Aug 31, 2006

Pre-September September PDF magazines

Ah, yes. Lovely end of the month free gaming magazines. In PDF format, full color layout, indy mood and surround sound. Exactly the way we all love them. And it's two of them too...

In the red corner, weighing in at 41 pages, is the very first issue of the Game Tunnel Magazine, a most welcome addition to the free PDF magazines society. Game Tunnel, surprisingly hosted at the illustrious Game Tunnel servers, specializes in independent, downloadable and casual games. Issue highlights include previews of Alien Shooter 2, CityScape Battle and Kaptain Brawe (already gnomed), reviews of The Odyssey, Armadillo Run and Rage of Magic 2, quite a bit on the SEGA Dreamcast and a brilliant Gibbage interview.

In the blue corner, weighing in at 27 pages, is the rather familiar The Art of Gaming, focusing on the rather mainstream and iconic Mario. The amazing Ninja Loves Pirate indy game is also featured, along with quite a bit of fan, pixel and fan-pixel art. Get The Art of Gaming issue 3 here.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Wik and the Fable of Souls, Will Wright's first game, Visiting Day

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Team Fortress 2 Class Struggle Video

Yes, apparently it's the old Spy vs. Spy vs. Sniper vs. Scout vs. Soldier thing. Only this time it's in definite cartoon style and showcasing the admittedly cute (someone said) Team Fortress 2. See for yourselves. See the light. See the video (via):

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Man!festo Games, the Doom point and click, (not) nude Mario videos

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Aug 30, 2006

Jane Jensen's Gray Matter

I will be as brief as a brief thing: Jane Jensen's Gray Matter (formerly known as Project Jane-J) has not only been very officially revived, but also thoroughly previewed. All you, oh brave adventurer, have to do is click here and read Adventure Gamers' Gray Matter preview.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Broken Sword 4 demo, Wik, Monkey Island Music

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Lawful and Uncensored RPG Sex

(Disclaimer: This is a naughty post. Not explicit but naughty. If, by any chance, you happen to be a minor, I advise you to not read it. Better click here. Or google words like porn, bouncy and boobs.)

RPGs and sex. They go together like bicycles and fish. Like unwashed teenage boys and 19th century architecture. Like the police and democracy.

Despite this, RPG sex is definitely lacking. The real problem seems to be a distinct lack of sex rules, that would seamlessly integrate the whole carnal experience into the game world. Rules that would intrigue the average Game or Dungeon Master. Rules covering such topics as Inter-Species Fertility, The Wild Thing or Sexual Psionic Powers. Rules that would be free.

Thankfully, another nonexistent problem has been solved. Just download The Complete Guide to Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (a.k.a. the AD&D Book of Sex), retrieve your trusted Advanced Dungeons and Dragons manuals and have a bath. A drink too. (Download link)

OR (and that's an apparently big or) try the BBSW Roleplaying Game, widely recognized (by me and a few mates) as the premier Hentai RPG. Download it here. Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is a full-fledged stand-alone freeware RPG. And BBSW stands for Big Breasts Small Waist. Quite a shock, that.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Motivational RPG posters, Colbert's DnD, Dragon Magazine issue 1 (pdf)

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Aug 29, 2006

Will Wright's first game. Nostalgic, right?

Quite blood-thirsty too...

You see, oh pure and unsuspecting readers, the first game ever created by the talented and always innovating Mr. Wright, was a plain old shoot 'em up (or schmup according to Independent Gaming) for the Commodore C64 released back in 1984. Slightly more strategic than the average genre-offering of the time one has to admit, but still a far cry from the virtual doll house of the Sims, the innovation and creativity of Spore or the unscientific urban-planning fun of SimCity.

Then again, Raid on Bungeling Bay, for this was how Will Wright's debut was dubbed, wasn't a bad game at all. The graphics were quite good and so was the gameplay, the controls responsive, the multi-directional scrolling smooth and the variety of enemy sprites almost impressive. It even made (well, barely) the All time top50 C64 titles of C64

Oh, and apparently Will Wright's fascination and constant playing with the level-editing tools gave birth to the SimCity idea...

