Wednesday 16 December 2015
It's Christmas time. To me that means board games - or more specifically losing at them. How can the luckless losers like me win? Cheat, that's how. Or if you have a moral compass you can always play the digital versions like Star Wars Monopoly.
Tuesday 8 December 2015
The Daedalus Encounter was always a game that interested me. I saw it sitting on the shelves of my local PC World looking very much like a movie complete with the ever-enticing circle of red that is the BBFC 15-certificate. Being a snot-nosed 12-year-old and too young for such an 'extreme' game, I instead went for Bullfrog's fantastic Magic Carpet. I've since picked up this sci-fi adventure only to find how good a decision I'd actually made.
Sunday 22 November 2015
Babies are strange creatures; a mini human being completely dependent on their fully-formed kin to live. Put them in a video game and developers will either support or subvert that claim. Lighthouse: The Dark Being, a Sierra adventure from 1996, takes the former approach and teaches you everything about how not to be a parent.
Wednesday 18 November 2015
In a far off desert planet, a war rages. The House of Horus fights the evil empire of Set for supremacy. The landscape is dotted with Egyptian-style pyramids and architecture yet technology is drastically advanced compared to our own. Sandships fly across the landscape locked in dogfights. Is the Stargate movie? Nope. It's a little known action flight sim called Sandwarriors.
Sunday 15 November 2015
Ah, Myst. What memories. Before its plot became so overly convoluted that understanding it was a puzzle in itself, it was the pinnacle of PC gaming. The logic puzzles were difficult, but not unsolvable. The world was rich and detailed without forcing exposition on the player. It was a masterpiece. Earlier this year, a free independent game based in the universe entitled RoonSehv not only broke grounds on what a fan-made could be, but it also reminded me why I loved this franchise to begin with.
Wednesday 11 November 2015
The Inca series is a weird one to categorise. I first came to know them as adventure games - at least that's what Home of the Underdogs described them as - but there's just as much action. Perhaps even more so. It is set firmly in an ancient Inca setting, yet a large portion takes place in space with all of the futuristic sci-fi trappings. So which kind of game is it?
Saturday 7 November 2015
The Egyptian setting has been out of vogue in the video game landscape for some time now (I don't consider those cheap puzzle and casino titles that clutter the app stores to be games). Twenty years ago, this was a different matter. Alongside the likes of Powerslave, Pharaoh and Sandwarriors, Electronic Arts' 1997 game S.C.A.R.A.B. lies smack bang in the middle of this mini craze.
Tuesday 3 November 2015
After the success of the first Shivers, Sierra put into development a sequel that would attempt to up the ante of everything that went before. Considering it's Halloween (or thereabouts), can it finally succeed in being scary?
Sunday 18 October 2015
In 1995, Sierra On-Line was one of the most prominent PC game publishers, particularly in the adventure genre. This was also the year when they were aggressively championing a more adult demographic with the FMV adventures Phantasmagoria and Gabriel Knight 2. Can Shivers hold its severed head high next to those ghoulish classics? Well, that's a difficult question to answer...
So, after a successful attempt at updating my laptop to Windows 10, I finally decided to do the same to my primary desktop PC. After the jump, see how well this went and my findings on the compatibility of the games featured on this site.
Tuesday 13 October 2015
In the history of video games, you'd be hard pushed to think of ones that feature a robed monk as its hero. I struggle to count beyond my middle finger. The Guardian of Darkness, Cryo's 1999 effort to rectify the imbalance, takes this one step further by adding ghosts, demons and exorcisms.
Sunday 11 October 2015
Let's face it, most reality TV sucks. If there's one thing that would interest me in likes of Big Brother, it would be a mass load of rampaging zombies (and we have that thanks to a TV show called Dead Set). Add in a large dose of The Running Man and you get Cryo's 2000 action game The Devil Inside.
Saturday 10 October 2015
Nintendo's vision for the NES in Europe and America was a frustratingly wholesome one. In the West, Capcom was mainly known as the developer of Disney games and Mega Man, but in their home country it was a very different matter. They birthed a reputation for horror and gore years before Resident Evil with their 1989 game Sweet Home.
Thursday 8 October 2015
The works of Edgar Allen Poe has never really been translated successfully to other mediums. While the series of films directed by Roger Corman were pretty good, they are questionable as adaptations. The skin-crawling psychological horror missing in those 60s B-movies are here in full force with The Dark Eye, a 1995 adventure by Inscape.
Saturday 3 October 2015
One is the Nintendo Wii-U's most interesting launch titles may find more recognition now that it's out on more popular systems, but did you know that Zombi-U was part of a franchise that spans almost 30 years? In keeping with the horror theme of the month, we're taking a look at the first game from little-known developer Ubi Soft.
Friday 2 October 2015
It's October, the month where goth and gore become acceptable to the god-fearing suburbs around the world. Pasty skinned weirdos like me need no excuse to encourage the claret at any time of the year, but in the spirit of my favourite month, we're going all spooky on yo' ass. Let's ease into Halloween with something a little tame: an animated arcade adventure from 1995 named Brain Dead 13.
