Apr 30, 2006

The top non-slutty female characters in video games. Ever.

It's always a Top 10, a Top 5 or a Top 100. Not this time though. This is a Top 7, and it's about the Female Game Character; an endangered and usually stripped down to its panties species. Gnome's Lair though is different, as this post will not be about Lula, Lara or any other two-syllable named bimbo. It will be about interesting characters, that even a woman (gasp!) could enjoy...

Number 7: The legendary Ms. Pacman. Not a proper female, I know, but she ...er... does dress like one. If you're into round, yellow, pill-poppers you'll just love the old lady.

Number 6: Princess Peach, ruler of Mushroom Kingdom and Mario's personal fetish. Childish, but also a part of video gaming history. Definitely not a slut.

Number 5: Elaine Marley from the Monkey Island series. Funny, spirited, Ron Gilbert's creation and a governor. Good looking and old fashioned. Won't strip for you, let alone make a naked public appearance.

Number 4: Shodan, from System Shock (and apparently SS2). Call her a slut and she'll fry you; perhaps even destroy earth. An amazing piece of homicidal AI, if I ever saw one and a perfect match for Wintermute.

Number 3: Kerrigan, another villain, and not 100% human either. Great looks (for a Zerg hybrid at least), a member of the order of the abominably nasty and key figure in the best RTS expansion ever: Starcraft Brood War.

Number 2: April Ryan from the Longest Journey and Dreamfall. Uniter of worlds and magically inclined, April is also a talented and rather 'alternative' girl from the future, who just so happens to star in adventure games. Recently into hot arcade action too.

Number 1: Jade, the star of the amazing Beyond Good and Evil action-adventure game. She has style, flair, good looks and a kind heart (Ooooh! that's sweet). She's also a revolutionary. Like Rosa Luxembourg only with green lips. Just have a look at this great game. Control each and every Jade's action. Follow the link.

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Related Gnome's Lair articles: Lula 3d review, Spooks review, 30+ hand picked free games, the Warhammer video games feature

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Apr 28, 2006

Revolution? Not any more

Nintendo is as bold and innovative as a behemoth of a company can be. That's the good news. The news that freaked everyone though, had more to do with the forthcoming Revolution's name. It will be Wii. Yes, just, Wii. As in Wheeee!!!! Not a good idea for naming a console me thinks. At least there is a sort of logic behind this name, but I can't be bothered to discuss it. Sorry about that... You'll have to click your way to revolution.Nintendo.com and find out more.

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Evolving the phenomenon

Monopoly. Definitely not a good thing, thoroughly described by Lenin, detested by most, but also one of the landmark board games of the 20th (and apparently 21st) century. And with more than 100 different versions too. Problem is, Monopoly doesn't have the history we all believed it had... Head over at SnakeOil labs, read everything about Anti-Monopoly, the true story of the game and the obscure Landlord's Game , thus preparing thyselves for something completely different. The actual point of this humble little post.


An Italian adaptation of Monopoly, that does to board games, exactly what Pimp: The Backhanding (by none other than the prestigious White Wolf of Vampire fame) did to card games. Unfortunately, it's only in Italian. Still, the idea is internationally understood. Be a hooker, avoid evil pimps, get to the rich customers, avoid Jack-the-Ripper wannabes and cops and (that's the Monopoly bit) protect and expand your turf.

If you must know, Puttanopoly derives from the word puttana, a mostly Italian -partly Greek- word that could not mean anything else but whore...

Great stuff. Let's wait for a translation, right?

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Apr 26, 2006

True Dungeon Delight

Apparently a dungeon isn't only the place, where tortured souls get tortured for that extra spicy erotic sensation. A dungeon is also a very appropriate place to meet a Dragon, a Goblin, perhaps even a Gnome or a particularly sadistic Faerie. Dungeons and Dragons on the other hand, was the monster (the 10ton gorilla actually) that Gary Gygax created all those years ago (see what people thought of it back in the 70s; click here), and obviously inspired some rather weird blokes to create the True Dungeon (link!). Have a look at the following video and despair. I know I did, but I sort of liked the idea... er ... in theory at least.