It all smells like SimCity.

To experience or ... errr ... play the game use an emulator and the game files. To stand a chance of actually beating it use a map.

(pics discreetly ripped off from MobyGames)

Related @ Gnome's Lair: C64 Java emulation, top 60 free games, a ZX Spectrum Emulation e-book, free Game&Watch fun

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Aug 28, 2006

Broken Sword 4: The Angel of Death DEMO

Now, here's a lovely morbid name, that's bound to excite punters worldwide: Broken Sword: The Angel of Death. I of course would have preferred a name like BS4: Lurking Death and Horrid Abominations or BS4: Bringing Goth Porn to the Masses, but then again I'm not Charles Cecil. Neither am I in charge of anything related to the newest Broken Sword game. Damn, I didn't even manage to preview the accursed thing, so I guess you'll have to look for Broken Sword 4 previews elsewhere.

As for the rather impressive and freshly released demo of this 3d adventure game, you'd better try your luck (a.k.a. download the demo) here and here. Mind you, it might be a 350 Mb file, but it also is a highly recommended download.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Monkey Island Music, Beyond Good & Evil FAQs and walkthrough, Wik and the Fable of Souls

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Museum Monday #27

Monday. I almost missed this desperate feeling of general tiredness, grumpiness and gloom, you know. Almost. Well, almost almost. Anyway, as now Monday is officially and quite unavoidably back (it actually started today at around 7:30 in the morning), so is its Museum.

(cue epic porn music played on cheap melodica)

Ladies and gentlemen, may I humbly present Museum Monday no. 27: the Return of the M. A retro flavored post regarding a rich, even if not-so-well-presented virtual museum, mostly featuring old computers, peripherals, joysticks, magazines, calculators and a generally healthy dose of downloadable retro stuff. A post regarding Computer Museum Tonh.

An Apple II joystick.

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Aug 27, 2006

Visiting Day: a PSP beta on the PC

Visiting Day, Mike Bithell's soon to be released freeware PSP game (already mentioned here), has moved to BETA stage. And a publicly playable BETA it is. Weird thing though... it's a PSP game currently playable on the PC (& Mac). Still, it will definitely give you a good idea of what to expect: a refreshingly simple, innovative, beautiful and intuitive game.

Try it out here. Get more info there.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Lynx & Lemmings, Wik, Java GameBoy emulation

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Aug 26, 2006

Manifestos and Man!festoGAMES

As far as manifestos go, us gnomes can't help but fondly remember the 1848 published Communist Manifesto, the various contradicting DADA manifestos (here's the first one) and the admittedly surprising Scratchware Manifesto by Greg Costikyan (of Paranoia XP fame).

Man!festo Games (safely located here), on the other hand, is not a manifesto per se, but more of a gaming outlet based on one.

Run by a Central Committee and featuring top indy and innovative games, it has just (well, almost) gone live. Have a look. It's gaming for the masses and you might even have a chance to shoot an alien or two.

After all, comrades:

"The machinery of gaming has run amok.

Instead of serving creative vision, it suppresses it. Instead of encouraging innovation, it represses it. Instead of taking its cue from our most imaginative minds, it takes its cue from the latest month's PC Data list. Instead of rewarding those who succeed, it penalizes them with development budgets so high and royalties so low that there can be no reward for creators. Instead of ascribing credit to those who deserve it, it seeks to associate success with the corporate machine.

It is time for revolution."

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Wik and the Fable of Souls, On Interactive Storytelling, a Ludology PDF

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Aug 25, 2006

Board Games from the SA dimension

What a banal but ultimately funny idea! Photoshopped sequels and prequels of famous board games, all prepared by the unstoppable Something Awful goons, as part of their hard training prior to fighting Uwe Boll's evil dynasty.

