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Found 91 results

  1. So, I received an email the other day from Crows Crows Crows, the studio founded by William Pugh, one of the devs who worked on The Stanley Parable. In it, they described an update to The Temple of No, a Twine text adventure they released back in 2016. I have to admit that The Temple of No had flown under my radar at the time, so I thought it would be a great time to hop into the thick of it and see what The Temple of No was all about. Now, I gotta level with you - I have no idea if Crows Crows Crows actually updated the game or if- Wait, no, they actually did update the game. I just went back and did some more due diligence, and there's an bit with a lightbulb and some cleverly concealed scrolling. If you can uncover that secret, you do, in fact, unlock a secret ice level. You can understand my initial confusion, though, right? Like, Crows Crows Crows really know how to mess with expectations and people's heads. They'd probably be able to make a great horror game if they weren't so good at comedy. Anyway, the update is simply called Fire! to reflect the fact that fire is now present in the updated version of The Temple of No! Exciting, right? That's probably why they put an exclamation point after fire. The update even comes with an action-packed live-action trailer - that's TWO actions which means double the action! Look, I don't feel like I have to sell you very hard on this concept. It's free, it'll take up maybe 30 minutes of your time, you'll have a solid selection of laughs and goofs. I swear, it's a good time! And it's free! A good, free time. And there's fire in it now with a new climactic moral decision that probably means something, but whatever. You can play The Temple of No on Crows Crows Crows itch.io page.
  2. So, I received an email the other day from Crows Crows Crows, the studio founded by William Pugh, one of the devs who worked on The Stanley Parable. In it, they described an update to The Temple of No, a Twine text adventure they released back in 2016. I have to admit that The Temple of No had flown under my radar at the time, so I thought it would be a great time to hop into the thick of it and see what The Temple of No was all about. Now, I gotta level with you - I have no idea if Crows Crows Crows actually updated the game or if- Wait, no, they actually did update the game. I just went back and did some more due diligence, and there's an bit with a lightbulb and some cleverly concealed scrolling. If you can uncover that secret, you do, in fact, unlock a secret ice level. You can understand my initial confusion, though, right? Like, Crows Crows Crows really know how to mess with expectations and people's heads. They'd probably be able to make a great horror game if they weren't so good at comedy. Anyway, the update is simply called Fire! to reflect the fact that fire is now present in the updated version of The Temple of No! Exciting, right? That's probably why they put an exclamation point after fire. The update even comes with an action-packed live-action trailer - that's TWO actions which means double the action! Look, I don't feel like I have to sell you very hard on this concept. It's free, it'll take up maybe 30 minutes of your time, you'll have a solid selection of laughs and goofs. I swear, it's a good time! And it's free! A good, free time. And there's fire in it now with a new climactic moral decision that probably means something, but whatever. You can play The Temple of No on Crows Crows Crows itch.io page. View full article
  3. 11 bit studios, the developer behind the upcoming Frostpunk, has decided to give away their previous indie hit This War of Mine for free in the lead up to Frostpunk's release later this month. This War of Mine tells the story of civilians trapped in a besieged city as they struggle to survive under the harsh conditions of war. Players must craft upgrades and supplies out of what they can scavenge from the surrounding areas at night. During scavenging runs, players can run across NPCs that they can either help or hurt depending on what players believe might be in their best interest. It's a deliberately murky game that focuses on the often untold stories of wartime. The goal is to survive until a ceasefire ends the fighting, but since the game randomizes a lot of the events and resources with each playthrough, the player never knows how long they might have to hold out or how far they might have to go to survive. This War of Mine has sold over 2.5 million copies and has reeled in numerous awards from organizations like SXSW and IGF. Sales of the DLC content related to This War of Mine support the War Child charity that provides assistance to children who are currently living under conflict conditions of the aftermath of war. The studio will be giving away This War of Mine: Anniversary Edition that includes new characters, locations, and a completely new ending. You have until this Sunday, April 8, to download the game from Steam.
  4. 11 bit studios, the developer behind the upcoming Frostpunk, has decided to give away their previous indie hit This War of Mine for free in the lead up to Frostpunk's release later this month. This War of Mine tells the story of civilians trapped in a besieged city as they struggle to survive under the harsh conditions of war. Players must craft upgrades and supplies out of what they can scavenge from the surrounding areas at night. During scavenging runs, players can run across NPCs that they can either help or hurt depending on what players believe might be in their best interest. It's a deliberately murky game that focuses on the often untold stories of wartime. The goal is to survive until a ceasefire ends the fighting, but since the game randomizes a lot of the events and resources with each playthrough, the player never knows how long they might have to hold out or how far they might have to go to survive. This War of Mine has sold over 2.5 million copies and has reeled in numerous awards from organizations like SXSW and IGF. Sales of the DLC content related to This War of Mine support the War Child charity that provides assistance to children who are currently living under conflict conditions of the aftermath of war. The studio will be giving away This War of Mine: Anniversary Edition that includes new characters, locations, and a completely new ending. You have until this Sunday, April 8, to download the game from Steam. View full article
