Showing results for tags 'video games'. - Extra Life Community Hub Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'video games'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Extra Life News
    • Extra Life Updates
    • Best Practices
    • Community Content
    • Why I Extra Life
    • Fundraising
    • Contests
  • Gaming News
  • Features
  • Podcast

Discussions

  • Extra Life Discussions
    • General Extra Life Discussion
    • Local Extra Lifers
    • Fundraising Ideas
    • Live Streaming Tips & Tricks
    • Official Extra Life Stream Team Discussion
    • Extra Life JSON Code Discussion & Sharing
    • Extra Life United
    • Extra Life Q & A
  • Articles & Extra Life Announcements
    • Announcements
  • Official Extra Life Guilds
    • Guild information and Discussion
    • Canada
    • Northeastern US
    • Southeastern US
    • Central US
    • Western US
  • Gaming Discussions
  • Other Stuff
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Recent Posts

Calendars

  • Extra Life Community Calendar
  • Extra Life Stream Team
  • Akron Guild
  • Albany Guild
  • Albuquerque Guild
  • Anchorage Guild
  • Atlanta Guild
  • Austin Guild
  • Bakersfield Guild
  • Baltimore Guild
  • Birmingham Guild
  • Boston Guild
  • Burlington Guild
  • Buffalo Guild
  • Calgary, AB Guild
  • Morgantown Guild
  • Charlottesville Guild
  • Chicago Guild
  • Cincinnati Guild
  • Cleveland Guild
  • Columbia, MO Guild
  • Columbus, OH Guild
  • Dallas Guild
  • Dayton Guild
  • Denver Guild
  • Des Moines Guild
  • Detroit Guild
  • Edmonton, AB Guild
  • Fargo-Valley City Guild
  • Fresno Guild
  • Ft. Worth Guild
  • Gainesville-Tallahassee Guild
  • Grand Rapids Guild
  • Halifax, NS Guild
  • Hamilton, ON Guild
  • Hartford Guild
  • Hershey Guild
  • Hudson Valley Guild
  • Houston Guild
  • Indianapolis Guild
  • Jacksonville Guild
  • Kansas City Guild
  • Knoxville Guild
  • Lansing Guild
  • London, ON Guild
  • Los Angeles Guild
  • Milwaukee / Madison Guild
  • Minneapolis / Twin Cities Guild
  • Montreal / Quebec City Guild
  • Nashville Guild
  • Newark Guild
  • NYC & Long Island Guild
  • Oakland / San Francisco Guild
  • Omaha Guild
  • Orange County Guild
  • Orlando Guild
  • Ottawa, ON Guild
  • Philadelphia Guild
  • Phoenix Guild
  • Pittsburgh Guild
  • Portland, OR Guild
  • Portland, ME Guild
  • Raleigh-Durham Guild
  • Richmond Guild
  • Sacramento Guild
  • Salt Lake City Guild
  • San Antonio Guild
  • San Diego Guild
  • San Juan, PR Guild
  • Saskatchewan Guild
  • Seattle Guild
  • Spokane Guild
  • Springfield-Champaign, IL Guild
  • Springfield, MA Guild
  • St. Louis Guild
  • Syracuse Guild
  • Tampa / St. Petersburg Guild
  • Toronto, ON Guild
  • Vancouver, BC Guild
  • Washington DC Guild
  • Winnipeg, MB Guild
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Events
  • Extra Life Akron's Events

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Hospital


Location


Why I "Extra Life"


