Nov 30, 2007

Brikwars does to Lego Wargaming what Lenin did to bicycling. And its absolutely free too!

BrikwarsBrikwarsThe Download Munkey had always been a most excellent of blogs, but its recent move to spanking new servers has really made it shine. Brilliant! Visit it @ preferably by following this gamey link, thank Roys for taking the time to please you Internet people and -who knows?- you might also bump into a certain Brikwars post.

Brikwars, should you fail clicking any of the above links, is in its simplest form a freeware wargaming rules system, that let's use your Lego bricks and figures to ..uh.. play war with your mates. It is thus what some would call a tabletop strategy miniature wargame. Further inspection though, reveals a truly fantastic game that has been evolving for over a decade and is both simple (make that elegant) and deep enough to actually challenge Warhammer. As for the quality of the core rulebook and supplements, the top-notch humor and utterly jaw-dropping artwork, well, you'll have to visit the Brikwars site and impress yourselves. You wouldn't believe me otherwise.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Mighty Empires for free, Chronicles from the Warzone issue 1, H.G. Well's Little Wars

Nov 28, 2007

A rather reasonable Resonance update

As this will apparently be the last developer's diary on Resonance for the next few months, I thought I'd let you lot know. Oh, and also had the weird feeling it would be wise to remind you that Resonance will soon be a highly innovative, beautifully 2D, shockingly interesting and apparently highly polished adventure for the PC sporting dozens of weird inventories. You might also want to check these rather related Gnome's Lair posts too:

Nov 23, 2007

Trainspotting: The Glorious Game

Sensible Software Train SpottingChoose life. Choose a job. Choose a starter home. Choose a fucking big television. Choose dental insurance, leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose your future. But why would anyone want to do a thing like that? Simply choose to go with Sensible's Train Spotting instead. No, really.

Sensible you see, the very same studio that created such timeless masterpieces as Sensi Soccer and Cannon Fodder, did actually bother coming up with a short, sarcastic and quirky Train Spotting game back in 1995. One whole year before Trainspotting, the glorious cult movie with the glorious cult trailer, taught everyone that Edinburgh has more to it than a lovely medieval centre, that Scots have an excellent sense of humor and that Brits in general tend to amuse themselves by looking at trains. Oh, yes, it was an excellent film, one of the best ever actually, but I digress.

Sensible Software TrainspottingSensible's Train Spotting, the first ever train spotting simulator that let you live the excitement of pointing at trains and jotting down their model numbers from the comfort of your bedroom, is this post's subject and that's the reason I wont even mention the movie's brilliant soundtrack. The game, yes. (pssst.. here's a classic first scene, you know, just in case you cared...)

Well, it was released as a coverdisk for the Amiga Power magazine, probably as a joke and you can nowadays download it for free from the Hall of Light. It is thus an Amiga game, or to be fair to it, it's a humorously pointless Amiga game, that puts you in a digital representation of a railway station and tasks you with identifying trains as they pass by while appropriately crossing them out of your card/list thingie. There's even a time limit to make things tougher. And frankly that's all the game does. Brilliant!

Oh, and shockingly Moby Games does have a Sensible Train Spotting page and so does Wikipedia.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Free classic gaming mags, Space Quest IV retro review, Team 17's freebies, the Amiga launch

Nov 18, 2007

Introspect Unreal Tournament 2004

Introspect Unreal Tournament modWell, it seems I'm back from Amsterdam and apparently from Brussels too. Can't say I'm particularly happy about not having someone else prepare breakfast, but good things can't last forever and blogging can be quite an antidote to post-brilliant-times trauma. Besides, as most of northern Europe seems to be repairing itself, I didn't manage to see the Russian avant garde paintings I craved and oddly remembered I hadn't blogged about a mod for ages. Go figure.

