Thursday, June 30, 2011

Game of the Week: Digital: A Love Story

I haven't posted anything in a while, I've been having computer troubles. Hopefully I'm done with those, and will return to blogging regularly. Anyway, the game of the week this week is Digital: A Love Story.

Digital: A Love Story is a visual novel set in the early days of the internet, in which the player commits phone fraud, dials into BBSs, hacks into protected systems, and much more. The interface essentially transforms your computer into an Amiga, making the game incredibly immersive. I won't give away too much of the plot and characters, because much of the game is about discovering the story.

I am not a huge fan of visual novels, but this game was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. The means of interaction are pretty limited, but it was one of the most engaging games I've ever played. I'd highly recommend it. You can download it for free here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Game of the Week: Realm of the Mad God

Realm of the Mad God is a flash, free to play, mmorpg. In this game, the players work together to destroy the minions of Oryx, the Mad God, and once all of the minions are dead, the entire server has a chance to battle him. Realm of the Mad God plays like a bullet hell, but is full of RPG elements. You can play different classes, collect items and gear, and if you die, you lose your character permanently. The game isn't entirely free: you have to pay for extra character slots, but the paid aspects of this game are completely unnecessary to enjoy it. This game is a breath of fresh air for the very stale MMO genre, and it's still being updated, so it can only get better.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Indie Game: The Movie

An official trailer for Indie Game: The Movie has been released. I've been following this for a while now. These guys are fantastic film makers, and they're interviewing some great game designers. There's tons of extra footage on their website that you can check out, so go do it immediately.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Game Designer Sunday: Jonatan "Cactus" Soderstrom

I'm going to start series of posts reviewing different game designers, and the games that they put out. I think that the people behind videogames are often an overlooked part of games. People may know the development studios behind their favorite games, but they rarely know the specific designers in charge of the game ( except for the obvious famous ones: Shigeru Miyamoto, Cliff Bleszinski, Hideo Kojima, etc. ). This series will hopeful shed light on some of the important people in video games.

I don't know what this is, either.
This post is going to be about Jonatan Soderstrom, or better known as Cactus. Cactus is a Swedish game developer, who is well known for his prolific output of games. He's released over fifty of them, and each has a very distinct style. The reason I chose Cactus for my first post is that he is one of the few game designers who has a unique style that can be seen in all of his works. It's pretty easy to know if a game is made by him.

A scene from Norrland
Although many of his games are incredibly difficult shooters, he has created a very diverse set of games. My favorite game of his, Pychosomnium, is an illogical puzzle game, set in a dream. It provides a very atmospheric, surreal, and weird story for the player. Another game of his, Clean Asia!, is a hardcore, arcade style, shoot 'em up. It is equally weird, but in a completely different way. One of his more recent games, Norrland, is more of an artgame. In Norrland, the player is the Swedish equivalent of a redneck spending a weekend in a cabin in the Swedish wilderness. All of these games are very different, yet share a similar quality that all Cactus games seem to have.

Overall, Cactus is one of my favorite game developers. I urge you to try out  some of his games. All of them are for free on his website, He has so many, that even if you don't like some of them you're bound to find enjoyment somewhere. The games that I would recommend most would be:

-Clean Asia!
-Mondo Medical

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spelunky XBLA

It seems that this is unintentionally turning into a video game blog. Oh well, video games are cool.

Anyway, the trailer for Spelunky XBLA was recently released, and it's rekindled my excitement for this game. Derek Yu's freeware platformer-rougelike was initially released in 2008, and can be found here. This game features Indiana Jones style protagonist exploring for hidden treasure in a procedurally generated cave. If you haven't played it alread, I highly suggest that you do so.

Derek Yu has indicated that Spelunky XBLA should be released soon ( I don't think the official release date has been announced ). The game will included updated graphics, a new soundtrack, and new game modes. It will be a limited time exclusive to XBLA, so it will be coming to the PC eventually. I thought you guys might be interested in this. The trailer looked great, so I'll definitely be waiting for its release.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Game of the Week: Soul Brother

From now on, once a week I'm going to post a game review/recommendation on here. They'll mostly be free flash games, so that they'll be as accessible as possible for you guys to play. The first one I'm going to write about is Soul Brother, a game by Jasper Byrne.