Here are the best of the lot, as I, the most powerful gnome this side of the blogosphere and an ancient wine connoisseur, have selected them:

Find the rest here.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Hilarious RPG posters, Zombies!!!, Puttanopoly

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Beyond Good, Evil and Fair Play

Beyond Good and Evil is a brilliant game. It is immensely playable, innovative, beautiful, varied and sporting one of the best non-slutty female leads ever seen on the video gaming medium. It isn't very difficult or overwhelmingly large either, and that's why, in a logic defying move with obvious surreal tendencies, I've decided to present you with the best FAQs, walkthroughs, guides and maps the old web has to offer :

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Aug 24, 2006

Star Wars Episode ascii

Amazing, impressive and our most precious exhibit Star Wars Asciimation (found via Retro Thing) is also our only exhibit hosted elsewhere. At apparently. Click here to watch it, it being Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in painfully handcrafted ascii art.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Museum Monday #26, Darth Vader LEGO Music, the SA adventure

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Irresistible Force issue #9

Yes, another free PDF magazine. This time for Warhammer. Click here, register and download. If you can't be bothered to, know that you're missing 30 pages of well presented WHFB articles, reviews and pictures.

Then again you could stay here. Read about the latest rumors, the Blood Bowl novel or download the first and quite vintage issue of White Dwarf.

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Aug 23, 2006

Al Emmo Walkthroughs

Al Emmo, a refreshingly old-fashioned and rather indy adventure game, can be quite a tricky beast to tame (people tell me). Lateral thinking could of course help, but a walkthrough is the only fool-proof way.

Better then, oh lazy adventurer, try the impressive map-featuring Al Emmo walkthrough at Just Adventure+, or go for the simpler Quandary one.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Monkey Music, Text is King, Wik is weird

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Monkey Island Music: LIVE and quite DEAD

Even though the brilliant Lucasarts Soundtracks is alive and kicking (thank you), it does lack something in the visuals department. That's why YouTube (via) is important. It's the only place I'm aware of, that features a video of Calipo A playing the Monkey Island theme. LIVE!

For something closer to a less lively Monkey, I and our chef would suggest the Dream Sequence video from Monkey Island 2. In full technicolor. And surround sound. I swear it's vibrating too. Just press play (via).

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Knightsquire, Wik: The Quirky One, Gabriel Knight 2 videos

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Adventure Lantern, Play.d and other gentlemen

It's late in August, I am not in full blogging form and Mr. Elderly has already linked to this month's free PDF video game magazines. Still, I feel I do have to point out the brilliance of the 3rd issue of the play.d video gaming mag (download it here) and to elaborate on the latest issue of Adventure Lantern (available at the usual cyber corner).

You see, having written two Adventure Lantern feature articles (one on budget adventures and a preview/interview on The Silver Lining -a.k.a. King's Quest 9) and having helped a bit in the news section, this issue's 150+ pages have so much gnomish stuff you'll be hard pressed to avoid it.

Then again, gnomes may not be your cup of tequila. You might prefer something along the lines of the newest Nancy Drew game or the brilliant classic Gabriel Knight 3. No? How about some free AGS adventures? More interviews perhaps? Articles? Pr0n? Well, there's no pr0n in AL. Sorry for that... We're still working on it...

For now get it here (the issue, that is).

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Wik & the Fable of Souls, Simon 3 in 2d, Interactive Storytelling

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Aug 11, 2006

Decker's Delight Links (11.Aug.06)

PC (meta) review: 'Wik & the Fable of Souls'

There was an era when games were original, fun, simple, deep, addictive and deeply rooted in their psychedelic fantasy roots. An era when reading a review just wasn't enough to actually make my poor young brain understand how the game played. An era when gaming journalism was at its infancy.

Funny thing is, the whole era came back to me with Wik & the Fable of Souls (Wik), when I first read about it in PCZone. It might have been nominated something along the lines of indy game of the month or weirdest character of the year, but actually understanding how Wik played and what exactly the bloody thing was all about, was nigh' on impossible. It looked intriguing though.

Fortunately I know all there is to it now.

