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Thirty Flights of Loving

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Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save up to 85% on select games!
Offer ends Sunday at 10AM Pacific Time.






















Announcement - Valve
Save up to 75% on new Weeklong Deals on Steam, available until October 21st at 10AM PST.

























Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
While Thirty Flights of Loving was the sequel to Gravity Bone, it actually started first as a prototype for Gravity Bone. Developer Blendo games has released a video showing off the early version before it set Thirty Flights aside and oh, it's quite different. You can blast away with a submachinegun, for starters.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Not sure we’ve posted about the Humble Weekly Sale yet. This is because all we enlightened souls on RPS all dispute the concept of ‘weeks.’ It’s an artificial tyranny imposed upon us by the secret world government in order to keep us from the independent thought that would allow us to realise there are in fact 417 days in a year. The world leaders spend these hidden 52 days at a giant orgy the rest of us aren’t even aware of, let alone invited to, because we’re too busy working, paying the taxes which fund that immense, secret international flesh-fest. It makes me so angry! Thus, I’m sickened that the Humble Bundle guys feel they can make light of the insidious concept of ‘weeks’, that they can appropriate this tool of ultimate opporession for a pay-what-you-want bundle of awesome indie games. This week – OH GOD THEY MADE ME SAY IT – it’s the turn of the incomparable Blendo Games. Atom Zombie Smasher, Flotilla, 30 Flights and Loving and more are yours for a low, low, customisable price. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (David Valjalo)

Scouse scoundrel David Valjalo gets taken on a tour of one of 2012′s indie highlights, Gravity Bone follow-up Thirty Flights Of Loving, by creator Brendon Chung. Together, they unravel the myriad movie and game references buried deep in this short, sharp burst of first-person, spy-themed adventure.> (more…)

Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 50% on Thirty Flights of Loving!

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

Kotaku

Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012I played more games in 2012 than any other year of my life. It was a weird—but thoroughly wonderful—year, and one that upset a lot of my expectations. Games I'd assumed would be amazing fell short of the mark, while others came out of nowhere to become fast favorites.



This being a time well-suited for retrospection, I thought it'd be a good idea to write down my ten eleven favorite games of the year. (I tried to keep it to ten, I really did.)



Here they are, in no particular order.





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




Thirty Flights of Loving



Usually when people talk about Blendo's Thirty Flights of Loving, they talk about its brevity. What's most striking about this game's brief run-time isn't just that it's short, it's how much it manages to do in such a short time. By cleverly using hints, allusion, tropes and subverted clichés, Thirty Flights packs more drama and intrigue into 15 minutes than many games manage in 15 hours. It was one of the most memorable things I played all year, and something I'll be recommending to friends for years to come. (PC only)





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




Max Payne 3



For some reason, I feel this underlying sense of disappointment whenever people talk about Max Payne 3. And yet all these months later, I still find myself playing it, and I have to say: This game was baller. It wasn't just that it had better graphics than anything else that came out this year (on PC, anyway). It wasn't just the ridiculously good soundtrack. It was the way it played, the overwhelming sense of kinetic, chaotic danger. A sequence set in a cubicle-filled office was the most brutal and exhilarating action sequence I played all year. It has its share of problems, sure: Some difficulty-spikes made me want to throw my TV out a window, and at times it felt like more of a movie than a game. Considering how gritty and self-serious it all was, it sure could be ridiculous. But even if it lacked the charm of past Max Payne games, Max Payne 3 more than made up for it with satisfying, stylish, bloody-minded action. (Xbox, PS3, PC)





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




The Walking Dead



For a time, somewhere immediately after I completed the devastating, masterful third episode of Telltale's The Walking Dead, I was convinced it was the best thing I played all year. After completing the game and taking some time to really look it over, I have to say that there were enough technical niggles, rough edges, bugs and reported save-game errors that I came away a bit frustrated with it. All the same, seeing a mainstream game this well-written, a game that treats its characters with this level of care, felt like a watershed occurrence. Sure, there have been other great adventure games in the past, but never one that felt so confidently of-the-moment. With every accolade, game critics and players are making a statement: We want good stories in our games, thank you very much. May The Walking Dead pave the way for countless more games like it. (Xbox, PS3, PC, iOS)





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




Hotline Miami



Violent, crazed, self-aware and painfully cool, Hotline Miami was one of the most maddening, involving games I played this fall. The soundtrack was so good it hurt. The story was as disgusting and uncomfortable as anything I've ever played. The action was peerless. I can't remember where I first saw this, but Hotline Miami is best described as a series of rehearsals before a final performance—again and again you die, until you choreograph your own perfect ballet of death. By the time you leave each blood-soaked floor, you'll be intimately familiar with every nook and cranny. An exacting, meticulous, brilliantly brutal game. (PC only, coming soon to Mac)





