Mar 31, 2008

God of War: The Era of Machinima

Feel like getting creative with God of War? Machinima based on Sony's gaming hardware? A new voice for Kratos? And why is the salmon in doubt? Watch the video and all (/none) will be clear.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Matthew Smith in FMV, John Cleese and his Compaq computers, State of Mind, HALO: Monty Python

Mar 28, 2008

Decker's Delight Links (28.Mar.08)

Haven't had one of these Decker's Delight Links posts appear for quite some time it seems, but, thankfully, it also seems I've gathered some pretty interesting links for you dearest of lots to enjoy. Not fresh necessarily, though definitely worth your time. After all, it is your time. Not your bloody bosses'.
Ghost in a ShellSo, what should we start with? Something game related would do I guess. From the International House of Mojo preferably. Better start with an amazing Maniac Mansion mega feature complete with trivia, mini developer interviews and a full mansion tour, then.

Further fun for adventurers can be had by reading the lovely interviews of Ron Gilbert & Joel DeYoung on the forthcoming Hothead games, Scott Bilas of Gabriel Knight 3 fame and everyone's favorite humorist Al Lowe.

As for the LEGO loving Portal fans, well, Nick Larsen has prepared a rather excellent Portal Lego stop motion clip. It's got 1300 frames, it has. Valve's hit song too.

Yehuda, the master gamer/game-designer from Israel, has come up with an extensive guide to board and card games based on video games, sporting such interestingly obscure entries as Space Invaders, Lode Runner, Warcraft and Wing Commander.

Dvice, on the other hand, have gone from analog to (mostly) digital in their The 13 best electronic versions of Dungeons and Dragons feature. Ever heard of the D&D Computer Labyrinth game? No? Tsk.

GameSetWatch, or to be precise the aptly (?) named Save the Robot column, is writing about the Lone Adventures of Steve Jackson's Sorcery. Yes, about those Choose Your Own Adventure books of yore too.

On a more serious note, the amazing chaps of Eurogamer posted a certain Call of Jihadi interview/article and you really have to read it. It's all about video games, militarism and propaganda, you know.

On a semi-serious and slightly intoxicated note, the fledgling Game Cabaret would care to invite you over and discuss such delicate matters as realism in gaming, the homoeroticism of R-Type and/or punk gaming.

Now, care for something from the gutter? Lovely. I'd recommend beginning with a look at Nintendo DS homebrew and then enjoying an almost tempting doubter's perspective on Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

I-Mockery, those immensely lovable creatures, have compiled one of the best retro gaming features ever: The 50 Greatest Arcade Cabinets in Video Game History. Brilliant, just brilliant!

Oh, and the Yak has gone and restored the legendary VIC-20 that was the origin of Llamasoft. And taken pictures of the thing. And no, I'm not crying tears of nostalgia and definitely don't want to steal anything from Mr. Minter.

Anyway. Time for some free games. TIGSource has almost 50 extremely wacky and brand new ones here (an amazing turnout for the Video Game Name Generator Competition it seems), whereas Indie Games has some pretty brilliant shmups up for grabs. Enjoy!

Mmmmore kinky Quick Links:

Mar 27, 2008

Adventure Lantern: the first 2008 issue

And you thought Adventure Lantern was dead... Hah! Just follow the link and download 40+ pdfed pages of adventure gaming goodness. It's as free as it has always been and it's even got an extended bit on text-adventures and the forthcoming (though definitely not very convincing) AdventureCon. Issue highlights include a Sam & Max review double feature, a look at Mass Effect, a preview of Overclocked: A History of Violence, a review of Valve's all singing all dancing Portal, a nod to the PSP and a lovely Sam & Max episode 203 walkthrough. Oh, yes, and I did my usual news bit too.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Gun Mute, the Monkey Island Flash Film, a guide to the Indie Adventure Game

Mar 24, 2008

The Indie Game Database or should I say the cryptically named TIGdb?

TIGdb The Indie Game databaseTIGSource just announced it and after clicking around I (heroically, if I may say so myself) discovered it to be true. Hooray! TIGdb has gone live and can now be accessed by following this very link. Or by being old fashioned and typing somewhere appropriate, I guess. Oh, and in case you failed to understand what the point is, well, TIGdb does sort of stand for The Indie Game Database.
Related @ Gnome's Lair: DeathSpank!, Aquaria, the B-Game competition, Prototype 2 free shmup

Mar 19, 2008

Slave Circus presents Circulate. I review it.