So, well, uhm, here's Introspect. It's a madly innovative, beautiful, smart, typically freeware and very anti-FPS FPS mod for Unreal Tournament 2004. Cunningly subtitled A Journey Through Insanity Introspect turns UT into a non-violent first person painting/exploring game that puts players into the mind of a mad artist who must fight through his personal demons to regain his sanity. Almost surreal, definitely brilliant and a chance to be artsy via a game. Download it, have a foot massage and be happy.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Quake in 32-bit colour, Half Life 2's Flipside, On nude patches, Hollow Moon

Nov 9, 2007

Decker's Delight Links (9.Nov.07)

This time it's Amsterdam (complete with a tiny slice of Brussels) and I'll probably be back in a week, provided of course them fickle airplanes behave as they should. In the meantime, do have a look at the lovely things the Internet has spawned and -please Elderly- do water the plants.
InternetsNow, as Travelhacker is all about ...uh... travels and hackers, well, I thought it might be nice to start from their most intriguing Top 25 Ultimate Gamer Vacations post. Read it and see why visiting Leipzig is such a brilliant idea (hint: Games Convention).

Ghacks on the other hand discovered another brilliant idea: It's like YouTube, only sporting tons of classic horror, sci-fi, kung fu and western films in their full 60+ minute glory. For free, that is.

Oh, and in case you haven't noticed, adventure games are back for good. Here are the interviews to prove it: Ron Gilbert talks funny, Tim Shaffer talks metal and Jane Jensen speaks the truth.

For those of you who would like to join said creative bunch for a cocktail or something, can offer some help via its How to write... an Adventure Game feature. Dave Grossman and David Cage do most of the advising mind you.

GameSetWatch examines Battle Circuit, a game that might have been. Obviously it wasn't meant to be. Sad story, excellent write-up, colorful pics and a distinct lack of naked people...

Still on the retro gaming front, but focusing on things that actually were, 1up explores the history of Panzer Dragoon, Gamasutra reveals Steve Wozniak's gaming past and Mike Daily tops everything with a Lemmings retrospective.

Add another retrospective, this time on Planescape Torment by Rock, Paper, Shotgun and a freebie friendly Sega Model 2 emulator post over at the Saturn Junkyard and we're done with old games. Well, almost. There's always the Expurgation of Maniac Mansion to enjoy. Now we're done.

On to the discussion bits.Well, Richard Cobbett discusses writing "girls in gaming" articles and manages to be hilarious and wise at the same time, which probably is something to be very proud of.

On an even more serious and rather thought-provoking note, the Artful Gamer managed to come up with the good, the bad and the ugly of academic games research. Ah, yes, proper ludologic reading. Gotta love it.

It's them Quick Links again:

Nov 7, 2007

Toad's Tool 64 let's you hack at Mario 64

Toad's Tool Mario 64Nothing beats 3D Construction Kit 2 and no 3D-engine will ever come close to Freescape, for -as the Great Book of Gaming clearly states- it managed to pull some really impressive stunts on the humblest of 8-bit hardware. Never forget this. Ok? Good. Now, you may have a look at the second best 3D game editing thingy man managed: Toad's Tool 64.

Toad's Tool 64, besides sporting a brilliantly silly name, is a Mario 64 level editor, is still in Beta as fashion dictates, is absolutely freeware and you can grab yourselves a copy from its very own web-page where both Windows and Mac OS X versions are available. What's more, the thing was simple enough to allow me to tamper with some of the best designed platformer levels in history, which means you too will be moving, editing and rotating Miyamoto created objects in no time. Ahh, glory days!

Related @ Gnome's Lair: The Commodore Amiga Launch, Computer Animation Primer e-book, Vectrex retro gaming

Nov 6, 2007

The shocking Sam & Max: Abe Lincoln Must Die full game, full monty, gratuitous free download

Sam & Max Abe LincolnGotta give it to Telltale. Not only do these wonderfully creative chaps and chappettes churn out brilliant adventure after brilliant adventure, not only have they successfully revived Sam & Max gaming and brought its humorous bloody rabbity-thing reanimated body into the mainstream, but now they 've gone and given the Internet the (second) best freebie it could ever imagine. In other words, Sam & Max: Abe Lincoln Must Die is now available for absolutely free in all its full glory. Download it here, weep with joy and re-read the same newsbit over at Telltale's fluffy blog.