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




Gravity Rush



I didn't know what to expect going in to Gravity Rush. I'd heard good things, liked what little I'd seen of in trailers, but really had no deeper notion of it. It didn't take me long to fall for it, and when I fell, I fell hard. Appropriate, since this superhero game isn't about flying; it's about falling. And it's a superhero game in the best sense: It showed me a world that was as mysterious as it was fantastical, loaded with unanswered questions and improbable vistas, and let me explore it as an instantly likable character. Best of all, the gravity-manipulation controls actually took me a while to get used to; they felt genuinely, at times startlingly new. The game had its problems—notably, the combat was frustrating and several sections from the halfway point onward could be a real slog—but when it was firing on all cylinders, Gravity Rush was a dizzy joy. (PS Vita)





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




XCOM: Enemy Unknown



Every year, it seems there's one game that hits me right in my gaming sweet-spot. Last year it was Deus Ex: Human Revolution and this year it was XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I fell entirely under this game's spell, regularly finding myself up at 3 or 4 in the morning, heading out on one more mission before finally going to bed. Here's a story: the early PC press build of the game caused a strange error with my save game, and I lost about ten hours of progress. I had to start over fresh, but I found myself doing so without a complaint. And I wasn't even reviewing the game! I relished the opportunity to play the opening acts again, to use what I'd learned and get everything right. I anticipate I'll be playing it well into the future. It doesn't just belong in my top ten eleven—XCOM: Enemy Unknown was one of my two or three favorite games of the year. (Xbox, PS3, PC)





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




Journey



Just today, I put forth the argument for why this game should be Kotaku's overall game of the year. I also reviewed it back when it came out. I don't have much more to add, so I'll just say that it's a beautiful, remarkably assured game that does what it does so well it's easy to forget just how difficult it must have been to make. It's ThatGameComany's masterpiece. (PS3 only)





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




Far Cry 3



I showed up to Far Cry 3 with a lot of baggage: See, Far Cry 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, and everything I'd seen of Far Cry 3 made me think it would be a less serious, less focused, move video-gamey take on its predecessor. And it was that. It was also awesome. At some point, maybe around the eight- or nine-hour mark, I realized that I didn't want to stop playing. I wanted to keep going, and going, growing my abilities, learning the island, exploring, conquering, and hang-gliding. Sure, the story fell apart for me a bit after the halfway point. And yeah, my adventures wound up making the islands far too safe, devoid of enemies to fight. But as a feat of game design and technical artistry, Far Cry 3 deserves recognition. (For more, see my full review.) It's not just that it does so many things so well—it's that it does them well in the service of being a really fun video game. (Xbox, PS3, PC)





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




Botanicula



No other game this year made me smile as widely or as often as Botanicula. The Michel Gondry-esque art, the wonderful physical comedy, the amazing, handcrafted music and sound effects, and fantastical story won me over completely. So many games concern themselves with mastery and competition; far too few concern themselves with joy. Botanicula was easily the most joyful game of 2012. (PC, Mac)





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




Sleeping Dogs



Sleeping Dogs was one of the very best surprises of 2012, a fine open-world game that proved how oftentimes, GTA-style games can be even more fun without guns. It didn't quite have Rockstar's lavish production values, but United Front's take on the city of Hong Kong sparkled at every turn, and the PC version in particular looked lovely. It conveyed such a remarkable sense of place, perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that you had to drive on the left side of the road. The story was strong too, a surprisingly mature tale that borrowed heavily from Hong Kong cinema. Anyone familiar with undercover cop-stories likely saw every twist and turn coming, but I still enjoyed it all, thanks largely to the top-rate performances. Sleeping Dogs felt like a game that knew its own boundaries: It didn't come with any shoehorned-in multiplayer, and it didn't become overstuffed or fall apart in the third act. It was good all the way to the end, and even beyond: I'm still playing the DLC. Here's hoping Sleeping Dogs merits a sequel. Sleeping Dogs 2: Waking Dogs? I'd play it. (Xbox, PS3, PC)





Kirk's Top 10 11 Games Of 2012




Persona 4 Golden



And now we come to the end, where I'd put the number one game, if these were in order. And while they're not in order, still, Persona 4 Golden kind of deserves to be mentioned last. XCOM may have hit me square in the game-nerve, but I fell even more profoundly into Persona 4 Golden. I ache for this game, you guys. Earlier this year, I had played 60-odd hours of Persona 3, and every time I'd tell someone how much I dug that game, they'd say, "Wait until you play Persona 4." They were right.



Jason and I have already gone into great detail about why we love Persona 4, and if I couldn't capture my feelings in that many thousands of words, I probably should just give up. The town of Inaba and its residents have left an indelible mark on me; I'll never forget this game. (PS Vita, original game is also on PS2)





And that's that. Oh, hmm. There were a few games I didn't get to list here, so honorable mentions go to FTL, Mark of the Ninja, Dyad, Torchlight II, Dishonored, Papo & Yo, Super Hexagon and Sound Shapes.



