Tagged: Indie

Microsoft Sure Knows How to Anger Indie Devs

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Microsoft has really dedicated itself to dig its own grave since the anouncement of the Xbox One. One of their latest attempt is a new policy that won’t allow indie developers to release their content for the Xbox One unless it hasn’t already been realease for other consoles—Microsoft HAS to be the #1 choice if they want release on their platform. Really? Is this at all necessary? I get that you’re trying to get content for your system first, but this kind of stuff simply turns the developer into your enemy, not your friend.

Now, Microsoft did clear up that this would be handled case by case and it wouldn’t apply to everybody, so there’s a chance that the games will still get through and the policy won’t really be acted upon, but it still is an unnecessary obstacle.

Indie developers tend to be small studios trying to make a living off the one thing they love, Video games. When you tell an indie developer that they have to prioritize you if they want to make money they’re going to, quite naturally, get pissed. People need to make a living, if you want to make a deal with a developer so that they launch a title for your console first, go ahead and buy them off, but don’t force them.

One of two things will happen if this policy stick: Small indie devs will only launch their content on the console to their benefit, and later deal with Microsoft, in hopes of a multi release, or they forcefully launch the Xbox first, risking their income (Not all games sell the same in every console, plus the PS4 has a sales lead so far.)

Removing freedom from the devs might look like there’s a chance for profit, but pissing off the people that can generate that profit for you will certainly not earn you their favor.

TumblerPiston

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Our Love for Indie

Here at the DreamCast we love our indie tittles, and boy do we love them when they have unique game mechanics. But there was one in particular that we heard about in sort of a passing rumor: The Novelist.

We took it upon ourselves to play it out of gamer’s curiosity, and now we have a brand new experience for our readers.

If you’ve ever wanted to hear TumblerPiston’s soothing baritone voice and Brosephs incessant rage towards all things, well, here’s your chance.

To inaugurate our Youtube channel, we give you, The Novelist.

The Novelist

Any comments or advice is welcome. This IS our first foray into Videos, so let us know were we can improve.

A Touching Tale: Gone Home Review

Honey I'm...

Honey I’m…

Very few PC games out there can invest you so heavily in their plot that you are willing to sit down and after just an hour of playing you jump to the conclusion that you must simply finish this in one sitdown. Gone home is the embodiment of this very idea.

You play the role of Kaitlin Greenbriar and you’ve just returned home from travelling abroad to find that you won’t quite be getting the welcoming party you expected, nobody’s home. But here’s the kicker, as a player the only detail that you are aware of when you start the game is what the date and time of your arrival is, June 7th 1995. Your job is to figure everything out through the millennium old classic gameplay mechanic: Exploration.

And this is where things start to get interesting.

Gameplay

The whole house, with the exception of some locked doors, is open for your investigation. From the cabinets in a bedroom to every closet ever existent, it’s all explorable to your liking. And as you explore you will learn, little by little, what the people that live there are like. Things like self recorded rock cassettes, Kaitlins handwritten postcards and the selection of books strewn about (You have no idea how hard it was to make that list without spoiling EVERYTHING!) really set the pacing and the goal of the game: Understanding the characters that live in the house.

Click. Click. Click. Oh, what's this we have here?

Click. Click. Click. Oh, what’s this we have here?

But all in all Gone Home isn’t a very complicated or difficult game to traverse, in fact most of the answers to where you need to go next and what you need to do are staring you straight in the face. If you are looking for a challenge you’re definitely going to be disappointed here as the only real challenge comes from figuring out how to get in some of the locked rooms, which is nothing a little bit of exploration can’t fix. The game does require patience and an interest for a story since this is what it’s all about, and even though the cover art does look a little menacing it’s not in the least scary… Unless you shudder at the idea of cobwebs and rooms that have their light switches flipped off… Which you can flip on…

Atmosphere

From the get go you know something's awry.

From the get go you know something’s gone awry.

All of this brings me to the real attractors of the game, the atmosphere. Without spoiling too much, there are events that seemed to have unfolded in the house that caused it to be evacuated suddenly and without even a minimum level of notice, and you find them out in such a disjointed way that your imagination will often run with exaggerated versions of reality. It’s this sense of mystery that creates the sense of absorption the story has. Especially when you find out about one character in particular that truly pulls you in and brings the sense of belonging in the story full circle.

Immersion

It’s the girl from the narrations that truly tugs at your heart, truly moves the “FEELS-O-METER” if I may more accurately express myself. As you explore the house you’re going to be discovering her story and the struggles that she faces in her daily life. She’s a character that is very easy to approach and relate to considering the day to day problems that we face in our own lives. Very soon you start to create a real sense of caring and continue along the story simply to see if her plight IS heard and she DOES find happiness. By the later stage of the game you become so invested that you feel like part of the story, that you truly are the observer, the girl that just got home to start rummaging through your familys belongings in search for answers.

One room can speak a thousand words.

One room can speak a thousand words.

The house truly does feel like a family lives there. Every room that you go to, every cabinet you inspect and every cupboard that you investigate not only gives you another sense of the characters as individuals and as a unit, but of the time period the game is based on as well. Very few games can bring about a sense of nostalgia simply by it’s setting, but Gone Home pulled it off. You’ll walk into rooms with VHS cassettes lying on the floor, audio cassettes with self made titles written on them, phones that are much too large for our modern liking and TVs that could crush a small man by their sheer size. I haven’t felt this exhilarated whilst looking at the past through a Video Game ever, it was a truly unique experience for both it’s setting and it’s story.

