Myst dev’s surreal sci-fi adventure Obduction is currently free on GOG
Other / 31. 5. 2019

If you’re in the market for a good, solid freebie – and I assume you are, given that you’ve already read the headline – then you’ve come to the right place. Myst developer Cyan Worlds’ enjoyable sci-fi mystery adventure Obduction is currently free on GOG until tomorrow, 1st June. Obduction released back in 2016, and is very much a spiritual successor to Cyan Worlds’ seminal Myst and Riven series, featuring the same kind of low-key, open-ended meandering and oblique puzzling solving, in a surreal, strikingly designed alien world. And the good news is that it does a lot of stuff right, with a strong story premise (which I won’t spoil), a pitch-perfect atmosphere – absolutely nailing the sense of wonder and isolation – and conundrums that are, for the most part, logical and immensely satisfying once you finally tease out a solution from the subtle environmental clues. Do be warned, however, that the whole thing comes to a crashing halt about two thirds of the way through with a truly godawful sequence of trail-and-error puzzles that constantly force you between locations, leading to endless loading screens and an increasing sense of despair. Read more

Spelling Bee Championship Ends in Insane 8-Way Tie
Other / 31. 5. 2019

In a historic turn of events, the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in an eight-way tie. The eight finalists, ranging from ages 12 to 14, went 20 consecutive rounds without misspelling a word. That’s when it was declared by Dr. Jacques Bailly, the Scripps National Spelling Bee’s official announcer, that all remaining contestants would be named “co-champions,” according to Time. The winning word for each champion were: auslaut, erysipelas, bougainvillea, aiguillette, pendeloque, palama, cernuous, and odylic. There have been three other instances of Spelling Bee ties in 2014, 2015 and 2016, although each of those only saw two co-champions, which goes to show just how unprecedented it was to have eight winners this year. The prize for first place is $50,000 and a trophy, but rather than splitting the winnings, each co-champion will receive the full $50,000 and their own trophy. Continue reading…

Opinion: Accessibility Is Becoming The New Standard
Other / 31. 5. 2019

In 2018, one of my favorite game series of all time received the remaster treatment with the release of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. However, much of the nostalgia was quickly killed with the stark realization that not only did Activision exclude the deaf and hard of hearing by not including subtitles, but it also made the ill-advised decision to defend its position on social media with the following statement: While there’s no industry standard for subtitles, the studio and Activision care about the fans’ experience especially with respect to accessibility for people with different abilities, and will evaluate going forward. If there wasn’t an industry standard, there wouldn’t have been an uproar, and their presence wouldn’t have been missed. However, this is just one situation that proved accessibility is now becoming the new normal for video games. In fact, the outcry from fans asking for subtitles was so widespread and effective that within four months of launch developer Toys for Bob released a patch that implemented some very impressive subtitles. They are color-coded to ensure clarity and presented with speaker tags and letter boxing. Games like Spyro, Sekiro, and Red Dead Redemption 2 make headlines for lacking basic accessibility features….

Dying Light 2 — Road To E3
Other / 31. 5. 2019

I love a good zombie game, and I particularly love a good zombie game that plays with the format. We last saw Dying Light 2 at last year’s E3 – where it was announced – and the demo promised some fun new twists to the formula in an open world designed to inspire some frantic clambering as you’re pursued by hordes of the undead. Firstly, its sandbox – 4x bigger than the sandbox in the original – can be changed depending on your choices. There are a bunch of factions scattered throughout its “modern dark age” world, and your loyalties to them will change what resources are available to you as Dying Light 2 progresses. For example, if you choose to cut a deal with some bandits who have killed a man instead of avenging the man, you’ll align yourself with their faction. Continue reading…

OPINION: Death Stranding Won’t Be As Fun As Death Stranding Theories
Other / 31. 5. 2019

Welp, Death Stranding finally has a release date, and come November 8th, we’ll finally be able to unpack its many mysteries and maybe actually understand that what the Hell Hideo Kojima’s latest game is about… But as much as I’m dying to play it myself, part of me really doesn’t want the rampant speculation to end. Much of the fun of Kojima’s games is how much they mess with the player, and even as far back as the first Metal Gear Solid, they’ve been pushing the boundaries of how players interact with the game. Between hiding Meryl’s codec frequency in plain sight on the back of the game case, to Psycho Mantis reading the save files from other games on our memory card, Kojima’s idea of how we should play a video game was not limited to the simple act of pushing buttons on a controller to make things happen on a screen. Continue reading…

Trademark For Collection Of Mana Hints At Possible Localization For Secret Of Mana Games
Other / 31. 5. 2019

Square Enix has been poking at the Mana series again recently as they try and figure out what to do with it, releasing a somewhat poorly-executed remake of Secret of Mana on consoles last year. Even earlier than that, a collection of Mana games ported to Switch was released in Japan in 2017, but Square Enix seemingly had no interest in bringing it to the west. As one of the games in the collection was unlocalized, it likely proved to be too big a task for a simple port anthology, and most people gave up hope. However, a new trademark filing in Europe might indicate that Square Enix has changed their mind and that hope still lives. Found by Nintendo World Report, Square Enix filed the trademark for “Collection of Mana” with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The only existing project this would likely apply to is the Seiken Densetsu Collection released on Switch two years ago, which contained three Seiken Densetsu games named Final Fantasy Adventure in America, Secret of Mana, and the never-localized Seiken Densetsu 3. Seiken Densetsu 3 was a victim of bad timing and cart space issues. The English localization, which would have replaced the…

There’s a Sea of Thieves tabletop RPG on the way
Other / 31. 5. 2019

Not content with merely being a video game, a series of novels and comic books, a selection of torsowear for the discerning lady and gent, and also a cup, Rare’s piratical multiplayer adventure Sea of Thieves will soon be a tabletop RPG, courtesy of Mongoose Publishing. The Sea of Thieves Roleplaying Game is, according to Mongoose, a game of “grand adventure, mighty sea battles and the glory of the pirate life”, pitting swashbucklers against each other in a race to find treasure, tackle undead crews, and take on quests for the Gold Hoarders, Order of Souls, and Merchant Alliance. Which is to say, all very much like the video game. The whole enterprise has been designed for “quick, immersive roleplaying that favours action, problem-solving and above all, fun”, and Mongoose promises all the rulebooks and tabletop paraphernalia you’ll need to get an evening’s adventuring on the high seas underway. Read more