• MOBA Madness!

    With PAX now over, many games have made their debut and are enjoying the light of day. No more NDA means I get to write what I’ve been thinking about ...

  • Banger: A Review Of LUFTRAUSERS

    Vlambeer’s Jan Willem Nijman did a talk recently about what makes games enjoyable. Aimed at developers, the talk was designed to show how, through design tricks, you can get more ...

  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2: The Movie: The Interview

    [SCENE - AN UNDERSEA LABORITORUM. BRYCE sits before a desk facing a long window overlooking a coral reef. He is wearing a heavy tweed coat and penny loafers. The end ...

10 Other Things You Could Spend $30 on Instead of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

$30 certainly doesn’t go as far as it used to. At only half a day’s minimum wage pay, the amount isn’t enough to cover the cable bill or a week’s worth of groceries, let alone a full tank of gas or a week’s worth of public transportation. Fortunately, $30 will still get you one to two hours worth of Metal Gear Solid. Released earlier this week, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has been widely praised by critics despite its much maligned brevity.

But while three Alexander Hamiltons isn’t enough to paint the town red, and only just barely enough to afford Ground Zeroes (assuming you live somewhere without sales tax), this paltry sum will still let you purchase a number of other things. What follows is a brief and by no means exhaustive list of everything else you could buy instead of Ground Zeroes. (more…)

"The Results Were Mixed"

RPG Club Plays Skyrim: Week 3

Another week, another RPG Club post! This marks the second-to-last week on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Ethan is unimpressed, and the other RPG-ers reflect on music, alchemy, and the Dawnguard DLC.

skyrim guard


WEE: Not As Fun As The Name Implies

Hot Mess: A Review of World Ends Economica


WORLD END ECONOMiCA episode.01 is a mess.

The interface is clean and intuitive, the art is gorgeous to the point of breathtaking, and the music is enjoyable and appropriate for the situation (when it’s there). All of these things really appealed to me. The story is interesting, too – the author has set up a unique and complex world that I like learning about (even if the author rambles on about inconsequential details, like how the sewer system works on the moon). It could use a good editor, though – the kind of editor who says “You explained the stock market before – there is no reason to do so again.” Hell, any editor would do. There aren’t too many spelling or grammatical errors, but at times it feels less like a story with a plot and more like one guy rambling about the things that he likes. As an editor myself, there were multiple times when I was simply thinking “this has no place being in the narrative.”


The Second Playthrough Can Be Rough

RPG Club Plays Skyrim: Week 2


RPG Club continues through Tamriel, kicking ass and taking names. However, for Caitlin and Reid it’s the second playthrough, and they have different opinions on how that affects the game. Mike and Ethan both seem a little wary of what the game offers.


A Fantastical Beast In a Hand-Drawn World

Look What We Found: Aaru's Awakening


One of the most amazing things about games is that there are a thousand different things about them that can capture players’ imaginations, but it takes playing the games for these things to be fully realized. But the art direction of a game is one aspect that can capture anyone’s imagination, even non-players.

Games featuring hand-drawn backgrounds and animations are nothing new, but the aesthetic is so unique that it’s notable in every instance. Aaru’s Awakening is a game currently being made by Lumenox Games, and features such an aforementioned hand-drawn style. Guiding the beast known as Aaru, the player will traverse the worlds of Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Night to defeat a diety who has taken control of the world.

Aaru’s Awakening is up for vote now on Steam Greenlight, but what’s more exiting is that you can play an alpha demo now!

Twitch Plays Pokemon demonstrates our innate love for storytelling

A Fossil, A Pigeon, and the Creation of a Miniature Mythos


Whether you like it or not, the internet has been abuzz with a little black and white sprite. This sprite, “Red”, spent the past few weeks clumsily stumbling around the emulated world of Pokémon Red, running into walls, haphazardly releasing rare Pokémon into the wild, and committing other acts of silliness while thousands of people looked on. (more…)

Sometimes You Need To Go Back To The Beginning

The Last Of Us: Left Behind Is Pretty Awesome



Left Behind is the perfect kind of post-release DLC. It doesn’t retread over the same broken earth of the main game, nor does it layer glitzy padding on top of it. Instead, it simply augments it, teasing out one of the story’s many frayed edges, weaving a small yet beautiful quilt from its tattered remains. While The Last of Us was the story of one man trying to find redemption in his surrogate daughter, Left Behind tells the story of that same girl’s quest for her own place in the world.


No, really, like... super ambitious...

Proven Lands' Ambitions Lead To Kickstarter


And lo, a bounty of amazing Kickstarter projects.

I’ve already highlighted Ashen Rift’s efforts at crowdfunding, but equally off-the-radar for many is the new campaign for science fiction gem Proven Lands. If you haven’t heard of it, wait until you get a load of this ambitious pitch: “Explore a unique, vast and beautiful science-fiction sandbox roguelike, procedurally generated and studded with an AI storyteller.”

Now, what kind of black magic the group at developer thesetales is going to employ to make that all happen is a mystery to us all, but I personally wish them luck. Proven Lands looks wonderful–be sure to scroll down to their entire Kickstarter page. Look at all the new content they’ve got planned, in particular the underwater areas.

The goal is steep, but if the right people see it, Proven Lands will be in our hands early next year.

A Compelling Use of a Canine Companion

Ashen Rift: A Man And His Dog And You


Anyone who has followed my writing in particular knows I have a… special relationship with Kickstarter. I won’t bore you with the laundry list of issues I have with many campaigns, but every once in awhile some projects pop up that feel worthy of the attention.

Ashen Rift’s Kickstarter campaign launched last week, and unlike many game Kickstarters, there’s loads of footage of the game that exists. It’s not a pithy concept; the ideas seem fully-realized and tangible, all centered around an the extraordinary use of a canine companion.

I interviewed developer Barry M. Collins last month for a feature about the dog in Ashen Rift, and seeing him talk about it in the pitch video makes me all the more convinced that the game is onto something unique and spellbinding. The goal is modest, too, so hopefully we’ll all see Mr. Collins vision become a reality.

Oh, and be sure to stay tuned to the end of that video for the hilarious origins of Ashen Rift, and its alternate sidekick…

Speaking of Skyrim...

RPG Club Plays Skyrim: Week 1

dragon banner

It worked! Months of bullying and pestering and finally the RPG club caved to my demands: now we have a whole month of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. As you can imagine, I am beyond ecstatic. For week one, we start pretty slow, just looking at the characters we have made for ourselves (as well as some goals).