PC Gamer
Halting Problem by Terry Cavanagh


This hardened gamer still has literal nightmares about that VVVVVV level where you hop along the undersides of wildly ping-ponging platforms while trying not to fall into a pit of spikes—you know, that level. And let's not even talk about how quickly my fat fingers fail at the psychedelic Super Hexagon. Terry Cavanagh's notorious for laying out challenges of immense difficulty—what will happen when he sinks his hands into the puzzle genre? We'll be finding out soon.

Over on his Distractionware blog, Cavanagh has posted a screenshot of his next work-in-progress, a puzzle game with the oh-so-appropriate working title Halting Problem. Something tells me that the simple level layout and the happy little dude are not indicative of the near-frustrating challenges we will be posed.

Puzzling is something I actually quizzed Cavanagh on a couple of years ago, and he has some rather strict opinions on what actually constitutes a puzzle game; he feels that the term has been misapplied with some of his previous work.

"I don't really consider the challenges in VVVVVV 'puzzles,'" Cavanagh told me in an email. "I think the term 'puzzle' gets thrown around in games all the time for things that aren't really puzzles, like Tetris or whatever."

Despite his own work having shied away from puzzling territory, he's long been a proponent of games such as DROD, who he cites as an influence on Halting Problem; it'll be exciting, and possibly a little terrifying, to see what Cavanagh can accomplish in the puzzle genre.
PC Gamer
steam indie spring sale


To coincide with IGF, PAX, GDC, OMG and WTF, Steam have slung up one of their impromptu sales, discounting tons of indie games to ensure that our libraries continue to heave under the sheer weight of unplayed games. How nice of them. I hope you've hidden your wallet after last time, because there are some cracking deals to be had, including Super Hexagon, Binding of Isaac and Terraria for silly money.

There's no countdown, so I'm assuming the many games on sale are going to stay the same price until the sale ends on March 29th (the 'Featured' games will likely rotate day by day, without offering any additional savings). There's a lot of games going cheap - more than is evident from the main page - so be sure to poke around for the ones you're interested in. Here are few of the better offers:

FTL - £3.49 (50% off)
Hotline Miami - £3.49 (50% off)
To The Moon - £2.79 (60% off)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent - £3.24 (75% off)
Miasmata - £5.99 (50% off)
Lone Survivor - £3.39 (50% off)
The Blackwell Bundle - £3.74 (75% off)
Retro City Rampage - £3.99 (67% off)
Ultratron, which came out like yesterday - £3.49 (50% off)
Euro Truck Simulator 2 - £12.49 (50% off)
PC Gamer
Humble Bundle Android 5


Don't worry, the Humble Bundle for Android 5 may name-check Google's telephonic operating system but, in typically Humble fashion, the latest round-up of pay-what-you-want indie games is available for PC, Mac and Linux too. This version of cross-platform indie pick 'n mix includes four games as standard, with another two available to those who beat the average. Among them is the excellent Super Hexagon.



Joining Terry Cavanagh's geometric avoid 'em up are music based schmup Beat Hazard Ultra, 2D action adventure Dynamite Jack, physics toybox Solar 2, and atmospheric puzzle platformer NightSky. You'll also get Dungeon Defenders plus its DLC for paying more than the current average.

As always, your payment can be split a variety of ways between the individual developers, the charities EFF and Child's Play and the Humble Bundle organisers. Pay over $1, and you'll also receive Steam keys for all of the games.
PC Gamer
Far Cry 3 Vaas thumb


BAFTA have released the nomination shortlist for the upcoming 2013 round of their Video Game awards. PS3 exclusive Journey tops the nomination leaderboard - it's up for eight categories. But Telltale's The Walking Dead and Ubisoft's Far Cry 3 aren't far behind, receiving nods in seven and six categories respectively. There's also strong indie recognition. Dear Esther is nominated for five awards, Thomas Was Alone for three, and both Proteus and Super Hexagon both receive a mention.

The ceremony takes place on March 5th, and will streamed live on Twitch.tv. Tune in to find out if we live in a world where CoDBlOps2 can be given an award for "Game Innovation".

