Quite often, the people who have the most startling impact on games are one-hit wonders -- Gygax and Arneson, for example. Pace both men, but neither produced a game worth the powder to blow it to hell after D&D.
Garfield, by contrast, has certainly never designed another game with the commercial impact of Magic, but his other games, of which this one, are all worth playing.
The usual rigamarole of jumping, grabbing keys and reaching point Bs is ripped up and partially erased in GENERIC, yet another platform game that tries to turn a mirror on the underlying logics of gameplay and genre, but this one does it better than the usual. Many platform games have come out featuring excessive difficulty, Braid and a host of retainer breatheren have played with the interval-driven reload cycle and temporal causality. GENERIC goes even further, this game lets your tear the levels apart. It´s like Little Big Planet with a big bottle of white out.
Submitted by Tof Eklund on Fri, 06/19/2009 - 16:44.
Johan Karlsson and Kristoffer Osterman's Dominions 3: The Awakening can be described briefly as a micromanagment-heavy, statistically detailed, “turn-based,” 4x fantasy strategy PBEM game that draws heavily on world mythology. Describing it in detail is difficult, because it is so richly detailed and because, while it mostly does the things you'd expect a “turn-based fantasy” game to do, it does them in surprising ways.
Flashbang is back with a flash and a bang, the staple physics-based viscerality, and the staple removing dialectic of destruction vs. capitulation. Instead of being Taurus trying your hand at entreprenuership, you´re a lazy entitlement-jockey trying to do the bare minimum to get through the day while collecting guaranteed pay. Your job is to man a crane, though man-handling it is more accurate. The controls, like those of Minotaur In A China Shop, are intentionally difficult. There´s an inherent delta in where you move the mouse and how the crane follows, and they tuned the gamma up real high, it makes running in the original Super Mario Bros. feel like walking in The Legend of Zelda, by comparison. This sloppiness is amplified by the inability to directly control the height of the crane hook. There´s something in the noise.
Oh, it's a Rogue-like, all right; you're tooling around an algorithmically generated ASCII dungeon, moving in eight directions and fighting by running into things. But you're under time pressure: A song is playing, and if you don't finish the level by the time it ends, you lose. Maybe it's a "Musical Chairs-like."
Persephone grants both the humans and the elves access to her sacred store of grain. Naturally, bloodshed between the two races is forbidden, but they compete in peaceful ways for the available grain. Humans work her sacred silos during the day, and the elves at night.
Night Grain is a game for 4 or 6 players (there must be an even number). At the end of the game, each player's score depends on what grain he has received from Persephone. Each player belongs to one of two teams -- the Elves and the Humans; there is both a single "personal score" winner and a group "team" winner. Which of these two types of "win" you prize more highly is a matter of personal preference. However, players will find that achieving a high personal score is difficult without the cooperation of their team mates.
A complete set of Night Grain consists of these rules; three sun and three moon markers to designate the opposing teams; twenty-four grain markers (four each of six different types); and the Track of Persephone, divided into five numbered levels. A JPG of the pieces and a PDF of the board are linked above. I recommend printing the pieces on a color printer, then spray-mounting to light cardstock and cutting the markers apart with a sharp scissors. In addition, you will need a single die.
De Toren is by Kevin Oke, who also did Consumer CULTure and The Last Ace. Both those games had an off-kilter retroness about them; De Toren seems to be more of an effort to do something self-contained and reasonably polished in Game Maker.
As my review of Runner suggested, perhaps the effective way to create emotional meaning in games is through metaphor. Gray is all metaphor, and is interesting precisely because it is. But it's also, well, very tedious to play. Which raises the question of whether art is effective through a metaphorical level even if it is, in some sense, bad craft.
In Runner, you're a little fellow running away from the ghost-images of three women who pursue you. You're running down a two-lane street, and obstacles periodically appear before you; "doors" that block one lane, requiring you to slide to the other to evade them; and barriers that stretch across both lanes you must jump to get over.
Pat Kemp is a mainstream game developer who creates indie games in his spare time; Station 38 is a level-based puzzle game based on the "power and direction" mechanic, but in an unusual way. The mechanic is normally used for things like golf or bowling games, but here it is used in a sort of platformer; each level, you must get a little LEM-like space vehicle from its starting location to a "teleporter" exit. You press LMB and drag the mouse to indicate the direction in which the LEM will launch; a longer line indicates more power. Typically, there are obstacles in the level's geography you must get over and around; sometimes, in fact, a single 'launch' won't do it, but as long as your vehicle has 'power' remaining (indicated by the length of a blue line above it), you can draw another line while in mid-air to alter its trajectory. More...
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