Sep 30, 2007

Resident Evil 5: Discussing racism

What follows is an article Father Krishna sent me via this amazing new contraption called the e-mail, and one the good Father also posted here. What's more, it's about the lovely non-discussion of RE 5's rather obvious racist imagery. Have a read and speak your mind.
If the trailer for Resident Evil 5 released at E3 this year caused consternation among gamers, it was largely due to the frustrating absence of any footage from the game itself. Indeed, for the vast majority its new, apparently African setting seemed to be a refreshing and evocative change in location for the franchise, and easily the most interesting thing about an uninteresting promo. A few days after the shows conclusion however, the game’s developers were greeted with accusations of casual racism.

In an article for the blog Black Looks, Kym Platt claimed that, intentionally or otherwise, the imagery in the game’s trailer was highly contentious. “The new Resident Evil videogame depicts a white man, in what appears to be Africa, killing black people. The black people are zombies and the white mans job is to destroy them and save humanity,” Platt observed. “This is problematic on so many levels, including the depiction of black people as inhuman savages, the killing of black people by a white man in military clothing, and the fact that this videogame is marketed to young adults. Start them young…fearing, hating and destroying black people.”

GamePolitics reported on the complaint and was immediately inundated with angry complaints, many of which were laced with the sort of racism their authors insisted was not present in the Resident Evil trailer. “Never have I been so harassed and insulted, and all because I questioned the imagery in this game,” Platt replied. “The response has been horrifying… They called me names like ‘nigger’, ‘bitch’ and ‘whore’.”

While this kind of ignorance doesn’t categorise gamers in general, any regular visitor to the medium’s more popular forums will no doubt have witnessed it before. Another blog, the Young Black Professional’s Guide saw the reaction as no great surprise. “Trying to talk about the sensitivities of race to a gaming demographic is extremely difficult,” it explained. “The majority of readers are young white males who are either too immature to have a clean conversation about it, or too illogical to draw comparisons. I understand the angle some of the mature gamers are taking. Resident Evil has always been about a white guy killing zombies, why should killing zombies in Africa be any different?” it continues. “On the other hand, the images used in the game- already disturbing because its Resident Evil- also reflect hateful images that were real and meant to evoke hate towards black people in the not too distant history of America .”

This seems to be the relevant point, and one that angry gamers are apparently missing. The imagery may not be not be intentionally offensive towards black people, but it is inherently offensive and that should be avoided with just as much diligence. Perhaps if it were a game asking you to guide a plane into a pair of large symmetrical buildings in New York City there would be a greater attempt at understanding. Perhaps if it were a man in military dress gunning down while, shaven-headed emaciated zombies in a Poish field those offended would be shown more compassion.

If Kym Platt’s cautionary words appeared to be reactionary at first, the the response they received was far more so. As the blog Microscopiq commented: “If LocoRoco’s Mojas were a kind of high-tech blackface, Resident Evil 5 takes blackface into the high definition era. Its horror alright, just not the kind of horror Capcom intended.”

Related @ Gnome's Lair: The Wind That Shakes The Barley, On video game reviews, Appropriately sick video games

Sep 28, 2007

Textfyre and wild text adventure gaming dreams

Even though I can't deny the sheer quality and quantity of modern freeware interactive fiction (text-adventure) games, I'm more than intrigued by a little something the lovely people of TIG Source discovered: Textfyre. Textfyre, you see, aspires to be the next Infocom-style commercial text-adventure publisher and that is by all means a good thing TM. Here's their still sparse website and here's to the full-fledged revival of i-f.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Lovecraftian Interactive Fiction, The Lurking Horror retro review, Vinyl Data

Lord of the Rings Online gets free demo. At last...

It's been quite sometime since I reviewed (well, drooled over really) The Lord of the Rings Online MMORPG and shockingly I'm not tired of it just yet. What's more, LotRO has been going from strength to strength, what with expanding its game world, adding new features and vastly improving its PvP/Monster-play bits. Rumors even speak of free hobbit holes too... Oh, and there's a downloadable demo complete with a 7-day free trial period finally available, that will hopefully help you waste your life away. Grab the European version here or the American here.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Surreal horrors from Russia, Command & Conquer 95 for free, Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer shmup

Sep 27, 2007

D&D Instant Campaign Builder RPG PDF

Yax, the devious Dungeon Master running the show over at Dungeon Mastering, has been benevolent enough to share his DMing experience by providing us with an excellent 38 pages long free PDF booklet. It's called the Instant Campaign Builder and rightly so, as it's the only guide that will help you create the best campaign ever and not spend any time doing it. Grab it here, impress your players and get the maidens. Oh, and you don't have to be a Dungeons & Dragons nut to enjoy it either...

