Games Archives

GAME REVIEW: Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is an unforgiving fast-paced platform-jumper game published by Team Meat in 2010.

Meat Boy is the name of our protagonist. No, it’ s not a lewd stage name. Meat Boy is literally a cube of raw red meat with arms, legs, and a face. The love of his life is Bandage Girl who, as you might guess, is an anthropomorphic Band-Aid. If you’re confused, so am I. I feel like I’m missing a joke. Are these two paired because Meat Boy is literally dripping blood and Bandage Girl is an item meant to absorb blood? I don’t know.
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GAME REVIEW: Machinarium

Machinarium is a point-and-click puzzle game published by Amanita Design in 2009. In the game you are a robot who has been dismantled and dumped from the robot city into the endless junkyard beyond. You had lived happily with your friends until a gang of thugs came and split you up, using each of you for your own devices. Now you need to find your way back into the city, rescue your friends, and keep the gang from doing anything like that again.
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Limbo is a sidescroller puzzle game published by Playdead in 2010 with a very sharp visual style. Your character is a silhouette of a boy interacting with silhouettes of environmental objects with a grayscale background, trying to safely traverse a dangerous environment to… well, the game never really explains that. You wake in a field of grass and then you get the controls, no explanation, text, dialog, anything to give you a story other than the events of what you see on the screen.

So, you make the most of things and start wandering, and soon you discover that this is a very dangerous place when you get chopped in half by a bear trap, fall onto spike pits, and get speared by the leg of a giant spider.

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GAME REVIEW: The Stanley Parable

How do I describe The Stanley Parable? To say it as briefly as possible I’d say it’s a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure comedic meta-narrative built on an FPS engine–I will elaborate on what I mean by that. It was developed by Davey Wreden and released in 2011, and then was expanded for further release that included distribution on Steam in 2013.

You are Stanley. You work at a desk where you are give instructions to press keys on your keyboard one after another. One day you notice you realize you’ve been there for an hour without receiving any instructions. You get up to ask your colleagues if they’re experiencing similar interruptions in workflow, only to discover that their desks are empty. You set out to find someone and find that the whole building is apparently devoid of life apart from you. Unless, of course, you count the British voiceover that’s narrating your every action and telling you what you’re going to do next.
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Braid is a sidescroller puzzle game released by Number None in 2008. It’s gotten a lot of buzz over the last few years, including placing #94 on G4TV’S Top 100 Video Games of All Time in 2013. That ranking surprised me as I watched that list, considering that, at a glance, it appeared to be using Super Nintendo era technology. Not that I mind an older look (I love me some retro gaming), but that kind of list tends toward the new and trendy and whizbang hardware-limit-pushing stuff. So I wondered, what exactly made this game so special?
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E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is one of the largest gaming and entertainment oriented conferences around. The 2014 E3 happened this week and there were many, many games announced or more information released to a hungry gaming public. Let’s take a look at some of the games, and their trailers, that I found interesting.

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Star Wars Battlefront is coming. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the game.

[Thanks, Trent! You may very well be our new official Star Wars enthusiast! :)]

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Conan O’Brien is the Clueless Gamer in a series of videos where he reviews video games. Here, Conan Reviews Super Smash Bros..
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I don’t usually have a lot of time for gaming, but when I saw a link to an early access version of Hack ‘n’ Slash by Double Fine Productions on Steam, I impulse-bought it.

At a glance, it looks a lot like a SNES-era Legend of Zelda game. Green-tuniced, sword-wielding adventurer wandering around and fighting wizards and etc. The similarities are big enough that it has to be an intentional tribute — boomerangs and bombs, a little flying companion who gives you advice, and lost woods. That’s fine, I don’t mind a tribute to Zelda.

But what really makes the game interesting is the twist added to it. Instead of a good old-fashioned sharp-edged sword, you have a hacking sword that looks rather like a USB thumb drive that you can use to alter the internal variables of creatures and objects in the world. You can change an enemy to be friendly or to move in a different pattern when idle. You can unlock a door, or change how far a rock will move when you push it.

Programming and adventure game combined–count me interested!

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Watchdogs is a game in which players hack into the computer that runs a near-future Chicago. Here’s Clueless Gamer Conan O’Brien playing the game for the first time.

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Finally, an answer to the question “What would Super Mario World look like if it were filmed like the opening sequence of Game of Thrones?”

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Over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog today, I take a look at Paizo and Dynamite’s Comic Collection: Pathfinder Volume 1: Dark Waters Rising.