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Dungeon Man 3: The Walkthrough

Do you like the picture above? Want to see it live, on your very own computer, but are having trouble finishing the excellent Dungeon Man 3? Fear no more, for I, the almighty and quite pathetic gnome, will offer you a walkthrough. Perhaps the first bloody walkthrough for DM3 to appear on the net...

Before you go on, you might want to actually try playing the game (link) or even thinking for yourselves. It really is worth it, and Dungeon Man 3 is quite an easy adventure too. Anyway, on to the solution:

You start in a Dungeon. That's not good. Look around. Use the claws and then take the bone. Use or throw the bone on the wall.

Now try taking that ever-elusive flask. Oops.

Go north, and then north again to enter the monastery. Take the stein and escape by simply going south. Now go south to the crossroad and then west to the forest. See the log? Look inside it and get the money. Now go east and one more time east to the overlooking place (thus, the overlook). Use the money you got to buy some corn. Go back to the monastery and give the corn to the bird.

Go south (crossroad), east (overlook) and east to enter the village. The village has a pub, a tavern and a sandwich shop. Enter the pub, use (fill, actually) the stein to get your beer and learn (pay attention here) the name and the description of a man who hangs out in the tavern. Go to the tavern and talk specifically to the aforementioned man. Pick him out from the other guys shown to you and he'll give you a map. Now go to the sandwich shop. Look around and then knock on the window. Look at the condiment bar. See the blood? Good. Knock again and ask the guy for blood. He'll give you a bottle of ketchup.

Leave town and go the forest (where the log was). Now that you have the map go west. Talk to the hag. Use the ketchup on your head. Look carefully at the scrapbook. Each page of the scrapbook is important. The first shows the hag's holiday place, the second her birthday present and the third the number of small hags. Talk to her and she'll ask you three questions. If you paid attention to the scrapbook, you wont have trouble answering them and getting a nice flask-grabbing glove.

Now, go all the way east to the crossroad. Go south. Talk to the troll. Use the bird on the troll. Go south, open the dungeon door and enter your beloved dungeon. Use the flask-grabbing glove, and try to grab the flask. Play the (easy) arcade sequence, win and be rewarded.

The end (of this walkthrough, at least)...

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Related Gnome's Lair articles: Apprentice Deluxe review and walkthrough, Lula 3d review, the 2005 AGS Awards

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Apr 25, 2006

Dungeon Man 3: A review of sorts

Blessed are the amnesiacs, for they 'll never cease to be amazed. Blessed too, are all god's creatures (great and small, every nasty hornet, every snake that bites etc), and especially the western human children, that have been extra-blessed with access to the internet (and apparently an abundance of food and water). They might be carrying the burden of feeling bad after too much staring at screens, but they also get to play Dungeon Man 3: Behold thy Graphics!!. For free and in their nice browser's window. Preferably by following this link.

Dungeon Man 3 is an adventure game. A text adventure game, or to be more precise a piece of interactive fiction. Some would even go as far as calling it a post-meta-text-adventure, others might add it was developed by Videlectrix. Point is, you actually get to type commands, and get responses -mostly sarcastic- from your PC. You also get to look at retro-themed graphics, and experience something like PC-beeper sounds. So far so good.

What's really special about this game though, is the brilliant writing. Playing DM3 will help you live some of those rare and rumored instances, when you actually laugh in front of your monitor. Well, at least I did. Of course. I also tend to find white walls extremely amusing.

Anyway. It's a great game. If you ever enjoyed Zork, then click here, for...

That's a (ten) out of (ten).

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Related Gnome's Lair articles: Telltale Texas Hold'Em review, Bone Act Two, Space Quest IV Easter Eggs

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Apr 24, 2006

Museum Monday #11

Monday. Nothing bad has happened up to now, but all hope is not lost. Even so, my gnome's senses tell me that we'll pull through. At least for this one Monday. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and my hang-over is half as bad as I expected it. See? Mondays can behave.