Related @ Gnome's Lair: The Ultimate Gaming Table, An introduction to RPGs, Roleplaying Tips, free PDF & e-books archive

Sep 26, 2007

The B-Game Competition Mega mini Review Part I

Part I - Part II - Part III
Really, why stick to B-Movies when B-Games can bring you all the silliness, all the kitschy soon to be cult aesthetics and all the artsy humor you crave? No reason at all and the B-Game Competition organized by The Independent Gaming is here to prove it. On the other hand, you, dear readers, should be here downloading games and voting to pick a winner among the 29 awfully good freeware games that entered the B-Game compo (oh, and Independent Gaming has quite a few pointers on indy game compos here). As for me, guess I will probably just stay here and review every B-Game submitted in a 3 part mega review feature thingy complete with mini reviews or something like that.

The post you are reading is rather obviously the first part of said feature, so, uh, expect the other two to appear before October 15 -the final voting day. Oh, and the games aren't reviewed in any particular order.

The 100-in-1 Klik & Play Pirate Kart
Well, this outrageous mini game collection is just like those old sometimes pirated multicarts for the NES or C64, only filled with weird yet smartly sarcastic humor and coming as a freeware indy production for the PC. Featured games include such offerings as Kick the Habit, Kick the Hobbit, a left-to-right simulator and apparently the first ever offline MMORPG. Parody aside, most of the games are (deliberately) unplayable and rarely sport more than 1 level, even though simply browsing through them in the vain hope of finding a deranged gem can make for a couple of pointlessly spent smiling hours.

Mario Inna Space
If a simple jumping game with beautiful graphics, Mario and immensely frustrating gameplay is your thing, then you'll definitely love this one. Then again I'm not convinced Mario could ever make it to the flag pole he's supposed to reach. Still, a cute sadistic effort all in Visual Basic!

SM Word
SM Word requires a microphone into which you'll be shouting while banging your keyboard in order to defeat those evil Word pop-ups. Brilliant, with absolutely no entertainment value whatsoever.

Weißer Punkt in der Schwarzlücke
Another non-game, but also an excellent comment on video gaming, if of course video gaming was indeed widely conceived as art, which it isn't. All the player has to do is aimlessly move a white pixel on a black background. Not very exciting eh? Well, add a brilliant in game director's commentary, a making of gallery and some hilarious game previews and you got 15 quality minutes. An absolute must, described as a seamless marriage of neo-postmodern minimalism, Kant's Theory of Judgment, and cutting edge digital manipulation, that reflects man's inherent desire for self-actualization.

Betasuppe is shockingly enough an attempt at a proper game, even though one named after a Norwegian soup and claiming to be the first ever text controlled side-scrolling platformer starring Colin. Actually it plays more like a cross between a text adventure (complete with inventory) and a Sierra parser game like say Larry 2. Dying is rather easy, the "die" command makes it easier, the audiovisual part is in brilliant 16-bit and the game despite being extremely short (well, I think at least) is not ridiculously easy. Worth a try methinks. Oh, yes, and do try typing random stuff in; it's an i-f tradition.

Hermies The Game
Hermies are are bisexual creatures consisting of a rod and a hole, whereas Hermies The Game is all the video game exposure they will ever get, and it's a simple and not very taxing game either. All you have to do is rape other hermies while protecting your hole. Fun for a few seconds, filled with juvenile humor and fantastic sound effects, and happily presenting us with one of the sillier intros in video game history.

