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John Walker

As much as E3 can generate that sad feeling in your socks, it’s important to remember that our world of gaming is FAR bigger and more interesting than that awful corporate circlejerk. And what better example to land before my eyes than Sarah Crossman’s Master Reboot. From concept to art style to the wonderful trailer, it’s a breath of fresh, creepy air. Created with the desire to explore the concept of life after death in the form of saved, explorable memories, this is a first-person “psychological puzzle adventure”, and it looks splendid.

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Something is happening. I’ve noticed it, you may have noticed it, and it’s probably no surprise to anyone who’s ever bought an “indie” record. The corporations with a finger in this delicious pie we call the games industry have been watching what’s happened, too. They’ve been watching the achievements of the likes of Jonathan Blow, 2Dboy, Notch/Mojang and other countless successful indie developers. Now, they’re changing the way the operate. And that is in turn changing how indies operate. Indie gaming will never be the same again. Is this a bad thing?

We talked to Double Fine, Positech, Klei and others to find out. (more…)

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Beautiful? Yes. Playable? Somewhat...

Sony

I've never taken hallucinogenic drugs. I've always kind of wanted to experience the type of transcendent, out-of-body experience I've heard other people describe when on them, but I've always been a little too concerned with the potential long-term effects on my brain chemistry. But now I've played Dyad, so I'm no longer so concerned about what I'm missing out on.

Playing Dyad is like diving to an interactive version of the Star Gate sequence from near the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. An ethereal avatar sits at the bottom of a long tunnel of neon-colored enemies that are constantly flying out toward the screen. The avatar can rotate around the edges of the tunnel to avoid those colored enemies, or "hook" herself onto them to pull herself down the tunnel more quickly. While the first few levels are sparsely populated with just a few well-spaced colored dots, the tunnels quickly fill up with new, more threatening enemies and features like speed-boosting zip lines and invincibility spheres.

The levels each have varied goals—racing through a tunnel as quickly as possible, staying alive as long as possible, killing as many enemies as possible while invincible—but they all rely on carefully riding a razor's edge line between risk and reward. Crashing into enemies will cause a momentum-killing collision, but sliding by just to the side can give you energy for a dashing lance attack. Riding a speed-boosting zipline will get you to the next checkpoint faster, but limit your movement and make it that much harder to interpret what's coming quickly.

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I'm waiting for a puzzle game driven by grammar.

Since we last caught up with it, the extraordinary-looking (and sounding) Fract OSC has released a bundle of new screenshots, and they’re a bit pretty. Described as Myst meets Rez meets Tron, a first-person puzzle adventure in an abstract world, designed around electronic music. The game, they say, is inspired by synthesisers, in a world that “literally runs on sound”. Previous footage has been remarkably interesting, but arguably not that pretty. However, that’s beginning to change, thanks to some new atmospheric art, and some extremely effective lighting. Take a look.

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Click here to read Another Glimpse at the Future of Video Game Planets

Tinkering around with Directx 11, Romanian developer Silviu Andrei is building an engine capable of rendering not corridors, or arenas, but entire planets. More »

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Ludum Dare 23, get your Ludum Dare 23 here! I’ve gathered together eleven of my favourites from the recent 48 hour compo/jam, although that’s not to say I’ve played all 1,402 of the entries. The theme was ‘Tiny World’ and below you’ll find a musical, an existential microjaunt, a personbreeding simulation and a space cat trader, with other delights sprinkled about. There are also unconventional marks out of ten, based on number of graphics, similarity to Tetris and inclusion of comical readme file.

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She is HOT.

I wonder whether I’d like I Saw Her Standing There more if I’d played it a few years ago. I worry that the sparse puzzle platform game with the bittersweet story has had its turn, and there needs to be more substance, or something new. Although I’ve a feeling it might also come down to ISHST falling short on the puzzle side of things. And yet, despite that, I still want to point you toward it, because dammit – it’s cute. You’re a stickman, and you’re in love with a zombie. The aim is to get her into a cage to stop her from killing you. Lovingly.

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Global offensive, global offensive, global offensive!

Every so often – let’s say twice a day – somebody calmly reminds me that I wrote about a game at some point in the past and have failed to revisit in order to see how things have changed. Guilty as charged. Oddly that hasn’t happened in regards to Running With Rifles, the rather excellent indie squad shooter. It has more in common with Cannon Fodder than Call of Duty, but with a two-way battle that sways back and forth, the factions attempting to defend their own bases and launch attacks against their opponents’. It looks more pleasant now, with colours other than brown so that the fields of conflict don’t resemble the forlorn stains that indecorously decorate a broken man’s bedsit. Oh yeah, and there’s multiplayer too.

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Released when I was distracted by something that wasn’t the internet over the weekend, Deadly 30 is a side-scrolling game of zombie killing, home building and exploration. More killing than building, granted, but while each of the 30 days that must be survived allow for scavenging, and the discovery and recruitment of other survivors, the nights are given over to barricade building and defense, as the hordes of dead knock on the doors and windows, possibly asking to borrow some sugar or tea. Judging by the trailer below, there’s not a great deal of depth to the construction side of things so hopefully the exploration is a little more fleshed out. Fleshy enough for a zombie to feast on.

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