Aug 4, 2015

Internationalism In Progress

Well, I may be in a mood for exaggerations and delays, but I do think you'd be interested in finding out that my little political twine, Workers In Progress, has been translated in both Turkish and Spanish. Also, that I'm really glad about this, would wildly celebrate if Greece hadn't already been turned into a tidy little debt colony and that said translations did happen quite some time ago. And I love them. Really do.

Anyway, without further ado, here you go:

İşçiler İlerlemekte
Trabajadores en Marcha

Oh, and should anyone feel the need to translate the game into any other language, do please free to do so. Here are the source files for you to play around with.

May 25, 2015

Eye^Game^Candy: Lionheart

Released late in the Amiga years --during the far too recent 1993-- Lionheart by Thalion didn't really receive the recognition it deserved for years, until people finally saw it for the beautiful (stunning even) fantasy epic that it is. So, after marveling at the excellent pixel-art posted above, I suggest you read about Lionheart over at HG101 and IndieRetroNews. You'll probably discover new ways of playing through the thing too. 

May 5, 2015

Let's Tell A Story Together

Words can do amazing things. Beautiful things. Ageless things. And though interactive words haven't yet managed to surpass the things static, printed words have accomplished --which is only natural for a particular sort of words that has been around for mere decades-- they have managed to create a more literary, more engaging and, usually, more demanding genre of gaming: interactive fiction. Or text adventures, but let's not argue terminology here.

Jimmy Maher does after all cover terms and definitions brilliantly at the beginning of his 2006 book Let's Tell A Story Together (A History of Interactive Fiction). Actually, Mr. Maher does an impressive job of getting you all excited about interactive words, introducing you to the many charms and idiosyncrasies of the parser, the intricacies of designing text adventures and even a more or less complete history of interactive fiction and its evolution.

From the late seventies and Adventure to Infocom's golden era and contemporary interactive fiction, Maher's book really does save me the trouble of doing anything beyond suggesting you read it. Read it even you've never dabbled with a parser in your life, read it if you have always loved the genre and, by all means, read it if you are an interactive fiction author. 

Let's Tell A Story Together, besides being well written and thoroughly researched, offers unique insights into defining text adventures and a comprehensive approach that covers over 30 years of parser driven gaming. Handily, it's also generously available for free both as an online hypertext and downloadable ebook.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Apr 30, 2015

IGS, RPS, Earthling Priorities and that RPG

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
It seems that after another most substantial break I am back with yet another update. Why? Well, because I've been incredibly busy with all sorts of things and you'd most probably like to know what said things are. They interest you, dear reader, for they are all about games.

Let me start with IndieGameStand then, for this is the indie focused place I've started working with in order to provide people with a shiny new freeware gaming place (soon to be revealed) and some excellent, pay-what-you-want deals. The first one is already live and let's you grab Daedalic's Journey of the Roach and Night of the Rabbit adventures for less than $2. Not bad, eh?

Well, to move on to some not exactly brilliant news, my freeware column on the lovely Rock Paper Shotgun, Freeware Garden, is no more. It ran its course, showcased over a hundred of the best freebies available and has been put to rest, though chances are more of my words should be appearing on this excellent site. Also, you can still find my writing on indie things over at Indiegames.com and Warp Door.

Hopefully on a new still super-secret site too...

What's more, both that rather huge and decidedly unique RPG I've been working on with a most amazing team of people is progressing along slowly yet surely. Earthling Priorities, on the other hand, that short sci-fi adventure, should finally be finished in the following months. Weeks even.

But, enough about me. How are you, oh reader? 

Mar 16, 2015

DualMondays: Why isn't Hideo Kojima making Snatcher 2?

Well, probably everyone by now knows, has heard of or has seen Hideo Kojima's name somewhere. But I'm gonna be a hispsterish kind of guy and admit that I loved him more when he was doing visual novels. Yeah, yeah, I do agree that Metal Gear Solid is a fantastic game, one of the most impactful to be precise. I love MGS as much as the next person, don't get me wrong, and I do appreciate how Mr.. Kojima grew up to be a developer whose name is now sung on shrines and temples. He deserves every single bit of his stardom and wealth, if not more.

