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iPad Review: Sword and Sworcery EP

Posted on 11th Apr 2011 at 10:50 by David Hing with 12 comments

David Hing
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP for the iPad is like nothing else you have ever played. Described as ‘a 21st century interpretation of the archetypical old school videogame adventure’ it uses beautifully crafted pixel-scapes to do for video gaming what the impressionist painters did for art.

A collaborative project from indie studio Capybara, rock musicians and art from the Superbrothers themselves, Sword and Sworcery EP is a essentially a point and click adventure game that sees you cast as a warrior out to destroy an ancient evil. To do that you’ll need to solve puzzles, fight bears and collect an artefact called the Megatome – so far, so adventure-game. What sets is apart from the likes of Kings Quest however are the lashings of surrealism, abstraction and poetry that somehow never slips into infuriating pretentiousness.

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The Rise of the Hobby Developer

Posted on 18th Mar 2011 at 16:33 by David Hing with 8 comments

David Hing
Developers around the world have submitted over 61,000 games made in Game Maker to the YoYo Games site since 2007. The rate at which they are being submitted is that, when I started writing and researching this article, it was closer to 60,900. A new game is submitted every 20 minutes.

As you can probably guess based on the rate of submissions, a lot of these games are more works in progress than stable, finished releases. There’s no real quality control and the content ranges from the likes of Crimelife 2 to Box Dodger.

There are a lot of indie developers who use Game Maker as a way of producing very high quality titles, but what I find more interesting is the number of what I would describe as ‘hobby developers’ there are out there.

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Thoughts on The Arctic Cooling GCM

Posted on 18th Feb 2011 at 07:39 by Joe Martin with 25 comments

Joe Martin
This isn’t really a review, and I can’t label it as such, if only because Arctic Cooling’s GCM isn’t really the type of device we usually cover. Still, when it landed in the office I just couldn’t help myself. It looked so cheap and nasty that the other guys in the office recoiled from it in melodramatic disgust. I had to write about it.

You’ve seen gizmos like the GCM before, probably. It wouldn’t be out of place on the prize rack of a fairground attraction, or in a machine at that really run-down arcade that your parents never let you go to. The packaging is emblazoned with bold claims that try to sell the GCM to you on a sheer value factor – 80 games in 1? Wowee! – all of which strengthens the impression that it’s going to be rubbish.

But, hey, at least it comes with its own Arctic Cooling batteries!

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What I'm Playing - Blood Bowl Legendary Edition

Posted on 17th Feb 2011 at 12:08 by Clive Webster with 18 comments

Clive Webster
Despite its occasional eccentricities, I rather liked the original Blood Bowl computer game. The races all had their own characteristics, so every game had different challenges, and the sense of humour and style fitted the world of the ultra-violent American Football game. Best yet, it brought back memories of playing the board game on which it's based. Legendary Edition adds 11 new races to the game, plus new pitches, rules and a Story mode, so I got myself a copy a few weeks ago.

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Thoughts on Mainstream Game Advertising

Posted on 14th Feb 2011 at 14:05 by Paul Goodhead with 27 comments

Paul Goodhead
As a marketing graduate I often find myself idly assesing the marketing strategies that tech companies employ. It’s an industry that's fairly set in its ways - Taiwanese companies tend to think a CG picture of a pretty girl with an ornate sword or huge gun can sell anything, no matter what we in the West say. Meanwhile, here in the West, we can't help but work the touch-feely lifestyle angle - 'this laptop is good because you can help the kids with their homework on it!'

My interest was piqued therefore when I saw Nintendo’s latest Super Mario advert which marks the 25th anniversary of Mario series of games. The advert is initially quite unremarkable, showing men and women of all ages, some of whom are celebrities, talking about the Mario games and their memories of them. So far, so Nintendo; the company has been using softer, more personal adverts targeted at casual and first time gamers for a while now.

What I did find remarkable though was the end of the advert which contained the message the ad was there to convey - ‘Super Mario Brothers, part of the family since 1985’. It’s the first time I’ve seen a computer game use a heritage message, a message that emphasises the history and longevity of a brand or product.

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Games I Own: Requiem: Avenging Angel

Posted on 13th Feb 2011 at 10:02 by Joe Martin with 13 comments

Joe Martin
Requiem: Avenging Angel is a classic example of a game that should be very well known, but isn’t. In fact, it’s more likely that you've never heard of it, which is odd considering that it was the first ever game to feature bullet time, while having similar gameplay to Jedi Knight. That sounds like a winning formula, right?

