“Making video games on a tight deadline can produce a mind-crushing mountain of stress, but some developers get a kick out of the pressure-cooker rush that comes from churning out a game just under the wire. Imagine having only 48 hours to come up with a cool game idea, build it from scratch, and then get it into a playable form before it’s judged by the masses. That’s exactly what happens in Ludum Dare, the massive Thunderdome of rapid indie game development competitions.”
“One of the best things about being a PC gamer is always having awesome free games at your fingertips. Have a decent machine with a high speed Internet connection? That’s all you need for a quick gaming fix these days. You’ll find a glut of stellar games capable of satiating your immediate need for entertainment at the click of a mouse button; you just need to know where to look for them. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Whether you’re sitting at your work desk bored out of your skull, or twiddling your thumbs at home with nothing to do, check out these five excellent time-wasters, all guaranteed to turn your day around.”
“Back when I was a young kid with an overactive imagination, nighttime was the most ominous stretch of the day. When the lights went out, it felt like every creak of the house signaled my impending doom at the hands of some slathering, flesh-eating beast thing waiting for me in the dark – to suck out my guts with a vile proboscis, I would assume. Thankfully, my trusty flashlight was more powerful than a broadsword in its ability to ward off my impending monstrous death with its illuminating beams. Mother Robot takes that idea and runs in a different direction. This crafty little game is about staying alive by keeping the lights on…by using lots of robots and laser umbilical cords.”
Check out my full Mother Robot write-up here at IGN.
Free Bytes: Pipedreamz
“At one point or another, most folks get stuck working a crappy stint in a dead-end job for awhile. During such times, it’s often all-but-expected that you’ll do the best job you can muster while letting your mind wander to enjoy the marvels of mental inner-space to help make the misery pass quicker (unless you’re a jet pilot or a nuclear power plant operator, of course). Pipedreamz is kind of like that but a heck of a lot weirder.”
Check out my full write-up of Pipedreamz here at IGN.
I’ve been lousy at updating this site lately, so I’m going to make an effort to catch up. Here’s the past two installments of my Free Bytes column over at IGN from last week and the week before! Boom.
Free Bytes: I Am An Insane Rogue A.I.
“As a psychotic supercomputer that’s intent on world domination, your primary objective is to take over the planet one high-tech warehouse at a time. However, each warehouse is filled with pesky, squishy humans and sentry drones that seek to thwart your diabolical efforts. With only a limited amount of cycle power to take action with, you have to carefully herd (or brutally massacre) your human adversaries away from each building’s computer terminals long enough to hack into them and take over the mainframe.”
“Revenge is the sweetest when it involves rolling over your foes with a mechanical automaton of doom and crushing their civilization under the barbed wheels of sweet metallic Armageddon. The clash of cymbals, the boom of drums, and a malevolent orchestral groan sets the mood for wanton destruction quite nicely in Goblin War Machine – a game about building the biggest, gnarliest damn war machine imaginable and using it to turn the human countryside into ground hamburger.
I’ve played tons of different Space Invader clones, but this one has got to be the coolest. Chaos Invaders riffs off the general idea and pixelated graphical style from the original, but the gameplay itself is a wild and wooly mix that goes from crazy, to crazier, to craziest. You should really check it out in my latest Free Bytes writeup over here at IGN.
Technically, this is last week’s Free Bytes, but since I’ve been trying to get caught up on posts and a new column won’t be going up this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, I figure it’s better to post it up late than never. I’ve got some REALLY hot and wacky games coming up in future installments that kick off again next month after the holidays, so stay tuned for the next batch with new installments appearing each Thurs. in the PC section of IGN.
“Life can certainly be puzzling at times, but rarely is satisfying your basic needs as simple as slapping together a few blocks all willy-nilly. Well, conveniently enough, it is in Madtris. Life simulation and puzzle matching seem an unusual combination, yet this bizarre mix of Tetris and The Sims makes for a great mash-up. Connecting falling rooms containing little pixilated people in order to meet their most urgent needs and clear away the screen is a fun puzzle twist, and the special objectives in each stage add an extra layer of challenge to the quirky formula.”
“Freeware used to be a completely different animal back in the earlier days of home computing, but the birth of the Internet and the more recent advent of blazing-fast connections speeds have changed things completely. The Flash gaming scene has since exploded, giving bedroom coders and startup indie studios a shot at having their games played by millions of players. That’s a win-win for players looking to get in some short bursts of gaming. But how does one stay afloat simply making free browser-based games on a full-time basis? The folks at Nitrome Limited have it figured out.”
“What do a dude in a mining cap, a stuffy old prude, and a trigger-happy, corn-cob-pipe smoking general all have in common? Nothing, really, except that they all seem to have some sort of serious candy-related issues to work through in this week’s freeware indie game. While a trip to the shrink might be the only reliable method of curing their individual sugar-induced mental roadblocks, spinning hypnotic candy orbs that are being whittled down by incoming gunfire is possibly the next best form of therapy. If you’ve got a sweet tooth for weirdness, then Sugarcore is just the thing to satisfy your saccharine gaming-related cravings.”
“When lunch time rolls around, most people are lucky enough that they don’t have to worry about dodging a barrage of incoming artillery fire in order to nab their meal. Unfortunately for the top hat-toting little bloke in I Was Hungry…But There Were Cannons, trying to grab a tasty bite to eat is regularly a life or death ordeal. This zany little puzzle platformer puts a whole new spin on the phrase “eat and run,” since one false move can leave you with a belly full of cannon shrapnel instead of delicious, mouth-watering cheeseburgers.”
Check out the full column here at IGN. Also, Free Bytes have been switched to Thursdays, so be sure to hop over to the PC section of IGN each week to see the latest awesome indie freeware offering I’ve dug up to share.
“Riding a wickedly growing vine into the cosmos is probably one of the more unusual ideas for a game I’ve encountered, but that’s part of what makes the unpredictable nature of off-the-beaten path game development so interesting. A mix of exploration and artsy ambiance, Dreamside Maroon is an impressive little adventure about a cute, scarf-wearing critter named Aster who’s on a one-way trip to the moon. Rather than hopping a flight, taking an intergalactic commuter train, grabbing a space bus, or strapping on a rocket pack, this intrepid explore uses his gardening skills to get where he needs to go.”