On the other hand, I've (legally) acquired a spanking new Sega Dreamcast (it's the Dreamcast Junkyard's fault you know, I didn't want one, they made me buy it), and am thus going to lead you to the fine Dreamcast History virtual museum.

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Apr 23, 2006

All your Warcraft is belong to us!

I usually don't lead you to mods that, just like the second Death Star, aren't fully operational. So, please, do humor me this one time, as I feel like introducing an old friend: Robotech. Robotech(!), perhaps the tackiest Manga experience of my childhood, which just invaded the world of Warcraft (not the world of World of Warcraft mind you, just the world of Warcraft 3. Confused? Great). It's a total conversion mod for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and comes in nifty 65mb packages. Apparently an homage (heh, heh) to the TV original.

And as the developers tell us: ''The purpose of this project is to revive the saga of ROBOTECH into the new Millennium, and to experience it in a brand new, interactive way". Gasp! Oh, dear dear.

Follow this link, download, install and be happy!

Related Gnome's Lair articles: Morrowind and DOOM 3 mods and a plethora of free games...

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Apr 22, 2006

You are -quite clearly- over(re)acting dear

Being funny is difficult, while simply trying to be isn't. Still, not being funny could lead you to being almost ridiculous, which is a good thing, as your audience will get to laugh, thus making you an almost successful comedian. This is what dialectics is all about. Well, in a way at least. Are you following me? Great. Now, watch this video. It's a DOOM 3 related 'joke' I found in Google Video.

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Apr 19, 2006

Cheered up weird gnomes

Do you know what the following pic is all about? It's about a gnome. A creepy and -admittedly- rather strange little guy. Visit VG Cats and find out more.

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Apr 17, 2006

Museum Monday #10

Monday. How typical. What a surprise, eh! Who cares? I do, and apparently so does every Museum Monday junkie. That's almost 10 people you know. Amazing! But, I digress, and I am aware of it. So, I guess I'll go right to the point. The point being virtual Museums, I'll have to lead you to the ultimate Playstation museum. Simple as that. Get impressed and study your (gaming) history.

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Apr 14, 2006

The tasteful '80s

Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Madonna and -shiver, oh, naive reader- Europe. All dressed up in flashy vynil and hanging around in discoteques, under the watchfull eyes of Reagan and Thathcer. Dystopic. On the other hand, the eighties were the golden era of mythical home computers. The 8bit home computers.

Commodore and Sinclair, strong market leaders, even advertised. On TV! With gusto (well, almost)! Take a peek and thank google video it exists, for jingles like "are you keeping up with Commodore, cause the Commodore is keeping up with you" would have been lost in oblivion.

ZX Spectrum commercial (via):

C64 commercial (via):

Related Gnome's Lair articles: Mario's complete gameography, Running old PC games, A nice Spectrum Hack (poke)

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Apr 12, 2006

Bone Act Two: The Great Cow Race

Episodic format and cows seem to go along fine. You see, the second part of the Bone saga has just been released, and I believe you should be heading Telltale's way and having a look at the demo. I, on the other hand, being the lucky bastard I am (as long as it's not a bleeding Monday), have already finished playing this beautiful game. I'm not going to give you a full review, as I am already writing one for the Adventure Lantern site/magazine, but I can give you a few rather important and almost subtle hints:

-Bone act 2 is quite longer than Bone: Out from Boneville.
-There aren't any annoying mini-games.
-You may have to actually think, in order to solve a few of the puzzles.
-It's polished.
-The plot starts unfolding...
-Thorn doesn't look like a zombie instead of like a teenage girl (she does sound too childish mind you).
-The Great Cow Race is a great and very cheap (12.99$) game.