Interests


Twitter


Instagram


Twitch


Mixer


Discord


Blizzard Battletag


Nintendo ID


PSN ID


Steam


Origin


Xbox Gamertag

Found 134 results

  1. Piranha Games has currently raised $102,640 for the Canadian Cancer Society through a special promotion honoring a five-year-old fan who lost her battle with the disease in May. For $10, fans and supporters of Sarah can purchase Sarah Parries' Jenner, a specific type of mech that Sarah favored while playing MWO with her father. All of the proceeds from the mech go to the Canadian Cancer Society. The offer ends on August 20, so if you want to try out MechWarrior Online with a fancy new mech that will never be available again you still have time. The actual mech itself will have grant a 10% experience boost and be treated like a normal JR7-D. You cannot buy more than one, the Jenner will not be transferable after purchase, and it cannot be resold or returned. “Get 'em good!” - Sarah Parries For more information you can visit the FAQ on Sarah's Jenner and if you feel like purchasing one for yourself, you can head over to the fundraising page. View full article
  2. In the midst of a hectic, crowded, and noisy E3 2013, there was a quieter (albeit only slightly) corner of the show floor. Out of curiosity and after being dazzled by the lights and bombast of the larger booths, I decided to wend my way through the smaller set-ups in this calmer section of the expo. I was approached by a representative of Blue Marble Games, a relatively new developer that focuses on creating games that are both fun and will hopefully help people with brain injuries, especially returning veterans. I was introduced to Nina Withrington, a physical therapist who works with the programmers and artists to help create Blue Marble’s games. At E3, Blue Marble was showing off a collection of games called RESeT, which collects information about performance that therapists will be able to use to identify problems with patient cognition like memory or attention span. I was able to chat with Nina about RESeT, Blue Marble, their other upcoming game Treasure of Bell Island, and their crowd-funding attempt, Zoezi Park. Jack Gardner: Why don’t you start at the beginning? Nina Withrington: To start from the beginning, this is a suite of games called RESeT. It basically has two parts: An assessment section and an intervention section. These games were made with funding from the Department of Defense for mild traumatic brain injury for the soldiers and veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to serve them, because [brain injuries are] a big issue in that population. So, what we’ve done, we have a research team in-house, which I am a part of. I am a physical therapist. Bonnie here is an occupational therapist with a PhD in metrics and math and the owner of the company is a physical therapist and has a PhD in neural science. Garnder: Wow, so you’re a bunch of smart cookies! Withrington: [Laughs] We’re doing all right, we’re doing all right. Yeah, between us we have 75 years of clinical experience. It is really great that we get to work with a team of game designers, programmers, and artists to build these games from the ground up with clinical input in mind. So, going to the literature [and seeing] the current clinical guidelines, the evidence, what clinicians are using, and then inputting that into the game. That’s the whole idea behind this. [Gesturing to the table-sized touchscreen computer on which RESeT is running, Withrington begins flicking through the menus, showing me different features.] So, this is the assessive portion. You can see that it challenges different things that can be impaired in brain injuries: visual perception, visual-spatial inattention, memory, attention, executive function, which is organization and planning, coordination, and patient recorded outcomes. So, the game I’m going to show you here is called Asteroid Adventures and this is an assessment of executive function. It is our gamified version of a common test used in the clinic called 'the trail-making test.' [I took a couple seconds to look the game over. It appeared to consist of identifying the patter and order of numbers and letters in the sand and pressing them in the right order. As I am playing, matching the correct pattern, Withrington continues to talk.] The traditional test is done on paper with circles and a pencil. That’s the difference. Running in the background of all these games is a database that tracks every tap that is made on the screen. From that we can figure out what someone’s response time was, where they made an error, and what they did after they made an error. Did they keep tapping that same thing? Did they pause and make the same error? Did they pause and then make the right choice? That can tell us a lot about what is going on while they are doing an assessment. Another thing, on a big table like this we also know where you touched. [Withrington pulls out her laptop and shows me a map of the Asteroid Adventures. The image is identical to the game I just played, but there are red marks across the left side of the screen, while the right side is relatively clear.] This is actually some data from a person with a brain injury who played this in our offices and what you can see is that all of his mistakes were made on the left side of the screen. What that tells us is that he has some inattention to that side, which is common in brain injury, not necessarily in mild traumatic brain injury, but more severe brain injuries. We can collect that data, which is kind of neat. Let me show you one more thing… We’ll do the same test one more time, but a different version of it…. Just so you know, this suite of games is going to be at the clinical trials at Cedars-Saini* this summer. So, it will be a validation study of the assessment portion. Which is very exciting for us. Another thing about our games is that they are levelled, so that someone who is healthy can play these games and have just as much fun as someone with impairments. So, they level up and then they level down to a lower level. So, that way, if someone is going through the rehabilitation process their family can play with them, and they can play with their friends and they have something to talk about besides their injury. Which I think is really awesome, personally. I am going to show you one more evaluation. This is the same thing, but in this one, there is a line being drawn. Gardner: So, same kind of deal as before. Withrington: Yep, it is the same thing. The major difference being that you are getting this additional queue, right, so you know where you’ve been. Then I can show you the data and show you why that is interesting. [In the interest of time, Withrington does the level herself, performing admirably despite the level being upside down from her point of view, and once more pulls out her laptop to show me data.] This is what I wanted to show you. This blue line is the sandbox one, where you get this queue of where you’ve been, the line. This red one here is the one where you don’t get that queue. This was done with the same player with brain injury. You can see when he has the queue, he goes really fast in the sandbox. When he doesn’t have the queue, it takes him 3-4 times as long. That is a memory issue, where was I last? Trials B, where you switch between number and letter, he does about the same on both, which tells us he primary problem is memory, not flexible thinking. That’s the kind of granular data that you can glean from something that is on a platform like this and gives you data in the background. All of our games port to tablets and they play on the PC as well, so there are lots of platforms for them. We also have another game called Treasure of Bell Island, which is a strategic adventure game, and what happens is- I don’t have a tablet right now, but the player has a cast of characters and they have to solve the mystery of an island. They have to explore the island, they have to hunt to feed their crew, they have to keep their crew sheltered, and all of these things as they go along solving this mystery and collecting golden bells. Each of the mini-games challenges a different aspect of cognition, memory, attention, and executive function. So, there is a whole narrative, you have a purpose, and it is real-life, you have to think about others, not just yourself. So, that is a really great, fun game that we are doing as well. Gardner: Over time do these kinds of games improve that kind of mental cognition? Withrington: That’s a great question. These were literally just built. Gardner: So, we don’t know yet. Withrington: So, we don’t know yet, that’s the answer. But, we have taken the evidence from the literature and I can say they do challenge all of the impairments, but whether that will translate into real world will take lots of studies to figure out over years. In the meantime, this is what we’ve got and it can be used, in my estimation. Especially when you consider that therapists are taking games off the shelf and trying to make those work. Saying, ‘well, at least I am getting this challenged a little bit.’ You know, they are looking at it from a task analysis perspective and saying, ‘what is being challenged here and can I make that work?’ Gardner: Is this available now? Withrington: It will be available soon. Very, very soon. Gardner: And people would just be able to buy this on the Apple App Store, or…? Withrington: They could buy it from our website. That will be the first place you will be able to buy it. We’re not quite on iPad yet. We are working hard to get there, we have a preliminary build, but hopefully we will be. That’s the plan. But it can be played on PC if someone wanted to play on PC. Gardner: What is this going to cost? Will it be free? Withrington: No, that’s a great question. I am not the business person for Blue Marble, but I do know that we are committed to making these affordable. It will never cost more than an off-the-shelf game or what you would spend on a regular app. What would probably cost more would be if you wanted to know the data all the time. That takes a lot more maintenance on our end. But certainly, just to buy the game would be, you know, an average priced game, even though it has so much more going into it, like actual research. Gardner: When someone buys the game, how do they access the data? Withrington: The data is online. They can log in and see it there. Gardner: Would therapists be prescribing these games? Withrington: What’s great about our model here is that it could just be used by someone picking it up and wanting to use it or you can work with a therapist if you have impairments. The way I see these cognitive games is that they could be used as brain games too, because they level so high. But if you do have impairments, you probably should work with a therapist so they can help you through the game and develop strategies for you. In this game we have lots of mini-games as you go up in levels that challenge certain things specifically, so if a therapist has assessed someone, they can say, ‘you know, focus on these challenges, and don’t worry so much about these.’ Gardner: Are you working with other physical therapists not associated with the development? Withrington: Yes, all throughout our design process. It is what we call user-centered design. We go out and do focus groups with all of our end-users. That is clinicians, people with disabilities, caregivers, and family members. We get everybody’s input: What would be fun, what doesn’t work here, does this mechanic really disturb your vision, etc. We have to consider things like that. There are certain mechanics that we can’t do in games here. Is the art too complicated? These are things that are all barriers for [people with brain injuries to enjoy] entertainment games. Gardner: Can you tell me a little bit about how Blue Marble started? Withrington: Yes, absolutely. Dr. Sheryl Flynn is our CEO. She is a physical therapist and has a PhD in neural Science. She won a grant from the Department of Defense to make the Treasure of Bell Island game, which was our first game. Gardner: Treasure of Bell Island is out right now? Withrington: Almost. We just redid the art. So, probably in a month or two, that game will be out. Gardner: Also on the same platforms as RESeT? Withrington: Yes, on tablet and PC, working on the [iOS] process. So, anyway, she won the grant from the government to make that one and then we got a grant to make RESeT and we had gotten another small grant to create a prototype for a game that helps prevent falls in older adults, and that small grant enabled us to create a very basic prototype with just one or two exercises in it, but we want to put in a whole suite of exercises from the Otago exercise program, which has been shown to prevent falls in older adults by 35%. We would love to get the generations playing together and doing that. We are doing crowd funding to raise money to hopefully be able to build out that game. It is Whenyouwish.com and the game is called Zoezi Park and Zoezi is Swahili for exercise. Because you have to train balance to maintain balance and I know as our population ages it is a very big public health issue and just a caring-about-our-seniors issue. I think that what Blue Marble Games is trying to do is pretty great, and not something that we see very often in the video game industry. Check out their products and their stuff if you want to see something unique in the industry. For more information on RESeT go here. *Cedars-Saini is a non-profit hospital that also functions as an academic center for health science.
