Dec 30, 2007

Adventure Lantern: the final 2007 issue

Sam & Max ChristmasAs you should have cunningly guessed, the latests issue of Adventure Lantern has just gotten its PDF release and you can all merrily click here (or here for a rather more direct download) and grab a copy. Its 63 pages are filled with reviews, articles, walkthroughs and news mainly focusing on adventure games, though such triple A games as Super Mario Galaxy or Ratchet and Clank haven't been ignored either. Issue highlights include a Benoit Sokal interview, a 7th Guest retro guide and everything written by glorious wise old me. Heh.
Related @ Gnome's Lair: Sam & Max: Abe Lincoln Must Die gone freeware, Re: Zak McKracken, Indy Adventures Guide

Dec 29, 2007


Want to share your latest game? Idea? Bit of spam? Offer a review copy for, well, review? Propose for marriage? Promote something of a ludic nature? Chat? Drop a line? Well, if you don't have my email, then, by all means, do use the following form.

Dec 28, 2007

Behold the DOOM Bible

DOOMTom Hall, a member of the team responsible for the original DOOM game and author of the DOOM Bible, was the designer that tried to improve the storytelling and thus subtler bits of the game. His DOOM Bible, a 79-pages long document containing all the original ideas, details and plans for DOOM can be downloaded in its entirety here, courtesy of 5 years of Doom.

Read it (the PDF makes a far more interesting read than this clumsy post) and see how DOOM could have turned out a better game. Not a masterpiece, nor more influential mind you, but definitely a better, more interesting game. Sadly Tom Hall's ideas were never fully implemented, though one could say the have lived on to influence later id games.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Jet Set Willy: the patch, 1700 arcade manuals, Classic DOOM, more free PDFs & ebooks

Dec 27, 2007

Wash and wait for the Age of Decadence

Age of DecadenceDecadence... a lovely word and a lovelier notion, but, really, a whole age of it? Surely too much to handle even if it's nothing more than a game. Still, a soon to be released CRPG with quite a bit of Fallout (X-Com too) in it and such an intriguing title might just be the RPG indie gaming has been waiting for.

Age of Decadence, you see, apparently an isometric, turn-based, single-player 3D role-playing game set in a low magic, post-apocalyptic fantasy world, seems more than promising, what with its 100 quests, 22 locations and G.R.R. Martin-esque epic storyline. Don't think I can remember other indie games claiming size as a virtue... Anyway, here's a gameplay video and here's AoD's official website. Oh, and do thank Tacticular Cancer for the tip.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Aquaria released, The B-Game Competition, Тургор, World Basketball Manager

Dec 26, 2007

ButtonSmasher Gaming

I know I haven't been updating Gnome's Lair as regularly as I should have and I know it would be really pointless to promise the 30-40 posts per month like in the old days, but finally I can prove I've been busy. Busy, at helping with a brand new blog: Button Smasher. It shockingly is a video gaming blog focusing on... err... video games, though of the more Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, DS, PSP and PC mainstream variety. A touch of retro gaming is of course to be expected too and you might even get to find out how gnomes look like. Please, do have a look.

Retro Game RGCD One More Time (?)

Should have told you lot earlier, I know, but things were pretty hectic again and so I guess I can't do better than tell you now. Well, here I go then... the fourth issue of the amazing RGCD retro games discmag has been made available for free download here. Sporting 24 review, 10 articles and tons of free games and emulators it's everything you've come to expect and more. Now you know. There's even a bit of gnomish love in it too...

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Monty's Christmas Special, Retro Gamer eMag review, a couple new Amstrad CPC games

Dec 21, 2007

Armageddon helps Dark Future break free

Dark Future Games WorkshopGames Workshop has never been particularly generous with its loyal friends, but this seems to be a thing of the past, as apparently the Chaos Gods (Slaanesh would be my guess) have gone berserk with freebies. We already got the complete Mighty Empires, a decent PDF Gift Guide just got released and now I've discovered that a brilliant classic Warhammer 40,000 spin-off and a brutal sci-fi RPG-ish board game games have just gone freeware.

The Battle for Armageddon (download) is an aptly named wargame that pits the Imperium versus the Orcs in a fight to control the Armageddon Hive. The rules are simple, elegant really, and make for a fast yet tactically varied/deep game. Oh, and everything you need to play from counters to board pieces has been included.

Dark Future (scroll down and download) is not unlike a certain Mad Max inspired Steve Jackson game, meaning it does have to do with driving heavily armors cars around a desolate definitely post-apocalyptic place. The ultra detailed rules with their highly enjoyable fluff bits span an impressive 220 pages.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Battle for Skull Pass review, Chaos Dwarf fantasies, Blood Bowl, PDF & e-book archive

Dec 13, 2007

And a very happy Saturn Junkyard Birthday!

SEGA Saturn 128-bitIn case you haven't notice those (us, really) SEGA Saturn retroboys are having a party over at their Junkyard under the wise guidance of the venerable Father Krishna. Have a look!

The first video game patch in history. Well, probably.

Jet Set Willy Cover ScanJSW cover scan blatantly stolen from JSW Remakes
Mathew Smith's 1984 Jet Set Willy on the ZX Spectrum, a game that was so much more sophisticated, surreal, fondly remembered and popular than Mario (well, at least in Europe it was), was also a bastard to beat. All you had to do was miss a jump by a pixel or fail to act in a nanosecond and you were dead. Why? Just because a talented 18 year old designer was in a cruel mood, that's why, and of course because back then even you, oh most glorious and esteemed readers, hadn't achieved gameplaying perfection yet.