Soul Brother is a game about a spirit that transports between animals every time it dies. The goal of the game is to collect gems, and each area is centered around the reincarnation mechanic, which provides plenty of puzzles and challenging platforming. The fun game play, the charming pixel art and the catchy soundtrack come together to make a game that I cannot recommend enough. It's a flash game, so you have nothing to lose from trying it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Facebook Is Stupid.

According to a recent survey by Electronic Arts,  6 out of 10 British people under 25 believe that Mark Zuckerberg has had more of an influence on human history than Isaac Newton.

Seriously? People give Facebook way more credit than it deserves. The only difference between Facebook and every other social networking site is that Facebook happens to be popular right now. It's not a feat of engineering, or a revolutionary new way to communicate. There is nothing extraordinary about it. I really hope that Britain is full of exceptionally stupid young adults.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Five Best Video Games

My first non-introduction post is going to be about - as the title of this post suggests - the five best video games ever made. I would like to preface this post by saying that this is not my opinion. These games are objectively the best ever made, and anyone who disagrees is lying. First up...

Mother 3 is a masterpiece. It took what everyone loved about the previous two games in the series and made them better in nearly every possible way. The writing is top-notch, and it is both hilarious and heart wrenching. It seems that in recent years the JRPG genre has become hated by western audiences, but trust me when I say that even if you don't like JRPGs, you can still like this game. Unfortunately, Shigesato Itoi's magnum opus was never released outside of Japan, but a few years back a fan translation was made. I encourage everyone to play this wonderful game.

Second on my list is Earthbound. It feels kind of weird to make the top two games on my list part of a series, but these two games are far better than any other game I've played. To those of you who don't know, Earthbound is the North American release of Mother 2, and is the only game in the Mother series to be released outside of Japan. Unfortunately, this series was a commercial failure in the west, and that may be one of the reasons the rest of the series never made it here. It is hard to get a hold of this game, it is often sold for over one hundred dollars, but it is well worth that price. If you've never played any game in the series, I would recommend starting with this one. The first Mother's writing is good, but not at the same level its sequels and is made difficult to play through by the time's RPG standards, and Mother 3 is made a thousand times better if you have played Earthbound first.

The third game on my list is Pokemon Gold and Silver. I was tempted to put Red and Blue at this spot, but I think the second generation of this series was the best. Gold and Silver added far more strategy to the game, advancing it beyond the complicated game of rock/paper/scissors that its predecessor was. After this generation, the quality in the Pokemon added to the game seemed to decline, and I sort of lost interest, but I still play through my copy of Gold regularly and have been doing so since the game's release.

Fourth on my list is Portal. There is a reason that Valve is such a successful developer. They have a consistent level of quality in each of their releases. When I first played Portal I was presented with many things that I had never experienced in a video game before ( and its sequel was lacking in these experiences, but that's for a different post ), and it ended up being one of the best video games that I'd played in years. All of the puzzles were challenging, but I never felt frustrated. The game was a perfect length; the story never felt drawn out. This game is perfect and is one of the best experiences that the gaming industry has had to offer in the past decade.

Number five would have to be The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time. This game doesn't need too much of an explanation, its difficult to find a "Best Video Games Of All Time" list that doesn't put this somewhere in the top three positions. It brought the Zelda series to the third dimension, and I was lost in this game from beginning to end.

Well, that's my list. Hopefully you enjoyed reading it, and were introduced to some new video games.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hello, Internet.

As you probably know, I've decided to make a blog. I don't have a plan for my writing to be particularly focused in a specific area: I'll just write about things I'm interested in. This will most likely be movies, video games, books, music, and other things of that nature. I'll try to keep this introduction short so I don't bore you. Hopefully you'll be as interested in the topics of my posts as I am. Thanks for reading.