Broadly speaking Wik is a platform/puzzle/action game, starring Wik and his tongue. Its visuals are beautiful, the gameplay is excellent, it features more than 100 levels, but this being two days after full-moon and less than a day before sailing away, my eloquence is at is nadir. Oh, and, as already mentioned, a puny traditional review won't help you understand the game's sheer brilliance.

So a meta-review (and a nice download) it is then... Or to be more precise, here's what the more (or less) esteemed gaming publications have to say about Wik:

Gamespot (9/10): "Wik & the Fable of Souls is a mix of challenging, intelligent gameplay and an intriguing, fairy-tale presentation that will appeal to just about anyone."

Game Chronicles (9.4/10): "It's hard to put a finger on what makes Wik & the Fable of Souls the stellar hit that it is. It could be the gorgeous visuals, even though the game takes place on static backgrounds. It could be the unlikely hero, Wik, who looks like a reject from the Oddworld series of games. Or perhaps it's the 120 levels of progressively challenging levels that blends classic arcade gameplay with thoughtful puzzle solving."

Eurogamer (8/10): "Wik the character is an Oddworld-looking frog-like creature who leaps from spot to spot and swings using his tongue like a trapeze. The idea is to use his unnatural agility to cartwheel through the air from platform to tree, grabbing up little green grubs, with all the action taking place on one screen of 2D play-area." (on the Xbox 360 version)

IGN (7.8/10): "It has an undeniably appealing visual style akin to the "Oddworld" titles back on PSOne. The game is mainly about controls, and after getting the hang of them you'll find the game pulls off what it's trying to do fairly well." (on the Xbox 360 version)

Gnome's Lair: that's a (nine) out of (ten).

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Sensible Soccer 2006 and Knightsquire reviews, On Interactive Storytelling

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Aug 10, 2006

The Something Awful Adventure

Funny in the silliest of ways, deliberately frustrating any attempt to actually beat it, a pure Flash Tub thingie and a monument to post-modern/post-mortem game design, Tub Adventure is here for our gaming pleasure. Well, sort of. Still, try it out. It most probably won't hurt you.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Duck Nukem, Oblivion's Essentials, Pong. Donkey Pong.

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Aug 9, 2006

Simon 3d now in 2d!

Ah, those Germans, wonderful people, despite their apparent lack of humor. Then again, I do remember reading a pretty funny German book, that was published back in the swinging '30s. Dr. med. Hiob Praetorius (by Curt Goetz) it was called, and was filled with Sherlock Holmes jokes, but I digress. Again.

This post's point is that a new German independent development team, the aptly named Simtology group, has just released a most promising Simon The Sorcerer III (3, in case you were wondering) demo-teaser-thingy. It's just an animation featuring the opening sequence of Simon 3D in glorious 2d pixelated graphics, and it's quite in German, but definitely worth a look.

Here's hoping hoping they manage to finish their project. Everyone raise your horns and finish your beer! Now, go have a look at Simtology's website. It's right there.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Knightsquire review and walkthrough, Text is King, X marks the post!

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Anti-Ads: the Soviet way

Mindlessly browsing the seedy corners of cyberspace can sometimes lead to places of ancient accumulated wisdom or arcane knowledge. Then again, it usually leads to pretty mainstream places like w00t, where these brilliant and quite appropriate posters where uncovered, and are now being carefully preserved here, in Gnome's Lair, where the tradition of Lord Elgin has always been appreciated.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: working class Mario, the Console Wars visualized, a South Park tribute to Monty Python

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Battle for Skull Pass and a gnome's variety of summery Warhammer rumors

Twenty-four years in the making. Yes, twenty-four, as in 24. That's for how long Warhammer has been evolving, despite minor setbacks and the occasional fan-base dissatisfaction. Quite impressive right? Right. On to the rumors then. And to a bit of news too.

