One of the neat things about Dota 2 is that you can download "Announcer Packs" that change the voice of the in-game announcer to any of a number of other characters.
This one may take the cake—Supergiant games has contributed a Bastion Announcer Pack to the game. I haven't used it, but it sounds like for $9.99, you can now have your Dota 2 game announced by Bastion's narrator Rucks. Which is amazing.
Bastion Announcer Pack [Dota 2 Store]
Nov 28, 2012
Maybe I'm just a sucker for pretty things, but Minecraft re-creations never cease to amaze me.
Today's impressive showing is the eponymous bastion of Bastion, created by Redditor cereal_bawks. Allow your eyes to enjoy:
The Off-Book series of mini-documentaries, from PBS, has brought us insights on video games many times before. They've taken on the perennial argument of whether (and how) games are art, and they've delved into the 8-bit phenomenon of retro graphics and chiptunes.
In this most recent installment, they delve into the indie game scene. Thanks to digital distribution, indie games by small teams are everywhere: on our computers, our consoles, and our phones. Smaller-scale games made by smaller-scale teams with no publisher affiliations are a big part of what drives the art and industry forward. Designer Zach Gage (Spelltower), composer Darren Korb (Bastion), and critic Leigh Alexander all contribute to this nifty little look at where indie games have been, and where they're going.
Sep 21, 2012
This week's best deals ► Borderlands 2, Saints Row: The Third, and more
Amazon has 10% off Borderlands 2 - it's not a lot, but it did just release - and a more substantial 40% off The Walking Dead. Meanwhile, Saints Row: The Third is 66% off on Steam and free to play this weekend, the Tribes: Ascend Starter Pack is only $7.49 at GameStop, and Green Man Gaming continues to give out 25% off vouchers (it matches Amazon's Borderlands 2 deal, too).
10% off Borderlands 2 at Amazon - $53.99
40% off The Walking Dead at Amazon - $14.99
75% off Tribes: Ascend Starter Pack at GameStop - $7.49
66% off Killing Floor Bundle on Steam - $10.19
66% off Saints Row: The Third on Steam - $13.59
75% off Bastion at GameFly - $3.75
25% off a PC download at Green Man Gaming with voucher code: GMG20-27J4Z-8NXHO
Steam ► Saints Row: The Third, Red Orchestra 2, Killing Floor
Saints Row: The Third is 66% off and free to play this weekend. Killing Floor and Red Orchestra 2 also get the double-six treatment, and Sniper Elite V2 is 50% off.
66% off Saints Row: The Third - $13.59
66% off Killing Floor Bundle - $10.19
66% off Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad - GOTY - $6.79
50% off Sniper Elite V2 - $24.99
75% off Kung Fu Strike - The Warrior's Rise - $2.49
More Steam deals
Amazon ► Borderlands 2, The Walking Dead
Amazon was a little disappointing last week, but this week it has 10% off the just-released Borderlands 2 and 40% off The Walking Dead. The other sales have carried over from previous weeks, and some have been around for ages. Someone at Amazon really wants you to play Mount & Blade.
10% off Borderlands 2 - $53.99
40% off The Walking Dead - $14.99
50% off Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 2 - $9.99
50% off Deus Ex: Human Revolution - $14.99
60% off Mount & Blade - $6.03
More Amazon PC game downloads
Green Man Gaming ► 25% off voucher, Borderlands 2
Use the voucher code GMG20-27J4Z-8NXHO to receive 25% off a digital download by Tuesday September 25th at 4 a.m. PDT. By the way, Arma II: Combined Ops was recently added to GMG's catalog, so there's an idea. Plus, there's all the deals below:
10% off Borderlands 2 - $53.99
60% off Duke Nukem Forever - $7.99
60% off Mafia - $5.98
75% off Mafia II - $7.49
75% off Sid Meier's Civilization V - $7.49
60% off Borderlands - $7.99
60% off BioShock - $7.99
75% off BioShock 2 - $4.99
More GMG deals
Get Games ► Guild Wars 2, Sleeping Dogs
You can still get Sleeping Dogs for 25% off and Borderlands for 50% off. Guild Wars 2, however, is down from 25% to 15% off, and still only for European customers. Sad face.
15% off Guild Wars 2 - $46.75 (Europe only)
15% off Guild Wars 2: Digital Deluxe Edition - $63.75 (Europe only)
25% off Sleeping Dogs - $37.49
50% off Borderlands - $9.99
More deals from Get Games
GameStop ► Tribes: Ascend, Arma II
GameStop has 75% off the Tribes: Ascend Starter Pack. That's a pretty good deal - it includes all classes, permanent VIP status (50% XP bonus), 800 Gold, a 30 day XP booster, and some gear and perks. Compare that to $10 for 800 Gold (and nothing else) from Hi-Rez's store.