Now, feast upon these screenshots:

Related Gnome's Lair articles: Telltale Texas Hold'em review, Lula 3d review, the Space Quest 4 Easter Eggs

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Apr 11, 2006

When Warhammer rumors turn to news

It's been quite a long wait, but Games Workshop has finally provided us, its cult followers and constantly moaning customer base, with nice and shiny pictures, of its forthcoming (apparently nice and shiny too) Warhammer boxed set. Pictured here are the forces included in the Battle for Skull Pass, as they appeared on the latest White Dwarf online (a glorified newsletter that is).
And in case you were wondering how the new Forest Goblin Spider-riders look... er ... wonder no more! What follows is the rather official answer. Not so bad for a plastic little bugger I guess.
Guess I should also mention, that the rumored price of the boxed set will be around 45-50$ and apparently 40-45 euros. There, I mentioned it.

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Related Gnome's Lair articles: Space Hulk 2nd ed. review, Warhammer (Fantasy) diverting maneuvers, the forthcoming Warhammer video games.

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Play By Forum RPGs are mostly free

Us gamers are a strange, diverse and at times not-only-male bunch. We also have natural tendencies to embrace free stuff. The pen and paper Roleplayers -the archetypical RPGers- and the (unwashed) masses of MMORPGs players, are our brothers and sisters. We apparently love them. Especially gnomes. Mind you, that certain gnomes, even though lacking free time and having an abundance of alcohol, like to spend part of their time on both.

Seems I digress. Quite a bit.

All I want you to know, is that the fine folks over at Adventure Lantern have started organizing (and hosting) very interesting play-by-forum (not yet so massive) multiplayer RPGs. Everyone is invited to join or even start his own game... Of course it's free.

To wet your appetite, I've asked two of the people running games at the Adventure Lantern forums to tell us a bit about them:

Ugur creator and moderator of the Orion Chronicles:
''Orion Chronicles invites you to a free-form role-playing experience on the Adventure Lantern forums. Set in the far future our world, Orion Chronicles depicts a twisted earth decimated by war and pollution. In hopes of creating a new civilization, humanity is expanding across the solar system. The already-established colonies on the moon are home to a unique mix of opportunists and pioneers. Yet on the surface of the moon an ancient force yearns to be awakened. And a journey into the far reaches of space awaits unsuspecting adventurers.''

Paul creator and moderator of Tavernlore:
''Tavernlore, a new era in play-by-email and play-be web gaming is about to begin. Currently in Beta Test, AdventureLantern.com and TavernLore.com have teamed up to host hundreds (if not thousands) of simultaneous players; without the restrictions of standard MMORPG (massively multiplayer RPGs). What if ever monster, and villain in the game were played by a REAL person, with their own motives and sneaky surprises. It proves to be a game to remember!''

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Related Gnome's Lair articles: The Heart of the Dungeon, Vintage D&D, RPG art

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Apr 9, 2006

Museum Monday #9

Monday. Life (and more importantly work) is getting rather tiresome. It's still better than nothing I guess, and does have its moments, just not on a Monday. Unless of course you take Museum Monday into consideration. But, who (beside a gnome that is) would ever dream of doing such a thing? Nobody I guess.

Still, pessimist introduction aside, this Museum Monday will be about a most interesting virtual museum. The aptly named Video Game Museum. Visit its cyber halls, ignore the mediocre design and feast upon more than 13000 game articles (well, screenshots mostly) on every conceivable format, 60 reviews, 3130 (at the time of writing) game endings and quite a few interesting downloads.

Have a nice Monday. Indeed... I'm off for a drink.

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Quite an irresistible Warhammer e-zine revival

It's been quite a while, but the best -and admittedly the only- Warhammer (pdf) e-zine made its comeback. At last. The 8th issue of Irresistible Force is available for download at irresistibleforce.net. And a worthy download of 20 Warhammer packed pages it is. Give it a read.

