A lot of aspiring authors don’t give any immediate consideration to what happens next beyond completion of that first magical book they’ve always dreamed of writing. I understand why. If you’re just starting out, the process of simply hunkering down to complete one traditional length book can feel like climbing a mountain. When you’re at the base looking up at the steep challenges ahead, it can be tough to imagine yourself making it to your goal intact.
Now you can see why so many would-be authors always seem to be caught in perpetual stasis. “I’m still working on my book” syndrome is a hard affliction to beat. Those who do make it and persevere to see their book through to launch, however, soon learn that having that first book out in the world feels amazing, but it’s not enough.
Hey, today is my birthday! Woo! In celebration of leveling-up to age 33 AND the launch of my new book earlier this week, I’m going to be giving away three ebook copies of Up Up Down Down Left WRITE: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism today! There are THREE ways to enter this little promo contest, and doing all three entry method tasks will triple your chances of winning a copy (only one copy per winner). I’ll be selecting one winner at random from the folks who enter in each category. It’s a game, wheee, fun!
If you are among the folks that regularly check out my weekly indie freeware gaming column over at IGN, then awesome, you win the prize for being very stylish and sensible. Going forward, my column has been transformed — yes, like Voltron or Optimus Prime — into a slightly different animal (or robot, mineral, etc). Free Bytes will still appear each week over at IGN’s PC gaming page, though it’s now all rolled into one large feature called “Best Free Games” that’s located at the same page. Each new installment will be updated on (most) Thursdays. New picks will be featured on the first page of the article, while previous installments are available on subsequent pages. So in a nutshell: I’m still churning out the same weekly awesome selections of oddball, fun, and quirky free indie-focused game write-ups, only they’re called something different and they’re streamlined to a single location. This has been a test of the emergency column update system. Thank you for your cooperation.
This week’s installment is the crazy-tastic Cactus joint: Hot Throttle. Followed by Megazey and Demons as well as King’s Guard. You can check out all three, and future installments over here at IGN.
I’m a big fan of wacky games, and Octodad is about as oddball as it gets. You play as an octopus masquerading as a human dad that’s trying to do some crazy research while not blowing his cover to his human wife and kids. Intentionally wonkly controls make humorous light of the fact the protagonist doesn’t have bones, and fumbling your way through the game’s challenges is pretty hilarious. This student-crafted indie game is short and sweet. Definitely give it a spin.
Check out my write-up of Octodad in my weekly Free Bytes column over at IGN here.
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.
“Guns, axes, chainsaws, and explosives might be among the most preferred methods of killing zombies, but running them down with a pimped-out hotrod and splattering their innards across your windshield is pretty satisfying too. When the military tries to lock down the entire city just as the dead begin rising and feasting on the living, you decide to hop into your slick car and hightail it out of town. Staying alive long enough to make it out of the doomed city in Road of the Dead requires putting the pedal to the medal and pulling off some fancy high speed driving, but it’s more about strategy than flat-out racing.”
“Enemies are attacking the castle! The queen is in danger! Quick, you must leap to her rescue! You have 60 seconds to save your poor bride from the clutches of evil. Ready! Set! Go! Yeah, that’s pretty much the entire the setup for 60s to Save the Queen, and what follows in the moments after you take on your frantic mission makes for unadulterated spazz-platforming glee. It’s a mad dash to be the hero, and every second counts.”
Ok, I’ve been “chipping” away at writing and recording some new 8-bit indie rock tunes using my old school Game Boy DMG, LSDJ, and my trusty old six string. I’ve got three new tunes recorded at the moment for what will be my next full album, and I’m posting this here for regular readers to check out, download, and provide feedback on. These tunes don’t have names yet, they’re not necessarily the final mixes, and they’re simply the first pass at recording and mixing the tunes. I’d love to get some feedback on these few songs, particularly in how they contrast to the six songs on The Beacon e.p. (which you can still download for free, by the way, but I do like $3 donations for the effort). In any event, here are the three new songs for you to check out and critique:
“We’re not sure exactly what it is a turnip would be running madly away from – except possibly a hungry, knife-wielding chef in search of a perfect summer salad topping – but the little veggie protagonist in Action Turnip has a lot of spunk. Part Canabalt, part action shooter, and part random bizarreness, this twitchy and crazy web browser game is utterly charming and a hell of a lot of fun.”
“Ninjas come in all shapes and sizes, and who’s to say one flavor of ninja is better than another? There’s a ninja to suit all manner of peculiar tastes, really. With that in mind, don’t tell the grey little fellow in Chubby Ninja that he needs to shed a few pounds. Besides, you’re going to help him burn it all off in order to stay alive. Bounding vertically through the danger-infested cave of trials poses a serious challenge, but it’s totally worth it to punch a pixelated Chuck Norris in the face with your ninja strike.”