Poizoned Mind
What can I say about Poizoned Mind besides stressing the fact that it's probably the best game of the compo and definitely the only one with enough flair to tastefully include a transvestite, an Elvis impersonator, a proper punk, Death, chess and still be funny? Well, now I guess I could go on and rant about the excellent music, subtle top quality humor, great writing, interesting story or quirky characters, but I won't. Let me instead praise the game's interface for it opens a brand new path for interactive fiction to explore and manages to incorporate graphics that serve but don't substitute the text. Menu driven gameplay is a nice touch also. As for beating the game, let's just say it can't really be done. PM is more of an exploration thing without any real puzzles and a very satisfying one at that too.

Wrath of Transparentor
Love the name. Really do. Transparentor... nice, woody sort of word. Anyway, this is an action game where you play the invisible monster and apparently YOU ARE MONSTER FIGHT! Quite a few intriguing and smart techniques are used to let you know where your invisible avatar is and everything starts promising enough. Sadly after the tutorial stage the game quickly gets repetitive and I just lost interest. Still, a good looking weird little arcade-y thing.

Burnham Striker and the End of Civilization
Witness one man's valiant quest to evacuate his bowels and unravel a conspiracy so smelly, it reached the nostrils of Zeus himself! That's the official word on BSatEoC and what you see right above this humble mini-review is a screenshot showcasing the sheer brilliance of its pixel-art graphics. Problem is I can't be sure if it's a good game or not. I'm just too shite at it. Heh. On the other hand, I've seen people discussing something like a third level which does sound quite promising. Better download it yourselves and give it a try. Let me know if you can enter the buildings please.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: The Indy Adventure Games Guide, Nintendo Wii Retro Gaming, a DOOM rant, Epic Saga!

Sep 24, 2007

And Now For Some Adventure Game Speedruns

Really, why would anyone want to rush through an adventure or any other game for that matter? Games do cost money you know and unfortunately money doesn't grow on trees... Oh, I see, I see. You terrorist pirates! Your lives are forfeit! I mean how could you? Don't you know them poor EA, Lucasarts & Nintendo executives have wives, an army of girlfriends and 2 Ferraris to support? Tsk, tsk, heartless bastards...

Anyway. To see Sam & Max Hit the Road impressively beaten in 44 minutes, Monkey Island in 39 minutes and a variety of other particularly impressive adventure speedruns (including a DOTT one) have a look at the aptly named Adventure Speedruns site. It will most probably cheer you up.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Resonance Teaser, The Commonplace Book Project, Indy Adventure Games Guide

Sep 23, 2007

Games Yanks Can't Wank: Jet Set Willy

If only ScrewAttack US were as good/funny as these guys, the world would be a slightly better place. Unfortunately though, they are most definitely not. Sad, innit? Better watch the Games Yank's Can't Wank brilliant retro review of Rockstar ate my Hamster and cheer up then.
Related @ Gnome's Lair: Binary Sciences free CPC games, The Lurking Horror retro review, Sierra's Mystery House Occupation

Sep 21, 2007

Nintendo Wii: A Retro Gaming Guide

According to our venerable but flawed gnomish calendar it's been almost a year since one of Nintendo's latest consoles found refuge under my TV and, despite the sadly obvious lack of an abundance of great games, I'm as happy with me Wii as a punter can be. Why? Well, besides enjoying the occasional Wii mini/party game and being blown away by the Twilight Princess, there's a strong and rather unique retro gaming appeal to the console, that I've learned to love and cherish. Hopefully so will you. After all, that's what this very guide/article thingy is all about.

First of all, we have the Wii Virtual Console, which despite its many shortcomings and definitely overpriced games, is the only online service currently providing access to Nintendo's impressive back catalog (NES, SNES, N64 anyone?) and some quirky hard to find TurboGrafx 16/PC-Engine games. Classic SEGA Genesis/MegaDrive games and the already announced Neo Geo offerings are a nice touch too, as is the addition of video previews to the games, though downloadable demos -a standard feature of Xbox Live for example- seem to have somehow been forgotten.

Admittedly though, and please consider this as an extra cost, to fully enjoy the Virtual Console retro gaming experience and to be actually able to play those SNES and N64 games you will need the modestly priced Classic Controller, that plugs into the Wii-mote the Nunchuck way and provides a more traditional option for game control. But is the Classic Controller really worth it? Of course it is, even Kotaku says so. It's extremely well built, sleek and even though it won't allow you to play GameCube games, quite a few Wii games support it as an alternative to the Wii-mote/nunchuck method.