2012 was a great, often surprising year for games. Here's hoping 2013 is even better.


Product Release - Valve
Thirty Flights of Loving is now available on Mac!

Explore the world of Thirty Flights of Loving through a first-person short story. In this sequel to Gravity Bone, take a deep dive with high-flying schemers, lovelorn criminals, and more stray kittens than you can shake a stick at. Saddle up, gunslinger.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

When I beat the absolutely wonderful Thirty Flights Of Loving over the weekend, I had precisely one immediate reaction: “Wait, what just happened?” I cannot even begin to tell you how much that excites me. But then I decided to write an article about it, largely because one of my greatest passions in life is defying nonsencial figures of speech. At any rate, Thirty Flights Of Loving packs loads of information into not-even-30-minutes with hardly any dialog or exposition. But, in some ways, it’s even more of a supposed “un-game” than, say, Modern Warfare 3. I mean, all> agency is illusory. Without spoiling anything (note: that’ll happen a little bit after the break), you’re along for the ride – and that’s it. In a couple bits, it doesn’t even matter where you walk. The game will just jump-cut you to your intended location.

So why is it one of my absolute favorite games – and yes, I one hundred percent believe it’s a game – of the year? Because it made me think about what happened. No, scratch that. It required> me to think.

(more…)

Kotaku

Why I'm Rallying For Shorter Games I played a game that lasted only 10 minutes and it was glorious. It also cost me five bucks. Yes: I am saying that a game that amounts to one dollar per two minutes was worth the investment.



In fact I was so struck by how short the game was, I couldn't help but wonder why we don't have more games in a commercial setting that only last ten, fifteen minutes if played in their entirety. Not games we can play for a few minutes and put down: games that last a few minutes, period.



That game that sparked these thoughts would be the experimental Thirty Flights of Loving, the follow-up to Brendon Chung's indie darling, Gravity Bone. It's a tale of heist gone horribly wrong for a band of criminal schemers, which we have to piece together after a series of smaller, fast paced vignettes and montages.



Chung calls a "first person short story." This is an apt description. A short story, after all, is something that hones in on just a few things and often concentrates on mood instead of the plot. Thirty Flights and its refusal to give the player too much information-which works beautifully for stringing the player along-and its quirky aesthetic and tone fits the bill of a 'short story.' You can't quite figure out the exact details and context of the plot. But the mood and feel of the game is still carried well.



It reminded me of how recently, I've been reading a whole lot of the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Not his novels—his short stories. I was hooked, and the length had everything to do with it. No filler. Just pure, condensed story—there's no having to read through hundreds of pages to understand 'the point' of what I was reading. Fantastic. I'm a busy person. I don't have time for garbage.



And if the media I'm consuming isn't worth my time, then I move on to the next tab, the next song, the next YouTube clip. Whatever delivers. But there's always something next on the docket.







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Notice a pattern here? Length. Speed. Moving forward to the next thing—because we're all hungry for information and our lives are a daily struggle to cram as much in it as possible, in the least amount of time possible.



Many of us bemoan that games are getting shorter and shorter, some of us would even like our games to never end. But maybe we're ignoring the fact that this shortening is happening to media-at-large and it's something that we actually like, speaking generally.



And why wouldn't we like it? Constant stimulation feels...good. Compulsive. At times maybe lacking depth, but good.



Many of the games that will come to top GOTY lists this year, I suspect, will be shorter games. Journey. Walking Dead. Fez. Papo & Yo. Just to name a few.



Notice a pattern here? Length. Speed. Moving forward to the next thing-because we're all hungry for information and our lives are a daily struggle to cram as much in it as possible, in the least amount of time possible.

It's not the length that will give these titles the ability to contend for the top prize, of course. Nobody is going to award a game a prize for being short. But being short means that a game has to be conscientious of how it asks us to spend our time, and to be, above all, punchy. Shorter games have to be better games—or else. We might be willing to forgive a longer game for segments that drag on, but a shorter game is burned at the stake for the mistake.



A shorter game forces a developer to focus on only the aspects of a game worth including and experiencing. It's no surprise that titles like The Walking Dead feel tight and well-paced. There's nothing superfluous in it. And, should it be that the game is actually drivel? Well, it was short—you didn't have to suffer through it for too long and, ideally, didn't spend much money on it either.



Consider, too, that not only is our free time disappearing as we are all getting older—according to the ESA's average gamer age, anyway—but stats show that we just plain don't finish most of the games we play. So why do we keep asking for them to be longer and longer when the truth is that most of us don't have the extra time for it, and if we did, we're not even finishing the games anyway?



Give me more shorter games. Longer games have their place, and I don't want them to go away. But I also want to feel that my time is respected, and I want to play as many games as possible. Maybe you do too.



(Credit Bloomua | Shutterstock)
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