A polished elaboration of Narbaculur Drop, which was a 2006 IGF Student Showcase winner, as well as a finalist for the Slamdance Guerrilla Game Festival in the same year, Portal is a level-based puzzle game with the tropes of a conventional first-person shooter. The game is published by Valve as part of its "Orange Box," which also includes additional Half Life 2 material.
Can't We All Be Friends?
|Submitted by costik on Mon, 04/14/2008 - 00:00.|
Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa
Venture Africa is a Hoot. Also a Roar and a Neigh.
|Submitted by costik on Tue, 05/22/2007 - 22:02.|
Yes, Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa is a "tycoon" game--but quite different from others of the genre. The objective isn't to build a business, but a balanced ecosystem. For example, one level's objective is to have some number of lions in play--but to get that many, you have to build up your zebra population so there's enough prey to support your lions. And to support that many zebra, you need to plant enough bushes to sustain them.
Yet it also isn't a hard-core simulation in the style of Sim Life (and thank goodness); it's a simple, straightforward game with pleasantly animated African wildlife, and a tutorial system that anyone who can read (and this is a good game for kids) will find good and sufficient. Contrariwise, it's a tougher game to win, even on "Easy" setting, than most casual games (many of which can be won by a monkey clicking randomly).
Fighting with Rag-Doll Physics
|Submitted by costik on Tue, 05/22/2007 - 20:33.|
One phrase we love to use but don't often get to is: You have never seen a game like this before. Yea Toribash.
In Toribash, you control a jointed 3D model. You select a joint, and tell it how to move. When you've issued your instructions, you advance the game, one or more frames at a time--and when you want to change the motion of your character, you change the forces at various joints.
The Odyssey: Winds of Athena
Control Winds and Currents with the Mouse
|Submitted by costik on Tue, 05/22/2007 - 18:11.|
Set in the world of Homeric myth, The Odyssey is a level-based casual game in which you have to guide your ships from one end of the level to the other in the face of monsters, storms, and other obstacles. What's interesting (and innovative) about it, however, is the control scheme--you move your ships by holding down the mouse button and drawing in the water to create currents, and by changing the direction and strength of the winds by moving the mouse within a wind-control region of the screen.
Super Columbine Massacre RPG
Tragic, Controversial, and Curiously Moving
|Submitted by costik on Tue, 05/22/2007 - 15:09.|
Why Is Super Columbine Massacre Controversial?
Super Columbine Massacre is controversial for one reason only: Because our culture continues to assume that games are "mere entertainment," that a game based on so horrific an event must ipso facto be in bad taste. Games are fun, Columbine was a tragedy and never the twain shall meet; a game on Columbine must by nature trivialize or cynically exploit the event. Q.E.D.
Yet we do not make the same assumption about any other medium: a documentary on the Columbine massacre, or a novel, or a New Yorker essay would, a priori, be treated with respect, at least until the viewer or reader had experienced it, after which a judgment might be made as to its merits. And if the work proved insightful, somber,and respectful of its material, the world would consider it unexceptional.
Beautiful Hand-Drawn Graphics in a Retro Game Style
|Submitted by costik on Tue, 05/22/2007 - 02:14.|
A sidescroller? Sorta; Steam Brigade's ultimate heritage is in games like Rescue Raiders. You and your opponent have bases at opposite sides of an area; you build units at your base, they move horizontally across the screen (which you have to scroll to see the full play area), and the ultimate objective is to take out the enemy base.
Old school gameplay, in other words but, well, very nicely implemented.
Book and Volume
Intelligent, Literate Interactive Fiction
|Submitted by costik on Sun, 05/06/2007 - 05:12.|
The text adventure -- once the purview of geeks and computer scientists seeking to push the edge of mainframe computing technology; now an arena for serious writers and academics looking to explore the intersection between literature and interaction.
Case in point.
Book & Volume is a Z-engine game--implemented using the same technology that Infocom used, back in the day. Too retro for the conventional market, but finding another outlet: it's a highly literary work with serious artistic ambitions, recognized by the Iowa Review of all things--a journal you probably have never heard of, unless you are a short fiction writer, desperately trying to find a venue for your work in a world where markets for short fiction are few. And if, say, you are an obscure SF short story writer with credits in the degraded pulps, and find that Z-machine games are appearing in the effing IOWA REVIEW, you think.... Well, this isn't the world I grew up in.