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Apr 8, 2006

Mario's almost complete gameography

Mario. Had a friend named Mario. Quite a weird bloke, mind you, but that's not the point. Besides, this post is neither about my friends, nor Marios in general. It's all about Nintendo's Mario, and his appearances (in cameo, supporting or starring roles) on video games of all kinds. Quite a few as you should have guessed, and what follows are the ones I managed to find. The list -I am sure- is not a 100% complete, and even though I feel that almost every important game and most Mario appearances have been covered, there must be some obscure and/or well-known omissions. Please, let me know... Anyway, on to the...

Mario List (TM):

Arcade: Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Mario Bros, Vs. Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros., Mushroom World Pinball (an actual pinball machine!), Super Mario Bros 2., Super Mario Bros. 3., Super Mario World, Mario Kart Arcade GP.

Super Mario Bros. 3 cabinet

Atari 2600, 7800: Donkey Kong, Mario Bros.

Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES (or even Famicom if you prefer): Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Classics, Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong Junior Math, Donkey Kong 3, Dr. Mario, Golf, Mario is Missing, Mario's Time Machine, Mike Tyson's Punchout, NES Open Tournament Golf, Nintendo World Championships, Return of Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 3, Tennis, Wario's Woods, Wrecking Crew, Yoshi, Yoshi's Cookie.

Super Mario Bros. (apparently)

Gameboy and Gameboy color: Alleyway, Donkey Kong, Dr. Mario, F1-Race, Qix, Game & Watch Gallery, Game & Watch Gallery 2, Game & Watch Gallery 3, Mario's Picross, Mario's Picross 2, Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, Super Mario Land, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Tetris Attack, Mario Tennis, Wario Blast featuring Bomberman!, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, Wario Land 2, Yoshi, Yoshi's Cookie, Mario Golf.

Super Mario Land

Super NES (SNES, Super Famicom): Excitebike: Bun Bun Mario Battle Stadium, Mario and Wario, Mario is Missing, Mario's Time Machine, Mario Paint, Mario's Super Picross, Mario's Early Years: Fun with numbers, Mario's Early Years: Fun with letters, Mario's Early Years: Pre-School, Nintendo Power Dr. Mario, Picross Nintendo Power, Super Mario All-Stars, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Tetris and Dr. Mario, Tetris Attack, Wario's Woods, Wrecking Crew '98, Yoshi's Cookie, Yoshi's Cookie: Kuruppon Oven De Cookie, Yoshi's Safari, Zelda 3.

Super Mario World

Virtual Boy: Mario Clash, Virtual Boy Wario Land, Mario's Tennis.

Mario Clash

CDi: Hotel Mario, Super Mario's Wacky Worlds (unreleased).

Nintendo 64: Dr. Mario 64, Paper Mario, Super Mario 64, Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Mario Party, Mario Party 2, Mario Party 3, Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 64, Yoshi's Story.

Super Mario 64

PC and Apple: Mario Teaches Typing, Mario Teaches Typing 2, Mario's Fun with Numbers, Mario's Fun with Letters, Mario's Pre-School fun, Mario's FUNdamental, Mario's Games Gallery.

Gameboy Advance: (excluding the Classic NES series) Game and Watch Gallery 4, Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, Mario Bros., Mario Party Advance, Mario Party e, Mario Tennis Advance, Mario Pinball Land (a.k.a. Super Mario Ball), Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Super Mario Advance, Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World, Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario Advance 6: Mario is Missing, Wario Land 4, WarioWare Inc: Mega Microgames, WarioWare Twisted!, Famicom Mini: Wrecking Crew, Yoshi Topsy Turvy, Mario Kart Super Circuit.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong

GameCube: Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, Luigi's Mansion, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Nintendo Puzzle Collection, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Superstar Baseball, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Mario Power Tennis, Mario Party 4, Mario Party 5, Mario Party 6, Mario Party 7, Super Smash Bros. Melee, WarioWare Inc.: Mega Party Game$, NBA Street v3, Super Mario Strikers (a.k.a. Mario Smash Football), Dance-Dance Revolution: Mario Mix.