  5. Frog Fractions will not teach you how to fraction. Developed in 2012 by Jim Crawford, Frog Fractions began its life as an in-joke between himself and his friends. That joke evolved into an indie release that has been hailed as a mix between the best and worst game ever made. It's highly recommended that you play the game before you listen. It should only take about an hour to complete depending on how quick you are at discovering its tricks. You can play it for free on Twinbeard's website. Can a free indie comedy game stand as one of the best games period based on its originality alone? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 'Epic Steps' by Tonalysis (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03699) You can follow Marcus on Twitter @MarcusStewart7 where you can find his thoughts on Dragon Ball Super, wrestling, and video games! He also writes at Marcus Writes About Games, Extra Life (hey, that's here!), and hosts Carving Gaming Rushmores. You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  6. Frog Fractions will not teach you how to fraction. Developed in 2012 by Jim Crawford, Frog Fractions began its life as an in-joke between himself and his friends. That joke evolved into an indie release that has been hailed as a mix between the best and worst game ever made. It's highly recommended that you play the game before you listen. It should only take about an hour to complete depending on how quick you are at discovering its tricks. You can play it for free on Twinbeard's website. Can a free indie comedy game stand as one of the best games period based on its originality alone? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 'Epic Steps' by Tonalysis (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03699) You can follow Marcus on Twitter @MarcusStewart7 where you can find his thoughts on Dragon Ball Super, wrestling, and video games! He also writes at Marcus Writes About Games, Extra Life (hey, that's here!), and hosts Carving Gaming Rushmores. You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  7. You might want to visit the Humble Store sometime today if you like free racing games. As part of the weekend sale on Bethesda and Codemasters titles, Humble Bundle's digital storefront is giving away F1 2015 for free. While F1 2015 received middling reviews at release, Codemasters has released numerous patches and additions to their racing title since then. If you've never played one of the F1 games or wanted to try them but didn't want to spend too much money... well, you can't beat free! The sale runs until March 26 and covers games like Overlord, Doom, and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. If you want to get your mitts on a free F1 racing game, you'll have to be a bit faster as that deal ends on March 24 at 10am PT/1pm ET. Remember that this month Extra Life is working with Humble Bundle as their featured charity for their bundles! So take some time to look through the bundles on offer for the next week or so and get some cool stuff while also supporting Extra Life! View full article
  8. You might want to visit the Humble Store sometime today if you like free racing games. As part of the weekend sale on Bethesda and Codemasters titles, Humble Bundle's digital storefront is giving away F1 2015 for free. While F1 2015 received middling reviews at release, Codemasters has released numerous patches and additions to their racing title since then. If you've never played one of the F1 games or wanted to try them but didn't want to spend too much money... well, you can't beat free! The sale runs until March 26 and covers games like Overlord, Doom, and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. If you want to get your mitts on a free F1 racing game, you'll have to be a bit faster as that deal ends on March 24 at 10am PT/1pm ET. Remember that this month Extra Life is working with Humble Bundle as their featured charity for their bundles! So take some time to look through the bundles on offer for the next week or so and get some cool stuff while also supporting Extra Life!
  9. Free games are going way for PlayStation 3 and Vita owners. Games for both systems will appear on a monthly basis as part of PlayStation Plus until March 8, 2019. After that time, the games already gained through PS+ will continue to be available so long as the user subscribes to PlayStation's online service, bot no new games will appear each month. After the cut off date, all PS+ titles will consist of PlayStation 4 games. No other aspects of the service are slated for obsolescence. The free games available for March include the following: PS4 Bloodborne Ratchet & Clank PS3 Legend of Kay Mighty No. 9 Vita Claire: Extended Cut Bombing Busters It will be interesting to see if PlayStation will up the number of PS+ titles offered for PlayStation 4 owners to compensate for the drastic reduction in monthly games for their subscribers. View full article
  10. Free games are going way for PlayStation 3 and Vita owners. Games for both systems will appear on a monthly basis as part of PlayStation Plus until March 8, 2019. After that time, the games already gained through PS+ will continue to be available so long as the user subscribes to PlayStation's online service, bot no new games will appear each month. After the cut off date, all PS+ titles will consist of PlayStation 4 games. No other aspects of the service are slated for obsolescence. The free games available for March include the following: PS4 Bloodborne Ratchet & Clank PS3 Legend of Kay Mighty No. 9 Vita Claire: Extended Cut Bombing Busters It will be interesting to see if PlayStation will up the number of PS+ titles offered for PlayStation 4 owners to compensate for the drastic reduction in monthly games for their subscribers.
  11. until
    Come join The Seattle Guild for a celebration of 2017 and a peek into all we have in store for 2018! We will eat pizza, and toast to the success of a great year For The Kids. Come be a part of the planning for 2018, and maybe snag a volunteer spot with free entry into Emerald City Comic Con. RSVP Here Special Instructions: Please plan to park in Visitor Lot 1 or River Parking and enter the hospital at the River Entrance where we will be there to greet you. Amenities: Pizza, refreshments and dessert will be served.
  12. Are you coming to The 2018 Seattle Guild Kickoff?? Have you seen this?
  13. Snapshot Games will be sending out a free edition of their latest collection of short stories, titled The Briefing #2, based in the slowly emerging Phoenix Point universe. The crowdfunded turn-based strategy game about fighting aliens and eldritch horrors from the creator of the original XCOM will have its next big debut in at the PC Gamer event in February. Until then, the devs are drumming up interest in their new IP with compendiums about the in-game universe written by Allen Stroud and Jonas Kyratzes. Allen Stroud made a name for himself writing much of the lore and fiction of Elite Dangerous and publishing works like The Forever Man and a story in 2001: An Odyssey in Words, a successfully Kickstarted anthology honoring Arthur C. Clarke. Jonas Kyratzes forged a path for himself in the video game space as a writer on numerous experimental games, but is perhaps best known for his work writing The Talos Principle. The only thing people interested in receiving The Briefing #2 need to do to get their hands on it is signing up for Snapshot Games' newsletter. Phoenix Point is expected to ship for PC sometime late 2018. A vertical slice of the finished game will be available at the PC Gamer show this coming February.