Software Projects, the game's publishers, sensed that the sadism inherent in JSW would make for a great competition and thus a chance for some extra publicity, and knowing that the gamers of the era were hardcore 14 year olds, they merrily went on with their plan. The first one to find all of the JSW objects would win a helicopter ride and a case of champagne. The competition though, finally won by Ross Holman and Cameron Else, besides the publicity bit, did help bring forth 4 major bugs in the game and Software Projects decided to patch it. Probably for the first time in video gaming history and apparently to show they sort of cared.
A Freak Brothers related pic from Wikipedia
They came up with the fixes, but lacking in the Internet department, they had the users type them in. A series of four historical POKEs, collectively remembered as the official Software Projects Pokes, were released and distributed (mostly) via magazines. According to this apparently well informed corner of the web (and from what I can still recall) them official POKEs were:
  • Moving an invisible object from the First Landing to The Hall (42183,11)
  • Removing a killer object from the Conservatory Roof (60231,0),
  • Changing a block in the Banyan Tree to a walk-through type (56876,4)
  • The Attic bug fix Poke (59901,82).
All you would then need to do would be type them in, in way not dissimilar to what Your Spectrum would advise:
Rewind the Jet Set Willy tape and load it using MERGE "", press Enter and start the tape. Once the loader program has been loaded you will get the 'OK' message on the screen and you should stop the tape. Now enter:

CLEAR 32767
LOAD "" CODE as direct commands and start the tape. After the main part of the program has loaded, enter the following as direct commands:

POKE 60231,0
POKE 42183,11
POKE 59901,82
POKE 56876,4

and your problems should be over. To start the new version of the game, enter GO TO 40.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: The Heroquest POKE, PDF Spectrum emulation bible, 3D Ant Attack, free online retro gaming

Dec 12, 2007


I could easily come up with a 500 words piece on the excellence Passage, but I wont. It would simply take a bit from joy of discovering its beauty by yourselves and I really wouldn't want to spoil anything for you. Knowing that it's an incredible, unique, moving and handily free game that can be played in less than 5 minutes should be all the information you need. Or, to put it bluntly, simply trust me and go download Passage right after you wash your hands.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Sam & Max episode 104 gone freeware, Pac-Txt, HPL's Commonplace Book Project

Dec 10, 2007

Aquaria released - underwater fantasy gaming reaches the indie loving masses

AquariaAquariaNot every game can win an IGF Grand Prize (actually only one game per year can, and that's ..uh.. not many games and definitely not every; yes) and only one game ever managed to grab the 2007 version of said illustrious prize. It was none other than Aquaria and happily this indie masterpiece has just been released, meaning you too, and yes that does indeed mean you, can grab a fairly priced copy here or download the incredibly hefty demo there.

Now, before going off downloading and/or wisely buying stuff, before even enjoying the sheer beauty of Aquaria's video teaser, better read a bit of the official word:
Aquaria, winner of the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the 2007 Independent Games Festival, features over 175 strange and wonderful creatures (including several massive and ancient "bosses"), 8 magical forms with unique abilities, 50 original music tracks, and over 2000 pieces of hand-painted 2d artwork.
Related @ Gnome's Lair: Storked, The B-Games mega feature, Soldner-X, the Pathologic sequel

Dec 6, 2007

An hour of hot D&D 4th edition insider info and some other (audible) stuff

Yax was kind enough to include Gnome's Lair in Dungeon Mastering's Top 50 RPG websites and, being the sensitive little gnome I am, I sort of felt the obligation to blog about something vaguely related. Failing to come up with a Top 60 tabletop gaming blogs piece and ultimately ignoring the pleas for a Naked Cthulhu Gaming guide, I had a quick browse through the Velvet Dice Bag and found out that Gaming Steve's latest podcast -episode 64- has been made available here. You'd better go listen to it, especially if D&D is your thing.

It's a 148 minutes long monster, mind you, and besides discussing Super Mario Galaxy, the Witcher and a variety of non-analog games, said podcast sports 62 minutes of Christopher Perkins interview goodness. Shockingly, Mr. Perkins, Story Design Manager RPGs/Minis R&D at Wizards, chooses to discuss the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons and offer invaluable behind the scenes info.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Steal Away Jordan, D&D Instant Campaign Builder, Proletariat: The Uprising, a D&D 4e post

Dec 2, 2007

Monty's Christmas Misty Eyed Special

Monty Christmas Special Retro RemakeWe make the cops look bad is so much more than a commendable social practice and the way to a better mankind. It's a fantastic blog of a highly talented retro remaker (extensive info on the very playable part of said talents in a post that should appear before 2008), who also happens to be a human, a gamer, not particularly odd and a great writer: oddbob. Interestingly, said bob, having absolutely no relation to any Black Adder Bobs you might have fond memories of, posted an exhaustive preview of Monty's Christmas Special and got me desperately waiting.

Well, guess what. In an anti-twist of blog writing fashion, I'm happy to inform you that the wait is finally over. Auld Games have, as of December 1st 2007, released Monty's Christmas Special for freeware public consumption and it's an absolutely gorgeous Spectrum-like, non colour-clashing platforming beauty. Download the game here NOW and see what this classic police avoiding rodent is up to.

Those either caring for more top quality interactive entertainment or looking to find out more on Monty Mole could do worse than grab the remake of the original Monty On the Run and have a read here.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: 'em classic game mags for free, Retro Gamer eMag review, ZX Spectrum documentary, Galaxian