Anyway, here are five VC games you must absolutely download. Mind you, they are not the best, neither a top 5, just some essential/excellent games currently available for your retro gaming pleasure:

Air Zonk (video link, MobyGames) It's a sci-fi Bonk spin-off and a wacky shoot-'em-up with amazing parallax scrolling, brilliant cartoon graphics and some of the weirdest power-ups you've ever seen. Nice splashes of humor, tactically demanding gameplay (well, for a shmup at least) and a smart buddy/power-up system are also a plus.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (video link, MobyGames) According to most this is the best Zelda game ever crafted and who am I but to humbly agree. Delving into Hyrule's past, time traveling and investigating the origin of the Triforce and all in breathtaking 3D? Yes, please! It was amazing back in 1998 and still is, as apparently is the sound and really everything else about this game. Probably will last you for more than 30 hours too.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (video link, MobyGames), the surprisingly named sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog, also happens to be the best Sonic game ever (with the possible exception of Sonic CD) and the first platformer to offer split-screen action and truly satisfying bonus stages. If you haven't played it yet, well, here's your chance.

Super Mario 64 (video link, MobyGames), the absolute N64 killer-app, was the first game to provide Mario with a 3D corpus complete with a suitably 3D landscape to play in and consequently the game to show mankind just how 3D platformers are supposed to work. Mario 64 is huge, diverse, smart, beautiful and probably one of the best games you'll ever play. Mind you, first time I read about its glory about it was in PC Zone...

Super Metroid (video link, MobyGames): The Space Pirates, truly nasty agents of the abominably evil Mother Brain, have stolen the last Metroid from a research station, and Samus Aran must don her awesome array of high-tech weaponry and lingerie and save the world. Again. Only this time, the open-ended Metroid experience comes with excellent 16-bit graphics, new weapons, dozens of different enemies and one of the best stories ever told in video gaming history.

On the no-so-old yet-quite-interesting games gaming front, the Wii is fully (and truly) compatible with the not particularly successful Nintendo GameCube. Of course, to enjoy them top GC games you will definitely need a GC compatible controller and most probably a memory card to save your games & settings too. Happily you're spoiled for choice. From the excellent Wavebird wireless controller, to the cheaper standard GameCube controller to the dirt cheap Logic 3 alternatives (which are more than decent, really) frankly anything will do. As for memory cards, well, it might just be me but I'd suggest choosing the first party ones.

Now, for the five Gamecube games you absolutely have to try, and no, there's no point in grabbing Resident Evil 4. The Wii version is way better. Also thought you could do without more Zelda, Mario or Metroid suggestions.

Eternal Darkness - Sanity's Requiem (Mobygames, official web, Amazon) Lovecraftian (with a touch of Poe), scary, atmospheric and featuring one of the most innovative insanity system ever, this game is an ignored survival horror gem. Already played 10 hours of it and am more than enthralled. Thankfully, the nightmares haven't started just yet.

Pikmin (Mobygames, official web, Amazon) despite its cutesy graphics and cheery atmosphere is one hell of a brainteaser. Huge time-sink, great game, a Miyamoto spawn, but whatever happened to Pikmin 3 Wii?

Animal Crossing (Mobygames, official web, Amazon) is to console gamers what The Sims has been to PC gamers: a glorified digital doll-house. AC though is definitely the better of the two games, going for the less realistic feel and providing hours of fun, tons of little games and incredible depth.

Beyond Good & Evil (Mobygames, official web, Amazon). One of the best games ever conceived, this beautiful arcade adventure sported an elaborate storyline, a brilliant setting, a greatly written female lead, good humor and a sublime mix of exploration, mini (and not so mini) games, combat and puzzle solving. Sadly it flopped. Tsk, tsk.