Truth be said, I'm not much of a casual games fan and even less so when I'm too busy to spare the few precious moments needed for that extra drink. Also I'm not in the best of moods. And ButtonSmasher has been taking up too much of my gaming/blogging time. Oh, yes, and Circulate, the brand new game I'm supposed to be reviewing here, is definitely advertised as one of them casual offerings. Then again, were I wearing a sombrero (sombreros always make you happy, mind) I'd definitely describe it as an indie, physics based, action heavy puzzle game, which definitely sounds a lot better and is closer to the truth too.

So, what precisely is Circulate, I pretend to hear you ask. I mean, besides an indie, physics based, action heavy puzzle game. Well, that's not a very easy answer to give unfortunately. Circulate, you see, has the player spinning whole levels around and occasionally clicking on -for lack of a better word- spheres, while trying to get them spheres in containers, trying to make them vanish, or generally moving them properly around while avoiding a variety of obstacles and traps. A concept that is apparently way easier to understand than explain. Hopefully this video or the following screenshots will give you an idea of what to expect.

And is it a good a game, I pretend to hear you ask again, while thinking I should cut down on the habit. Why, yes, yes it is. Innovative and maddeningly addictive too. The learning curve is just perfect, the controls are intuitive, the levels incredibly varied and more than enough to keep you sleepless for a few nights (there are 120 of them), the kaleidoscopic graphics are beautiful, the music is just fine, the tutorial mode works perfectly and the game is an absolute blast to play. Add the numerous options available, including the one to play Circulate in windowed mode, its modest price and the very reasonable hardware requirements, and you got a game any PC gamer should try.

Why not have a look over at its official webpage then? Apparently you can actually order a proper boxed copy of the thing. After all, not all casual games are derivative little offerings aimed at non-gamers. Some are true gems waiting to be discovered.

That's a (seven and a half) out of (ten).

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Meet Slave Circus, The Lord of the Rings Online review, Age of Decadence interview, Savage 2

Mar 12, 2008

Gun Mute: the text-only free shoot-em-up

Gun Mute ShmupI know I've mentioned text-adventure/interactive-fiction games on this blog more than enough, but now -I'm convinced- even the uninitiated will care, for Gun Mute by dear Pacian is an immensely accessible, brilliantly written, incredibly fun, modestly sized and 100% freeware offering. Hints, you see, oh text-phobic readers, are readily available, an in-game walkthrough of sorts has been included, traveling has been limited to forward/backward movement and only a handful of commands are required to finish the game.

Set in a weird and almost satirical world infested with bizarrely mutated cowboy film stereotypes and sentient robots, Gun Mute casts the player as a mute -yet passionate- shooter that has to save a friend from what might be an unfair death at the gallows. How? Well, by shooting, taking cover, murdering stuff and solving brilliant puzzles that mostly require shooting and ducking. Oh, yes, reloading too.

To download the game (and as Pacian has yet to blog it) better head over at our dear IndieGames blog and either grab the standalone .exe file or the .t3 one. Getting the Gargoyle IF player might come in handy too. Oh, and do type credits when you play the thing ;)

[UPDATE]: Here's the official game page of Gun Mute.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: 2007 AGS Awards, Textfyre, H.P. Lovecraft inspired i-f, Lurking Horror retro review

Mar 8, 2008

Some excellent, free, fetish-free Role Playing Tools

RPG Map ToolThink we all got to thank Trevor, an apparently knowledgeable RPG gamer and a rather generous reader of Gnome's Lair, for pointing me (us) towards the excellent and very freeware RPTools collection, for quite frankly it does feature some of the best RPG tools available. By following the link you'll be able to grab a pretty sophisticated dice-rolling tool, a fantastic online-enabled map tool with its TokenTool add-on and the always handy InitTool, that helps GMs/DMs keep track of initiative orders. Lovely, innit?

Now, should you care for more helpful goblin-managing software, you could also have a look at the PCGen character generator and the aptly named RPG Manager. Lovely indeed.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Instant World Builder, Sadistic DMing, Open RPG, 1000s of free character sheets

Mar 6, 2008

Purple Pawn Tabletop News

Yehuda, the gamer, blogger, tabletop aficionado and board game designer of It's Alive fame, has finally presented us with the latest in tabletop gaming web love: Purple Pawn. Visit it, bookmark it, add it to your feed reader, pet it, read it, hug it and you'll be sure you'll be getting all the tabletop gaming news you've always wanted. Purple Pawn is apparently covering everything from board games and RPGs to wargames and CCGs.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Mighty Empires free PDF, Classic Video Game Monopoly, Guillotine review, Zombie Plague