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Most months, "We Are Data" would have produced a resigned nod and shake of the head, but people visiting it now have fresh reason to feel like their data is being weaponized against them. PRISM and other revelations weren’t just about what was seen — they were about the fact that when confronted with the leaks, the administration drove home how little it thought of public outrage. Watch Dogs promises a solution — but so far, it’s one that occupies an uncomfortable place between commentary and escapism.

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Keep an eye on that meter on your wrist... it's pretty important.

The world of Metro: Last Light isn’t pretty. To escape nuclear war, millions of the game’s Russian citizens descended into subway stations the instant the air raid sirens cried out, forced to leave their lives on the surface behind. Below ground, life is bleak. The irradiated world above means no access to fresh air or sunshine. Money means nothing, and ammunition is currency. Fathers nearly break down when sons ask where Mom is and when she’s coming home—and they have to repeat a variation of the same lie they’ve told for countless years. Radioactive mutants attack the subterranean train-station-based encampments.

The setting is easy to buy into because few blinking indicators and status updates slap you in the face, offering constant reminds that you’re playing a video game. This is deliberate, according to Andrey Prokhorov, creative director and co-founder at 4A Games, the studio behind Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light.

“If you look at your monitor (or TV set) as a gate into the world of the game, the heads-up display (HUD) elements become the bars keeping you from entering that world,” he told Ars in a recent interview. And it's part of a trend.

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Lemeowski writes "Game studios go to great lengths to protect their IP. But board game designer Daniel Solis doesn't subscribe to that philosophy. He has spent the past ten years blogging his game design process, posting all of his concepts and prototypes on his blog. Daniel shares four things he's learned after designing games in public, saying paranoia about your ideas being stolen "is just an excuse not to do the work." His article provides a solid gut check for game designers and other creatives who may let pride give them weird expectations."

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GameBoy Jam 2 just ended, and 6-hour entry Just Silence from Lucas Molina is short, but thought-provoking.

The game is styled like a silent film. It's not a thing I've seen in a real GameBoy game, but when you consider the monochrome nature of the system's graphics, it seems like such a shame that it hasn't been tried before. You play the judge, whose job is to sentence defendants. The mechanics for doing so are so simple and the game so short that rather than explain further, I urge you to just try the game. Even with the defendants walking a bit too slowly, the game still only takes a few minutes to complete.

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Resogun, the latest colorful shooter from Finnish indie developer Housemarque, is an extravagant, heavily detailed demonstration of the PlayStation 4's graphical horsepower. But look under the hood and you'll find an old shoot-'em-up that isn't shy of aping its inspirations.

If you remember losing quarters to the local arcade, you will recognize Resogun's Defender-like structure. As a spaceship, you protect humans from waves of enemies that encroach from both the left and right side of the screen. Resogun adds a twist: you must first "unlock" the humans by exterminating a special set of enemies before collecting the living cargo and delivering it to one of two goals.

It's just enough complexity to make the Defender homage feel new. In frantic moments, collecting humans off the ground and tossing them into their safety zone felt like delivering a slam dunk — not the first thing I associate with the retro shooter genre, but a welcome addition nonetheless.

The other inspiration is a lesser-known sub-genre called bullet hell, niche shooters in which hundreds, sometimes thousands of projectiles that inflict instant death gradually cover the screen. To survive, the player must memorize the intricate bullet patterns and carefully thread a craft through holes sometimes only a couple pixels wide.

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Join Quince the Cat on a treasure-hunting adventure in Plant Cat: First Blossom, an entry into GameBoy Jam 2. This five level puzzle platformer was created by a five person team over the course of ten days, and features some truly stellar happy chiptunes.

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Midnight City, Majesco's indie publishing arm, is bringing racer Krautscape and brawler Double Dragon: Neon to Steam as well as Slender: The Arrival to consoles, the company announced today.

Krautscape and Double Dragon: Neon will be available for Windows PC while Slender: The Arrival will be published for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 through the Xbox Games Store and PlayStation Network. All three titles will cost $9.99 each and are slated to launch in the first quarter of this year.

Mario von Rickenbach's Krautscape is racing title in which players drive along tracks to collect points and take to the air to avoid obstacles. Each track is generated by the vehicle in the first place, building itself out as players drive so no two tracks are alike. The game also features a number of different modes, including a speed challenge mode.

Double Dragon: Neon is a reboot of the original 1987 classic side-scrolling beat em up. For the Windows PC version of the title, developer Abstraction has added a new online co-op mode that allows players to share health and power as well as revive each other.

The console versions of Slender: The Arrival will also include new content. Blue Isle Studios created two new levels that will "delve deeper into the lives of those Slender Man has touched." These new levels will tell the story of Slender Man's victims through flashbacks, putting players in their terrified shoes. Blue Isle also plans to release these two new levels as a free update for the PC version after their console launch.

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In Continue?9876543210, Game Over is the backstory.

Some games can really only be classified as digital experiences. Continue?9876543210 is such, being a high-concept game by Jason Oda. On the game's web site, it's written that it "was inspired by existential road trips into nowhere, Peruvian jungle drugs, and a brush with death while hopelessly lost in the mountains of New Mexico. It's one developer's attempt to translate his own quest for wonder, contemplation, and peace into the language of his craft." It sounds like Oda has had some unique experiences, and they've definitely contributed to a unique game.

In Continue?9876543210, you play as a player avatar who has just been killed in game and is now stuck in the computer's memory waiting to be deleted. Deletion is, in essence, a true death in this setting, and you flee the company of those peacefully waiting for their turns to be deleted in the hopes of finding a way out.

The gameplay is a bit difficult to explain in words. There are only so many levels in the game, and you'll never see them all in one playthrough. Once you leave the starting area, you go through two levels chosen at random before entering a town that is being buffeted by a lightning storm. During the regular levels, you have a limited amount of time in which to build up sheltering buildings against the lightning storm in the 3rd stage's town and/or try to unblock an exit so you can get out of the level without losing any of the buildings you've built up. Throughout a level, your efforts are occasionally interrupted by mini-stages. Doing well in those mini-stages by avoiding damage and defeating enemies can get you keys to unlock doors in the level that will (usually) help you out.

If that sounds a bit confusing, well, good. I think. The game takes some getting used to, but the need to get used to it is really one of its strong points. This is a game designed to make you think, and having to work out the mechanics and the meaning and how they tie together is really what makes the game work so well. When you add to that the graphics being as good and as bad as they need to be and a soundtrack which is a mixture of lovely music and sounds which can be appropriately jarring at times, the whole comes out to be something much more interesting than the sum of its parts.

Continue?9876543210 has been available on iOS since early December, but only hit the Humble Store and Steam about a week ago for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Its normal price on PCs is $9.99, but right now it's on sale on Steam for $7.99. You can pick it up on the iOS App Store for $3.99.

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Previously on, "Getting Players to Care"
I talked about all sorts of interesting stuff and laid out the foundation for this article series. Each part leads directly into the next and explains what the heck is going on. If you haven't read a previous part, check out Part 1 and skip along merily through my linear corridor of an article-design. I'll work on a non-linear article series next time, I promise. 

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