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (Mobygames, official web, Amazon). Not as good as -say- TIE Fighter, but one of the better Star Wars games of the last decade. Very enjoyable, oddly addictive and sporting some of the most impressive GC visuals.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Thrii Wii game reviews, Just how fast is the Wii?, 10 unsung Indiana Jones games, Mario's Game-o-graphy

Sep 18, 2007

Proletariat: The Uprising: an appropriately free RPG/board gaming thingy

We've already enjoyed Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening, Something: The Something Else, but now the time has come to rise, raise our left fist and salute Proletariat: The Uprising. It's a vaguely satirical, not particularly funny, yet quite interesting RPG-ish board game. Grab it here. It's free. Obviously.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Warhammer Mighty Empires pdf, It's Alive interview, Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition

Sep 16, 2007

Тургор (Turgor?): a dark and surreal adventure

The few people that played Pathologic know exactly just how bizarre, unsettling, innovative and beautiful those Russian avant-garde adventure games can be (correct answer: very), whereas the poor souls that haven't tried it yet -probably- still believe Doom 3 to be the appex of interactive storytelling. Consequently you lot really have to try Pathologic out... Anyway, on to some interesting news I should have posted quite some time earlier but kept forgetting.

Ice-Pick Lodge, the team behind Pathologic, are already working on their new project. It's called Тургор (meaning Turgor, though something tells me the final name will be something along the lines of Tension), already has a most interesting official website in Russian, looks bloody amazing and is a survival horror adventure, which apparently is something like a survival horror game but -astonishingly- with a few adventure elements thrown in. As for the plot, well, it obviously has to do with surviving, avoiding death, interacting with Sisters and Brothers and not dying. In a dark, surreal and sort of fleshy environment. Better watch the trailer posted above, though... it took me bloody ages to upload.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Resonance Teaser, Space Quest IV retro review, Indy Adventures Guide, Quake update - Buy Video Games for Consoles and PC - From Japan, Korea and other Regions!

Sep 15, 2007

Command & Conquer 95: full version download

You probably knew this one already, but I simply had to make sure all three of you most faithful Gnome's Lair readers were properly informed. So, the letters, dear friends, are already in the post and this post will obviously make them pointless, but it unfortunately seems I'm not making any sense (or approaching anything like memorable humour) again. Oh, dear. Must be tomorrow's elections. Anyway. Better follow this link and grab your Command & Conquer 95 free download. Mind you, EA is giving them away as a way of celebrating C&C's 12th anniversary and them lovely Daemon Tools might come in handy.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Epic Saga - Extreme Fighter, WBM Eurobasket 07, FlightGear, The World of Padman

Sep 14, 2007

Reliving the FPS glory of Quake in 32-bit color

Quake (official demo download), id's 1996 sequel to Doom, was more than just another FPS best seller on the PC. It was the game that cemented the dominance of 3D graphics, pioneered the keyboard & mouse interface, single-handedly exploded the 3D graphic-cards market, introduced mankind to online fragging and made sure zombies would be our collective FPS enemies for many years to come. What's more, its historically important engine has gone open source since 1999, which eventually led to the creation of the Dark Places Quake mod software thingy.

Why should you care? Simple really, as a) you are all caring by nature and b) Dark Places can give the aging Quake quite a facelift. The mod, you see, provides Quake with a vastly improved engine sporting (among other impressive features) advanced lightning, shader effects, 32bit color alpha blended explosions, improved physics and some really nice particle tricks. To grab said mod click here. Oh, and don't worry, it's freeware exactly as the gods intended.

Now, to further enhance your retro-ish FPS experience, you could also give the Quake Retexturing Project and Quake Remodelling Project a try. They too are free and quite impressive.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Bioshock widescreen hack & stuff, Duke Nukem 3D high-res, fixing the RE4 PC mess, Warcraft III widescreen

Sep 13, 2007

Resonance Teaser

Go on, go on, you do love independent adventure games, don't you? Well, click away then.

Mighty Empires free Warhammer rules (PDF)

As any GW slave should be able to tell you, legendary Mighty Empires WHFB expansion (learn more) has been sort of re-released. Really, have a look. Problem is the new ME is no longer the Warhammer board-game/campaign rule set it used to be, but more of a lovingly and admittedly skillfully sculpted tile-based map system, that sort of heavily focuses on the tile bits. Actually it's just a collection of plastic hex-tiles accompanied by a ridiculous shallow and rather pointless rules booklet. My guess is you're supposed to either use your own campaign system or the pretty amazing one and more professional one from the General's Compendium.