75% off Tribes: Ascend Starter Pack - $7.49
20% off ARMA II - $15.99
50% off Resident Evil 5 - $9.99
14% off War of the Roses - House of York Deluxe Edition - $29.99
20% off Sleeping Dogs - $39.99 (Cheaper above)
More GameStop deals
GOG ► Atari All-Stars
GOG is selling a selection of Atari games at 60% off this weekend. I would list them all here, but it turns out Atari published a lot of games.
GamersGate ► Same deals, different day
Some of last week's deals, like BioShock at 50% off, are gone, but those that remain look to be the same as always - mostly tons of Paradox games. Let me know if I missed anything crazy big.
GameFly ► Bastion 'n Batman
Bastion is a damn neat game, and it's currently only $3.75 at GameFly.
75% off Bastion - $3.75
75% off F.E.A.R. 3 - $4.99
20% off Batman: Arkham City GOTY - $23.99
75% off Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY - $4.99
50% off Resident Evil 5 - $9.99
More GameFly deals
Let us know in the comments if you find any more great deals!
Disclaimer: We offer no guarantees regarding the validity of these sales, their restrictions, or the quality of service provided by these distributors. We cannot vet every deal: we only list what we see advertised at the time of writing. Buy at your own risk!
Sep 6, 2012
It took us a while to figure out what sort of panel we wanted to put on at PAX. We knew we wanted to do more than a live version of our podcast (we do that every week)! We settled on storytelling as a topic because it's a particularly interesting moment in gaming for stories and storytellers. BioWare released the first fully-voiced MMO, and it responded to fan feedback about Mass Effect 3. "Choice" as a concept is leaking into every genre it can. Story generators like DayZ are innovating with systems rather than scriptwriting. But wait—conventional storytellers like Telltale are finding novel ways of humanizing characters.
To solve all of these creative quagmires in a mere hour, we called in some developers:
Sean Vanaman - Creative Lead, The Walking Dead
Jake Solomon - Lead Designer, XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Greg Kasavin - Creative Director, Supergiant Games
Markus "Notch" Persson - Creator, Minecraft, Founder of Mojang
Dean "Rocket" Hall - Creator, DayZ
Watch the full hour conversation above. Thanks to everyone who came, and to our gallery of sages. Here are more photos from the panel, too.
Sep 3, 2012
Jen Zee works at Supergiant Games. A small indie team, Jen is art director (and part-time badass cosplayer), meaning she's the main one to thank for the amazing colours and vibrant world of Bastion, one of the best-looking video games in recent memory.
A Seattle native, Jen has also done work for Gaia Interactive and Fantasy Flight Games. Those who love the look of Bastion should check out her other work, on her DeviantArt page, CGHub page and blog.
To see the larger pics in all their glory (or so you can save them as wallpaper), right-click on them below and select "open in new tab".
Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you're in the business and have some concept, environment or character art you'd like to share, drop us a line!
Join us live at PAX Prime in Seattle today for the PC Gamer Megapanel, featuring a discussion on "The Incredible, Uncertain Future of Storytelling" with the super-creative minds of Jake Solomon (XCOM: Enemy Unknown), Dean "Rocket" Hall (DayZ), Greg Kasavin (Bastion), Sean Vanaman (The Walking Dead), and Markus "Notch" Persson (Minecraft).
The panel starts at 2:30 pm PDT (4:30 CDT, 5:30 EDT, 9:30 GMT) - if you're at PAX, come see it at the Kraken Theater, but if not: don't worry! You can watch it all live on the official PAX livestream above.
Supergiant Games' award winning action role-playing game Bastion is now available on the iPad, and it's one of the best experiences you can have with the Apple tablet. Just don't ruin it by playing without headphones.
The gorgeous hand-painted graphics and the shooting and smashing gameplay make the trip to the iPad intact, but those aren't the main draws of Bastion. It's the deep, growling voice of the game's narrator and the rich tapestry woven by the game's gorgeous soundtrack that make this game so damn pleasurable, and that's not something you're going to get out of that tiny, tinny grill Apple passes off as a speaker.
I was horrified as I started to play the iPad version, ignoring the suggestion that I should don headphones for the full experience. The poor narrator sounded trapped, caged in a world in which his sonorous pipes were rendered impotent, their magic ripped away cruelly.
And then the music started.