Super Mario Sunshine

Nintendo DS: Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time, Mario Basket: 3 on 3, Mario Kart DS, New Super Mario Bros., Super Mario 64 DS, Super Princess Peach, Tetris DS, WarioWare: Touched!, Yoshi Touch and Go.

Super Mario 64 DS

Acknowledgments: Additional information and screenshots on Mario games, and thus for this article, were gathered from the Greek magazine PC Master Gold, gamespot, Wikipedia, KLOV, Retro-games and mobygames.
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Related Gnome's Lair articles: Magritte on Revolution, running vintage games on your PC, Museum Monday #7 and Olde Gamies and Farty Owls. Oh, don't forget a review of the Atari Flashback.

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Apr 5, 2006

Tremulous: Murdering Quake 3 banality

Long time readers of Gnome's Lair (well, actually it's not such a long time anyway, but you get the idea) might have gathered, that First Person Shooters aren't exactly my cup of tequila. It's not that I don't enjoy mindless massacres, it's not that Quake, FEAR, Doom and Serious Sam aren't good games, it's just that they are too similar. Too banal, and only redeemable through inspired user-base intervention. That's why I tend to look at interesting mods, like the Quake Hide 'n' Seek thingie, for a breath of innovation on the genre.

Enter, Tremulous. A Quake 3 total conversion mod with a strong RTS side, that heavily expands on every level of the Q3 engine. The graphics are better, the physics model improved, two distinctly different factions included and -that's the RTS bit- players get the ability to construct buildings. It's quite an interesting bastard of a game, and the download is less than 100mb. There's even a stand-alone version available. Hurry (for no apparent reason). Visit tremulous.net and download to your heart's content.

Then again, you might prefer Morrowind or Doom 3 mods. For all I know, you could even be interested in a Zombies!!! review or the latest indy Adventure game awards.

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South Park cuddles with Monty Python

Google video seems like one of mankind's greater moments. Maybe penicillin was a bit more important, the Parthenon slightly more innovative, porn and pr0n quite difficult to find (perhaps even impossible), but quite a few gems are available through google's video service. South Park's tribute to Monty Python is apparently one of the best. Definitely not game related, but we all can appreciate divine humor, can't we?

Related Gnome's Lair stuff: Sam & Max video, South Park gnome, 30+ excellent freeware games, where is Home of the Underdogs?

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Apr 3, 2006

Adventure Lantern: the April edition

Apparently, visiting AdventureLantern.com, is a rather guaranteed way of getting the latest (4th - April) issue of the Adventure Lantern (pdf) video games magazine. This issue features (among tons of other stuff) reviews of Scratches, CSI 3, 80 Days and Evil Dead, previews of Kapten Brawe, Hidden Rooms and The Forgotten Element, along with interviews and walkthroughs. My humble (and lowly, and self-degrading) contribution to this wonderful issue consisted of one review (of Space Quest IV) and one walkthrough (of Space Quest IV -Gasp!- can you believe it? Of course you can).

So...you're asking, what you are supposed to do. That's an easy one. You will visit AdventureLantern.com, download the latest issue, read it, feel happy, and then come back here in Gnome's Lair and have a look at the Space Quest IV easter eggs or read a nice review of Lula 3d. Simple.

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Museum Monday #8

Monday. Yada yada. Still, this Monday doesn't seem so bad after all (definitely not good either, just not as bad). The weekend was of course great and quite a help, thus pushing the stereotypical Monday gloom away. On the other hand, things aren't rosy, and as every wise and bearded old man knows (and would happily tell you), if a Monday is okay(ish), then the following week will be hell. Hell, I tell you. Hell.

But, I digress. I know. On to the Museum Monday stuff then. This week I'll be sending you for a visit at a weird and quirky little virtual museum, with absolutely no relation to gaming. It's the Museum of Unworkable Devices, discovered through Ron Gilbert's amazing Grumpy Gamer blog. Have a look, it's free, and I know you love freebies. Especially on a Monday.

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