  3. In the midst of a hectic, crowded, and noisy E3 2013, there was a quieter (albeit only slightly) corner of the show floor. Out of curiosity and after being dazzled by the lights and bombast of the larger booths, I decided to wend my way through the smaller set-ups in this calmer section of the expo. I was approached by a representative of Blue Marble Games, a relatively new developer that focuses on creating games that are both fun and will hopefully help people with brain injuries, especially returning veterans. I was introduced to Nina Withrington, a physical therapist who works with the programmers and artists to help create Blue Marble’s games. At E3, Blue Marble was showing off a collection of games called RESeT, which collects information about performance that therapists will be able to use to identify problems with patient cognition like memory or attention span. I was able to chat with Nina about RESeT, Blue Marble, their other upcoming game Treasure of Bell Island, and their crowd-funding attempt, Zoezi Park. Jack Gardner: Why don’t you start at the beginning? Nina Withrington: To start from the beginning, this is a suite of games called RESeT. It basically has two parts: An assessment section and an intervention section. These games were made with funding from the Department of Defense for mild traumatic brain injury for the soldiers and veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to serve them, because [brain injuries are] a big issue in that population. So, what we’ve done, we have a research team in-house, which I am a part of. I am a physical therapist. Bonnie here is an occupational therapist with a PhD in metrics and math and the owner of the company is a physical therapist and has a PhD in neural science. Garnder: Wow, so you’re a bunch of smart cookies! Withrington: [Laughs] We’re doing all right, we’re doing all right. Yeah, between us we have 75 years of clinical experience. It is really great that we get to work with a team of game designers, programmers, and artists to build these games from the ground up with clinical input in mind. So, going to the literature [and seeing] the current clinical guidelines, the evidence, what clinicians are using, and then inputting that into the game. That’s the whole idea behind this. [Gesturing to the table-sized touchscreen computer on which RESeT is running, Withrington begins flicking through the menus, showing me different features.] So, this is the assessive portion. You can see that it challenges different things that can be impaired in brain injuries: visual perception, visual-spatial inattention, memory, attention, executive function, which is organization and planning, coordination, and patient recorded outcomes. So, the game I’m going to show you here is called Asteroid Adventures and this is an assessment of executive function. It is our gamified version of a common test used in the clinic called 'the trail-making test.' [I took a couple seconds to look the game over. It appeared to consist of identifying the patter and order of numbers and letters in the sand and pressing them in the right order. As I am playing, matching the correct pattern, Withrington continues to talk.] The traditional test is done on paper with circles and a pencil. That’s the difference. Running in the background of all these games is a database that tracks every tap that is made on the screen. From that we can figure out what someone’s response time was, where they made an error, and what they did after they made an error. Did they keep tapping that same thing? Did they pause and make the same error? Did they pause and then make the right choice? That can tell us a lot about what is going on while they are doing an assessment. Another thing, on a big table like this we also know where you touched. [Withrington pulls out her laptop and shows me a map of the Asteroid Adventures. The image is identical to the game I just played, but there are red marks across the left side of the screen, while the right side is relatively clear.] This is actually some data from a person with a brain injury who played this in our offices and what you can see is that all of his mistakes were made on the left side of the screen. What that tells us is that he has some inattention to that side, which is common in brain injury, not necessarily in mild traumatic brain injury, but more severe brain injuries. We can collect that data, which is kind of neat. Let me show you one more thing… We’ll do the same test one more time, but a different version of it…. Just so you know, this suite of games is going to be at the clinical trials at Cedars-Saini* this summer. So, it will be a validation study of the assessment portion. Which is very exciting for us. Another thing about our games is that they are levelled, so that someone who is healthy can play these games and have just as much fun as someone with impairments. So, they level up and then they level down to a lower level. So, that way, if someone is going through the rehabilitation process their family can play with them, and they can play with their friends and they have something to talk about besides their injury. Which I think is really awesome, personally. I am going to show you one more evaluation. This is the same thing, but in this one, there is a line being drawn. Gardner: So, same kind of deal as before. Withrington: Yep, it is the same thing. The major difference being that you are getting this additional queue, right, so you know where you’ve been. Then I can show you the data and show you why that is interesting. [In the interest of time, Withrington does the level herself, performing admirably despite the level being upside down from her point of view, and once more pulls out her laptop to show me data.] This is what I wanted to show you. This blue line is the sandbox one, where you get this queue of where you’ve been, the line. This red one here is the one where you don’t get that queue. This was done with the same player with brain injury. You can see when he has the queue, he goes really fast in the sandbox. When he doesn’t have the queue, it takes him 3-4 times as long. That is a memory issue, where was I last? Trials B, where you switch between number and letter, he does about the same on both, which tells us he primary problem is memory, not flexible thinking. That’s the kind of granular data that you can glean from something that is on a platform like this and gives you data in the background. All of our games port to tablets and they play on the PC as well, so there are lots of platforms for them. We also have another game called Treasure of Bell Island, which is a strategic adventure game, and what happens is- I don’t have a tablet right now, but the player has a cast of characters and they have to solve the mystery of an island. They have to explore the island, they have to hunt to feed their crew, they have to keep their crew sheltered, and all of these things as they go along solving this mystery and collecting golden bells. Each of the mini-games challenges a different aspect of cognition, memory, attention, and executive function. So, there is a whole narrative, you have a purpose, and it is real-life, you have to think about others, not just yourself. So, that is a really great, fun game that we are doing as well. Gardner: Over time do these kinds of games improve that kind of mental cognition? Withrington: That’s a great question. These were literally just built. Gardner: So, we don’t know yet. Withrington: So, we don’t know yet, that’s the answer. But, we have taken the evidence from the literature and I can say they do challenge all of the impairments, but whether that will translate into real world will take lots of studies to figure out over years. In the meantime, this is what we’ve got and it can be used, in my estimation. Especially when you consider that therapists are taking games off the shelf and trying to make those work. Saying, ‘well, at least I am getting this challenged a little bit.’ You know, they are looking at it from a task analysis perspective and saying, ‘what is being challenged here and can I make that work?’ Gardner: Is this available now? Withrington: It will be available soon. Very, very soon. Gardner: And people would just be able to buy this on the Apple App Store, or…? Withrington: They could buy it from our website. That will be the first place you will be able to buy it. We’re not quite on iPad yet. We are working hard to get there, we have a preliminary build, but hopefully we will be. That’s the plan. But it can be played on PC if someone wanted to play on PC. Gardner: What is this going to cost? Will it be free? Withrington: No, that’s a great question. I am not the business person for Blue Marble, but I do know that we are committed to making these affordable. It will never cost more than an off-the-shelf game or what you would spend on a regular app. What would probably cost more would be if you wanted to know the data all the time. That takes a lot more maintenance on our end. But certainly, just to buy the game would be, you know, an average priced game, even though it has so much more going into it, like actual research. Gardner: When someone buys the game, how do they access the data? Withrington: The data is online. They can log in and see it there. Gardner: Would therapists be prescribing these games? Withrington: What’s great about our model here is that it could just be used by someone picking it up and wanting to use it or you can work with a therapist if you have impairments. The way I see these cognitive games is that they could be used as brain games too, because they level so high. But if you do have impairments, you probably should work with a therapist so they can help you through the game and develop strategies for you. In this game we have lots of mini-games as you go up in levels that challenge certain things specifically, so if a therapist has assessed someone, they can say, ‘you know, focus on these challenges, and don’t worry so much about these.’ Gardner: Are you working with other physical therapists not associated with the development? Withrington: Yes, all throughout our design process. It is what we call user-centered design. We go out and do focus groups with all of our end-users. That is clinicians, people with disabilities, caregivers, and family members. We get everybody’s input: What would be fun, what doesn’t work here, does this mechanic really disturb your vision, etc. We have to consider things like that. There are certain mechanics that we can’t do in games here. Is the art too complicated? These are things that are all barriers for [people with brain injuries to enjoy] entertainment games. Gardner: Can you tell me a little bit about how Blue Marble started? Withrington: Yes, absolutely. Dr. Sheryl Flynn is our CEO. She is a physical therapist and has a PhD in neural Science. She won a grant from the Department of Defense to make the Treasure of Bell Island game, which was our first game. Gardner: Treasure of Bell Island is out right now? Withrington: Almost. We just redid the art. So, probably in a month or two, that game will be out. Gardner: Also on the same platforms as RESeT? Withrington: Yes, on tablet and PC, working on the [iOS] process. So, anyway, she won the grant from the government to make that one and then we got a grant to make RESeT and we had gotten another small grant to create a prototype for a game that helps prevent falls in older adults, and that small grant enabled us to create a very basic prototype with just one or two exercises in it, but we want to put in a whole suite of exercises from the Otago exercise program, which has been shown to prevent falls in older adults by 35%. We would love to get the generations playing together and doing that. We are doing crowd funding to raise money to hopefully be able to build out that game. It is Whenyouwish.com and the game is called Zoezi Park and Zoezi is Swahili for exercise. Because you have to train balance to maintain balance and I know as our population ages it is a very big public health issue and just a caring-about-our-seniors issue. I think that what Blue Marble Games is trying to do is pretty great, and not something that we see very often in the video game industry. Check out their products and their stuff if you want to see something unique in the industry. For more information on RESeT go here. *Cedars-Saini is a non-profit hospital that also functions as an academic center for health science. View full article