Full list below:

Action
Borderlands 2
Development Team
Gearbox/2K Games
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Development Team
Treyarch/Activision
Far Cry 3
Dan Hay, Patrick Plourde, Patrik Methe
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Halo 4
Development Team
343 Industries/Microsoft Studios
Hitman: Absolution
Development Team
Io – Interactive/Square-Enix
Mass Effect 3
Development Team
BioWare/EA

Artistic Achievement
Borderlands 2
Development Team
Gearbox/2K Games
Dear Esther
Robert Briscoe
Thechineseroom/thechineseroom
Far Cry 3
Jean Alexis Doyan, Genseki Tanaka, Vincent Jean
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Halo 4
Development Team
343 Industries/Microsoft Studios
Journey
Development Team
That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
The Room
Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade
Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games

Audio Achievement
Assassin's Creed III
Mathieu Jeanson
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Beat Sneak Bandit
Simon Flesser, Magnus "Gordon" Gardebäck,
Simogo/Simogo
Dear Esther
Jessica Curry
Thechineseroom/thechineseroom
Far Cry 3
Dan Hay, Tony Gronick, Brian Tyler
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Halo 4
Development Team
343 Industries/Microsoft Studios
Journey
Development Team
That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Best Game
Dishonoured
Development Team
Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Far Cry 3
Dan Hay, Patrick Plourde, Patrik Methè
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
FIFA 13
David Rutter, Nick Channon, Aaron McHardy
EA Canada/EA
Journey
Development Team
That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Mass Effect 3
Casey Hudson
BioWare/EA
The Walking Dead
Development Team
Telltale Games/Telltale

British Game
Dear Esther
Daniel Pinchbeck, Robert Briscoe, Jessica Curry
Thechineseroom/thechineseroom
Forza Horizon
Development Team
Playground Games/Turn 10 Studios/Microsoft Studios
LEGO: The Lord of the Rings
Development Team
TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Development Team
Criterion Games/EA
The Room
Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade
Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games
Super Hexagon
Terry Cavanagh, Niamh Houston, Jenn Frank
Terry Cavanagh/Terry Cavanagh

Debut Game
Deadlight
Raul Rubio, Luz Sancho, Oscar Cuesta
Tequila Works/Microsoft Studios
Dear Esther
DanielPinchbeck, Robert Briscoe, Jessica Curry
Thechineseroom/thechineseroom
Forza Horizon
Development Team
Playground Games/Turn 10 Studios/Microsoft Studios
Proteus
Ed Key, David Kanaga
Twisted Tree Games/Twisted Tree Games
The Room
Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade
Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games
The Unfinished Swan
Ian Dallas, Nathan Gary
Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Game Design
Borderlands 2
Development Team
Gearbox/2K Games
Dishonored
Development Team
Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Far Cry 3
Patrick Methè, Jamie Keen
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Journey
Development Team
That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
The Walking Dead
Development Team
Telltale Games/Telltale
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Development Team
Firaxis/2K Games

Family
Clay Jam
Chris Roem Iain Gilfeather, Michael Movel
Fat Pebble/Zynga
Just Dance 4
Alkis Argyriadis, Matthew Tomkinson, Veronique Halbrey
Ubisoft Paris/Ubisoft
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Jon Burton, Jonathan Smith, John Hodskinson
TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment
LEGO the Lord of the Rings
Development Team
TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment
Minecraft: XBOX 360 Edition
Development Team
Mojang/4J Studios/Microsoft Studios Xbox LIVE Arcade
Skylanders Giants
Paul Reiche, Fred Ford, Scott Krager
Toys For Bob/Activision

Game Innovation
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Development Team
Treyarch/Activision
Fez
Development Team
Polytron Corporation/Microsoft Studios Xbox LIVE Arcade
Journey
Development Team
That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Kinect Sesame Street TV
Development Team
Soho Productions/Microsoft Studios
The Unfinished Swan
Ian Dallas, Nathan Gary
Development Team
Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Wonderbook: Books of Spells
Development Team
London Studio/ Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Mobile & Handheld
Incoboto
Dene Carter
Fluttermind/Fluttermind
LittleBigPlanet (Vita)
Tom O'Connor, Mattias Nygren, Lee Hutchinson
Tarsier Studios/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
New Star Soccer
Simon Read
New Star Games/New Star Games
The Room
Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade
Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games
Super Monsters Ate My Condo
Development Team
Adult Swim Games/Adult Swim Games
The Walking Dead
Development Team
Telltale Games/Telltale

Online - Browser
Amateur Surgeon Hospital
Development Team
Mediatonic/Adult Swim Games
Dick and Dom's HOOPLA!
Adam Clay
Team Cooper/CBBC
Merlin: The Game
Development Team
Bossa Studios/Bossa Studios
Runescape
Development Team
Jagex/Jagex
The Settlers Online
Christopher Schmitz, Guido Schmidt, Rainer Reber
Blue Byte Software/Ubisoft
SongPop
Olivier Michon, Thibaut Crenn, Daouna Jeong
FreshPlanet/FreshPlanet