Wednesday 30 September 2015
The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth sure lives up to its title. Set in the post-apocalyptic world of Vlurxtrznbnaxl, this 1994 gem from Coktel Vision who created the Gobliiins series, amps up the craziness, unleashing a memorable adventure with a penchant for odd sounding syllables.
Monday 28 September 2015
2024 A.D. The world (or at least America) has become a wasteland of radioactive dust. Men fight for the most precious resources: food, water and women. And dogs have developed telepathic abilities. Welcome to the bizarre post-apocalyptic world of A Boy and His Dog.
Saturday 26 September 2015
Infogrames' Alone in the Dark was an important milestone in the history of gaming, but three years later, in 1995 the technology was looking stale. This was when their follow up, Time Gate: Knight's Chase, came to the market. It used the same engine which was showing signs of ageing leaving consumers apathetic. In fact, sales were so bad that the planned sequels were cancelled. Did it deserve better? Let's find out...
Friday 25 September 2015
Blinky's Scary School, a budget platformer from UK developer Zeppelin Games, holds the dubious distinction of being the first game I ever completed. That bodes well for how it could play with my grown-up eyes, but I won't let that hold me back. I must replay it! Along with a sequel I only just found out about.
Thursday 24 September 2015
Powerslave (or Exhumed as it's know in Europe) looks and plays like a Doom clone with an Egyptian theme. At least it does at first glance. Dig deeper into the 1996 game by Lobotomy Software and you'll find a lot more than you might expect. Even the PlayStation version is not really a port, taking these unique elements and running (and strafing) with them.
Tuesday 22 September 2015
Trigger Warning: This game depicts scenes of domestic violence and child abuse.
I've covered several games of late that that could easily be cited when making the case that our beloved medium is an art form. This is a debate that is still going on. With the rise of independent games designers, there's a whole breadth of subject matters being tackled and The Kite, a freeware game by Anate Studios, takes on a topic very few would choose to cover: abuse.
The ill-fated DreamCast saw the birth of some great franchises from a company at arguably their creative peak. Unique franchises such as Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5 and Shenmue all got their start here. Skies of Arcadia, created by SEGA's Overworks division contained some of the best RPG goodness the system had to offer but suffered in sales (it was released in the West in 2000 around the time SEGA announced the discontinuation of its hardware division). In 2003 after the DreamCast was put to sleep, an enhanced port quietly sprang up on store shelves for their onetime competitor: Nintendo's GameCube.
Sunday 20 September 2015
Last week, I talked about how the craziness present in the first Ecstatica was enough to overcome some very real design flaws. Does a sequel that irons out the creases make for a better game? Let's find out...
Saturday 19 September 2015
Holy Motors, directed by Leos Carax assaulted our screens in 2012 leaving more than a few cinemagoers scratching their heads. It is a post-modern art film that initially seems so strange as to be impenetrable, but the deeper you dig, the more surprising revelations reveal themselves. This is not a review, but a deconstruction of what I think all the craziness means. Warning: barely understood spoilers ahead.
Are you tired of easy Adventure games? Do you guys crave a truly difficult challenge? Then try Blue Ice - a game so hard no-one has ever solved every single riddle in the twenty years since it's release. A game where even the designers themselves have no clue how to succeed.
Friday 18 September 2015
I recently experienced a superbly executed visual novel by the name of Gone Home. I call it a visual novel because there's not much else to it, earning the ire of some gamers expecting something completely different. I was so engrossed with the story unfolding before me that I began to search for other similar games, and then I remembered a game I've had on my shelf for some time: Ceremony of Innocence...
Thursday 17 September 2015
For 15 years, Silent Hill has proudly remained on the creepier end of the survival horror spectrum. It is also one of the most successful, despite what Konami's woeful cancellation of the highly promising Silent Hills may tell you (did you get the Playable Teaser on PS4 before they took it down?). In 2007, they brought the series to the arcades with this light gun shooter.
Wednesday 16 September 2015
Who remembers Duckman? Anyone? Well, if you haven't seen this adult animated show from the same people behind Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys then your truly missing out. Even if you're a fan of the show (and if you've seen it, you definitely are), you may not have realised that in 1997 there was an adventure game based on the lewd private dick/family man...
Monday 14 September 2015
I love 2D animated movies. With the rise of computers, there are very few around nowadays which is a great shame. I can admire and respect the work put in to even the very worst of them to some degree (even the god awful Titanic cartoon get some kudos for actually existing). What is rarer still is that one during the time of pixels, a hand-drawn feature is released that is so well done that it can topple all others and become one of my favorites in the medium. In 2010 Cartoon Saloon's The Secret of Kells did just that.
Sunday 13 September 2015
Alone in the Dark may have been the first, and Resident Evil cemented and refined the genre but two years before that PlayStation classic Ecstatica pushed many boundaries of survival horror. This unique game is now largely forgotten but does it deserve to be?
