The well-meaning earnestness and awesome gaminess of the Humble Indie Bundle IV are being exploited by evil internet users who would probably sell their own grans to be in with a chance of winning the latest Steam competition.
According to the Humble Indie Bundle blog, distinctly un-humble buyers are using the Steam codes from the Humble Indie Bundle to legitimise throwaway Steam accounts created specifically to enter Valve’s current raffle. “It’s a lose-lose situation for the indie developers, charities, Valve, and Humble Bundle,” says the blog.
To combat this, the minimum you’ll have to spend in order to get Steam keys in your Bundle is $1, instead of 1 cent. If the Scrooges among you can’t afford the $1 minimum you can contact the Humble Indie guys and they’ll send you the Steam keys - if you promise not to resell them or otherwise abuse them.
The incessant, nauseating loop of Band Aid on the radio and tear-jerking ads for homeless dogs on the telly are there to remind us that Christmas isn’t just about being drunk for a whole day, but that it’s also about donating to charities and hard-up indie game developers. Let's just hope the Humble Indie guys don't lose faith in the goodness of humanity.
Humble Bundle 4 has made as much money in a day as Humble Bundle 3 did in a week. The total payments sum is shown live on the Humble Indie Bundle 4 front page (currently $1,261,341 and counting). The folks behind the bundle tell us that it took the last sale seven days to reach similar figures, adding that Humble Bundle customers have donated more than $3 million to charity in total so far.
The Humble Indie Bundle 4 is the most tempting bundle yet. You can pay anything for Super Meat Boy, Jamestown, Bit.Trip Runner, Shank and NightSky. If you pay more than the average donation (currently $5.36), you get Gratuitous Space Battles and Cave Story+. If the bundle keeps selling at this rate, it could hit the $14 million mark when it ends in 12 days time. Humble Bundle organiser Richard Esguerra is understandably quite pleased. "We're thrilled to see the gaming community respond so enthusiastically to this bundle, which has been about half a year in the making," he says.
After peeking out from behind Steam's registry files earlier today, Humble Indie Bundle 4 has made its official debut. And yes, it's everything you hoped for. I mean, if this is what happens when the Bundle Wars heat up, I'm all for it.
To start off, there's Jamestown, Bit.Trip Runner, Super Meat Boy, Shank, and NightSky. I know, I know. Your piggy bank just let out a frightened squeal and then exploded. But there's more. If you beat the average price, the masters of the not-so-ancient art of indie bundling will throw in Cave Story+ and Gratuitous Space Battles. As of now, said average is just a spec over $5.00. So yes, take your piggy bank's charred ashes and make with the spending.
Some inquisitive fellows on NeoGaf have been raiding the Steam content registry for clues, and seem to have come across some entries suggesting that that Alan Wake may be heading to PC.
In further support of the Alan Wake PC release rumours, Just Push Start spotted an interview on Finnish site YLEX in which Aki Järvilehto from Remedy said "we have received feedback from a lot of PC gamers, and I have to admit that yes, we somehow ignored that. Let’s see if in the near future we could have some positive news to tell you about dating!" We love positive news about dating!
Way back in 2006, Alan Wake was the poster boy for Intel's Core 2 Duo CPU, and was regularly demoed on PC to show off its multi-threading tech. Then, all of a sudden, it became an Xbox 360 exclusive, and the PC version vanished. As a PC version was worked on heavily in the run up to its release, it theoretically shouldn't be too hard to resurrect it for a Steam release. It'd coincide nicely with the downloadable Alan Wake follow up story, Alan Wake's American Nightmare, which is heading to the Xbox 360 early next year.
It's not just Alan Wake haunting the Steam registry files. DIY Gamer have spotted evidence of a very tasty new Humble Bundle. The registry entry suggests that a new bundle may include Super Meat Boy, BIT.TRIP.RUNNER, Jamestown, Nightsky and Shank as a starting lineup, with Gratuitous Space Battles and Cave Story+ to be added after the bundle has kicked off. If accurate, that's a fantastic collection. How much would you pay for that bundle, and would you like to see Alan Wake come to Steam?
The Steam sale is doing a good job of expanding our game collections, but what about our ears? They need entertainment too. The Indie Game Music Bundle is here to help. You can pay what you want above a dollar for the collection, which includes sountracks from ten games, including Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, VVVVVV and Cobalt, from artists like C418, Souleye, danny B, Jake "virt" Kaufman. Find the full list below, with links to each album page, where you can listen to samples of many of the tracks on offfer.