Online - Multiplayer
Assassin's Creed III
Damien Kieken, Mathieu Granjon, Yann Le Guyader
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Borderlands 2
DevelopmentTeam
Gearbox/2K Games
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Development Team
Treyarch/Activision
Halo 4
Development Team
343 Industries/Microsoft Studios
Journey
Development Team
That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Need For Speed Most Wanted
Development Team
Criterion Games/EA

Original Music
Assassin's Creed III
Lorne Balfe
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Diablo III
Development Team
Blizzard Entertainment/ Blizzard Entertainment
Journey
Austin Wintory
That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Thomas Was Alone
David Housden
Mike Bithell/Mike Bithell
The Unfinished Swan
Joel Corlitz, Ian Dallas, Peter Scaturro
Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
The Walking Dead
Development Team
Telltale Games/Telltale

Performer
Adrian Hough (Haytham) - Assassin's Creed III
Danny Wallace (The Narrator) - Thomas Was Alone
Dave Fennoy (Lee Everett) - The Walking Dead
Melissa Hutchinson (Clementine) - The Walking Dead
Nigel Carrington (The Narrator) - Dear Esther
Nolan North (Nathan Drake) - Uncharted: Golden Abyss

Sports/Fitness
FIFA 13
David Rutter, Nick Channon, Aaron McHardy
EA Canada/EA
F1 2012
Development Team
Codemasters Birmingham/Codemasters Racing
Forza Horizon
Development Team
Playground Games/Turn10 Studios/Microsoft Studios
New Star Soccer
Simon Read
New Star Games/New Star Games
Nike+ Kinect Training
Development Team
Sumo Digital Ltd/Microsoft Studios
Trials Evolution
Development Team
Antti llvessup, Kim Lahti
RedLynx/Microsoft Studios

Story
Dishonoured
Development Team
Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Far Cry 3
Jeffrey Yohalem, Lucien Soulban, Jeffrey Yohalem
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Journey
Development Team
That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Mass Effect 3
Mac Walters
BioWare/EA
Thomas was Alone
Mike Bithell
Mike Bithell/Mike Bithell
The Walking Dead
Development Team
Telltale Games/Telltale

Strategy
Dark Souls: Prepare To Die
Development Team
From Software/Namco Bandai Games
Diablo III
Development Team
Blizzard Entertainment/Blizzard Entertainment
Football Manager 2013
Development Team
Sports Interactive/SEGA
Great Big War Game
David Moss, Steve Venezia, Paul Johnson
Rubicon Development/Rubican Development
Total War Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai
Development Team
The Creative Assembly/SEGA
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Development Team
Firaxis/2K Games

BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in association with Dare to Be Digital
Pixel Story
Martin Cosens, Thomas McParland, Ashley Hayes, Benhamin Rushton, Luke Harrison
(Loan Wolf Games)
Project Thanatos
Hugh Laird, Andrew Coles, Thomas Laird, Alexandra Shapland, Thomas Kemp
(Raptor Games)
Starcrossed
Kimi Sulopuisto, Vili Viitaniemi, Minttu Meriläinen, Petri Liuska, Andrew MacLean
(Kind of a Big Deal)

Given that they've been recognising games for a few years now, shouldn't BAFTA update their acronym to reflect the fact? BAFTGA, maybe? BAGFTA? Perhaps not.
PC Gamer
IGF


The shortlist for the 15th IGF award finalists has been revealed. There were more than 580 entries this year, across an incredibly diverse range of genres, requiring the attention of some 200 judges to help pare down the games into seven award categories, with five nominees apiece.

Contenders for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize are as follows:

80s-video-nasty-inspired, bloody, top-down actioner, Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)
Unforgiving, calamity-prone spaceship survival sim, FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)
Socially astute mundane-job sim-cum-arcade game, Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)
Meta-critical toy-burning casual-game satire, Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)
Gorgeous magic-realist adventure, Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Meanwhile, honourable mentions went to Gone Home (The Fullbright Company); Thirty Flights of Loving (Blendo Games); The Stanley Parable (Galactic Cafe); Super Hexagon (Terry Cavanagh); Starseed Pilgrim (Droqen & Ryan Roth).