Requiem has more going for it than just a single feature and a passing similarity, though. It was also one of the first modern games to tread in Half-Life’s shoes; trapping players in a first person perspective and allowing players to travel back and forth through some levels.

Unfortunately, Requiem had a whole heap of problems, which outweighed these strengths and stopped it from collecting acclaim of either the critical or commercial variety. Firstly, the levels were incredibly boring to fight through and, while Requiem opens strongly with a few gory levels in hellish Limbo, it eventually descends into a blocky romp through generic sci-fi locations. The obligatory sewer section doesn’t help either.

Requiem’s biggest problem, however, is simply the subject matter; Catholicism.

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Bit-Gamer Competition #6

Posted on 7th Feb 2011 at 12:01 by Joe Martin with 17 comments

Joe Martin
Last week we asked you to let us know what you thought about Sony's newly announced NGP for a chance to win one of two bundles of PC strategy games. Now, we announce the winners and set a whole new competition!

First, we'll set the rules for the new competition. What we want you to do this week is either send us a question or let us know which game you'd like us to discuss in our next games podcast.

We have two sets of prizes to give away, one for the forums and one for Facebook.

If you want to enter via the forums then all you need to do is drop your answer in the comments to this article for a chance to win a copy of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit on the Xbox 360, plus Daniel Wilson's How to Survive a Robot Uprising book!

If you want to enter via Facebook then you should tell us on our Facebook page for a chance to win Medal of Honour on PS3, plus a copy of Chris Ryan's novelization. You can, of course, enter both as many times as you want to increase your chances of winning.

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iPhone Review: Dead Space

Posted on 6th Feb 2011 at 09:52 by Joe Martin with 10 comments

Joe Martin
It’s startling what’s possible with technology these days. A few decades ago Pong! was the pinnacle of interactive entertainment, and digital watches were the height of fashion. Nowadays, games such as Dead Space for iPhone offer console-like experiences on pocket-sized devices. Meanwhile, I’m wearing a wind-up watch, so maybe not everything progresses equally.

The term ‘console-like experience’ is one that gets bandied about a lot on the AppStore, with the likes of the simplistic-but-stylish Infinity Blade making an especially big deal about it. To us, though, the iPhone version of Dead Space is the first title that really lives up to that claim, matching great graphics with decent complexity.

Casting players as a new character in the Dead Space universe, codenamed Vandal, Dead Space for iPhone bridges the game between the 2008 series debut and the more recent sequel. Acting as a secret agent for the church of Unitology, Vandal is manipulated in the opening chapters in order to contribute to the disaster that forms Dead Space 2’s backdrop.

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Bit-Gamer Competition #5

Posted on 28th Jan 2011 at 11:38 by Joe Martin with 3 comments

Joe Martin
In the hustle of visiting Paradox Interactive in New York, we sadly forgot to post the winners for our last competition. On the plus side, we've now remembered and can reasonably claim that we're just being fashionably late.

Before we announce the winners of the last competition though, it's time to lay the rules for the new competition.

We've got two sets of prizes on offer this week, one for those who want to enter via Twitter and one for those who enter via Facebook. What we want you to do is tell us what you think of Sony's new NGP handheld, which was announced yesterday.

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On 1378 KM

Posted on 15th Jan 2011 at 10:38 by Harry Slater with 31 comments

Harry Slater
Videogames rarely shy away from the bleaker moments of human history. From the horrors of the Crusades to the grim, cut throat frontier of the old West, some of the greatest gaming moments of recent years have been firmly rooted in the bloodiest episodes of the past. Unlike other media, though, there's always an air of controversy surrounding videogames that deal with events in living memory.

Take 1378 KM, for example. It’s a Half-Life 2 mod that places players in the role of either a guard or a refugee at the Berlin Wall. The refugees have to cross the wall, the guards have to stop them. Unsurprisingly, it’s currently causing huge controversy in Germany. The game's creator, Jens M. Stober, defends the game as a work of art, suggesting in a statement on the site that it's not necessarily the content of the title that's causing controversy, but the medium.

There have been documentaries, feature films, paintings, sculptures and a huge variety of other pieces created that deal with the terrible things that happened during the communist regime in Eastern Germany, but videogames have one feature that's not present in the others - interactivity. In a videogame, you're not simply presented with the facts, you're presented with a choice. You can choose not to shoot, if you want.

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Fractal Design Arc XL Review

Fractal Design Arc XL Review

Fractal's Arc range of cases gets the XL treatment, and the Arc XL is born.
The Elder Scrolls Online Review

The Elder Scrolls Online Review

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