The Indie Game Music Bundle includes:
Minecraft Cobalt Super Meat Boy Impostor Nostalgia Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda Return all Robots! Mighty Milky Way / Mighty Flip Champs VVVVVV Tree of Knowledge
The deal is available "for one day only," so grab it soon if you're interested.
Super Meat Boy completely won us over with its slightly icky take on the good ol’ platform genre. To celebrate its first anniversary, the game has been released as part of a huge bundle on Steam, which includes the original game, Aquaria, Bit.Trip Beat, Bit.Trip Runner, Braid, Gish, Machinarium, VVVVV and World of Goo. You’ll also get the music tracks from Super Meat Boy, Braid, Machinarium, Bit.Trip Beat and Bit.Trip Runner. That’s a whole bunch of indie gaming right there, and it’ll only set you back £17.89 ($28) - or £1.78 per game. Oh yeah, it also includes Half-Life 2, for some reason.
In this week's collection of free PC games, we explain how you can play Super Meat Boy for free! Well, sort of - and in a way that's well worth checking out. Elsewhere, we've got snakes, robots, werewolves and disgusting, lazy students. Computer games are awesome...
Increpare. Play it on the website.
The latest title from renowned indie studio Increpare is Line Bender - a small but smart twist on Snake. You know, that game you played on your enormous Nokia brick phone ten or eleven years ago. Yes, it's still going strong.
The idea here is that the middle section of the play area makes your 'snake' skip across to the other half of the screen. It's a wormhole, if you like - a big, blank space in the centre where nothing can exist.
It's a minor twist, certainly, but it completely transforms the way you play, as you learn to re-evaluate the game space. The simple presentation could have done to be spruced up a bit, being a straight-forward black-and-white job, but it at least allows you to focus entirely on the game's smart hook.
MFA Prep Course
John Bruneau, Marek Kapolka. Play it on the LudoGenesis website.
A very strange 'game', MFA Prep Course plonks you into the lazy boots of a filthy student. You're sitting at your desk. You should be doing work. However, because you're a student, you're looking for any possible reason to procrastinate.
You can drink coffee. You can spark up a cigarette. You can play with your phone a little. But that's it. Alongside the blocky, MS Paint-style visuals, it should be a recipe for disaster.
It's interesting, though, because of the control input. In order to perform these mundane actions, you've to control each of your protagonist's hands separately. One hand's mouse-controlled, the other keyboard-controlled, and it's surprisingly taxing to try to manipulate each limb in the manner in which it needs to be manipulated. It's a game that's worth playing for its form, then, rather than for the extremely limited content.
Super Meat Boy
Terry Cavanagh. Play it on his website.
This is just a quick one, but it's well worth playing. Basically, it's Super Meat Boy remade by VVVVVV developer Terry Cavanagh, vaguely in the visual style of his own brutal platform game.
In a blog post, Cavanagh explains that Team Meat asked him to draw a title screen Easter Egg for last year's famously challenging indie game - which Tyler Wilde very correctly score 90%. In the end, though, he ended up making his own version - and when he came across it again recently, he decided to throw it online.
There are only a few levels, and they're relatively easy to navigate. It would be great to see this expanded into a fuller product, though I suspect such a game is unlikely. Nevertheless, the combination of Meat Boy's platforming style and Cavanagh's visual touches make for a really interesting few minutes.
Ant Karlov. Play it on Armor Games.
This is a surprisingly adept side-scrolling shooter, which hopefully won't become lost in the sea of slightly inept side-scrolling shooters that frequently dominate the free PC gaming space. It's another zombie game, but it stands above the rest for its excellent use of physics and distinctive visual style.
It's a sort of hand-drawn, cartoon look, but one with some impressive attention to detail and some often beautiful depth to the images. And some neat physics enable you to take out the zombie hordes in new and interesting ways, mainly involving crushing them with boxes, barrels and suchlike.
If there's a complaint it'll be about the controls, which are a little wayward and floaty in that way that PS3 hit LittleBigPlanet became famous for. Personally, I don't think it's a problem, but you might. Either way, you get to shoot and crush zombies in a very pretty environment. Oh, and you play as a robot, which is awesome.
Where I Go At Night
Pat Kemp. Play it on Pat's website.
Two players. One human, one wolf, both part of the same body. By day the man searches a town for an elixir. By night the wolf takes over and goes on a rampage.
This is a really interesting take on a two-player game, asking players to work against each other in intervals. The daytime player's job is to build barricades to stop his nighttime alter-ago from chomping on the lovely townsfolk, while collecting elixirs to hopefully cure his ailment. Then the nighttime player must tear down those barriers and, y'know, aggressively murder people. During the switchover period it's a frantic fight for those few seconds where both forms are lucid. It's clever stuff.