  4. Contrary to popular belief, machinima (pronounced muh-sheen-uh-muh) is not just the name of one of YouTube’s largest content publishing channels, it is also the name of a specific film genre. Created by combining the words “machine” and “cinema,” machinima refers to movies or short films that are animated and recorded within a video game engine. While certainly unconventional, machinima films share many elements with traditional film making. Actors are used to manipulate in-game avatars while cameramen move and record the actions of the actors. Voice-over artists provide vocalization for the characters and animators create non-traditional animations for character models. Filming requires coordination and often involves using in-game glitches to achieve unique and compelling camera angles. The idea that meaningful, independent narratives might be told using a video game might seem laughable to some people. However, creative filmmakers have been able to bring up important questions on topics as diverse as: disability, escapism, loneliness, the costs of war, vigilantism, fate, individuality, and more. While some of the machinima on this list make use of a more lighthearted tone and others have a darker emphasis, they are all well-made, engaging, and fun to watch, providing new perspectives on the games in which they were made. The genre, though certainly very niche, has much to offer those who can accept such a non-traditional storytelling method. 10. Ignis Solus Two forts stand on either side of a body of water, a single bridge connects them. One Pyro wanders aimlessly between the two. He stops, looking at the sky, and sighs. Ignis Solus tells the story of a lonely Pyro in Team Fortress 2 who experiences loss. It is beautifully made and features an original song of the same name as the video. Ignis Solus was made by Lit Fuse Films, a talented studio that specializes in machinima filmmaking. Be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 9. Deviation As a Counter-Strike team prepares to go up through a manhole, one member begins to wonder if they’ve done this before. Created by Jon Griggs in 2006, Deviation deals with questions of fate and blindly following orders. The fact that the film is self-aware and riffs on the repetition inherent in online multiplayer shooters just makes it that much more enjoyable and pertinent, as such game mechanics are still used today. To see more of Griggs’ work, head over to his website. 8. The Journey What do you get when you combine an Orwellian dystopian future, stick-figures, Unreal Tournament, and poetry? I don’t really know, but I’d imagine it would be something very much like The Journey. Filmed in Unreal Tournament 2003, The Journey won the “Make Something Unreal Contest” put on by Epic Games. It very abstractly tells the story of a stick-figure person that breaks away from the norm and by doing so finds a unique voice, vision, and heart. For more information, feel free to visit journey.machinimag.com. 7. Portal: A Day in the Life of a Turret This short film focuses on the lives of two turrets in the game Portal. There isn’t much to say about this one, almost the entirety of the short is spent watching the stationary turrets talking with each other. They share jokes, insults, frustrations, discuss the meaning life, and then... well, you will just have to watch. A Day in the Life of a Turret is brought to you by the same people behind the well-known series The Leet World, a parody of The Real World that places the terrorists and counter-terrorists from Counter-Strike in a house together. 6. Mercy of the Sea A high fantasy adventure filmed using World of Warcraft, J. Joshua Diltz’s Mercy of the Sea focuses on a mother’s quest to retrieve her child from the clutches of her former husband. The voice acting and action are top-notch and supplemented by a genuinely creepy atmosphere. Though there are a few terms used in the film that those unfamiliar with the lore and gameplay of World of Warcraft might find difficult to understand, but they aren’t terribly important to the narrative. Finally, the visuals are stunning. How the various shots and effects were made in-game, I will never understand, yet Mercy of the Sea pulls it off. 5. Better Life Creator Rob Wright perfectly captures the power of escapism in this short film shot within Second Life. Better Life tells the story of a paraplegic stuck in a wheelchair who escapes into a virtual world free of his disability. The film is directly complemented by the song “Better Life” by the band Angry Man. I know people who play video games for this exact reason, people who have disabilities that physically prevent them from doing everything they want to accomplish. For them, video games (and MMOs in particular) allow them to feel free and not be defined by their physical limitations. You can see more of Rob’s work over at his blog Digital Double. 4. 6 Days J. Joshua Diltz makes this list for the second time for his collaborative work with artist Joseph DeLappe in the experimental documentary 6 Days. Recorded over six consecutive days within Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the film is a tribute to the military and civilian lives lost during the second battle of Fallujah. Though lacking a set narrative, this short, nine-minute video winds up packing a surprising emotional punch and raises questions about the costs and gamification of war. Three cameras show events unfolding simultaneously. One camera focuses on the action, another gives an overarching view of the battlefield, while the last rests on the rising death toll of the conflict. 3. Red vs. Blue Easily the best known Machinima series around, Rooster Teeth’s groundbreaking show is what introduced many people to the genre. Fun, light-hearted, and accessible, Red Vs. Blue is a comedy series about two warring factions in the boxed canyon of Blood Gulch filmed within Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and most recently Halo 4. Though the series officially ended with its 100th episode in 2007, the Rooster Teeth team has continued releasing content and are currently gearing up for an 11th season. Just a heads up that the series does contain some strong language. Check out the series on Rooster Teeth. 2. Maintenance Man Ever wonder how members of the Overwatch act behind closed doors in Half-Life 2? Lit Fuse Films’ second movie to make this list, Maintenance Man answers that question with equal parts comedy and action. While Gordon Freeman and a group of rebels are attacking the Citadel, catastrophic damage is done to the facility’s energy core. Only one man can prevent a total disaster and that man is Hank... the janitor. There are plenty of references that will have you laughing and some well-executed slapstick humor as well as some really nicely done action sequences and character building. As before, be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 1. The Trashmaster All of the other machinima films on this list have been short films, but The Trashmaster takes things to the next level with a full-blown feature film with an 88-minute running time. This would be impressive by itself, but the fact that The Trashmaster is well executed and compelling for the entirety of those 88-minutes is astounding. If anyone doubts that full-length movies can be made inside of a game, The Trashmaster will prove them wrong. Set in New York City, the film follows a garbage man who moonlights as a vigilante. The movie features some pretty intense violence, more than you would expect even within the GTA IV engine, and winds up nailing the gritty crime thriller vibe. Matthieu Weschler produced something really special with this project. Any machinima projects that you feel deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments! Top 10 Machinima Films Contrary to popular belief, machinima (pronounced muh-sheen-uh-muh) is not just the name of one of YouTube’s largest content publishing channels, it is also the name of a specific film genre. Machinima is a combination of the words “machine” and “cinema” and is used to refer to movies or short films that are animated and recorded within a video game engine. Machinima is similar in many respects to traditional filmmaking. Actors are used to manipulate in-game avatars while cameramen move and record the actions of the actors. Voice-over artists provide vocalization for the characters and animators create non-traditional animations for character models. Filming requires coordination and often involves using in-game glitches to achieve unique and compelling camera angles. The idea that meaningful, independent narratives might be told using a video game might seem laughable to some people. However, the films bring up important questions on topics as diverse as: disability, escapism, loneliness, the costs of war, vigilantism, fate, individuality, and more. While some of the machinima on this list make use of a more light-hearted tone and others have a darker emphasis, they are all well-made, engaging, and fun to watch, providing new perspectives on the games in which they were made. The genre, though certainly very much niche, has much to offer those who can accept such a non-traditional storytelling method. 10. Ignis Solus Two forts stand on either side of a body of water, a single bridge connects them. One Pyro wanders aimlessly between the two. He stops, looking at the sky, and sighs. Ignis Solus tells the story of a lonely Pyro in Team Fortress 2 who experiences loss. It is beautifully made and features an original song of the same name as the video. Ignis Solus was made by Lit Fuse Films, a talented studio that specializes in machinima filmmaking. Be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 9. Deviation As a Counter-Strike team prepares to go up through a manhole, one member begins to wonder if they’ve done this before. Created by Jon Griggs in 2006, Deviation deals with questions of fate and blindly following orders. The fact that the film is self-aware and riffs on the repetition inherent in online multiplayer shooters just makes it that much more enjoyable and pertinent, as such game mechanics are still used today. To see more of Griggs’ work, head over to his website. 