That glorious tapestry unraveled before my ears, sound meant to lovingly caress my hearing places at both ends condensed into a cacophony of raw, stabbing noise.
One 3.5mm plug later and all was right with the world once more, apart from the whole thing falling apart.
Bastion is now available for the iPad 2 and new iPad for only $4.99. Use the extra money you should have paid for this masterpiece to buy yourself a capable set of cans, or buy some portable speakers and share the magic with the world.
Aug 28, 2012
If you're going to this year's PAX in Seattle, Washington, then we'd love for you to join us on Friday for an unprecedented gathering of PC gaming's finest developers and storytellers at the The PC Gamer Megapanel: The Incredible, Uncertain Future of Storytelling!
From the earliest days of text adventures and multi-user dungeons to today's MMORPGs, open-world and sandbox games, PC gaming has a rich and decades-long history of amazing narratives whose influence is felt and embedded throughout our culture. But developers continue to explore new ways of telling stories and creating experiences for gamers--and that includes making games that allow us to create our own stories.
So we're bringing together the developers behind the some of the most memorable experiences on the PC to talk about the challenges of building narratives in games, and to explore the future of storytelling on the PC. Is it in branching storylines that adapt to player choice? Is it in player-generated experiences? What ideas are they toying with now that will show up in our games tomorrow? We'll have Dean "Rocket" Hall, Greg Kasavin, Sean Vanaman, Jake Solomon, and Notch on hand to help us figure it out.
Find out at the Kraken Theater @ 2:30 this Friday at PAX! You'll not only hear about the future of storytelling from the developers who are creating it, but you'll also be able to meet the PC Gamer team and hundreds of other PC gaming fans.
Ooh, and everyone at the panel gets a free bag of loot with beta keys, codes for in-game items, stickers, buttons, posters, food, and more! And a few lucky PC gamers chosen at random at the end of the show will receive even more loot, including a MechWarrior Online Legendary Founder's Package!
But if you can't make it to PAX, don't sweat it: TwitchTV will be livestreaming our panel. We'll share a link to where the livestream will be located here (and on our Twitter and Facebook pages) as soon as we have a URL.
There isn't much to Sound Shapes. That's what makes it great.
I'm not talking about the campaign, which is great and I certainly could've used more of. No, I'm talking about the experience that the new Vita game delivers. From the way you play it—pretty much just rolling and jumping—to the environments you play through, Sound Shapes is a shining example of minimalism in video games.
Now, Sound Shapes could have delivered the same core experience with a tacked-on story, a more humanoid-looking avatar and more plush environments. Even it were more Mario-esque, players could still have gotten the main thrust of its structural aesthetics, which is the tight bond between sound and action.
But that fusion of music, visuals and interactivity stands out even more because of the lack of presentational clutter. Jonathan Mak's newest game isn't the only one to soar off the benefits of skeletal structure either.
Part of what made Journey such a great experience is what was left out. No words. No distinguishing characteristics on avatars' faces. No explicitly stated motivation or impetus for your character's voyage. You could make all of that up in your head if you wanted, which makes the experience all the more memorable and personal.
Part of what made Journey such a great experience is what was left out. No words. No distinguishing characteristics on avatars' faces.
And look at Thomas Was Alone, which gave you only colored blocks to control. You didn't need fancy animations to become attached to the quirky personalities. And detailed textures wouldn't have made the environmental puzzles any better either. Everything wonderful about the game comes across with a limited architecture.
Fez's spare presentation makes its signature mechanics seem even more magical. It helps sell the conceit that being able to rotate the world into a third dimension would rock the perceptions of the creatures that live in the gameworld. And it also makes the tough puzzles in the retro-looking platformer feel that much harder. There are very few distractions in Fez, just you and the brain-teaser that's driving you crazy.
Last year, Bastion exercised a sort of minimalism, too. It scraped away a lot of the trappings that you'd normally find in an action/RPG hybrid. Supergiant's hit from last year clearly riffed on the tropes of Japanese RPGs. But a lot was pared away. There's none of the melodramatic romances or tangled subplots typical to the genre. Bastion's minimalism was one of tone, not presentation. But it still had the same multiplying effect as in the examples above, where the agonizing choices felt more monumental because they stood out more.
Excess and minimalism don't have to be mutually exclusive, either. Moments of quiet economy exist in big-deal AAA games like, say, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Gears of War 3. But the less-is-more approach can feel more brave because there's less room to hide flaws. However, when minimalism succeeds in a game like Sound Shapes, it's because the unique elements are the main thing you interact with. And you'll probably remember those more.