While the game looks blocky and basic, it still manages to paint quite a lovely picture. People appear to go about their business in town, and the nighttime scenes take on a lovely glow that transcends the pixelated image. Well worth a look.
When Team Meat released the level editing tools and the Super Meat World update for Super Meat Boy, they said it would be the last update before they moved on to their second game. Turns out they have one last new feature to add in the form of the new 'Enter the Unknown' mode. This mode strings together a 20 level chapter made up of the highest rated user created levels, making it easy to jump straight into some of the best new maps without having to search through the portal
Team Meat have also streamlined the user voting system and added a "recommended chapter" tab to the level portal. Team Meat will use this to showcase the chapters they deem most awesome. They've also made a few final bugfixes before they definitely, definitely start work on their next game. You can find full details of the latest update on the Team Meat blog. If you're hoping for more Meat Boy in future, it's best not to get your hopes up. Team Meat say that "there will never, ever be a Super Meat Boy 2."
SPOILER: once you beat the Light World in Super Meat Boy, you unlock Cotton Alley: a bonus world that lets you play as Bandage Girl, listening to bubbly music while sawblades slice you up again and again. Get an A+ in all of those levels, and you can play through them in the Dark World, where they're exponentially more difficult. Beat all the stages without dying, and you'll unlock the Impossible Boy achievement, which a measly 0.1% of SMB players have accomplished. Record yourself doing this in one clean sweep and post it to YouTube, and you become a legend. SPOILER AGAIN: watching this video may bring you to enlightenment.
I don't know about you, but if I had reached the second-to-last level without dying yet, my palms would be sweatier than wearing mittens in a sauna. Kudos to Bullexcrements aka srakaaaaaa for literally achieving the Impossible, with some heart-stopping close calls thrown in for good measure. Check out the rest of his channel for more SMB nuttiness, including a valiant effort by Tofu Boy and a Wood Boy run with quite the varied cast.
Freeman's Mind is one of the best gaming series on YouTube. The premise is simple: creator Ross Scott plays though the original Half-Life, narrating with the thoughts of mute protagonist Gordon. It's frequently funny, but episodes have been a little thin on the ground recently. Thankfully, episode 32 has been uploaded this week. Take a look, and if this is your first journey into the mind of a theoretical physicist, ensure you take a look at the back-catalogue of Gordon's adventures in Black Mesa.
Dead Block was announced this week, and is looking to be a cartoony take on Call of Duty's zombie mode. Players will have to defend their homes from an onslaught of zombies, playing as a construction worker, tough girl or a seemingly sandwich-addicted boy scout that appears to be stolen from Pixar's previous characters list. You can see the trailer at the game's official website, along with some other bits and pieces from this comedic zombie fest.
You know an RPG is good when you're perfectly willing to take time out from questing and just be a tourist in the world the developer has created. The Witcher 2 is destined to be one of these games, and here you can take a look why. The trailer is entirely comprised of simply shots of the game's environments, but even without blood-soaked swords it's exciting.
Portals are overrated. At least that's what this player thinks, solving one of Portal 2's test chambers without the use of the game's core mechanic. A little clever use of refractive lenses and a high-powered laser goes a long way... or at least as far as the door. Alternatively you could take a look at this montage of tricks performed in Portal, which contains far more of the game's namesake, but more impressively contains some pretty slick cube throwing.
Brink is on its way. Released at the end of this week, we're anxiously awaiting it in the office. It's a game that could achieve instant greatness with its blend of single player and multiplayer, or could plummet to unimaginable lows by missing its lofty ambitions by miles. The above trailer shows off the cool looking parkour in the game, spliced with some IRL footage filmed from the perspective of pro free-runners. It's a little bit nauseating, but a fun taster of what's to come.
The guys behind Dungeon Siege 3 have released a new trailer boasting the benefits of co-op. Essentially, the narrator just barks about how the game's heroes will be better united, and does little to show the true benefit of playing co-operatively. Looks like we'll be waiting until June 17 to see if it's worth buddying up for this dungeon crawler.
It's been a while since we saw a good Kinect hack, but this latest one is interesting. It combines Kinect and an iPhone to control a bespoke created game on a PC. The first player uses the iPhone's touch screen to control a twin set of gattling guns, whilst the second player uses the motion sensors on the Kinect to fly a spaceship. It's a pretty neat idea, despite being almost completely pointless.
And finally, to keep you busy for the rest of the week, a bunch of decent tutorials for Super Meat Boy's level editor has appeared on YouTube. It's split into six videos, providing an hours worth of tips on how to get the most out of this intricate tool.