Part One (where Warhammer gets naughty battling for skull pass and other silly places)

Let's start with the well known stuff first. Khorne, I'm sure, would appreciate it. He's a really simple god you know. Anyway. The 9th of September 2006 will be the date when the 7th edition of Warhammer will be unleashed upon a mostly suspecting gaming world. Buying options will include the Battle for Skull Pass boxed set, the (thankfully red) Rulebook, a hideously overpriced and rather impressive Collector's Edition Rulebook and the quite smart Gamers Edition rulebook. These will be accompanied by a Battle for Skull Pass paint set (including 6 paints, 1 brush and 10 Night Goblins with spears and shields) and some new accordingly themed dice. Finding out more on the official stuff shouldn't be too difficult. Just visit the Games Workshop Online Store. Lots of expensive little toy soldiers (and paraphernalia) to pre-order there...

Yes, that's definitely a Collector's edition.

And this one has to be Skull Pass boxed set.

Ah, yes, but what about the rumors (I hear the WHFB masses ask)? Well, there's a simple answer you know. Simply clicking here will reveal everything on the forthcoming rules. Just don't expect something spectacular, as WHFB 7th ed. is basically a touching up and slight tweaking of the 6th edition rules. Mind you, that most of the rumored changes seem pretty wise. As for the four lazy sods out there, who just can't be bothered to click on stuff, let me highlight the more interesting changes:

- Snaking formation is no more.

- Power dice generated by wizards can only be used by the wizards that generated them and only the dice in the pool remain available to all wizards. Miscasts are nastier and the lores have been changed.

- No more lapping around and a quite a few tweaks in combat s
equence and fleeing.

- New Insane courage rule
: rolling snake eyes on a break test means the test is automatically passed, regardless of modifiers. This can even override auto-break from Fear-causing enemies.

Troops engaged in close combat do not take Psychology tests.

- Unbreakable swarms behave more or less like the undead, when it comes to loosing combat.

- Hand weapon and shield +1 armour applies only when fighting to the front.

- Tons of rule clarifications and special case rules like fighting in buildings.

Part Two (where the Orcs meet the Goblins and mess quite a few of things up)

The Orcs and Goblins will be the first army to get a nice 7th edition armybook. Unfortunately, they will also get a rather disappointing army deal boxed set thingy, that will most probably look like this (via):

New miniatures will include quite a few and admittedly brilliant characters (see them here), a Gorbad Ironclaw miniature (here), hand weapon wielding Night Goblins (the sprues are here), and all those beautiful little minis I posted the other day. Apparently one should also have a look at some special edition Goblin fanatics (here) and a few German White Dwarf scans (here).

New rules should include slight changes in the Greenskin magic system, the lifting of the 0-1 limit for Big Uns, the addition of Forest Goblin Spider Riders, a toning down of the all gobbo army of doom, tweaks for the Choppa (+1 S on the charge, even if two of them are used), Animosity tweaks, simplified fanatic and squig rules and an upgrade of Snotling swarms.

Want more? Then, by all means, do have a look here.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: UK White Dwarf 320, White Dwarf issue #1 PDF, Adrian Smith's Art

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Aug 8, 2006

The ZX Spectrum PDFed Bible

Actually, more of the ZX Spectrum PDF emulation Bible, but this would be too long a post title... Still, oh wise and cheap-ass retroheads, just click here and you'll get yourselves the brilliant 82 pages long PDF of the aptly (and rather eloquently) named The ZX Spectrum on your PC. Brilliant, educating, handy, quite free and sporting a nice cover, this is as retro as an ebook can get.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: the AMSTRAD feature, Head over Heels, a Speccy Heroquest Hack

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Aug 7, 2006

Museum Monday #26

Monday. And it definitely feels as if the legendary ueber-Monday from Inferno's darkest (and admittedly rather interesting; quite hellish too) pits decided to have a stroll around my humblest of lairs. Still, it will only be around for one week. Max. I'm pretty confident Summer will make bad Monday go away soon. Again. Joy, oh joy.

Till then try to get some enlightenment. Go see the beautiful sci-fi starships. Go visit Starship Dimensions (the museum of speculative fiction inspired spaceships). Definitely worth your precious time, if I may say so.

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