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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha [ModDB page], the fantastic free standalone mod inspired by bits of Shadow of Chernobyl that appeared in alpha versions but were cut for the final release, is now properly out. Craig adored the version released in 2014, so a big update is fantastic news. You might remember Dezowave reluctantly released 2014’s unfinished (but still great) version after scamps leaked a rough development build. Now they’ve launched what they’re calling the Developer’s Cut of Lost Alpha, fixing bugs and making it even bigger. Have a look: … [visit site to read more]
Back in the days of STALKER and its two sequels, I felt like I was the only games hack who didn’t get sent on a tour of Chernobyl and Pripyat. Those who did visit came back with reports of rain and health worries and mystery meats, then shared photographs of them smiling in front of a decaying Ferris wheel or looking sombre in a Marie Celeste classroom. Perhaps it is best that I never went myself. What a strange thing to be a tourist to. Is any possible response appropriate?
The Chernobyl VR Project, essentially finished but for the time being only available for Oculus Rift, with a more refined version due for both that and Vive a little later, gives me my chance to be a tourist, without the background anxiety about background radiation. … [visit site to read more]
1) Passivity makes me fidgety. Even in a film, TV show, gig or novel I’m hugely enjoying, my mind will at some point drift to the clock, wondering how soon until it ends, how soon until I can stand up or talk or check something or eat something or go somewhere. Awful, I know. Games, broadly, need me to be doing something most of the time, and that is the greatest weapon I have against a propensity to boredom that I am not at all proud of. This is also why I start to go spare in something like StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, as it spends so much of its duration pummelling me with particularly low-grade passive storytelling, and my frustration that I have to watch this nonsense instead of do things for myself goes through the roof.
Books! They’re like films without pictures, or games that are all cutscene. Old people and hipsters really like them, teenagers think they’re like totally lame, and quite frankly we should all read more of them. There are countless games inspired by books – most especially Tolkien, Lovecraft and early Dungeons & Dragon fiction – but surprisingly few games based directly on books. Even fewer good ones.
Perhaps one of the reasons for that is that a game can, in theory, cleave closer to what a book does than a film can – with their length and their word counts, their dozens of characters and in some cases even their own in-game books, they can to some degree do the job of a novel. They don’t need to be based on books – and often they can do so much more, thanks to the great promise of non-linearity. Of course, the real reason for the dearth is that novels are so rarely the massive business a movie is these days. You might get a forlorn Hunger Games tie-in here and there, but suited people in gleaming office blocks just aren’t going to commission an adaptation of the latest Magnus Mills tale, more’s the pity.
I suspect that, over time, we’ll see the non-corporate side of games development increasingly homage the written word, but for now, these ten games (and seven honourable mentions) are, as far as I’m concerned, the best, and most landmark, results of page-to-pixel adaptation to date.
Hunting for distribution rights is essentially detective work, says Marcin Paczy ski, Head of Product at GOG. Rights can repeatedly change hands or be split up between different parties, and it s our job to get to the bottom of what happened.
Preservation of old games involves more than just an extra patch. The journey from dusty unplayable relic to polished, cross-platform installer is a minefield of technical and legal obstacles. The team at Good Old Games remain the industry leaders in the restoration of classic PC games, tasked with reverse engineering code written more than 20 years ago, unraveling knotty licensing issues left behind by defunct development studios, and battling lethargy on the part of skeptical publishers. It s a thrilling and, at times, gruelling process, but – as the GOG team will testify – it never fails to surprise.
Warning: in this piece I’m primarily talking about Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, which isn’t out on PC as yet, though I’ll willingly devour at least one item of clothing if it doesn’t walk this way eventually. Anyway, I talk about STALKER and Dear Esther too, so everything’s OK.>
Playing The Chinese Room’s new game, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, what strikes me almost immediately is not the mystery, the science fiction trappings or even the extreme prettiness. It’s that I’m in England. A very particular England. … [visit site to read more]