten years ago by the now defunct Cavedog Entertainment, was one of the most popular RTS games of its day. And it is still being played today, partly due to the mod community who have been working on keeping it alive through the release of patches, units and maps, a list of which you'll find inside. [more inside]
What's better than a wifi-equipped Asus Eee sub-notebook PC with touchscreen? Simple. An Asus Eee sub-notebook PC with touchscreen and 3G HSDPA modem. Still want more? How about an upgrade of on-board storage — from 4 gigabytes to 20gb? And if you're planning on overwriting the Eee's Xandros/pre-installed Linux distribution in the first place (in order to install a non open-source platform) you may want to consider making a complete switch-over and being the first on your block with a (legally iffy) sub-notebook running Macintosh. Previously: 1, 2, 3.
Chromatron 1, 2, 3 and 4 just became freeware. In these little standalone puzzle games for PC and Mac, you align splitters, benders, and mirrors to direct colored laserbeams into like-colored targets. Enjoyably difficult, and an example of great game design. [more inside]
After nine years of waiting, Blizzard has just announced Starcraft II. IGN is liveblogging the announcement from the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in South Korea, where love for the original is so great it brings with it $100,000 tournaments, matches aired on television, and fatalities from over-playing.
Hobo Expert, MeFite, Daily Show Resident Expert, and reluctant celebrity John Hodgman's recent appearance on This American Life is truly inspired stuff. "He tells the story of what happens when celebrity hunts you down and finds you...on your living room couch, pushing 40, and a couple sizes larger than you want to be." Apparently Bill Gates isn't a fan. His loss.
Comedy duo, Ramenz (ラーメンズ), aka Kobayashi Kentaro and Katagiri Jin, also known as the Japanese versions of Mac and PC, have recently done a number of shorts collectively called "The Japanese Tradition." Apparently, these tongue-in-cheek pseudo-instructional vids about famous aspects of Japanese culture (Tea, Chopsticks, Sushi, Origami, Apology, Onigiri, and Relationships) have been fooling a lot of non-natives into thinking they are actual guides. (YouTube, each approx 4-6 min).
Mac VS PC And this time PC is the cool guy and Mac is the stooge! Gems like "Mac works for PC", "PC gets the girl." and "Mac may be cool but PC has the money." (Quicktime links)
With hundreds of die hard PS3 fans camped outside Metreon, site of the San Francisco Playstation store and home of the official US launch for the Playstation 3, PC Gamer magazine showed up and presented one die-hard PS3 fan with arguably the hardest choice he'll ever have to make; to give up the right to own (or be gifted) a Playstation 3 for the next three years in exchange for a free $7,500 custom-built Falcon PC and "a better gaming experience." Here's what happened and here's the signed contract.
Zen Bondage (game, non-sexual, large download (~28 MB), Windows only) [more inside]
Slips of the tongue are usually a result of the sound structure of an utterance. For example, saying 'Martin Luther Koong Junior', where the vowel in 'Koong' might be taken from either of the two flanking words. Freudian slips are much rarer. Why then, are these two people losing their jobs? [More inside]
It turns out, in the PC game business, no copy protection doesn't mean everyone pirates your game. This makes some people angry. From the article:
"For example, we were quite disturbed to discover that the company that makes Starforce provided a working URL to a list of pirated GalCiv II torrents. I'm not sure whether what they did was illegal or not, but it's troubling nevertheless and was totally unnecessary."via digg
On January 19, 1986, the first PC virus — Brain — was detected. It was virtually harmless, and the Pakistani creators claim that it was only intended to protect their copyrights. (They did, after all, include their own address and phone number in the machine code.) In the past 20 years, though, both creating viruses and destroying them have become billion-dollar industries.
Google and Wal-Mart to launch the Google Computer [GoogleFilter] - Rumor-merchants around the industry are abuzz with speculation that Google is about to launch a no-frills, $200 networked computer via (ahem) Wal-Mart. They will also announce Google Cubes, media and home automation control devices. Will this be a watershed event or an infamous folly? Film at 11.
Having trouble with that new videogame you got for Christmas? Text-only walkthroughs don't do it for you? Then try Stuck Gamer. Video walkthroughs for a pretty good number of games. Including, thanks the Lords of Kobol, Ninja Gaiden.
Stupid Computer Tricks. Photo array of one computer service employee's favorite customer problems. Don't miss the intense AOL user, the sealed floppy, the floating hard drive, and the extreme case mod.
It is with great regret that we place our PC Collection up for purchase. We being The Freeman PC Museum, not to be confused with any of these. Move over, leicester codex?
More Mac Mockery
Simple short Switch parody ads from oldeenglish.org, both funny and unlikely to cause a PFM*.
*Platform Flame War
Simple short Switch parody ads from oldeenglish.org, both funny and unlikely to cause a PFM*.
*Platform Flame War
What do you mean, I can't make my PC run completely silent?
The end of an era confirmed. IBM sells its PC business to China's Lenovo. Is a future Apple partnership in the works?
Copy your iPod contents to your PC! Mac users have been swearing by such products as iPodRip or iPod Access but now we in the majority can "backup" our tunes from our lil device onto our ibm-compatibles. take that shelbyville!
The John Markoff of the New York Times [registration required] reports that Google plans to roll-out a text and file search tool code-named Puffin for finding information stored on PCs. The move is seen as a defensive one; Microsoft plans to include PC searching in its new operating system, scheduled to be released in 2006 (at the earliest).
You thought web standards were bad, how about PC, DVD and Recorder standards too? Well, the FCC has officially mandated that vendors making devices such as dvd players, recorders, pc's, must include (by July 1, 2005) copy-protection mechanisms which will prevent sharing of most digitally broadcast content. Broadcasters will have the option of adding a 'flag' to data streams which will prevent users from sharing digital content ala mp3's. Yes, there will be ways around this;yes, old systems will still work (maybe), but in the end, the FCC has just established a new technological standard which will end up in all of our new computers, dvd players, tivos, post 2005. Want to do something about it? Sorry. Too late.
In their day, Trilobyte was at the height of the computer gaming world. Their first title, 7th Guest, made them an instant success, and their follow-ups, 11th Hour and Clandestiny, were equally well-received. But as the saying goes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Haunted Glory, from the GameSpot archives, documents the rise and fall of Trilobyte.
A study posted at Adobe's website describes how traditionally Mac-centric tasks (rendering using After Effects, Illustrator & Photoshop) are all faster on a PC. These kinds of studies are a dime a dozen; what's interesting isn't which platform is faster, but that Adobe would host a page proclaiming the PC is the "preferred" platform for such tasks. Given the notoriously fickle folks at Quark, I would have pegged Adobe as the biggest Mac boosters in the third party software market. Are times changing?
Is this the most non-PC TV show ever? As we become more and more desensitised to humour that makes fun of those less fortunate than ourselves, where do we draw the line?
An article at robgalbraith.com, a digital photography site, has sparked a fascinating discussion of the merits of Macs vs. those of PC's, as they apply to digital photography. Actually, the article and discussion aren't terribly interesting, but the fact that the discussion is a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and opinions and not a take-no-prisoners flamewar, is.
Xupiter and other crap You geeks out there probably already know about the hell that is xupiter, and other parasite programs from Hades. I had to learn the hard way.
Ages back there was a link, here at MeFi, to a project aimed at creating a DVD full of PC demos from back in the day. Well, they've finished. (They say if you pre-order now you'll get it in time for Christmas.)
Using Internet Explorer, Outlook, or Outlook Express on a PC? There's a new hack in town, ready to exploit cross site scripts like nobody's business. Do yourself a favor and disarm ActiveX on your settings.