Saturday, 26 December 2009

Good To See You, Holmes: 211b Baker Street

Finally a half-decent Sherlock Holmes game has been released. After a parade of simply embarrassing Z-rate point-and-clicks we are gifted with 221B (as in Baker Street, the residence of the great detective). 221B is a web-based flash game tied in with the new movie that appeared in cinemas today.

221B has a great range of mini-games and professional shine (it should do considering how much Warner Bros. must have spent on it) with everything from video chapter introductions and photoshop-ed 'documents' to top-down chase scenes and crime-scene Photosynths through real-English witness questioning.

The game appears to be (not having seen the film) a fully fledged prequel story to the events of the film, with the brilliant duo investigating the growing numbers of deaths of London socialite girls and the strange and mysterious events which are connected with them. It is fairly standard stuff but well told through a multitude of lettes, telegrams, newspapers and specially recorded videos.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

I Remember: In Memoriam Retrospective

Several years ago there were reports of a couple of French documentary journalists who disappeared in mysterious circumstances, you might remember it. Jack Lorski and Karen Gijman, star reports for the SKL Network, had been travelling all over Europe and across the Middle East when they dropped out of contact with their friends and head office. A few weeks after that, the network received a package which included a video and a CD from someone calling themselves Phoenix.

The CD contained a complex encrypted series of puzzles and excerpts from Lorski and Gijman's latest investigation documentary. The French police and Interpol didn't have the time or available expertise to solve the kidnapper's puzzles so they opened it up to the general public. People across the world were soon working together to solve word puzzles, tricks of language, problems of esoteric philosophy and gnosticism in a race to find the kidnapped reporters and Phoenix him (or her) self.

What Are You Playing for Xmas?

So it's Christmas, should you have not noticed. A time where people find they (hopefully) have little work to do and too much free time on their hands, exacerbated by a sudden and desperate need for a reason to avoid the glut of distant family members.

So many of us as gamers take advantage of (or possibly refuge in) the opportunity to spend some real quality time playing games. What I would like to know is what kind of games we are playing and why.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Flesh: Horror Mod For HL2

Not that kind of flesh!

A rare and beautiful thing has occured: the release of another no-combat mod for Half-Life 2. Flesh is stripped of combat, jumping, crouching, inventory... everything but movement, use world item and a sneaking mode. Everything else is atmosphere which Flesh has plenty of.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Jordan Thomas: "I Hire Badasses"

Not the best quote I might have chosen but it leaps out at you.

Jordan Thomas is my favourite developer. Even beyond anyone at Valve, the lads at Introversion or any of the Old Guard. As a student games designer, I live by the pull-out quote from his interview with Kieron Gillen: "I want my scares to leave scars." He made my two most favourite games levels ever: Thief 3's Shalebridge Cradle and BioShock's Fort Frolic. And now he's heading up development of BioShock 2 at 2k Marine. Who knows what he'll do next.

So I am getting great pleasure out of reading Alec Meer's interview with Jordan Thomas on EuroGamer. I should get right back to it, not quite finished it, and you should check it out yourself.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Batman Returns (Again): Akham Asylum 2 Announced

As if we didn't see it coming.

Batman: Arkham Asylum is almost certainly my Game of the Year and given the mountains of praise heaped upon it and the buckets of money it made (presumably, I have no details on that matter) it's no surprise that a sequel has been announced.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Black Mesa Source Delayed

For the past six years, almost immediately after Half-Life 2 was released, a dedicated team of modders have been working to reproduce the reproduce and update the 1998 original in the source engine. Better visuals, more architecturally complex levels than maintain the flow and feel of the originals but essentially the world-shattering game as it would appear had it been made with more recent technology.

That mod, named Black Mesa (previously known as 'Half-Life: Source' and 'Black Mesa: Source), is perhaps the most awaited mod of gaming history and has already been in development for longer than Half-Life 2 itself. It has now come to light that its 'committed' release date of before the end of 2009 has been delayed.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Team Fortress 2 - WAAAARRRR!!!

Hey, waddya know, it DOES mean war!

Further to the teasing hints released previously, Valve have announced the release of a special double-class update featuring the Soldier and the Demoman.

The War Update, as it is known, will give both class a three new weapons and one class with get a special, as yet unknown fourth weapon. The question is which one? That depends on who kills the most of the opposing class in the next three days. For example, should more Soldiers kill Demomen than visa versa, they will be given the fourth weapon and visa versa.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Say Hello To My TF2 Friend!

Or: You Do Of Course Realise This Means War?

Mymymymy, what have we here? Cruella DeVille watching over nine sets of lethally opposed twins divided by what colour clothes their mummy's made them wear? Well, perhaps, but it is definitely also our first official look at the omnipresent MC 2Fort, the Administrator (previously known as the Announcer).

Stargate Resistance - Like a Giant Super Conductor?

Troubled developers Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, creators of the up-coming MMO Stargate Worlds, have announced a new over-the-shoulder class-based deathmatch game set in the Stargate universe (small 'u').

Stargate Resistance (SGR) promises to let players play as the airmen and marines of the SGC fighting against a resurgent Goa'uld force (the Big Bads that got royally kicked in the final seasons and made-for-TV movies of Stargate SG-1). There are six classes, presumably three side, and a range of weapons familiar to anyone who's seen the series.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

I'm The (Stephen) King of the Castle! - Discordia

To my great shame and regret I have never read Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. There they sat on the rotating display of short horror and sci-fi books in my secondary school's library and for all those years I never once picked them up. (The same thing happened with Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and other staples of modern graphic novel culture).

I'm A Bad Man (An Apology)

It's true, I'm awful. Unprofessional, undependable, un...  uh, unbelievable and unhygienic.

So yes, I've not posted since *cough* 27th October (my, has it been that long?) and I never did deliver that The Void review I promised, nor written reviews for the games I've played since then such as Dragon Age and Batman: Arkham Asylum, nor have I even so much as posted links to interesting articles written by much wiser and older men and women than I.

Yet, to my eternal disbelief, StatCounter kindly informs me that some of you have actually been checking this site even up to today. For that I say "Thank you, thank you for your faith and interest good Sirs and Madams" and add "Why?!"