But, I grew to love him by exploring the cyberpunk streets of Neo-Kobe in Snatcher, and I didn't care if it was a direct nod to Blade Runner, Terminator and The Invasion of Body Snatchers. I didn't mind at all and while it was obvious, it didn't feel like a rip-off. It felt as if there was an attempt to mix all the movies we all came to enjoy into one cohesive, playable whole. The same goes for Policenauts which was only released in Japan; frankly I didn't mind playing as the anime version of Mel Gibson's character from Lethal Weapon.

The best thing in these games, besides the obvious focus they had on setting and story, was the music. I fell in love with each song that was featured in either Snatcher or Policenauts. I can still hum the main theme to the latter. Du du - du du du. Du du - du du DU. The atmospheric setup of these games was successfully transferred to the next games of Hideo. Whilst in Snatcher, the technological and sinister-like themes were engulfing the player as he or she dug deeper looking for answers, the eerie, jazzy, nostalgic tunes were flowing together with the smoke coming out of the cigarette of Jonathan Ingram and Ed Brown - the protagonists of Policenauts.

I'm not sure why HK moved away from the visual novel style. Perhaps the sudden tech evolution allowed him to follow an older vision. Perhaps he felt imprisoned within the gameplay confines of heavy dialog and action mini-games. Regardless, a huge leap of faith was performed.

And that's how we got MGS. And as I began playing it, I still remember my reaction when the Konami logo appeared on my screen. I screamed, "Oh, Oh, that's the song from Policenauts!", wondering if the latter was going to ever be translated in English for me to enjoy. (That took a long while, but it finally happened)

Thing is the mastermind behind all these games converted me to a believer. I was anxious to play any of his games after I came across Snatcher. Even though they were not exactly shaped for everyone, I understood the vision and I felt mesmerized by it. So, without crying and complaining about the same stuff over and over, Hideo, I would love to see a true sequel to any of your older games.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Feb 20, 2015

An Update On Words And Games

Why, hello there precious reader! We haven't chatted in a while, have we? No, we haven't and the only one to blame is me. I have been incredibly busy lately and working on a most intriguing menagerie of things, you see. Things I have for the most part failed to inform you about.

Well, let's at least fix this. First of all, I'm still writing about games though mostly not on Gnome's Lair. I do instead maintain the daily Freeware Garden over at Rock Paper Shotgun and spend hours upon hours each week trying to find the very best and weirdest of PC gaming freebies, keep on covering indie games over at IndieGames.com, highlight retro stuff over at Retro Treasures and contribute the occasional post at Warp Door.

Other than that, I do edit DualNames' lovely DualMondays column for this very blog and have slowly started working on a series of feature articles requested by my wonderful and extremely generous (patient too) patrons. I'm also planning to write the odd article or too, keep updating my list of brilliant freeware games and making little edits to the site.

Moving on from my writing endeavors, let me first reassure you that freeware adventure game Earthling Priorities has not been abandoned. Chris Christodoulou has finished the soundtrack, Daniele Giardini is almost done with all the art and animation, I am close to completing the thing's design and simply need to find a few weeks to code and put everything together. Provided all goes well, this should happen sometime around April.

Why April? Simple, really. April is when I believe work on the first major milestone of the RPG I'm working on will be concluded and the first internal demo (following a pretty cool prototype we are already playing with) will be ready to do the things it's supposed to be doing. 

And, yes, I did say RPG and though I'm not at liberty to discuss details with anyone outside the development team right now, I can tell you that Kyttaro Games and my humble self have assembled a brilliant team of indie developers, artists and writers to create something unlike anything you've ever seen. A bold claim, I know, but if we manage to actually finish the project, which I believe we will, you'll be bound to agree with me.

That's all for now, reader. See you luv!