8. The Journey What do you get when you combine an Orwellian dystopian future, stick-figures, Unreal Tournament, and poetry? I don’t really know, but I’d imagine it would be something very much like The Journey. Filmed in Unreal Tournament 2003, The Journey won the “Make Something Unreal Contest” put on by Epic Games. It very abstractly tells the story of a stick-figure person that breaks away from the norm and by doing so finds a unique voice, vision, and heart. For more information, feel free to visit journey.machinimag.com. 7. Portal: A Day in the Life of a Turret This short film focuses on the lives of two turrets in the game Portal. There isn’t much to say about this one, almost the entirety of the short is spent watching the stationary turrets talking with each other. They share jokes, insults, frustrations, discuss the meaning life, and then... well, you will just have to watch. A Day in the Life of a Turret is brought to you by the same people behind the well-known series The Leet World, a parody of The Real World that places the terrorists and counter-terrorists from Counter-Strike in a house together. 6. Mercy of the Sea A high fantasy adventure filmed using World of Warcraft, J. Joshua Diltz’s Mercy of the Sea focuses on a mother’s quest to retrieve her child from the clutches of her former husband. The voice acting and action are top-notch and supplemented by a genuinely creepy atmosphere. Though there are a few terms used in the film that those unfamiliar with the lore and gameplay of World of Warcraft might find difficult to understand, but they aren’t terribly important to the narrative. Finally, the visuals are stunning. How the various shots and effects were made in-game, I will never understand, yet Mercy of the Sea pulls it off. 5. Better Life Creator Rob Wright perfectly captures the power of escapism in this short film shot within Second Life. Better Life tells the story of a paraplegic stuck in a wheelchair who escapes into a virtual world free of his disability. The film is directly complemented by the song “Better Life” by the band Angry Man. I know people who play video games for this exact reason, people who have disabilities that physically prevent them from doing everything they want to accomplish. For them, video games (and MMOs in particular) allow them to feel free and not be defined by their physical limitations. You can see more of Rob’s work over at his blog Digital Double. 4. 6 Days J. Joshua Diltz makes this list for the second time for his collaborative work with artist Joseph DeLappe in the experimental documentary 6 Days. Recorded over six consecutive days within Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the film is a tribute to the military and civilian lives lost during the second battle of Fallujah. Though lacking a set narrative, this short, nine-minute video winds up packing a surprising emotional punch and raises questions about the costs and gamification of war. Three cameras show events unfolding simultaneously. One camera focuses on the action, another gives an overarching view of the battlefield, while the last rests on the rising death toll of the conflict. 3. Red Vs. Blue Easily the best known Machinima series around, Rooster Teeth’s groundbreaking show is what introduced many people to the genre. Fun, light-hearted, and accessible, Red Vs. Blue is a comedy series about two warring factions in the boxed canyon of Blood Gulch filmed within Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and most recently Halo 4. Though the series officially ended with its 100th episode in 2007, the Rooster Teeth team has continued releasing content and are currently gearing up for an 11th season. Check out the series on Rooster Teeth. 2. Maintenance Man Ever wonder how members of the Overwatch act behind closed doors in Half-Life 2? Lit Fuse Films’ second movie to make this list, Maintenance Man answers that question with equal parts comedy and action. While Gordon Freeman and a group of rebels are attacking the Citadel, catastrophic damage is done to the facility’s energy core. Only one man can prevent a total disaster and that man is Hank... the janitor. There are plenty of references that will have you laughing and some well-executed slapstick humor as well as some really nicely done action sequences and character building. As before, be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 1. The Trashmaster All of the other machinima films on this list have been short films, but The Trashmaster takes things to the next level with a full-blown feature film with an 88-minute running time. This would be impressive by itself, but the fact that The Trashmaster is well executed and compelling for the entirety of those 88-minutes is astounding. If anyone doubts that full-length movies can be made inside of a game, The Trashmaster will prove them wrong. Set in New York City, the film follows a garbageman who moonlights as a vigilante. The movie features some pretty intense violence, more than you would expect even within the GTA IV engine, and winds up nailing the gritty crime thriller vibe. Matthieu Weschler produced something really special with this project.
  5. Contrary to popular belief, machinima (pronounced muh-sheen-uh-muh) is not just the name of one of YouTube’s largest content publishing channels, it is also the name of a specific film genre. Created by combining the words “machine” and “cinema,” machinima refers to movies or short films that are animated and recorded within a video game engine. While certainly unconventional, machinima films share many elements with traditional film making. Actors are used to manipulate in-game avatars while cameramen move and record the actions of the actors. Voice-over artists provide vocalization for the characters and animators create non-traditional animations for character models. Filming requires coordination and often involves using in-game glitches to achieve unique and compelling camera angles. The idea that meaningful, independent narratives might be told using a video game might seem laughable to some people. However, creative filmmakers have been able to bring up important questions on topics as diverse as: disability, escapism, loneliness, the costs of war, vigilantism, fate, individuality, and more. While some of the machinima on this list make use of a more lighthearted tone and others have a darker emphasis, they are all well-made, engaging, and fun to watch, providing new perspectives on the games in which they were made. The genre, though certainly very niche, has much to offer those who can accept such a non-traditional storytelling method. 10. Ignis Solus Two forts stand on either side of a body of water, a single bridge connects them. One Pyro wanders aimlessly between the two. He stops, looking at the sky, and sighs. Ignis Solus tells the story of a lonely Pyro in Team Fortress 2 who experiences loss. It is beautifully made and features an original song of the same name as the video. Ignis Solus was made by Lit Fuse Films, a talented studio that specializes in machinima filmmaking. Be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 9. Deviation As a Counter-Strike team prepares to go up through a manhole, one member begins to wonder if they’ve done this before. Created by Jon Griggs in 2006, Deviation deals with questions of fate and blindly following orders. The fact that the film is self-aware and riffs on the repetition inherent in online multiplayer shooters just makes it that much more enjoyable and pertinent, as such game mechanics are still used today. To see more of Griggs’ work, head over to his website. 8. The Journey What do you get when you combine an Orwellian dystopian future, stick-figures, Unreal Tournament, and poetry? I don’t really know, but I’d imagine it would be something very much like The Journey. Filmed in Unreal Tournament 2003, The Journey won the “Make Something Unreal Contest” put on by Epic Games. It very abstractly tells the story of a stick-figure person that breaks away from the norm and by doing so finds a unique voice, vision, and heart. For more information, feel free to visit journey.machinimag.com. 7. Portal: A Day in the Life of a Turret This short film focuses on the lives of two turrets in the game Portal. There isn’t much to say about this one, almost the entirety of the short is spent watching the stationary turrets talking with each other. They share jokes, insults, frustrations, discuss the meaning life, and then... well, you will just have to watch. A Day in the Life of a Turret is brought to you by the same people behind the well-known series The Leet World, a parody of The Real World that places the terrorists and counter-terrorists from Counter-Strike in a house together. 6. Mercy of the Sea A high fantasy adventure filmed using World of Warcraft, J. Joshua Diltz’s Mercy of the Sea focuses on a mother’s quest to retrieve her child from the clutches of her former husband. The voice acting and action are top-notch and supplemented by a genuinely creepy atmosphere. Though there are a few terms used in the film that those unfamiliar with the lore and gameplay of World of Warcraft might find difficult to understand, but they aren’t terribly important to the narrative. Finally, the visuals are stunning. How the various shots and effects were made in-game, I will never understand, yet Mercy of the Sea pulls it off. 5. Better Life Creator Rob Wright perfectly captures the power of escapism in this short film shot within Second Life. Better Life tells the story of a paraplegic stuck in a wheelchair who escapes into a virtual world free of his disability. The film is directly complemented by the song “Better Life” by the band Angry Man. I know people who play video games for this exact reason, people who have disabilities that physically prevent them from doing everything they want to accomplish. For them, video games (and MMOs in particular) allow them to feel free and not be defined by their physical limitations. You can see more of Rob’s work over at his blog Digital Double. 4. 6 Days J. Joshua Diltz makes this list for the second time for his collaborative work with artist Joseph DeLappe in the experimental documentary 6 Days. Recorded over six consecutive days within Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the film is a tribute to the military and civilian lives lost during the second battle of Fallujah. Though lacking a set narrative, this short, nine-minute video winds up packing a surprising emotional punch and raises questions about the costs and gamification of war. Three cameras show events unfolding simultaneously. One camera focuses on the action, another gives an overarching view of the battlefield, while the last rests on the rising death toll of the conflict. 3. Red vs. Blue Easily the best known Machinima series around, Rooster Teeth’s groundbreaking show is what introduced many people to the genre. Fun, light-hearted, and accessible, Red Vs. Blue is a comedy series about two warring factions in the boxed canyon of Blood Gulch filmed within Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and most recently Halo 4. Though the series officially ended with its 100th episode in 2007, the Rooster Teeth team has continued releasing content and are currently gearing up for an 11th season. Just a heads up that the series does contain some strong language. Check out the series on Rooster Teeth. 