From the post:

With an introduction by Paizo Publisher Erik Mona, Pathfinder Volume 1: Dark Waters Rising, launches the legendary heroes of Paizo’s role playing game system, Pathfinder Tales, into the comic book format with a bang. Utilizing the classic group of adventurers trope, Dark Waters Rising brings together the warrior, Valeros, sorceress Seoni, wizard Ezren, elven rogue Merisiel, dwarven ranger Harsk and cleric Kyra, to protect the town of Sandpoint from a growing Goblin infestation.  Set in the world of Golarion, the book captures the Pathfinder setting quite nicely, painting a diverse and rich world full of mysteries to be solved and gold to be earned – if you’re brave of heart. All the things you would expect are here, including Goblins, evil sorcerers, quests, taverns (and tavern brawls), underground labyrinths, giant spiders, magic, and adventure. Lots of adventure.

Interested? You should be! But to read the rest of the review, you’re gonna have to click on over to the Kirkus Blog and send me cookies.  Lots and lots of cookies… (no bagels!)

What with all the stress he’s under, it’s no wonder that Mario went berserk. I mean, it was bound to happen, right?

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Friday YouTube: A Poem for FTL

Via Geek Art Gallery
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8-Bit Cinema: A Clockwork Orange

This 8-bit version of A Clockwork Orange is fairly decent, if you and your droogs go in for a little of the ol’ ultraviolence. The only thing this needs to make it perfect is a bit of the old Ludwig van…

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Tales of Honor is what they’re calling their multi-platform adaptation, and no word yet on which part of the Honorverse — which includes dozens of novels and anthologies — will be adapted.

The Honor Harrington military science fiction series is named after its principal protagonist, Honor Harrington. She’s an intelligent, genetically engineered officer in the Royal Manticoran Navy of an interstellar monarchy, and she see lots of action and makes lots of enemies. Through a series of adventurous missions, Honor advances through the ranks, playing the roles of military heroine and later, an influential politician. The series, intentionally re-imagined as “Horatio Hornblower in space”, is set 2,000 years in the future when hyperspace travel allows humanity to colonize deep space.

The end of the year is often a time of reflection and, more importantly, list making!

Help us compile a list of the best genre video games of the year by telling us which science fiction, fantasy and/or horror games were your favorites. These do not have to necessarily be video games that were originally released this year — we are more interested in the best games that you played for the first time in 2013.

Sound off in the comments!

Help Worldbuilders! Donate $5 or More for 3 or More Games

Worldbuilders is a charity run by New York Times Best-Selling author Patrick Rothfuss in support of international poverty aid charity Heifer International. Regularly pulling in support from an all-star cast of writers, geek icons, and musicians, Worldbuilders has raised millions for charity since 2008, giving readers and fans of fantasy a chance to help participate in making the world a better place while getting something fun for their efforts., the DRM-free digital distributor of the best games in history for PC and Mac has launched its first-ever charity action on the service. After recently celebrating 5 years in business, after building one of the largest hardcore gaming communities on the ‘Net, and after all of the success and growth it has achieved, the company has decided it is time to give back.
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VIDEO: Nintendo + Star Wars = Super Smash Wars!

Here’s a well-done parody of Stars Wars done in the style of an old-school Ninetndo 64 game.
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[GUEST POST] The Making of Timothy Zahn’s PARALLAX Game

Abram Jablonski is a Senior Software Engineer/Architect that specializes in highly-dynamic data-driven applications. He has been developing software for over 15 years now in the Department of Defense and commercial sectors, and has been involved with numerous projects related to the implementation or support of high-tech systems. As his first full-scale (but still very indie) commercial venture, he is developing a new 4X game in partnership with legendary Star Wars author Timothy Zahn.

Returning to Orion

by Abram Jablonski

I’ve always loved Master of Orion. Even before I started programming, I’ve wanted to do something similar. The original was great, and I’m one of the smaller percentage of people that think it was even better than the sequel (apparently, nobody really liked the third one). I’ve got the original on my laptop right now – a $6 copy I got from and that I run on DOSBox – and I’ve still got a dog-eared copy of the instruction booklet from when I first bought the game, too.

Wanting to make that game has been something that I’ve carried with me for more than a decade and a half now. Jotting down notes, tables, sketches, diagrams and lists of things for the game, but for most of that time I didn’t have the right skills and tools to actually complete it. If that had been all I had focused on for a couple of years, I would have been able to do it, but I wouldn’t have actually been ready, because there are a lot of things that just take time to truly understand (as opposed to only learning them). I did write other stuff, though: from little utilities, to highly-dynamic data-handling architectures, to software that was run at different sites all over the world to field test a globe-spanning system. And it’s been fun, and challenging, and rewarding.
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