Head over to the IGF site to see the full list of nominees each of the categories - visual art, narrative, technical excellence, design, audio and the Nuovo award for "abstract and unconventional game development". The winners will be announced as part of the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, on Wednesday 27 March.
PC Gamer
Nexus City


Terry Cavanagh, the man behind the indie hits VVVVVV and Super Hexagon (and, as such, the man whose name I've cursed thousands of times) has announced he's no longer to develop Nexus City, or its spin-off game Selma's Story. Nexus City was to be an RPG collaboration between Cavanagh and writer/developer Jonas Kyratzes, whose previous games include The Sea Will Claim Everything and the free Twine game Moonlight.

Posting on his Distractionware blog, Cavanagh writes, "Originally a very small game, over time it grew completely out of control – at this point, Jonas and I have worked on it on and off for over two years. However, that doesn’t really paint an accurate picture – I haven’t worked on Nexus City itself since 2011, and I only worked on the spinoff game, Selma’s Story, for two months last year."

"I’ve been thinking of Nexus City as “the thing I’m working on” since 2010. As a result, for a long time now, I’ve felt like I wasn’t really in control of what I can work on. Promising games would come along, and I’d stop myself from getting too deep into them, because I had to finish Nexus City first. Everything became a big ordered list of what I could work on and when, how long I could spend on it."

Cavanagh admits that despite the game promising an "amazing world with an amazing story," the momentum has long since run out. So what's next for the game-maker/engineer of perversely enjoyable frustration? "Right now – for the moment, I think I may just take some time off ... After that? I don’t really know! I have a clean slate again for the first time in a very long time, and I’m very excited about that."
Dec 6, 2012
PC Gamer
superhexagon-to-use


Monday's review: You're a small triangle navigating a maze as its walls pivot and spin toward you in predictable patterns and with increasing speed. Avoid the walls for as long as you can and compete for the longest times. It's fun, but too small, simple and hard to provide lasting pleasure. 60%.

Tuesday's review: I came back to it just for the music. It's 8-bit, but less concerned with high-pitched bleeps than dirty, throbbing beats. The music doesn't become repetitive either, despite dying and restarting dozens of times each minute, as it begins at a different place in the song after each death. There's a moment at one minute forty seconds into the track Courtesy that's all I need to beat my best time. 72%.

Wednesday's review: There's a surprising amount of nuance in the design. The lovely way your ship slightly sways in the direction you're turning, or how your sides can safely graze surfaces so you're always surfing the edge of failure. Even the female voice that announces the game's name is canny, making it feel like you're plugging yourself into an entrancing futuristic machine. 78%.

For a while, this was my best time.

Thursday's review: Super Hexagon has three controls: left arrow, right arrow, and your brain. My leaps in ability, small though they are, all feel like I'm hacking my brain rather than improving my dexterity. I've learnt to use my peripheral vision, so I can start each turn earlier. I've discovered I play better when I'm in conversation with someone at the same time, so I start chatting to whoever's nearby while I play. When my times begin to plateau, I skip up to higher difficulty levels, play those for 15 minutes, and then return back down. Everything looks slower, because I've wired my brain to run faster. When I turn away from the game now, the real world keep spinning. 84%

Friday's review: Super Hexagon is about reaching escape velocity from your own feeble reflexes. It's about defeating a never-ending, corporeal chiptune. It's a game you dance to, as much about surfing music as AudioSurf. It's a puzzle game, about memorising routines and overcoming mental blocks. It's the ludological purist's answer to Hotline Miami. It's about momentum, speed, grace under pressure. When I play it, I don't blink. When I die, I'm never frustrated. In moments when it has me in rapt attention on its dancefloor, it's the greatest game in the world. 96%.

Saturday's review: The sobering light of the morning always brings perspective. Super Hexagon is fun, focused, elegant and compulsively challenging. For some, it'll be an intense months-long relationship. For most, it'll be more like a single life in the game itself: thrilling, a worthwhile learning experience, and over quickly.
PC Gamer - PC Gamer
Martin Chris TomS


Chris, Marsh and Tom Senior discuss Darksiders 2, Little Inferno, Long Live the Queen, Super Hexagon, Far Cry 3 and much more. Features at least two rants, the Steam charts, and your questions from Twitter.

Show notes:

Marsh's Darksiders II review.
Tom F's Far Cry 3 review.
Super Hexagon.
Long Live the Queen (borderline NSFW, or at the very least you'll get a funny look).
Little Inferno.
Jenn Frank's Allow Natural Death.
The #1reasonwhy and #1reasontobe hashtags.


Awful if true answers:

Darksiders II developers Vigil have not been closed.
...

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