  14. Snapshot Games will be sending out a free edition of their latest collection of short stories, titled The Briefing #2, based in the slowly emerging Phoenix Point universe. The crowdfunded turn-based strategy game about fighting aliens and eldritch horrors from the creator of the original XCOM will have its next big debut in at the PC Gamer event in February. Until then, the devs are drumming up interest in their new IP with compendiums about the in-game universe written by Allen Stroud and Jonas Kyratzes. Allen Stroud made a name for himself writing much of the lore and fiction of Elite Dangerous and publishing works like The Forever Man and a story in 2001: An Odyssey in Words, a successfully Kickstarted anthology honoring Arthur C. Clarke. Jonas Kyratzes forged a path for himself in the video game space as a writer on numerous experimental games, but is perhaps best known for his work writing The Talos Principle. The only thing people interested in receiving The Briefing #2 need to do to get their hands on it is signing up for Snapshot Games' newsletter. Phoenix Point is expected to ship for PC sometime late 2018. A vertical slice of the finished game will be available at the PC Gamer show this coming February. View full article
  15. If you've been watching the news the last few days, you might be feeling a bit down about the world. However, it's always helpful to remind ourselves that there are good things in out there waiting to be made or discovered. One of those good things is, of course, petting dogs. Well, someone made a game about doing that and it's free! Will Herring, an animator, illustrator, game maker, and do-all-the-things-er, realized that petting dogs is easily one of the best parts about going to any party. Of course, that meant he had to capture that experience in a game. Enter Pet the Pup at the Party. Players take on the role of a socially awkward house guest who has mustered up the courage to arrive at a party. However, there are a LOT of people at this party and all of them seem to be strangers. What's an introvert to do? Why, scour the house for good dogs to pet while avoiding making eye contact with strangers! "Legend tells of a ~very good puppo~ hiding somewhere in this house!" reads Pet the Pup's description, "the clock is ticking and you’re running out of small talk… can you find the pup at the party?" To find each pup, players have to follow the sounds of arfs and borks to their source in the party. 52 good puppos can be pet, each one become a part of an adorable gallery of good dogs. You can download Pet the Pup at the Party for free on its website. Sit back, relax, and pet some good dogs. BORK!
  16. If you've been watching the news the last few days, you might be feeling a bit down about the world. However, it's always helpful to remind ourselves that there are good things in out there waiting to be made or discovered. One of those good things is, of course, petting dogs. Well, someone made a game about doing that and it's free! Will Herring, an animator, illustrator, game maker, and do-all-the-things-er, realized that petting dogs is easily one of the best parts about going to any party. Of course, that meant he had to capture that experience in a game. Enter Pet the Pup at the Party. Players take on the role of a socially awkward house guest who has mustered up the courage to arrive at a party. However, there are a LOT of people at this party and all of them seem to be strangers. What's an introvert to do? Why, scour the house for good dogs to pet while avoiding making eye contact with strangers! "Legend tells of a ~very good puppo~ hiding somewhere in this house!" reads Pet the Pup's description, "the clock is ticking and you’re running out of small talk… can you find the pup at the party?" To find each pup, players have to follow the sounds of arfs and borks to their source in the party. 52 good puppos can be pet, each one become a part of an adorable gallery of good dogs. You can download Pet the Pup at the Party for free on its website. Sit back, relax, and pet some good dogs. BORK! View full article
  17. Earlier this month, Waypoint ran a month long game jam called New Jam City that attracted a number of interesting entries. One of these entries lovingly resurrected the Noid, an advertising mascot for Domino's Pizza in the mid-80s. Strangely, the Noid managed to become somewhat popular, resulting in several video game adaptations of the character over the years. One of these was Capcom's Yo! Noid! for the NES in 1990. It wasn't a particularly great game, which is why the creation of a direct sequel, even as a game jam entry, is turning some heads. Yo! Noid II: Enter the Void ia a reimagining of the Noid as an early PlayStation One/N64 platformer that plays like a strange cross between Mario 64 and Tomb Raider. The game begins with the titular Noid losing his trusty yo-yo and platforming through New York City to get it back. However, that certainly isn't the end of the adventure. After obtaining the yo-yo, the Noid falls into the Noid Void, an interdimensional wasteland populated by strange mushroom creatures and peppered with various pizza-themed levels and collectibles. This is where Yo! Noid II opens up and allows for exploration and a great deal of puzzle solving. I'm going to level with you, this game is actually fun. Not in an ironic, "haha, isn't it dumb that they made a game starring the Noid?" way (though don't get me wrong, it is absolutely dumb that someone made another game that was in any way affiliated with the Noid, a fact that the developers certainly understood and embraced to great effect)- I genuinely enjoyed playing Yo! Noid II. Wall jumping and running work rather well when paired with a ledge grab mechanic that comes in very handy. The Noid can even use his yo-yo to swing between platforms, pull levers, and open pizza portals to other worlds. Oh, the Noid also dabs now, because of course he does. All of this is done in an endearingly janky style that's meant to be a call back to those early 3D platformers that both enthralled and frustrated a generation. It's unclear if the somewhat wonky and temperamental camera was designed to bring out that style or if it's simply a frustrating camera. However, for a short nostalgia experiment with a sense of humor like Yo! Noid II, I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Yo! Noid II: Enter the Void is a far, far better game than the Noid has ever deserved, but it's free at the moment and certainly worth your time. You can download it directly from the developers to see what the Noid is up to in this age of HD gaming. There's also an official soundtrack because why not? The Noid is a thing again, so why not? View full article