Then again, the older version of Mighty Empires would be a mightily -tehe- serious alternative too. Happily, Games Workshop US have been kind enough to release the original 1990 Mighty Empires rulesbook in downloadable PDF format. For free! Simply follow this link and grab all 64 pages of it. Then hop over to GW's UK servers, click and grab some of the original tiles, print them on something sturdy and play away. It's absolutely worth it.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Nemesis Crown PDFs, Battle for Skull Pass review, Chaos stunties, the Blood Bowl novel

Sep 12, 2007

H.P. Lovecraft inspired Interactive Fiction: The Commonplace Book Project

H.P. Lovecraft with all his unspeakable horrors, indescribable oddities and non-euclidean angles never really helped any visual artists, uhh, visualize his stories and -apparently- that's one of the reasons many -mostly Cthulhu- HPL inspired games failed to capture that distinctly Lovecraftian atmosphere and/or cosmic horror. The fact, mind you, that most of his protagonist were on the asthmatic academic side of humanity didn't help with the necessary video game action bit either.

Interactive fiction (text-adventures) and HPL's kind of horror, on the other hand, seem like a match made in a particularly tentacled heaven. Don't believe me? Why, better try the excellent freeware Anchorhead and see what I mean. Good writing, vaguely described ominous things and interactivity, without the distraction of anavoidably underwhelming visuals, make for quite an experience. And atmospheric horror too of course. Problem is such games are rather rare and The Lurking Horror is almost ancient history.

Enter the Illuminated Lantern, interactive fiction publishers extraordinaire, creators of the award winning 1893: A World's Fair Mystery and driving force behind the Commonplace Book Project. The purpose of said project is both simple and frankly quite noble: create interactive adventures based on the unfinished story ideas that H.P. Lovecraft collected in his "Commonplace Book". The first seven games (including Dead Cities, Ecdysis, The Cellar and the Handyman Wanted point-and-clicker) have already been made available here and are ready to provide you with hours of relatively disturbing entertainment. For free. Hip, hip...

Oh, and Windows users will probably have to download the excellent and very freeware Gargoyle interactive fiction player. Possibly even have a look at a beginner's guide to interactive fiction.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Text is King, Guide to the indy adventure, Vilyl LP text adventures, lovely i-f maps

Sep 10, 2007

Hot RPG group wet dream

It's the Ultimate Gaming Table, it is, and it's lovingly positioned in what could easily be described as the Ultimate Gaming Room. Why not have a closer look at this marvel of RPG convenience (and its building instructions) over at the aptly named The Ultimate Gaming Table Website? Your gaming group would love you. Should probably (the table, not the group) come in handy for your average board-game, Warhammer or S/M session too.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: D&D 4th edition news, Sadistic DMing, the Open RPG virtual tabletop

Sep 9, 2007

Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer shmup coming to a PC (or PS3) near you

Ever since the glory days of the Commodore Amiga dominance, PC gamers never had access to the best and/or shiniest shoot-'em-ups. Not that they really cared much for shmups, mind you, but when Ikaruga came along they did despair. Some even cried. Well, apparently, things are about to change, as Play Asia funded project Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer will be hitting PCs (and admittedly them PS3 thingies too, but a tad later) sometime during the fourth quarter of 2007.

The game, developed by SideQuest Studios, besides an appropriately silly storyline about some weird anti-hero single-handedly saving earth from nasty aliens, will feature some jaw-dropping graphics, tons of levels & upgrades, tactical gameplay elements, a bi-lingual story, 5 weapon types, 6 levels of difficulty and a two player co-op mode. As for the music, well, have a taste by downloading the game's aptly named preview medley.

Interesting, innit? Why not find out more at the official Söldner-X website, or -better yet- preorder your very own copy?

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Bioshock hack & guide, Kudos Rock Legend, Sam & Max Season II, LotRO review

Sep 8, 2007

Grim Fandango, Psychonauts or the freeware, delicious, smart and pointless Epic Saga?

And before you answer, please do keep in mind that although Grim Fandango and Psychonauts have been hailed as two of the best games ever, Epic Saga -Extreme Fighter- is indeed very freeware. As in absolutely free. And you wont have to download a thing either. Besides, it features gnomes, silly humor, piss easy gameplay and is signed by the wicked people of Double Fine. Play it here.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: The Eurobasket '07 game, Platform!, Half Life 2 flipside, FlightGear