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John Walker

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Botinacula, since you asked.

Yesterday Jim wrote a superb piece arguing that games are best when everything is going wrong. That the measure of a game’s potential for generating anecdotes, and its depth of connection to the player, is based in the amount of peril it’s able to generate. Citing games like Day Z, FTL and XCOM, Jim’s argument made one small mistake: it was all wrong. Games aren’t best when they’re stressing you out, piling on the pressure, raising your anxiety levels to breaking point! Games are best when they embrace you into their wonderful worlds, telling you great stories, and letting you get away from the incessant worries of real life.

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That certainly is a banner.

Former BioWareites, Stoic, are formed from a gathering of those who worked on Star Wars: The Old Republic, then ran off into the Texan wastelands to form their own studio. The three-man indie team is working on an online hybrid called The Banner Saga, that plans to merge RPG, turn-based strategy, and vikings. It is the combination mentioned in the Mayan Codecs.

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Uncy Gabe
Penny Arcade’s new games journalism site (note the lack of capitalisation), the PA Report, has kicked off with an interview with Uncy Gabe of Valve’s new beard. Most interviews with the newly hirsute Newell have some form of forward looking speculation about the industry, because that’s the way his mind works, and Newell’s take on hardware shows that the Valve hivemeind are contemplating how best to serve customers hardware as well as software. Though Newell observes that “It’s definitely not the first thought that crosses our mind”, Valve’s biofeedback experiments have been so successful that they are, if no-one else does it adequately, prepared to sell the hardware themselves.

“It’s not a question of whether or not this is going to be useful for customers, whether or not it’s going to be useful for content developers, you know, it’s figuring out the best way we can get these into people’s hands.”

But how could that happen?

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One day everyone will realise I'm right about these games.

It’s on days like today, when there is NO PC NEWS AT ALL, that I remember to return to Neko Games. The creator of the wonderful Hoshi Saga series has always created a new gem since my last visit, and it’s just as true today. Today there’s Ouka. It’s similar to the star-hunting antics of Hoshi Saga, in that you’re aiming to complete lots of very short Flash-based puzzles, but this time it’s all about clicking on the flower. How you can go about doing that is the unique puzzle for each level, with that unique Neko Games logic. And then, wait, oh my goodness, is that a new Hoshi Saga too?

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"I've got hands to kiss, and babies to shake."

I absolutely, categorically do not understand what everyone has against Escape From Monkey Island. While I admit I had been horribly wrong about The Curse Of Monkey Island, everyone else is entirely wrong about the fourth game in the series, and it's time for this mad prejudice to come to an end.

And there's no better time to do this than now, because this 11-year-old game is in fact currently incredibly topical. I know of no other game thats central motif is openly mocking Rupert Murdoch and his attempts to buy everything in the world. Well, I guess we can't say that for sure. Perhaps they were spoofing some other rich Australian grump who tries to take over everything he encounters.

It is unjust - simply awful - that this game is so weirdly dismissed, even hated, by fans of Monkey Island. Because despite (and even with) the 3D this is an absolutely stunning adventure game. It's one of the funniest, most involved, and downright strange in all of LucasArts' collection, and you - yes YOU - are a fool for the way you've been pretending you don't like it for all these years.


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As brilliant as it was literate.

So I ran this guy over. I guess I didn’t like the look of him. He gets up twice, but I pop him back down again until he runs out of getting up juice. This causes the police to arrive, two of them. They screech to a halt nearby, get out of the car and then stand still. One stands in front of his police car, which proves a mistake when a van crashes into the back of it, causing the policeman to be run over by his own abandoned vehicle. The other cop reacts by sprinting off down the road, remembering himself, then turning around and running back, colliding with the bonnet of another van and running madly on the spot. The previously squished cop gets up, charges off down the road, and starts shooting his gun at a passing taxi.

So the cab driver gets out, shoots the cop dead then runs toward me, firing. I shoot him, for my own protection, causing two more cops to instantaneously arrive and kill me on the spot.

Welcome to Driv3r. A game that almost equals Soldner for levels of mad-faced brokenness. And that’s not a compliment I hand out lightly.


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If you don't find this gorgeous, you're fired.

Ohmygoodness, this is special. Small Worlds by David Shute is a proper, genuine exploration game, where you really do only explore. A tiny pixel man moves around an ever-growing area, finding… almost nothing. I want to say nothing more, as the joy comes from just seeing the area fill in as you explore. It’s short, but it’s absolutely beautiful, enhanced enormously by gorgeous music from Kevin MacLeod. It was created for one of the Jayisgames Casual Gameplay Competition, where it deservedly won first place, and also gathered trophies in the other two categories. Big thanks to Mr Bakke for pointing it out.

EDIT: Yes, yes, it’s old. So what?! Eh? What are you going to do about it? Fight me? I’ll fight you. I’ll fight all of you!

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