  18. Earlier this month, Waypoint ran a month long game jam called New Jam City that attracted a number of interesting entries. One of these entries lovingly resurrected the Noid, an advertising mascot for Domino's Pizza in the mid-80s. Strangely, the Noid managed to become somewhat popular, resulting in several video game adaptations of the character over the years. One of these was Capcom's Yo! Noid! for the NES in 1990. It wasn't a particularly great game, which is why the creation of a direct sequel, even as a game jam entry, is turning some heads. Yo! Noid II: Enter the Void ia a reimagining of the Noid as an early PlayStation One/N64 platformer that plays like a strange cross between Mario 64 and Tomb Raider. The game begins with the titular Noid losing his trusty yo-yo and platforming through New York City to get it back. However, that certainly isn't the end of the adventure. After obtaining the yo-yo, the Noid falls into the Noid Void, an interdimensional wasteland populated by strange mushroom creatures and peppered with various pizza-themed levels and collectibles. This is where Yo! Noid II opens up and allows for exploration and a great deal of puzzle solving. I'm going to level with you, this game is actually fun. Not in an ironic, "haha, isn't it dumb that they made a game starring the Noid?" way (though don't get me wrong, it is absolutely dumb that someone made another game that was in any way affiliated with the Noid, a fact that the developers certainly understood and embraced to great effect)- I genuinely enjoyed playing Yo! Noid II. Wall jumping and running work rather well when paired with a ledge grab mechanic that comes in very handy. The Noid can even use his yo-yo to swing between platforms, pull levers, and open pizza portals to other worlds. Oh, the Noid also dabs now, because of course he does. All of this is done in an endearingly janky style that's meant to be a call back to those early 3D platformers that both enthralled and frustrated a generation. It's unclear if the somewhat wonky and temperamental camera was designed to bring out that style or if it's simply a frustrating camera. However, for a short nostalgia experiment with a sense of humor like Yo! Noid II, I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Yo! Noid II: Enter the Void is a far, far better game than the Noid has ever deserved, but it's free at the moment and certainly worth your time. You can download it directly from the developers to see what the Noid is up to in this age of HD gaming. There's also an official soundtrack because why not? The Noid is a thing again, so why not?
  19. Laughter filled a small corner of the crowded convention space. In the middle of the largest show aimed at putting gaming's biggest and flashiest on full display, laughter is often in short supply. Excitement? Oh, you better believe it! Smiles? All over the place. Cheers? Constantly ringing out. But laughter is a rarer thing. So when I heard laughter from around a tiny booth tucked away on the show floor of E3 2017, I knew I had to investigate. And that's when I found it - a game so pure and good that it improved my life with its simple existence. Disco Bear. Players control the titular disco bear, a polar bear who loves to dance. After suffering an embarrassing, traumatic incident in 1977, Bear leaves the dance floor for good. Five years later, he comes out of retirement to bust a move one last time to save the local roller skating rink. The characters are all still images of animals in various poses of varying ridiculousness. The gameplay isn't deep, merely using the arrow keys to boogie to the best of the player's ability. The idea appears simple on paper, but the humorous execution leaves players smirking and laughing along with the comedic narrative. Disco Bear isn't the most complex game ever created, but it is certainly an incredibly effective game at achieving its goals. While I watched people play it in that E3 booth, everyone was smirking and chuckling as they wiggled their way through Disco Bear's adventure. I can honestly say that my life is better for having played it, and that's not something that can be said for a lot of games that I've played throughout my life. I had an opportunity to talk with Katie Pustolski, a graduate student at the University of Southern California and one of the co-creators of Disco Bear. Here's what I learned. Could you tell me a little about Disco Bear? I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. Katie Pustolski: [Brian Handy and I,] we made this within a course of 15 weeks. The project is a heartfelt story about a bear being asked to dance again. It's an interactive narrative, it's very simple controls; it's only arrow keys, and there's no objective, no challenge, it's really just kind of a cute, silly experience. One of our experience goals was actually just to make people laugh, and smile, and it seems to be working really well! We've been getting a lot of positive feedback. The best thing about showing this game is seeing everybody's reactions. Certain people react differently, but there are certain points within the story where most people just burst out into laughter, or it's so unexpected--they weren't expecting the girl in the beginning to die. It's dark humor. So how did you actually go about and get pictures of the animals? Did you get those online? Pustolski: Yes. A lot of searching online; we tried our best to find images under creative commons licenses so that we can actually use them, cut them out and whatnot. Actually, during the credits, we have this giant wall of text that credits to all the pictures that we found online, and we did the same with sounds. We also have a music composer on the project who made the music, who is not here, but he is Bill Piyatut. He is not at the table at the moment, but yeah, other than that, we had Eileen Mary O'Connell who is a comedic consultant, so we asked her about comedy, and how do we try to make this funny, what can we do better? How did you decide on "Disco Bear"? That seems like a very specific thing, or alternatively, a very random thing. Pustolski: Oh yeah, so random. So during the ideation phase, when Brian and I were brainstorming, we knew we wanted to do something funny. Something with comedy, and spoil the space because this is a space within gaming and interactive media that's not touched on a lot. We're fans of awkward physics games like Octodad, but we didn't really want to do awkward physics, we wanted to experiment with other forms. Other forms of awkwardness? Pustolski: Awkwardness, and something to get a really good reaction from the player that's silly and fun and makes people smile. A little bit whimsical in a way. And we found through prototyping that simple interaction, such as playing with the arrow keys, was enough to get people smiling and laughing at a bear just dancing on the screen. One of the inspirations for this project was Colin's Bear. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it? It's like this small video on YouTube, I believe it's around 10 years old, but don't quote me on that because I'm not sure when it came out. This student made an animation project, but didn't feel like he got a lot out of his animation class, so he fulfilled all the requirements for the project within 20 or so seconds with this awkward dancing bear [laughs] and at the end it says 'Thanks for nothing.' That was one of the inspirations, and then of course, it just went from there, from that prototype of a dancing bear and simple interactions, expanded it, and it became what it is today. A lot of people approach video games and they have these grand visions of castles in the sky and giant wars and sweeping stories. So what made you focus on a dancing bear rather than a bigger, more hyperbolic experience? Pustolski: Brian and I worked on smaller projects together in the past for school, and we found that we have very similar humor. And again, during the ideation phase, we were trying to figure out what are we doing for this project? Ok, how about comedy? Ok, we we have a similar sense of humor, let's give it a go, let's try something in this area, because again, it's not touched on much. we wanted to experiment a little bit. So the base goal, just make people smile, make people laugh. Pustolski: I really like making people laugh and smile, so it just fit. How did you wind up at E3 with this game? Pustolski: It was actually Brian's idea to submit to IndieCade and we submitted it, and I guess they did some kind of judging and it was picked! And suddenly, we were here! And we're showing at E3, and this is great because this is my first time showing a game at a show or a festival; I'm a newbie at this. But Brian helped show a different project last year so he did something like this last year; he has more experience showing than I do. He's very good at showing games to people, and I'm still working on that. What is it like? Because not everyone gets to show off a game at E3. I'm sure there are good parts, and probably not so great parts. Pustolski: Good parts is networking with people, and obviously seeing people's reactions to the game. So far we've gotten a lot of positive feedback, positive responses and that's fantastic. Bad part, it's very tiring! And I go home, and my feet feel like they're on fire, but it's totally worth it. Would you ever considered making an expanded retail version of Disco Bear? Pustolski: We haven't discussed anything beyond what we already have, but this next year, Brian and I have to work on our thesis projects. Disco Bear can't be your thesis project!? Pustolski: Well, it doesn't count, because we have a full program, and a full year of working on our thesis. And it's individual too. So Brian has his own project he'll be working on, and I have my own project. How can people play Disco Bear? Is it out? Pustolski: Ah! Yes! It is out online right now at discobeargame.com. It is based in the browser. It's not mobile, it's only desktop/laptop because you need the arrow keys to play, but otherwise it's free, and you can go online right now and play it. --- Go out and play Disco Bear - it will at the very least improve your day with a ridiculous dancing bear. View full article
  20. Jack Gardner

    Disco Bear Will Dance into Your Heart

    Laughter filled a small corner of the crowded convention space. In the middle of the largest show aimed at putting gaming's biggest and flashiest on full display, laughter is often in short supply. Excitement? Oh, you better believe it! Smiles? All over the place. Cheers? Constantly ringing out. But laughter is a rarer thing. So when I heard laughter from around a tiny booth tucked away on the show floor of E3 2017, I knew I had to investigate. And that's when I found it - a game so pure and good that it improved my life with its simple existence. Disco Bear. Players control the titular disco bear, a polar bear who loves to dance. After suffering an embarrassing, traumatic incident in 1977, Bear leaves the dance floor for good. Five years later, he comes out of retirement to bust a move one last time to save the local roller skating rink. The characters are all still images of animals in various poses of varying ridiculousness. The gameplay isn't deep, merely using the arrow keys to boogie to the best of the player's ability. The idea appears simple on paper, but the humorous execution leaves players smirking and laughing along with the comedic narrative. Disco Bear isn't the most complex game ever created, but it is certainly an incredibly effective game at achieving its goals. While I watched people play it in that E3 booth, everyone was smirking and chuckling as they wiggled their way through Disco Bear's adventure. I can honestly say that my life is better for having played it, and that's not something that can be said for a lot of games that I've played throughout my life. I had an opportunity to talk with Katie Pustolski, a graduate student at the University of Southern California and one of the co-creators of Disco Bear. Here's what I learned. Could you tell me a little about Disco Bear? I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. Katie Pustolski: [Brian Handy and I,] we made this within a course of 15 weeks. The project is a heartfelt story about a bear being asked to dance again. It's an interactive narrative, it's very simple controls; it's only arrow keys, and there's no objective, no challenge, it's really just kind of a cute, silly experience. One of our experience goals was actually just to make people laugh, and smile, and it seems to be working really well! We've been getting a lot of positive feedback. The best thing about showing this game is seeing everybody's reactions. Certain people react differently, but there are certain points within the story where most people just burst out into laughter, or it's so unexpected--they weren't expecting the girl in the beginning to die. It's dark humor. So how did you actually go about and get pictures of the animals? Did you get those online? Pustolski: Yes. A lot of searching online; we tried our best to find images under creative commons licenses so that we can actually use them, cut them out and whatnot. Actually, during the credits, we have this giant wall of text that credits to all the pictures that we found online, and we did the same with sounds. We also have a music composer on the project who made the music, who is not here, but he is Bill Piyatut. He is not at the table at the moment, but yeah, other than that, we had Eileen Mary O'Connell who is a comedic consultant, so we asked her about comedy, and how do we try to make this funny, what can we do better? How did you decide on "Disco Bear"? That seems like a very specific thing, or alternatively, a very random thing. Pustolski: Oh yeah, so random. So during the ideation phase, when Brian and I were brainstorming, we knew we wanted to do something funny. Something with comedy, and spoil the space because this is a space within gaming and interactive media that's not touched on a lot. We're fans of awkward physics games like Octodad, but we didn't really want to do awkward physics, we wanted to experiment with other forms. Other forms of awkwardness? Pustolski: Awkwardness, and something to get a really good reaction from the player that's silly and fun and makes people smile. A little bit whimsical in a way. And we found through prototyping that simple interaction, such as playing with the arrow keys, was enough to get people smiling and laughing at a bear just dancing on the screen. One of the inspirations for this project was Colin's Bear. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it? It's like this small video on YouTube, I believe it's around 10 years old, but don't quote me on that because I'm not sure when it came out. This student made an animation project, but didn't feel like he got a lot out of his animation class, so he fulfilled all the requirements for the project within 20 or so seconds with this awkward dancing bear [laughs] and at the end it says 'Thanks for nothing.' That was one of the inspirations, and then of course, it just went from there, from that prototype of a dancing bear and simple interactions, expanded it, and it became what it is today. A lot of people approach video games and they have these grand visions of castles in the sky and giant wars and sweeping stories. So what made you focus on a dancing bear rather than a bigger, more hyperbolic experience? Pustolski: Brian and I worked on smaller projects together in the past for school, and we found that we have very similar humor. And again, during the ideation phase, we were trying to figure out what are we doing for this project? Ok, how about comedy? Ok, we we have a similar sense of humor, let's give it a go, let's try something in this area, because again, it's not touched on much. we wanted to experiment a little bit. So the base goal, just make people smile, make people laugh. Pustolski: I really like making people laugh and smile, so it just fit. How did you wind up at E3 with this game? Pustolski: It was actually Brian's idea to submit to IndieCade and we submitted it, and I guess they did some kind of judging and it was picked! And suddenly, we were here! And we're showing at E3, and this is great because this is my first time showing a game at a show or a festival; I'm a newbie at this. But Brian helped show a different project last year so he did something like this last year; he has more experience showing than I do. He's very good at showing games to people, and I'm still working on that. What is it like? Because not everyone gets to show off a game at E3. I'm sure there are good parts, and probably not so great parts. Pustolski: Good parts is networking with people, and obviously seeing people's reactions to the game. So far we've gotten a lot of positive feedback, positive responses and that's fantastic. Bad part, it's very tiring! And I go home, and my feet feel like they're on fire, but it's totally worth it. Would you ever considered making an expanded retail version of Disco Bear? Pustolski: We haven't discussed anything beyond what we already have, but this next year, Brian and I have to work on our thesis projects. Disco Bear can't be your thesis project!? Pustolski: Well, it doesn't count, because we have a full program, and a full year of working on our thesis. And it's individual too. So Brian has his own project he'll be working on, and I have my own project. How can people play Disco Bear? Is it out? Pustolski: Ah! Yes! It is out online right now at discobeargame.com. It is based in the browser. It's not mobile, it's only desktop/laptop because you need the arrow keys to play, but otherwise it's free, and you can go online right now and play it. --- Go out and play Disco Bear - it will at the very least improve your day with a ridiculous dancing bear.
  21. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) has announced today that they will be officially resurrecting Habitat, the first graphical massively multiplayer game. Created in 1986 by Lucasfilm Games for the Commodore 64, Habitat proved to be popular, but costly, leading to its discontinuation in 1988. Nearly 30 years later, MADE has overcome the technical challenges and will be reopening Habitat to the public tomorrow. While there had been online games with thriving communities prior to Habitat, they had all been in the world of MUDs, Multi-User Dungeons, games where interaction and visuals were entirely handled by reading and inputting text. Habitat brought games from text into a functional graphics-based format. It also originated the word avatar as used for a digital representation of a player. Players could contract disease, commit murder, rob strangers, and own homes. The game world ran on its own player-driven economy and was also governed by the players. This apparently led to chaos in the early days of Habitat before laws and rules of etiquette were established. Cosmetic items and accessories became an obsession for many in the community - 30 years might be a long time, but gamers still loved looking cool back in the first graphical MMO. “Habitat was so far ahead of its time, it was never able to reach even a tenth of the potential of its capabilities due to the future having not been evenly distributed enough at the time,” said Alex Handy, founder and director of the MADE. “Today, we think of thousands of players being in a single world at once as normal, but Habitat built this type of environment 30 years ago with the digital equivalent of sticks and stones.” As an interesting sidenote: Habitat ran on a Commodore 64 online service named Quantum Link, the predecessor of America Online. This is part of what made making Habitat compatible with modern systems difficult. The architecture of the Commodore 64 and modern computers aren't super compatible, to say nothing of the server-side issues. Restoring Habitat took MADE four years and that was with the help of the original programmers, like Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, beta testers, and online contributions from retro enthusiasts and leaders in the tech industry. Fujitsu, the company that purchased the rights to Habitat in order to release it in Japan, Dolby, Sony, and Stratus all contributed to the restoration efforts, too. Randy Farmer was the original C64 client programmer and the first Oracle, one of the administrator gods of Habitat. He also took the lead role in restoring the Habitat software and service. Said Farmer, “We couldn’t have pulled off the small miracle of this game, then or now, without a lot of collaborators: some original team members returned to help out, like original lead Chip Morningstar, myself, and a few of the 500 1986 Habitat Beta testers (who built much of the online world you can see today). Also, many fans of the worlds/MMOs descended from Habitat and contributors from the vibrant C64 retro gaming community. Our contributors are around the world – and include various tech CEOs, CTOs and VPs! We’d all like to thank the MADE for making this project possible: to restore the first MMO, Lucasfilm’s Habitat.” The server hosting the restored alpha version of Habitat will go live to the general public on June 2 at 6pm PT. There will be a local kick-off event at the MADE's Oakland, California location. Players around the world who want to check out the revival of Habitat can do so for free. There will be some fiddling with a C64 emulator and connection to the server, but you can find simple instructions on NeoHabitat.org.
