It's the system that's broken

Actual Marxism

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“In the midst of winter I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

Actual Sunlight‘s insight into power structures and human nature has mostly gone unrecognized. While the critical focus on the game’s portrayal of depression is warranted, developer Will O’Neill’s story goes beyond the mental illness of protagonist Evan Winter. As suggested by Reid McCarter and Patrick Lindsey, Actual Sunlight has a substantial Marxist reading. This reading compels me to reject the common label of “interactive fiction,” a term that says nothing about the power structure that Actual Sunlight opposes from a standpoint of philosophy and genre. Most importantly, a Marxist reading suggests that O’Neill did not necessarily intend for the game to end in the protagonist’s suicide. (more…)

That crazy Notch!

Notch Releases Follow-Up To Minecraft

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Markus Persson, better known to the world as Notch, the creator of Minecraft, has released his long-awaited follow-up to the bazillion-selling mega hit.

While he has released several browser-based games and a few teaser images of a game called 0X10c, newly-released Cliffhorse has already net the developer 280 000 Dogecoin, making it his first commercial project since the success of Minecraft.

So giddyup on over to the game’s site and get in on the action. Believe it or not, it seems the Dogecoin patronage is not required; the download link is clearly visible, making the game free for all!

 

Explore The Experimental This E3!

indiE3 To Highlight Indies Around E3

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Every year the death knell of the Electronic Entertainment Exposition (more commonly known as E3) sounds louder and louder, seemingly proportional to the focus on independent games outside of the traditional spotlights. The last few years have seen some attempts to focus on this smaller, increasingly prolific community of indie developers, such as HORIZON, which last year highlighted games like Hohokum, Kachina, Tearaway, and Broken Age.

It’s happening again concurrent with the 2014 E3 conference (though it hasn’t been nearly as publicized as last year), but another more grassroots affair is taking shape that could potentially feature hundreds of games and game makers: indiE3.

Organized by TJ Thomas, the event will be conducted online, and according to the indiE3 tumblr will feature the following: “…we’ll have various live panels (we’ve received support from Indie Haven and The Spawn Point), ranging from indie game coverage, design manifestos, to round-table discussions and lightning talks submitted to indiE3 and seen live only at hitbox.tv.”

Also featured will be announcements, trailers, and interviews with developers.

Now, this gathering was conceived on June 5th, literally just days away from E3 proper, so set your expectations accordingly. There is little to no curation, the schedule will be haphazard at best, and the talks will likely be fifteen kinds of awkward at a webcam (expect lots of “ums”). BUT… it’s an idea that shows extraordinary potential, and many people from all walks of life–who are key to support in this burgeoning scene–will potentially have an audience they ordinarily wouldn’t. And, we’re sure to see some games that will truly show the ingenuity of the community.

Dates are tentatively set for most of the happenings, and don’t worry–there will be a game jam (because you can’t fart anymore without knocking one of those over). Since the project’s inception there have already been dozens of contributions announced, so make sure to check in on the indE3 page for all the details, including details on how you could contribute.

RPG Club Plays Bastion: Week 1

What made this indie darling so special?

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In light of last month’s release of the much anticipated Transitor, we decided to take a second look at Supergiant Games’s debut release from several summers ago: Bastion. (more…)

PERISH Casts Death in a More Beautiful Light

PERISH is developer Anthony Richard's contribution to the recent roguelike renaissance.

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“I don’t know that PERISH is THAT ambitious,” Anthony Richard told me in an email. “Given the scope of the game the amount of actual work coding and making content is totally doable by one person.” Watching the trailer though, I’m still amazed. (more…)

Unsettling in the best way possible

Creepshow: A Review Of The Last Door

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It’s hilarious to think that I find a game as dark and macabre as The Last Door to be utterly delightful and wonderous.

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There was never a good war, or a bad peace.

RPG Club Plays Fire Emblem: Awakening–Week 4

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With May coming to a close, the RPG Club has retired our armies and convened once more to share final thoughts on Fire Emblem: Awakening. Reid and Tom found themselves bogged down by the fluffy story getting in the way of meticulously crafted battles. Ethan questioned who was actually giving the orders–the player or the game. And I found myself with a familiar sorrow after the credits rolled by.

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An amazing revitilzation of the classic dungeon-crawler

Traditional & Terrific: A Review Of Demon Gaze

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Demon Gaze is a dungeon-crawler for the PlayStation Vita. It didn’t take much time with the game–its eccentric cast of characters, its wonderfully-crafted dungeons, and its engaging story arch to win me over. I absolutely, unequivocally loved this game. So instead of weird, gushing review of one of my favourite games this year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how this game got released.

The following is a 100% legitimate, in-no-way-made-up (ok fine it’s totally made-up) transcription of the conversation between developer Kadokawa Games and publisher NIS America that eventually lead to Demon Gaze’s release.

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Kadokawa Games: “We’d like to ask you to release our dungeon-crawler about a guy who has to rid the world of demons. The catch is that he can absorb the demon’s souls and use them in his fight.”

NIS America: “I mean, it sounds good, but Demon’s Souls is already a thing.”

Kadokawa Games: “No no no! No, it’s totally different than that! Think Wizardry with the modern pop of a game like Persona 4, where you can use the demon’s powers. And the hook: you gain the demons’ powers by gazing into their eyes–and soul. It’ll be called… Demon Gaze.”

NIS America (hesitantly): “Go on…”

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What Do I Do With All These Game Systems?

999 Hours: A Review of Mugen Souls Z

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When I was 16, I maxed out the game clock in Final Fantasy VII. I did every single thing you could, from killing the unfathomably difficult Ruby and Emerald Weapons to breeding a Gold Chocobo and finding the Knights of the Round Summon.

The sad part? I didn’t even like the game. But I was a teenager with a small budget and seemingly endless free time, so I wrung every last bit of content from Cloud’s journey that I could – even if there wasn’t much there. When I hear my students yabbering on and on about Skyrim or Minecraft, I flash back to those halcyon days, thankful that my dance with the digital devil ended before I could completely lose myself.

I shudder think what would’ve happened had Mugen Souls Z fallen into my twitchy teenage hands.

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This series never ran out of steam...

Grandest Finale: A Review Of Blackwell Epiphany

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So this is what years of making adventure games gets you, huh? This is what the culmination of a well-written series of games looks like? In a time when the sparkle and shine of technical prowess is touted above content, this is what happens when you focus on narrative?

Well, that’s all good news, because Blackwell Epiphany is damn near perfection.

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