Have You Heard of AMY?

This is an old news item originally posted at Digital Hippos, now included here for the purposes of portfolio building. AMY has since been released and seemingly disappointed everyone. Too bad.

I opened my inbox this morning to find some screenshots for AMY, a new survival-horror game coming to PSN in June. Why am I reporting this? Why should you care? Fans of niche survival-horror titles that revel in creating fear through disempowering the player might want to read on…. Continue reading

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For the Love of the Games: Three Reasons you Should Play Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom

Well, here we are again. I’m relaxing in front of the hearth, enjoying a glass of brandy with my ever faithful manservant, Theodore Skeffingtonson, and my only temporarily faithful canine, Santos.

And if I’m drinking brandy with my dog and butler/chauffeur/housekeeper/dog-walker/tailor/cobbler in front of a roaring fire, then that can only mean one thing: it’s time for another For the Love of the Games, the monthly column in which I BEG you ON MY HANDS AND KNEES to play a certain obscure, mediocre-but-full-of-great-ideas, or just plain bad game.

Why?

Literacy, my dear Skeffingtonson!

This week we’re not talking bad games. We’re not even talking kinda, sorta bad games. We’re not even talking old games — in fact, you may remember hearing of this game in the last couple years. This week we’re talking a game that I love, a game that didn’t get much play, a game that was marked down from $60 to $40 on the day it released, a game that was sent to die amid the bigger, beefier Q4 releases of 2010. This week we’re talkin’…

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom!

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My Top 5 Games of 2011

There’s no denying that 2011 was a big year in games. Every year’s holiday season seems to be better than the last, and 2011 was no exception. Unfortunately, that also means there were a ton of games I couldn’t get to. Bastion, The Witcher 2, Anno 2070, Uncharted 3, Too the Moon — these and so many others are games that would have probably been strong contenders for this list. Alas, I either never got to them or I’m just getting to them now (as is the case with Bastion, which is a fucking delight).

So with that small caveat out of the way, here are my Top Five Games of 2011. Continue reading

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For the Love of the Games: Three Reasons you Should Play Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

There once was a developer called Troika. Created from the spirit of old Interplay by three prominent Fallout designers (Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky and Jason Anderson), they went on to make three of the most technically troubled but brilliantly designed RPGs of the early ‘00s: Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, The Temple of Elemental Evil and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.

And also they were SOVIET SUPERMEN!

Seeing as we’re just on the heels of the release of a certain major Vampire-themed romance movie/Mormon propaganda piece, I think it’s only fitting we discuss the latter of those three games in this month’s For the Love of the Games, the monthly column in which I advise — nay — implore you to play a certain overlooked, forgotten, or (on occasion, as is my wont) just plain bad game.

But first, some (more) history: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is a PC RPG set in White Wolf’s World of Darkness, an old-timey analog (aka pen-and-paper) RPG system wherein vampires, werewolves, spirits and other monsters vie for power. As a freshly-sired vampire of your making, you have to navigate the murky waters of LA’s vampire underworld as various factions compete for possession of a recently unearthed sarcophagus that may spell doom for vampire kind. Really serious stuff.

You also do the day-to-day stuff, which is way interesting when you’re a vampire.

Bloodlines is notable for being one half stellar RPG following the tragically discarded Deus Ex formula, and one half boring, punishing hack-and-slasher bristling with glitches and pacing issues. And those would be the first and second halves of the game, respectively. Hey, at least the good half is first, so you could just play that and look up the multiple endings on YouTube if you really want.

But I’m not here to tell you why not to play the game. (Or, in this case, how to play some of the game and avoid the rest of it….) Just the opposite, in fact. Let’s begin with something any nerd born after 1990 probably doesn’t remember. Continue reading

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Review: Spelunker HD

The brave spelunker, the Red Guy, descends into the bowels of the deep seeking adventure and fortune. He leaps from the lift and plummets about six feet to his death.

The brave spelunker, the Red Guy, descends into the bowels of the deep seeking adventure and fortune. He brings the lift lower this time and leaps to the nearby ledge, where treasures await. He narrowly dodges the jets of flame firing from the ceiling of the tunnel, sets a bomb to clear a rock blocking his path, steps back several feet and still dies in the blast, flesh singed from his bones (even though he was clearly outside of the bomb’s visible blast radius). Continue reading

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For the Love of the Games: Three Reasons You Should Play Alpha Protocol

Alpha Protocol, the espionage RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment – that’s the game I’ll be convincing you to play — to enjoy, even — in this week’s For the Love of the Games, the monthly column in which I give you X number of reasons why you should play an under-appreciated, overlooked, or outright bad game, simply for the sake of game appreciation. Continue reading

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Review: Sideway: NY

Sideway: New York has style. That much is obvious from the moment you start up the first level and grasp the premise of this game, that you’re a graffiti-man running and hopping across flat surfaces — walls, billboards and rooftops — using paint both as a weapon and as a means of conveyance. Sideway has style — a lot of style… maybe a little too much. Continue reading

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