I am not a programmer. I’m not an artist. I’m not a game designer. But still, I’ve been tinkering under the hood with Game Maker, and it has been one of the most exciting, challenging, interesting and creative things I’ve ever done with my spare time.
I’m only a handful of hours in, but the game that’s been taking up most of my imagination lately is Alien Isolation. And damn if it isn’t brilliant. I’ve been playing it “Co-Op” with my girlfriend, meaning that when one of us gets too stressed out we just hand the the controller off to each other. It’s actually a really great way to play a tense, stressful game like this and also works well because I think Isolation is just about as fun to watch as it is to play.
Starfleet Deluxe represents a lot of things I love about gaming. It’s an homage to a well-loved property that makes a game out of something we’ve all dreamed about doing. It lets you get on with your mission however you like, without fudding you to do things “right.” It’s an incredibly old school (think, ‘telnetting-into-a-remote-BBS’ old school) game ported to Android with a slick and highly usable interface. It’s tense, it’s fun, it’s exciting, and even though it’s really old, it’s still almost completely unique.
Here’s a really short Check out Time. It’s about a little webgame called Nested. There’s no graphics, plot, or even mechanics, but rather it is a game about exploring massive, entirely uniq
ue procedurally generated universes. In just a few minutes, you can find an entire recursive lasagnaverse recursively hidden in a police officers eyelash. You can read the thoughts of a toad sitting in the bottom of a dank canyon on a lonely planet (he’s thinking ‘toadally’ by the way). Sure, it’s really more of a toy than a game, but it’s an excellent one nonetheless, and very much worth a little bit of clicking.
If I’m doing chores or driving, there’s an almost 100% chance I’m listening to some sort of gaming podcast, or even watching YouTube videos about my illustrious hobby/debilitating addiction. I thought I’d share some of my favorites here with you. Continue past the fold to see some of my favorite media outlets, and why I think they’re special. Continue reading
Note: This is a Check-out-TIme that actually means a lot to me. It reminds me of a community I used to be a part of, of a time when I was younger. A time where indie games and game makers operated totally differently from how they do now. The internet is something that we often view as a permanent archive, that something released on the internet will somehow live forever. But, that’s only partially true: Many of the digital gems from this time are probably already impossible to find. Content on the internet only lives as long as someone keeps it there. The obscure, small, and “unimportant” content can wither and die, just as any other medium can. This is me trying to keep a small part of that history alive. If you read this article, and can’t find the games I talk about here, contact me. Message me on WordPress. I’ll try to keep Ikiki’s great work on my hard drive. I hope you find something youenjoy in this article
The indie gaming scene of the mid-thousands was a unique moment in time. Cave Story had just been released, and was a simple unassuming game that few had even heard of yet. Derek Yu’s doubtless masterpiece Aquaria was right around the corner, and nobody had even considered purchasing indie games on Steam yet, or really buying anything digitally at all. In this landscape, the small indie freeware game ruled. Simple, rough games built in GameMaker or even Multimedia Fusion by high-school and college kids trying their hand at it for the first time. This was back when Cactus was putting out a game every other week, when Tim W. was still trying to balance what would become the monolithic IndieGames blog, and maybe even Home of the Underdogs got a blog post or two. There’s absolutely no doubt the indie gaming scene is stronger now. The tools are better, there’s actually viable distribution models, and indie games creators can go toe-to-toe with their AAA counterparts. But, there’s something nostalgic for me in remembering these rough-edged gaming pioneers, quietly posting a .rar file of their newest creation for free in some obscure corner of the web. And one of the quietest, but most prolific of all was the Japanese creator Ikiki.
Okay, so this isn’t exactly going to be a well-rehearsed or full article I’ll be writing here (like I ever do though, right?), but I just had to mention Divinity: Original Sin. It’s a very old-school turn-based CRPG that harkens back to the days of Baldur’s Gate and Ultima. It tackles the genre from a very simulationist perspective, with some crazy environmental effects. You can shoot water barrels to get enemies wet, then zap the puddle with lightning to shock the whole crowd. Or, you can freeze that water so your enemies slip around on the ice. Then, you can stick some nails into the bottom of your boots so you can slip-proof cleats. Seriously. Continue reading
Two powerful mages face each other on the field of battle. They summon powerful monsters and armies to command. These forces meet in an epic conflict to decide which summoner survives. If you’re involved in gaming much at all, you’ve probably heard this story. But we’re not talking about the game you’re probably thinking of. Instead, we’re talking about a fantastic little game called Summoner Wars, designed by the fine Colby Dauch and published by Plaid Hat Games. Much like Wizards of the Coast’s famous game of cards, Summoner Wars sees two different wizards trying to slaughter the other by playing cards representing various creatures. The twist here is that these cards are placed onto a board, and moved around the map to represent the ebb and flow of battle. Summoner Wars is easily one of my favorite games. Continue on beyond the break as I show you why.
Recently in the board-game blog and podcast-o-sphere, there’s been a lot of the talk about the 10×10 Challenge. The challenge involves creating a list of 10 games, and then playing them 10 times each. Board-game hobbyists have kind of a collective anxiety over not playing their games enough: The board-game hobby, not unlike video-games, is very much driven by hype and Cult-of-the-New, so many hobbyists aspire to enjoy their older games as opposed to going and buying new shiny ones. Well, my girlfriend and I have decided to undertake a slightly smaller scale version of that challenge: The 5×5. We’ve selected 5 games, and will vow to play them each 5 times. Continue beyond the fold to see the 5 we’ve picked, and some thoughts on each of them. Continue reading
Check Out Time is a series of articles in which I talk about games I’m excited about. Here is where I take off my editorial and critical hat to a degree, and just blather on about why I think things are cool. The games I talk about here may not always be the best games in the world, but they’ll always be something I think you should probably Check Out.
When I was a young gamer, one of the first games I really fell in love with was Rainbow Six on the Nintendo 64. How strange to think that I was playing one of the venerable PC greats on Nintendo’s little box, but that game is really what formed my deep and long lasting love for ordering little digital troopers around, for drawing up intricate and well made plans, and watching them all fall apart at the pull of a trigger. Door Kickers very competently brings that love for careful planning and controlled chaos into the modern era, delivering a highly accessible and elegantly designed tactical simulation.