  22. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) has announced today that they will be officially resurrecting Habitat, the first graphical massively multiplayer game. Created in 1986 by Lucasfilm Games for the Commodore 64, Habitat proved to be popular, but costly, leading to its discontinuation in 1988. Nearly 30 years later, MADE has overcome the technical challenges and will be reopening Habitat to the public tomorrow. While there had been online games with thriving communities prior to Habitat, they had all been in the world of MUDs, Multi-User Dungeons, games where interaction and visuals were entirely handled by reading and inputting text. Habitat brought games from text into a functional graphics-based format. It also originated the word avatar as used for a digital representation of a player. Players could contract disease, commit murder, rob strangers, and own homes. The game world ran on its own player-driven economy and was also governed by the players. This apparently led to chaos in the early days of Habitat before laws and rules of etiquette were established. Cosmetic items and accessories became an obsession for many in the community - 30 years might be a long time, but gamers still loved looking cool back in the first graphical MMO. “Habitat was so far ahead of its time, it was never able to reach even a tenth of the potential of its capabilities due to the future having not been evenly distributed enough at the time,” said Alex Handy, founder and director of the MADE. “Today, we think of thousands of players being in a single world at once as normal, but Habitat built this type of environment 30 years ago with the digital equivalent of sticks and stones.” As an interesting sidenote: Habitat ran on a Commodore 64 online service named Quantum Link, the predecessor of America Online. This is part of what made making Habitat compatible with modern systems difficult. The architecture of the Commodore 64 and modern computers aren't super compatible, to say nothing of the server-side issues. Restoring Habitat took MADE four years and that was with the help of the original programmers, like Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, beta testers, and online contributions from retro enthusiasts and leaders in the tech industry. Fujitsu, the company that purchased the rights to Habitat in order to release it in Japan, Dolby, Sony, and Stratus all contributed to the restoration efforts, too. Randy Farmer was the original C64 client programmer and the first Oracle, one of the administrator gods of Habitat. He also took the lead role in restoring the Habitat software and service. Said Farmer, “We couldn’t have pulled off the small miracle of this game, then or now, without a lot of collaborators: some original team members returned to help out, like original lead Chip Morningstar, myself, and a few of the 500 1986 Habitat Beta testers (who built much of the online world you can see today). Also, many fans of the worlds/MMOs descended from Habitat and contributors from the vibrant C64 retro gaming community. Our contributors are around the world – and include various tech CEOs, CTOs and VPs! We’d all like to thank the MADE for making this project possible: to restore the first MMO, Lucasfilm’s Habitat.” The server hosting the restored alpha version of Habitat will go live to the general public on June 2 at 6pm PT. There will be a local kick-off event at the MADE's Oakland, California location. Players around the world who want to check out the revival of Habitat can do so for free. There will be some fiddling with a C64 emulator and connection to the server, but you can find simple instructions on NeoHabitat.org. View full article
  23. A couple years back, we told you about how the Internet Archive had added 2,400 MS-DOS games to its collection. That number of MS-DOS titles has since grown to over 4,000, but there are actually almost double that number of gaming titles that archived from other systems and consoles. The current total number of explorable gaming software on the Archive stands at 7,700. That's a lot of games! The console collection of The Internet Archive includes a staggering number of obscure systems. Ever wondered what it was like to play a Fairchild Channel F? They have 45 games anyone can try out. Never heard of the Epoch Game Pocket Computer? You can play five of those titles. In fact, there are 27 collections of uploaded and emulated software available, including over 1,500 Sega games across four of their consoles. Below you can find a comprehensive list of the consoles, the number of games in the collection, and links to their related collections on Internet Archive: Amstrad GX-4000 - 23 APF-MP1000 - 15 Atari 2600 - 519 Atari 5200 - 43 Atari 7800 – 73 Bally Astrocade - 20 Bandai Super Vision 8000 - 7 Coleco Colecovision - 234 Emerson Arcadia – 58 Entex Adventure Vision - 4 Epoch Game Pocket Computer - 5 Epoch Super Cassette Vision - 31 The Fairchild Channel F – 45 Magnavox Odyssey 2 – 122 Mattel Aquarius - 13 Mattel Intelevision - 21 Mega Duck WG-108 - 9 Neo Geo Pocket/Pocket Color – 316 Sega Game Gear - 446 Sega Genesis - 575 Sega Master System - 563 Sega SG-1000 - 74 Socrates - 8 Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit games - 323 Super A’Can – 9 VTech Creativision - 17 Watara Supervision - 44 However, are all of those games worth looking into? That answer is definitely a bit hazy. While Internet Archive can successfully emulate all of these titles, the controls and responsiveness of said games leaves a lot to be desired. The ideal way to play these is definitely not on the Archive, but it stands as a useful repository of history and research for those who want to know more about gaming's past. The uploaded titles include unfinished prototypes and builds for various games, too! Just be warned - there are a lot of... eccentric titles on the Internet Archive that have been made by homebrew developers and may contain some explicit material. View full article
  24. A couple years back, we told you about how the Internet Archive had added 2,400 MS-DOS games to its collection. That number of MS-DOS titles has since grown to over 4,000, but there are actually almost double that number of gaming titles that archived from other systems and consoles. The current total number of explorable gaming software on the Archive stands at 7,700. That's a lot of games! The console collection of The Internet Archive includes a staggering number of obscure systems. Ever wondered what it was like to play a Fairchild Channel F? They have 45 games anyone can try out. Never heard of the Epoch Game Pocket Computer? You can play five of those titles. In fact, there are 27 collections of uploaded and emulated software available, including over 1,500 Sega games across four of their consoles. Below you can find a comprehensive list of the consoles, the number of games in the collection, and links to their related collections on Internet Archive: Amstrad GX-4000 - 23 APF-MP1000 - 15 Atari 2600 - 519 Atari 5200 - 43 Atari 7800 – 73 Bally Astrocade - 20 Bandai Super Vision 8000 - 7 Coleco Colecovision - 234 Emerson Arcadia – 58 Entex Adventure Vision - 4 Epoch Game Pocket Computer - 5 Epoch Super Cassette Vision - 31 The Fairchild Channel F – 45 Magnavox Odyssey 2 – 122 Mattel Aquarius - 13 Mattel Intelevision - 21 Mega Duck WG-108 - 9 Neo Geo Pocket/Pocket Color – 316 Sega Game Gear - 446 Sega Genesis - 575 Sega Master System - 563 Sega SG-1000 - 74 Socrates - 8 Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit games - 323 Super A’Can – 9 VTech Creativision - 17 Watara Supervision - 44 However, are all of those games worth looking into? That answer is definitely a bit hazy. While Internet Archive can successfully emulate all of these titles, the controls and responsiveness of said games leaves a lot to be desired. The ideal way to play these is definitely not on the Archive, but it stands as a useful repository of history and research for those who want to know more about gaming's past. The uploaded titles include unfinished prototypes and builds for various games, too! Just be warned - there are a lot of... eccentric titles on the Internet Archive that have been made by homebrew developers and may contain some explicit material.