Replayability

Even though Gone Home is plot driven, it’s still a Video Game, and none of us want to buy something that will end up just sitting up in the digital shelves of our steam accounts. But, surprisingly enough Gone Home does have a slight level of replayability. Much like a good book or a short story, you may feel the desire to go through it once more. You never know what more details you can find.

Bottom Line

Stories like this one are the type of stories that require you play them, to experience them to feel their true weight. But further than that, it’s these type of tales that everybody should experience because it is, quite frankly, a unique experience matched by very few games out there.

It may not be on the fancy side of game mechanics, but if you are willing to be captivated by an amazing story and cast of characters, get the game, sit down to play, go grab yourself a bucket of Popcorn and get ready to get those keys buttery, because you’ll be there for a while.

Oh, and a napkin might help.

-TumblerPiston

Five Great Games Under 5 Hours

Many of us don’t quite have the time to sit down in front of our living room TVs and our computer screens to play video games for the rest of what measurable time remains. Some of us have stuff to do, so some of us will really like this article about five great games we can finish in or under 5 hours.

Journey

Journey

THIS is the beauty of Journey.

Journey is one of many amazing indie games available on the market. Based on the heartwarming and seemingly vain adventure of a robed figure, you travel a vast desert towards a mountain. The reason why this game made the list is simply because of how incredibly enthralling the adventure can be. The player meets obstacles that don’t only challenge your skill, but your emotional fortitude as well, as you see these innocent and feeble creature struggle to obtain their goal. Reaching the mountain. Another large attractor of Journey is what it achieved on the technical side. Let’s face it, the game looks, sounds and acts beautifully thanks to it’s amazing collection of music as well as the physics heavy graphics. If you have a PS3 this is a must get.

Slender

He's out there somewhere, I know it.

He’s out there somewhere, I know it.

Now, some long running fans of the series may be questioning why we didn’t specify WHICH slender game to play and/or get. Well, that’s because there are just that many great slender games out there, not to mention free ones. For those of you out there that are not aware of what Slender is, it’s a sort of creepypasta myth created in a photo forum that quickly escalated into an internet scare meme forming it’s own following and, eventually, a game. If you’re ready to poop your pants and not pay a cent for it, the catalyst of Slender games can be found here. If you think you have the boulders to go above and beyond go ahead, skip a step and buy yourself Slender: The Arrival, you won’t regret it, even if your pants will.

Gone Home

Don't worry, it's not as sinister as it looks

Don’t worry, it’s not as sinister as it looks.

This list has a great number of games, the perfect cast for a quick slight of fun, but this game is probably the hardest one to describe. The reason why it’s hard to put into words is because this games breaks the norm of what a game is. Most video games have mechanics, a plot, obstacles to overcome, and enemies to fight. This game does not. The main attractor to this one is simply it’s plot and how you interact with it, now I can’t say much without spoiling it, but every detail of the plot from characters to your own identity is discovered through interaction with the “home”, probably one of the most interesting mechanics you’ll see in video games for a while. Gone home is really a unique experience that must be played to be understood, no gamer should remove himself/herself from this truly vitalizing opportunity.

Papers, Please

Another day, another risk of totally ruining your family’s life.

Papers, please is, much like the previous game in this list, very unique. The difference stands in that this games doesn’t shy away from violence or many other forms of aggression. Why? simple. You play the role of an immigration officer in the fictional communist country of Arstotzka, your job is to let the people who are allowed in the country through and to stop those attempting to cross without the right credentials or if, in your judgement, they are up to no good. That’s without forgetting you have a family to feed and your screw ups WILL be reflected in your pay check making you choose between your family’s well being and that of others. Because of this the game will of often strike at the strings of your heart by blurring the line between morality and making you make choices that feel heavy and leave you with the lingering feelings that would seem all too real in these circumstances, you are making or breaking somebody’s life.

Faster Than Light

You better not screw this up…

If you want a game with a challenge and a realistic sci-fi-space-faring-combat-simulator feel, then you’ve come to the right place. This game out of all the previous ones is, by far, the least reliant on it’s plot. It’s a very simple premise, you’re a group of space fairers on a mission that requires you get to the other side of the galaxy. And this is where it start to get complicated. You see, it’s a simple enough goal, but the obstacles you must face will often be very difficult to surpass thanks to the way the game is structured. The screen that you’re going to be seeing the most is that of the galaxy map (No Mass Effect reference here, nope). Here you’re going to be making the choice of where the vessel is headed too. Would you risk going into a blinding and destructive nebula for some supplies and extra time to escape the pirates that are hunting you, or do you take the easy route and risk running low on supplies and possibly encountering enemy resistance? It’s these types of stressing moments that truly charge the game, plus the upgradable combat capabilities of your ship make things all the more entertaining. Combat is the second concept behind this great Indie game. It happens in a pausable realtime ship vs. ship instance. Being pausable all you have to do is strategize what parts of your ship to power and use for combat, though this is later proven not to be a simple task. Between combat and space travel you’ll be plenty busy, believe me, it’ll take some practice. Bottom line, want a challenge, get FTL, you won’t regret it.

Bottom Line?

That’s a total of 25 hours, at most, of amazing of diverse Indie fun, and if you simply don’t have the patience to play one game on end, this is the list for you. Take it from my experience, it’s totally worth it.

 

TumblerPiston