2. Maintenance Man Ever wonder how members of the Overwatch act behind closed doors in Half-Life 2? Lit Fuse Films’ second movie to make this list, Maintenance Man answers that question with equal parts comedy and action. While Gordon Freeman and a group of rebels are attacking the Citadel, catastrophic damage is done to the facility’s energy core. Only one man can prevent a total disaster and that man is Hank... the janitor. There are plenty of references that will have you laughing and some well-executed slapstick humor as well as some really nicely done action sequences and character building. As before, be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 1. The Trashmaster All of the other machinima films on this list have been short films, but The Trashmaster takes things to the next level with a full-blown feature film with an 88-minute running time. This would be impressive by itself, but the fact that The Trashmaster is well executed and compelling for the entirety of those 88-minutes is astounding. If anyone doubts that full-length movies can be made inside of a game, The Trashmaster will prove them wrong. Set in New York City, the film follows a garbage man who moonlights as a vigilante. The movie features some pretty intense violence, more than you would expect even within the GTA IV engine, and winds up nailing the gritty crime thriller vibe. Matthieu Weschler produced something really special with this project. Any machinima projects that you feel deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments! Top 10 Machinima Films Contrary to popular belief, machinima (pronounced muh-sheen-uh-muh) is not just the name of one of YouTube’s largest content publishing channels, it is also the name of a specific film genre. Machinima is a combination of the words “machine” and “cinema” and is used to refer to movies or short films that are animated and recorded within a video game engine. Machinima is similar in many respects to traditional filmmaking. Actors are used to manipulate in-game avatars while cameramen move and record the actions of the actors. Voice-over artists provide vocalization for the characters and animators create non-traditional animations for character models. Filming requires coordination and often involves using in-game glitches to achieve unique and compelling camera angles. The idea that meaningful, independent narratives might be told using a video game might seem laughable to some people. However, the films bring up important questions on topics as diverse as: disability, escapism, loneliness, the costs of war, vigilantism, fate, individuality, and more. While some of the machinima on this list make use of a more light-hearted tone and others have a darker emphasis, they are all well-made, engaging, and fun to watch, providing new perspectives on the games in which they were made. The genre, though certainly very much niche, has much to offer those who can accept such a non-traditional storytelling method. 10. Ignis Solus Two forts stand on either side of a body of water, a single bridge connects them. One Pyro wanders aimlessly between the two. He stops, looking at the sky, and sighs. Ignis Solus tells the story of a lonely Pyro in Team Fortress 2 who experiences loss. It is beautifully made and features an original song of the same name as the video. Ignis Solus was made by Lit Fuse Films, a talented studio that specializes in machinima filmmaking. Be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 9. Deviation As a Counter-Strike team prepares to go up through a manhole, one member begins to wonder if they’ve done this before. Created by Jon Griggs in 2006, Deviation deals with questions of fate and blindly following orders. The fact that the film is self-aware and riffs on the repetition inherent in online multiplayer shooters just makes it that much more enjoyable and pertinent, as such game mechanics are still used today. To see more of Griggs’ work, head over to his website. 8. The Journey What do you get when you combine an Orwellian dystopian future, stick-figures, Unreal Tournament, and poetry? I don’t really know, but I’d imagine it would be something very much like The Journey. Filmed in Unreal Tournament 2003, The Journey won the “Make Something Unreal Contest” put on by Epic Games. It very abstractly tells the story of a stick-figure person that breaks away from the norm and by doing so finds a unique voice, vision, and heart. For more information, feel free to visit journey.machinimag.com. 7. Portal: A Day in the Life of a Turret This short film focuses on the lives of two turrets in the game Portal. There isn’t much to say about this one, almost the entirety of the short is spent watching the stationary turrets talking with each other. They share jokes, insults, frustrations, discuss the meaning life, and then... well, you will just have to watch. A Day in the Life of a Turret is brought to you by the same people behind the well-known series The Leet World, a parody of The Real World that places the terrorists and counter-terrorists from Counter-Strike in a house together. 6. Mercy of the Sea A high fantasy adventure filmed using World of Warcraft, J. Joshua Diltz’s Mercy of the Sea focuses on a mother’s quest to retrieve her child from the clutches of her former husband. The voice acting and action are top-notch and supplemented by a genuinely creepy atmosphere. Though there are a few terms used in the film that those unfamiliar with the lore and gameplay of World of Warcraft might find difficult to understand, but they aren’t terribly important to the narrative. Finally, the visuals are stunning. How the various shots and effects were made in-game, I will never understand, yet Mercy of the Sea pulls it off. 5. Better Life Creator Rob Wright perfectly captures the power of escapism in this short film shot within Second Life. Better Life tells the story of a paraplegic stuck in a wheelchair who escapes into a virtual world free of his disability. The film is directly complemented by the song “Better Life” by the band Angry Man. I know people who play video games for this exact reason, people who have disabilities that physically prevent them from doing everything they want to accomplish. For them, video games (and MMOs in particular) allow them to feel free and not be defined by their physical limitations. You can see more of Rob’s work over at his blog Digital Double. 4. 6 Days J. Joshua Diltz makes this list for the second time for his collaborative work with artist Joseph DeLappe in the experimental documentary 6 Days. Recorded over six consecutive days within Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the film is a tribute to the military and civilian lives lost during the second battle of Fallujah. Though lacking a set narrative, this short, nine-minute video winds up packing a surprising emotional punch and raises questions about the costs and gamification of war. Three cameras show events unfolding simultaneously. One camera focuses on the action, another gives an overarching view of the battlefield, while the last rests on the rising death toll of the conflict. 3. Red Vs. Blue Easily the best known Machinima series around, Rooster Teeth’s groundbreaking show is what introduced many people to the genre. Fun, light-hearted, and accessible, Red Vs. Blue is a comedy series about two warring factions in the boxed canyon of Blood Gulch filmed within Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and most recently Halo 4. Though the series officially ended with its 100th episode in 2007, the Rooster Teeth team has continued releasing content and are currently gearing up for an 11th season. Check out the series on Rooster Teeth. 2. Maintenance Man Ever wonder how members of the Overwatch act behind closed doors in Half-Life 2? Lit Fuse Films’ second movie to make this list, Maintenance Man answers that question with equal parts comedy and action. While Gordon Freeman and a group of rebels are attacking the Citadel, catastrophic damage is done to the facility’s energy core. Only one man can prevent a total disaster and that man is Hank... the janitor. There are plenty of references that will have you laughing and some well-executed slapstick humor as well as some really nicely done action sequences and character building. As before, be sure to check out more of Lit Fuse Films’ work over on their website. 1. The Trashmaster All of the other machinima films on this list have been short films, but The Trashmaster takes things to the next level with a full-blown feature film with an 88-minute running time. This would be impressive by itself, but the fact that The Trashmaster is well executed and compelling for the entirety of those 88-minutes is astounding. If anyone doubts that full-length movies can be made inside of a game, The Trashmaster will prove them wrong. Set in New York City, the film follows a garbageman who moonlights as a vigilante. The movie features some pretty intense violence, more than you would expect even within the GTA IV engine, and winds up nailing the gritty crime thriller vibe. Matthieu Weschler produced something really special with this project. View full article
  6. There are two things in this life that I love: Great games and free things. Usually the two don’t coincide with each other. Most great games come with a price tag and those that don’t eventually sucker you into microtransactions or a subscription. It is incredibly rare to find worthwhile games that are completely free that provide a full gaming experience that you can sink hours into and feel satisfied. As a service to those of you who are strapped for cash or just looking for a great game to play, I scoured the corners of the internet for fantastic free games. I sorted through all kinds of shovelware and viruses, but emerged with a precious handful of gems. Here are the unsung wonders that I found, enjoyed, and whole-heartedly recommend. Exit Fate The first of two games on this list that spawned as a result of tinkering with RPG Maker software, Exit Fate, created by Dutch indie game developer SCF, is a gigantic love letter to old-school RPGs like Suikoden II. Random encounters with enemies make up the bulk of this title’s gameplay. Combat takes place in a traditional, turn-based style with the player’s party consisting of up to six characters arranged tactically over a 3x3 grid. To spice up the combat, SCF included a relationship system where characters have certain attitudes toward one another that affect their stats in combat if they are both in the party at the same time. There are 75 recruitable party members each with their own sidequests, personalities, relationships, and abilities. There is more to Exit Fate than grinding through enemies for experience. Occasionally the game will allow players to flex their strategic muscles by presenting them with large-scale battles. These play out over sweeping grids as armies take turns maneuvering troops. The player’s army can be customized depending on which characters have been recruited. There are several different kinds of troop units to master including: infantry, cavalry, scouts, and sorcery. These sequences serve as a welcome interlude between missions and offer a nice challenge for even veteran strategy gamers. However, no RPG can stand on its own without a compelling storyline to keep players interested. On this front, Exit Fate delivers one of the more original RPG stories I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Players are put in the role of Daniel Vinyard, a Colonel in the Kirkgard Army. Kirkgard and the nearby Zelmony Union, though technically at peace, have been at odds with each other for years over the ownership of Helman Island, a point neatly between the two nations. Kirkgard has assembled an army in secret and plans to take Helman Island and use it to stage an invasion of Zelmony. As the fighting begins, something goes horribly wrong and a twist of fate places Daniel on a course to meet his destiny. The fact that this incredibly solid game was crafted by one person should intrigue anyone interested in game development or indie games. The amount of time and detail that went into creating Exit Fate is staggering. The average runtime of a full playthrough of Exit Fate clocks in at around 40 hours. You are never left without something to do, there is always one more party member to recruit or secret boss to defeat, and the story keeps throwing out enough political intrigue, memorable characters, and plot twists to keep the average player engrossed for its entirety. Exit Fate is truly excellent and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to play a refreshing old-style RPG. You can download Exit Fate for free over on SCF’s personal website. For more information and strategy guides, here is a handy fan-made website dedicated to the game. Note: This is an RPG from a bygone age. Bosses are difficult and there can be long stretches without a save point. If you find that you have gone a significant period of time between saves, go out of your way to save your game and always have a backup save so you don’t get stuck in an impossible area. Wing Commander Saga For people unfamiliar