To me, Azrael's Tear is somewhat of an enigma. For 1996 it sports the kind of 3D graphics that would be impressive more than 5 after its release. It is dripping with the kind of atmosphere most games would kill for with a skillfully designed soundscape that truly draws you in. Even though there are action elements, it is primarily an adventure game with some puzzles that are so well thought out they fit perfectly in the world before you. The story itself is truly absorbing and thought-provoking. With all these impressive elements on show, why does the game overall leave me cold?
Saturday 12 September 2015
For those who had played The Riddle of Master Lu (also on this site), having the name Sanctuary Woods displayed on the box should be a reason for excitement. This vastly under-appreciated developer would only make two non-educational adventure games and Orion Burger, their 1996 entry, marked the sad end of what was once a promising proponent of point-and-click goodness.
Saturday 8 August 2015
Hexplore is a fun isometric RPG by the upstart French developers Heliovisions Productions (later known as Doki Denki). 1998, the year of its release, was a strong year for computer RPGs with the likes of Baldur's Gate, Final Fantasy VII and Might and Magic VI entering the fold which meant this simplistic gem got overlooked by many.
Tuesday 4 August 2015
I've finally got to the end of the first season of The X-Files! Sorry if it's a bit late, but I assure you I was not abducted by aliens. The first year definitely ended on a high, leading into a second season premier with almost double the viewing figures. Does it still hold up or has the many imitators diminished its appeal? Read on to find out! Also if you haven't seen this 20 year old cultural phenomenon: SPOILERS...
Sunday 2 August 2015
I've been absent for a bit due to a heavy workload in my day job (which has unfortunately been extended for another week), so today I bring you three more games from the Animated Storybook collection...
Sunday 26 July 2015
My work priorities may have seen a reduction of posts of late, but that hasn't stopped me from messing around with DOSBox. I have now got Windows 95 working as perfectly as can be expected inside the powerful emulator, which means many games that are notoriously difficult to get running on modern systems actually work! Read more to see the exciting updates...
Saturday 18 July 2015
SquareSoft, now known as Square-Enix, is as revered in the Japanese RPG genre as LucasArts is to adventure games. Their creative zenith arguably came during the fourth generation on the Super Nintendo with titles such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy and Secret of Mana causing a stir amongst gamers. Live-A-Live counts itself as one of those games, but few English speakers know it exists...
Friday 17 July 2015
Thursday 16 July 2015
Everyone knows The Elder Scrolls. At least everyone who's likely to visit my humble site. Many of you would've even fus-roh-dahed your way through Skyrim a few years back, basking in the gloriously realised world before you. That game sold millions. The first game - subtitled Arena - only sold 3,000...
Monday 13 July 2015
Sunday 12 July 2015
Saturday 11 July 2015
LucasArts, formerly Lucasfilm Games, created many defining titles in the adventure genre and in my opinion some of the best games of all time. Their first foray into the world of point-and-click is somewhat little known compared to their big names like Monkey Island or Maniac Mansion. Based on the classic Jim Henson movie, Labyrinth is a very different type of game than what was to come. And I've yet to mention the film's Japanese exclusive NES adaptation.
Friday 10 July 2015
Albion, an RPG released in 1996 by BlueByte Software, earned much critical acclaim twenty years ago. It has since gathered a cult following with even a fan remake in the works, but it has curiously not become as revered or as well known as one would expect.
Wednesday 8 July 2015
Alongside the games that were directly based on the movies, Bethesda Softworks released a quintet of shooters that far surpassed the iffy quality of anything Ocean did with the franchise. Not content with resting on their laurels, they attempted to do new things which would later become staples of the genre even today...
Tuesday 7 July 2015
Disc four of season one (or tape four if you go back far enough) was what I would call the 'Sp ritual Disc'. The episodes here dealt with the meaning of life, death and religion and as such fascinate me more than when I was younger, They were also incredibly personal stories for our two agents and would define their characters
Saturday 4 July 2015
In the hope that Terminator Genisys will prove my doubts wrong and be an action movie worthy of the franchise (something that's not been achieved since Judgement Day), I've collected a plethora of games from the franchise. It's closely linked to that other robot movie - RoboCop - so I've added his games too. There are over 50 games here so let's have a look at them...
Wednesday 1 July 2015
I've decided to update some of my older downloads to bring their quality up to par with what I've been doing more recently. Most of them are simply aesthetic changes or removing excess files not needed to run the game. Take a look at the full list of changes after the jump.
Tuesday 30 June 2015
In the 1930s, Robert Ripley made a name for himself by travelling the world in search of cultural oddities for his Odditorium museum of curiosities. He became quite famous for his daily newspaper comic strips and airing live radios reports from strange far-off places like a snake-pit or a cavern. A true adventurer who would later be referred to as the 'Real Indiana Jones', he makes for an intriguing subject matter for a point n' click adventure game...