In the extreme case you've been living under a rock or are one of the few heroic guerrillas that actually manage to read this blog, let me just inform you that Abe Lincoln Must Die is episode 4 of the first series of them Sam & Max games and that it's the funniest -though not the best- of the lot. It also is a point-and-click adventure that'll last you for 3-4 hours. Even contemporary critics loved it.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Rise of the Hidden Sun news, Тургор, Space Quest IV retro review, Command & Conquer 95

Nov 5, 2007

The Complete Uncut Monkey Island Film

Monkey Island UncutIt's been quite a while since I last linked to Ron Gilbert's excellent Grumpy Gamer blog and I do believe that's a horrible thing to do. Nasty even, especially now that Mr. Gilbert has gone back to semi-regularly updating the thing. So, uhh... LINK, LINK, LINK. Now, that's over, and here's another link that will magically transport you to the lovely little web-corner where the brilliant Monkey Island Flash Film is constantly being played. Feel free to laugh out loud. Especially if you are at work, that is.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: The Lost Lucasarts ftp stash, Monkey Island music, more Monkey stuff, The House

Nov 4, 2007

Gaming magazines of the pre-Internet era living happy online lives

Retro Gaming MagazinesWell, ok, not necessarily pre-Internet gaming mags, but definitely classifiable as retro. Or at least of retro gaming interest. Or, well, you get the point don't you? Anyway, sod it. This is a post about freely available digitized computer & video gaming mags of yore and where to find them. Sadly, it lacks an interesting and/or witty introduction.

So, let's begin at the ..uh.. beginning with some much-deserved Atari love, courtesy of the Atari Museum. You can grab 11 issues of Atari Age here, 6 issues of the Atari Club Magazine here and (re-)discover what the Atari 2600 and to some extent 5200 were all about.

Compute!, a rather more serious take on the then-emerging digital scene, was first published in 1979 and featured content mostly on the Commodore PET and the 6502 processor. The complete magazine archive from 1979 to 1994 is available here. Yes, all 168 issues of it!

ZZap 64!, the everlasting pride of the Commodore 64 community and one of the best gaming mags ever, is available in its (almost) full glory here. Though you wont get every article of every issue, there’s more than enough scanned and html-ed (?) content to keep every misty-eyed 8-bit connoisseur off the streets. Besides, content is being added regularly.

Just as C64 replaced the PET, an time came when the 16-bit powerhouse that was the Amiga replaced the C64. Tons of magazines were published, gamers were having multiple orgasms and the utterly amazing Amiga Magazine Rack is the place were everything is kept safely for your free retro pleasure. 70 classic mags are covered!

Computer Gaming World, a PC favorite that's still going strong, has recently opened the gates to its virtual museum. Visit it here and download the first 100 issues in glorious PDF.

Mean Machines along with Mean Machines Sega and delicious bits of other classic British gaming mags have their very own, very retro archive right here. Visit it and find out exactly how the best console magazine ever to grace our puny planet looked like.

Old Computer Mags is a nice clean site with interesting content, sporting a fantastic selection of Italian magazines and quite a few issues of some classic UK and US ones. Oh, and 36 issues of Your Sinclair is quite an impressive offering.

Oh, and as Erik suggested, don't forget to register and have a look at Retromags. You'll find quite a selection of UK and US mags and an utterly impressive archive of Nintendo Power issues. Official Saturn Magazine groupies won't be disappointed either.

[UPDATE]: Wise reader/blogger JohnH suggested you grab some pretty digital copies of arcade focused gaming mag JoyStik here and/or here and I couldn't agree more. It's an impressively designed publication and quite a read. Thanks John!

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Retro Gamer eMag review, Wii retro gaming, Team 17 Amiga games for free, free PDF & e-book archive

Nov 2, 2007

Instant fantasy world building. Just add water.

fantasy artYes, it's time for another link to Dungeon Mastering and time for them creative DMs out there (preferably of the Dungeons & Dragons persuasion) to test their world crafting talents. The lovely Instant World Builder free PDF guide should come in as a much needed assistant or even the spark you needed to go for it, though studying Tolkien definitely wont be in vain either. Grab the booklet with all its 21 pages here.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Instant Campaign Builder PDF, Proletariat: The Uprising, an introduction to RPG gaming

Nov 1, 2007

More Adventure Lantern Horror

Adventure LanternAnother month, another issue, another October/Halloween issue to come out a little bit too late. Anyway. Grab the latest Adventure Lantern issue here and enjoy its 57 virtual pages. Issue's highlights include a Zoetrope Interactive interview, 6 horror adventure game reviews, a short story, a few non-adventure reviews, some stuff by yours truly and something called Death by Annelid.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Zak McKracken thingies, Adventure Game Speedruns, The Lurking Horror retro review