with the Wing Commander series, this will be a bit of a gaming history lesson. The original Wing Commander released in 1990 for the PC and focused on a conflict in the 27th century between the human race and a cat-like alien species known as the Kilrathi. Players took on the role of a starship pilot using a variety of space fighters to engage the Kilrathi in large-scale space wars. It turns out that this kind of thing appealed to gamers (who would have guessed?) and the game was a huge success, eventually getting ports to several other systems. Wing Commander proved incredibly popular from 1990 until 1996 when the series went dormant. The core Wing Commander entries are famous for their extensive use of FMV cutscenes to convey their stories with well-known actors such as Mark Hamill, Christopher Walken, and John Rhys-Davies. Though Wing Commander has been gone for nearly seventeen years, fans of the series have by no means forgotten it. A group of enterprising and talented people who had enjoyed it during its heyday got together in 2001 to begin working on a tribute to the games they loved. After developing Wing Commander Saga for more than a decade, the team finally released their labor of love in 2012. Wing Commander Saga stands as fully-fledged campaign called Darkest Dawn which takes place during the events of Wing Commander III. This amazing product of dedication contains fully voiced dialogue, beautifully rendered cutscenes, and engaging in-game squad chatter. Players take on the role of a fighter pilot, call sign Sandman, stationed on the carrier-class starship Hermes. Gamers will be treated to lengthy missions involving eliminating Kilrathi fighters, bombers, capital ships, enemy carriers, defending human vessels, and general awesome space-shooting-explosions kind of stuff. A word of warning for new Wing Commander Saga players: plug in a controller or joystick and tailor the controls to be a bit more playable. The keyboard control scheme is convoluted at best and extremely unintuitive for newcomers. Mapping the controls to a controller feels much more familiar. You can download Wing Commander Saga from the official website. Doom Roguelike Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a space marine fighting the forces of evil from a top-down perspective with randomly generated levels and turn-based movement? If you answered yes, you’re in luck! Doom Roguelike is a remake of the original Doom, but placing it within the wildly different roguelike genre. Players select one of three initial classes: marine, technician, or scout. Each class has different starting stats and abilities that affect the way players can best approach the challenges that await them. Movement through levels occurs one tile at a time, slowly revealing darkened areas that are out of the character’s line of sight. Monsters that appear within character’s visual range begin attacking, either by closing in for melee attacks or by firing lethal projectiles. With each enemy neutralized, characters receive experience points which go toward unlocking new skills that will help players progress further. Numerous secret arenas are scattered throughout the 25 levels of the game world that push player abilities to the limit, but provide new weapons, upgrades, and healthy chunks of experience. The main hook of Doom Roguelike is the implementation of permadeath; if the player’s character dies, the game restarts at the beginning. Permadeath and the randomized elements in each of the levels result in a unique experience every play session. As a nice treat for fans of the classic Doom, enemies retain their original artwork and sound effects. Overall, Doom Roguelike isn’t a terribly nuanced game. However, it succeeds in providing an original twist on a classic gaming formula. Doom Roguelike feels like a well-designed breath of fresh air. As a free game that can run on practically anything, Doom Roguelike is definitely worth your time. You can download the full game on chaosforge.org. Star Stealing Prince Using RPG Maker VX, a person under the name Ronove created a surprisingly refreshing RPG experience. Clocking in at about ten hours in length, the mechanics, puzzles, beautiful hand-drawn artwork, and most of all the story never once left me bored or unsatisfied. In terms of gameplay, there is more depth than you would expect. Combat occurs in a traditional turn-based fashion, with characters gaining experience and leveling up to increase their stats. New skills are learned by finding magic tomes and determined by the weapons and armor characters have equipped. While magic skills use MP, skills that come from your equipped gear can be accessed when a character has built up enough TP by attacking or being hit by enemies. Outside of combat, exploration is almost always rewarded with a new piece of armor, weapon, or useful item. The crafty and entertaining puzzles that crop up from time to time were an unexpected pleasure. One riddle in particular takes place during a tense boss battle and requires you to brush up a bit on your astrology knowledge. The best way to describe the story of Star Stealing Prince is to equate it with a fairy tale. Like a fairy tale, Star Stealing Prince isn’t overly complex and there isn’t an overabundance of characters, but it doesn’t need those things to tell the story it wants to convey. To sum up the basic premise of this indie gem: On a remote island there is a kingdom shrouded in perpetual winter ruled by a prince named Snowe. The prince’s parents died when he was small, but they left behind a great many pieces of magic. One of their most powerful spells binds all of the citizens of the kingdom to the prince, making them feel what he feels. If he is happy, they are happy. The spell also shields the people from the cold, keeping them warm and dry in a land of harsh winter. After being wracked by a strange nightmare, Snowe discovers his parents trapped a girl within a tower for an unknown purpose… And so begins the gripping adventure of Star Stealing Prince. If I could only recommend one game out of these four, it would be Star Stealing Prince. It is a short, rewarding and game that has a lot to offer if you take the time to download and play it. It feels intensely personal and real. When you play Star Stealing Prince you just know that someone was putting a part of themselves into it, which isn’t a feeling you get from many AAA experiences. Since this game is free, you have no excuse not to play it. Do yourself a favor and download Star Stealing Prince over on the official site. I suggest that you download it with RTP if you want it to function properly on your computer. Honorable Mention: Candy Box I can’t really explain Candy Box without ruining what makes it so great. Just follow this link, leave it open in a tab for a few minutes, forget about it, and come back. Then your descent into obsession epic quest for glory can truly begin.
  7. There are two things in this life that I love: Great games and free things. Usually the two don’t coincide with each other. Most great games come with a price tag and those that don’t eventually sucker you into microtransactions or a subscription. It is incredibly rare to find worthwhile games that are completely free that provide a full gaming experience that you can sink hours into and feel satisfied. As a service to those of you who are strapped for cash or just looking for a great game to play, I scoured the corners of the internet for fantastic free games. I sorted through all kinds of shovelware and viruses, but emerged with a precious handful of gems. Here are the unsung wonders that I found, enjoyed, and whole-heartedly recommend. Exit Fate The first of two games on this list that spawned as a result of tinkering with RPG Maker software, Exit Fate, created by Dutch indie game developer SCF, is a gigantic love letter to old-school RPGs like Suikoden II. Random encounters with enemies make up the bulk of this title’s gameplay. Combat takes place in a traditional, turn-based style with the player’s party consisting of up to six characters arranged tactically over a 3x3 grid. To spice up the combat, SCF included a relationship system where characters have certain attitudes toward one another that affect their stats in combat if they are both in the party at the same time. There are 75 recruitable party members each with their own sidequests, personalities, relationships, and abilities. There is more to Exit Fate than grinding through enemies for experience. Occasionally the game will allow players to flex their strategic muscles by presenting them with large-scale battles. These play out over sweeping grids as armies take turns maneuvering troops. The player’s army can be customized depending on which characters have been recruited. There are several different kinds of troop units to master including: infantry, cavalry, scouts, and sorcery. These sequences serve as a welcome interlude between missions and offer a nice challenge for even veteran strategy gamers. However, no RPG can stand on its own without a compelling storyline to keep players interested. On this front, Exit Fate delivers one of the more original RPG stories I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Players are put in the role of Daniel Vinyard, a Colonel in the Kirkgard Army. Kirkgard and the nearby Zelmony Union, though technically at peace, have been at odds with each other for years over the ownership of Helman Island, a point neatly between the two nations. Kirkgard has assembled an army in secret and plans to take Helman Island and use it to stage an invasion of Zelmony. As the fighting begins, something goes horribly wrong and a twist of fate places Daniel on a course to meet his destiny. The fact that this incredibly solid game was crafted by one person should intrigue anyone interested in game development or indie games. The amount of time and detail that went into creating Exit Fate is staggering. The average runtime of a full playthrough of Exit Fate clocks in at around 40 hours. You are never left without something to do, there is always one more party member to recruit or secret boss to defeat, and the story keeps throwing out enough political intrigue, memorable characters, and plot twists to keep the average player engrossed for its entirety. Exit Fate is truly excellent and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to play a refreshing old-style RPG. You can download Exit Fate for free over on SCF’s personal website. For more information and strategy guides, here is a handy fan-made website dedicated to the game. Note: This is an RPG from a bygone age. Bosses are difficult and there can be long stretches without a save point. If you find that you have gone a significant period of time between saves, go out of your way to save your game and always have a backup save so you don’t get stuck in an impossible area. Wing Commander Saga For people unfamiliar with the Wing Commander series, this will be a bit of a gaming history lesson. The original Wing Commander released in 1990 for the PC and focused on a conflict in the 27th century between the human race and a cat-like alien species known as the Kilrathi. Players took on the role of a starship pilot using a variety of space fighters to engage the Kilrathi in large-scale space wars. It turns out that this kind of thing appealed to gamers (who would have guessed?) and the game was a huge success, eventually getting ports to several other systems. Wing Commander proved incredibly popular from 1990 until 1996 when the series went dormant. The core Wing Commander entries are famous for their extensive use of FMV cutscenes to convey their stories with well-known actors such as Mark Hamill, Christopher Walken, and John Rhys-Davies. Though Wing Commander has been gone for nearly seventeen years, fans of the series have by no means forgotten it. A group of enterprising and talented people who had enjoyed it during its heyday got together in 2001 to begin working on a tribute to the games they loved. After developing Wing Commander Saga for more than a decade, the team finally released their labor of love in 2012. Wing Commander Saga stands as fully-fledged campaign called