  25. The first trailer for the upcoming Dark Tower film adaptation released today. While many people might ooh and aah over it (seriously, it's a really great trailer), a lot of people remain unaware that Stephen King's Dark Tower universe was translated into a video game years ago - and it is certainly worth a look. Back in the 2000s, Stephen King green lit a project that would spin off his Dark Tower universe into the realm of video games. It would be a trial run toward something bigger, possibly a full-fledged Myst-like expansion to King's universe. The project released in 2009 as a free browser game on Stephen King's official website under the name Discordia. While it is typically talked about as a completed concept, it seems the game was intended as an episodic series. Discordia at present consists of its first chapter titled For Callahan! with a second installment slated for 2015 that never materialized. Discordia was developed by a team of four people: Brian Stark, Judy Hahn, Robin Furth, and Marsha DeFilippo. The project sparked to life in 2002 after Stark and Hahn were contracted to redesign the Stephen King website in an effort to focus the branding of The Dark Tower series and provide clearer messaging regarding what the universe was about and meant. While working on how to accomplish those goals, Stark created some rough designs for the creatures and technology described in the books to use as references for the general look of the new website. Those images were never meant to become a game, but Marsha DeFilippo, one of Stephen King's longtime assistants, saw the pictures and felt inspired. Knowing the sheer amount of fan mail King received clamoring for some kind of interactive game related to The Dark Tower, DeFilippo brought Stark's designs up in a conversation with King while they were on a flight to New York City. King gave his blessing. Stark, Hahn, and DeFilippo began pouring over King's series and the reference compendium The Dark Tower: The Concordance created by King's other assistant, Robin Furth. The team decided to focus the story on the conflict between the Tet and Sombra corporations, centering the action on an original character called Op19. It would begin in New York City and bring players through to Mid World over the course of an investigative mystery to track down the elusive Arina Yokova, a corporate mobster who sells weapons of mass destruction from other worlds to criminal enterprises around the world, as she threatens to bring down the entire multiverse. The process Stark and Hahn went through to finalize their story concept was incredibly rigorous. Stark described it in an interview with Boxx (a company that helped design the workstations Stark and his team used for the game) saying, “We started by hyperanalyzing every word of the sections that we needed to create. We took detailed notes on everything that needed to be considered and in the end, every last detail described by Stephen in the books, was manifested in 3D.” The original promo for Discordia along with the introductory cutscene Though the concept originated in 2002, development on the game didn't begin in earnest until Robin Furth took on the role of director in 2008. Stark and his team handled the 3D modeling and creation of the mechanics, all of which had to run smoothly in Flash, while DeFilippo lent a hand with the world-building. All the while, Stephen King took on an executive producing role, stepping in from time to time to keep development grounded appropriately within his fiction. The actual gameplay of Discordia, which you can play for free on the Stephen King website, is relatively simple. It's essentially a hidden object game mixed with some gunslinging action sequences. Players explore locations from a variety of different angles and positions, looking for magical artifacts or clues. When players enter a new area, a new journal entry is created describing the scene and situation. Each object found provides even more information and can be examined for hi-res images unique to the game. Despite the desire from fans and the oversight of Stephen King himself, the team worried about how the game would be received. Would a browser game be able to stand out as indie games rose in popularity? Would an adventure game set in The Dark Tower universe attract enough attention? Stark even worried about public reaction to what the team had done to expand the lore of the beloved series, stating, “I wanted [fans] to start thinking “what if” again and not show up at my door with torches and pitch forks." Luckily, those fears seemed unfounded. DeFilippo recounted that public reaction seemed to be incredibly positive, "I knew we’d hit the mark when we got feedback that the Dixie Pig was exactly what readers had envisioned and that it was as though we’d reached into their mind and they were now seeing it on their computers, [but] a further litmus test was their question, ‘when can we have more?!’" Indeed, even while researching this piece two years after the promised release of chapter two, I still see recent comments from fans of The Dark Tower and Discordia asking when the second chapter will release. Currently, it doesn't appear that any development on the second chapter has begun, though Stark has expressed interest in revisiting the project at some point in the future. The feature film adaptation of The Dark Tower might put hopes for Discordia Chapter Two on ice for the foreseeable future. Looking back on it from 2017, Discordia's style of gameplay would be ideal for VR. Let me repeat that more emphatically: If Discordia Chapter Two does happen, it definitely needs to be in VR. That would add to the creepiness, the wonderment of the setting while making the shooting segments more interesting. Additionally, it would work while embracing the limited mobility afforded by current VR technology. Heck, you could even tie it all in better with the film franchises - maybe an live-action VR experience? Look, this was really a way for me to talk about the slick, new trailer for The Dark Tower that looks so freaking good (it even uses music from For A Few Dollars More!). View full article
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