Darkest Dawn which takes place during the events of Wing Commander III. This amazing product of dedication contains fully voiced dialogue, beautifully rendered cutscenes, and engaging in-game squad chatter. Players take on the role of a fighter pilot, call sign Sandman, stationed on the carrier-class starship Hermes. Gamers will be treated to lengthy missions involving eliminating Kilrathi fighters, bombers, capital ships, enemy carriers, defending human vessels, and general awesome space-shooting-explosions kind of stuff. A word of warning for new Wing Commander Saga players: plug in a controller or joystick and tailor the controls to be a bit more playable. The keyboard control scheme is convoluted at best and extremely unintuitive for newcomers. Mapping the controls to a controller feels much more familiar. You can download Wing Commander Saga from the official website. Doom Roguelike Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a space marine fighting the forces of evil from a top-down perspective with randomly generated levels and turn-based movement? If you answered yes, you’re in luck! Doom Roguelike is a remake of the original Doom, but placing it within the wildly different roguelike genre. Players select one of three initial classes: marine, technician, or scout. Each class has different starting stats and abilities that affect the way players can best approach the challenges that await them. Movement through levels occurs one tile at a time, slowly revealing darkened areas that are out of the character’s line of sight. Monsters that appear within character’s visual range begin attacking, either by closing in for melee attacks or by firing lethal projectiles. With each enemy neutralized, characters receive experience points which go toward unlocking new skills that will help players progress further. Numerous secret arenas are scattered throughout the 25 levels of the game world that push player abilities to the limit, but provide new weapons, upgrades, and healthy chunks of experience. The main hook of Doom Roguelike is the implementation of permadeath; if the player’s character dies, the game restarts at the beginning. Permadeath and the randomized elements in each of the levels result in a unique experience every play session. As a nice treat for fans of the classic Doom, enemies retain their original artwork and sound effects. Overall, Doom Roguelike isn’t a terribly nuanced game. However, it succeeds in providing an original twist on a classic gaming formula. Doom Roguelike feels like a well-designed breath of fresh air. As a free game that can run on practically anything, Doom Roguelike is definitely worth your time. You can download the full game on chaosforge.org. Star Stealing Prince Using RPG Maker VX, a person under the name Ronove created a surprisingly refreshing RPG experience. Clocking in at about ten hours in length, the mechanics, puzzles, beautiful hand-drawn artwork, and most of all the story never once left me bored or unsatisfied. In terms of gameplay, there is more depth than you would expect. Combat occurs in a traditional turn-based fashion, with characters gaining experience and leveling up to increase their stats. New skills are learned by finding magic tomes and determined by the weapons and armor characters have equipped. While magic skills use MP, skills that come from your equipped gear can be accessed when a character has built up enough TP by attacking or being hit by enemies. Outside of combat, exploration is almost always rewarded with a new piece of armor, weapon, or useful item. The crafty and entertaining puzzles that crop up from time to time were an unexpected pleasure. One riddle in particular takes place during a tense boss battle and requires you to brush up a bit on your astrology knowledge. The best way to describe the story of Star Stealing Prince is to equate it with a fairy tale. Like a fairy tale, Star Stealing Prince isn’t overly complex and there isn’t an overabundance of characters, but it doesn’t need those things to tell the story it wants to convey. To sum up the basic premise of this indie gem: On a remote island there is a kingdom shrouded in perpetual winter ruled by a prince named Snowe. The prince’s parents died when he was small, but they left behind a great many pieces of magic. One of their most powerful spells binds all of the citizens of the kingdom to the prince, making them feel what he feels. If he is happy, they are happy. The spell also shields the people from the cold, keeping them warm and dry in a land of harsh winter. After being wracked by a strange nightmare, Snowe discovers his parents trapped a girl within a tower for an unknown purpose… And so begins the gripping adventure of Star Stealing Prince. If I could only recommend one game out of these four, it would be Star Stealing Prince. It is a short, rewarding and game that has a lot to offer if you take the time to download and play it. It feels intensely personal and real. When you play Star Stealing Prince you just know that someone was putting a part of themselves into it, which isn’t a feeling you get from many AAA experiences. Since this game is free, you have no excuse not to play it. Do yourself a favor and download Star Stealing Prince over on the official site. I suggest that you download it with RTP if you want it to function properly on your computer. Honorable Mention: Candy Box I can’t really explain Candy Box without ruining what makes it so great. Just follow this link, leave it open in a tab for a few minutes, forget about it, and come back. Then your descent into obsession epic quest for glory can truly begin. View full article
  8. Happy April Fools' Day! It seems like everyone has a soft spot for laughing and making jokes and game developers, publishers, and tech companies are no exception. Without further ado, let's start laughing! Google really committed itself to April Fooling everyone this year with Google Nose, a search engine for smells, GMail Blue, a news story reporting that Google got their idea for Google Glass from Leonardo da Vinci, a "Levity Algorithm" that detects boring situations, the discontinuation of YouTube and a declaration of best video, Google Fiber Poles, Your Photos + Emotion, and Google Treasure Maps. Then there was the slew of announcements for non-existant tech products like Toshiba's Toshibashpere that is completely wireless and has a built-in rage monitor, or Sony's line of Animalia tech geared toward pets. IGN exclusively introduced Apple's new gaming console, the iPlay, that will only play Angry Birds titles. Several game developers made April Fools announcements today, as well. Ubisoft announced a DLC expansion to their highly praised Far Cray 3, titled Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Given that there have been leaks leading up to their announcement and registrations for the DLC name made, there is some doubt as to whether Blood Dragon is real, or if it is simply another prank. In the meantime, head over to the awesome 90s themed Blood Dragon site where you can listen to two tracks from the game, read a brief synopsis, an interview with the director, and look at some killer merchandise. Deus Ex: Human Defiance has been pulling a similar trick to Blood Dragon in that people have been hearing about it for the past few weeks, but have been given precious little information to latch onto. Wonder no more! Deus Ex: Human Defiance is a revolutionary 8-bit game from the creators of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, offering deep choice, stunning visuals, a co-op campaign, and "so much more stuff." Guild Wars 2 is celebrating April Fools' Day with their Super Adventure Box. Accessed in Guild Wars 2, the Super Adventure Box is a series of three levels in a 90s 3D action-platformer style. The trailer also reeks of 90s nostalgia and features a hilarious Rytlok Brimstone. Thatgamecompany, the developer behind Journey, announced a new DLC mode for the award winning title called Rocket Death Match. In a brief gameplay trailer, players jump around firing rockets at each other in an attempt to be the last wanderer standing. Could this be real? Who knows, but the DLC is stated to be coming out April Fools' Day 2014. Here are a slew of random, but still pertinent, April 1st products and announcements: The popular RunKeeper app for iPhone announced that they are bringing the exercise software to iPad; Revision3 announced that it would be rebranding itself as all magazines; Coursera is now offering a course to satisfy your deep need to aquatically produce baskets; Newegg.com sent out promotional material for the newest and greatest technology available today; and the guys at Hackaday created a trolling Kickstarter for "The Nose Light." Also, VentureBeat reported that the developers of the game Divekick want to market a two-button controller. Sadly, that is actual news and not made up.
  9. Happy April Fools' Day! It seems like everyone has a soft spot for laughing and making jokes and game developers, publishers, and tech companies are no exception. Without further ado, let's start laughing! Google really committed itself to April Fooling everyone this year with Google Nose, a search engine for smells, GMail Blue, a news story reporting that Google got their idea for Google Glass from Leonardo da Vinci, a "Levity Algorithm" that detects boring situations, the discontinuation of YouTube and a declaration of best video, Google Fiber Poles, Your Photos + Emotion, and Google Treasure Maps. Then there was the slew of announcements for non-existant tech products like Toshiba's Toshibashpere that is completely wireless and has a built-in rage monitor, or Sony's line of Animalia tech geared toward pets. IGN exclusively introduced Apple's new gaming console, the iPlay, that will only play Angry Birds titles. Several game developers made April Fools announcements today, as well. Ubisoft announced a DLC expansion to their highly praised Far Cray 3, titled Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Given that there have been leaks leading up to their announcement and registrations for the DLC name made, there is some doubt as to whether Blood Dragon is real, or if it is simply another prank. In the meantime, head over to the awesome 90s themed Blood Dragon site where you can listen to two tracks from the game, read a brief synopsis, an interview with the director, and look at some killer merchandise. Deus Ex: Human Defiance has been pulling a similar trick to Blood Dragon in that people have been hearing about it for the past few weeks, but have been given precious little information to latch onto. Wonder no more! Deus Ex: Human Defiance is a revolutionary 8-bit game from the creators of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, offering deep choice, stunning visuals, a co-op campaign, and "so much more stuff." Guild Wars 2 is celebrating April Fools' Day with their Super Adventure Box. Accessed in Guild Wars 2, the Super Adventure Box is a series of three levels in a 90s 3D action-platformer style. The trailer also reeks of 90s nostalgia and features a hilarious Rytlok Brimstone. Thatgamecompany, the developer behind Journey, announced a new DLC mode for the award winning title called Rocket Death Match. In a brief gameplay trailer, players jump around firing rockets at each other in an attempt to be the last wanderer standing. Could this be real? Who knows, but the DLC is stated to be coming out April Fools' Day 2014. Here are a slew of random, but still pertinent, April 1st products and announcements: The popular RunKeeper app for iPhone announced that they are bringing the exercise software to iPad; Revision3 announced that it would be rebranding itself as all magazines; Coursera is now offering a course to satisfy your deep need to aquatically produce baskets; Newegg.com sent out promotional material for the newest and greatest technology available today; and the guys at Hackaday created a trolling Kickstarter for "The Nose Light." Also, VentureBeat reported that the developers of the game Divekick want to market a two-button controller. Sadly, that is actual news and not made up. View full article
×
×
  • Create New...