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Worth Reading: 07/27/12

The doorway to your cottage is to the east. You could also walk around the cottage, to the northeast or the southeast, towards the little clearing you know is there. Something is wrong.

If you missed out on playing Stranger's Wrath, the HD update is very well done, and holds up.
If you missed out on playing Stranger's Wrath, the HD update is very well done, and holds up.

You can stop pestering the creator of Slender now, y'all. He got in touch with me, and I’m putting together a feature that should hopefully be on the site sometime next week. No promises, though, since it would require me actually playing Slender again.

Apparently Slender has been updated with fog, too? Just...ugh.

It would make sense to keep some of this coverage until October for Halloween-timing purposes, but I’m a year-round horror kind of guy, so it’s not as though I’ll run out of games or ideas by the time September closes out. I still haven't touched System Shock 2.

We’ll see about having me pop onto the podcast for a brief appearance next week via phone, but I’ll be back in the office proper on August 20, a day after returning from my honeymoon in Hawaii. I’ve been keeping a small list of games that have slipped through the Quick Look cracks since I’ve been out of the office tending to personal matters, and you can be assured that I’ll be cranking those out when I’ve returned. I Wanna Be the Guy: Gaiden, anyone?

I’ve been putzing around with Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD the last week or so, too, even though I had my copy of Eternal Darkness shipped out here. I’m unsure how Stranger’s Wrath never made it into my Xbox, but it’s wonderful to have such a well-done update available to indulge my interest. And, no, the "twist" was never spoiled for me.

Don't spoil it for anyone in the comments, okay?

Hey, You Should Play This

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Sam & Max Hit the Road, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, The Journeyman Project, Tex Murphy--these are some of my all-time favorites. My interest in games, especially adventure ones, came long after the text adventure had been phased out in favor of stories with capable visuals, though. I have, regrettably, never played Zork or Adventure. Designer and former Kill Screen editor Chris Dahlen recently mentioned a game called Warbler’s Nest on Twitter, a short horror tale in the interactive fiction category. Interactive fiction is just another way of saying text adventure, by the way, and Warbler’s Nest delivers on the creeps. It’s less than an hour of your time, depending on how much you dig around, and if you don’t feel like spending a measly $1 on the App Store, it’s totally free to play on your browser.

And You Should Read These

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If you’ve been waiting for the definitive piece on the downfall of 38 Studios, it was filed this week at Boston Magazine. The 38 Studios saga has not yet finished playing out, and I don’t doubt there is more material to mine, but the above piece does a great job of outlining what went wrong, including comments from Curt Schilling himself. It’s...admirable Schilling still believes in his dream, but the story makes it clear his idealistic view of himself, the company, and prospects for Project Copernicus are much to blame for what eventually ruined 38 Studios. You want to feel bad for Schilling being unable to make his dream come true, but you feel worse for the lives hugely disrupted in his wake.

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Irrational Games was subject to some rightful criticism this week for making shipping a game with an 85+ score on Metacritic a requirement to apply for a design manager position (that bit has since been deleted). We know that Metacritic quietly and destructively influences industry decisions, such as studio bonuses tied to certain Metacritic ratings. O'Brien puts the ridiculousness of this requirement into stark clarity, underscoring its biggest pitfall: eliminating perfectly qualified individuals who happened to work on shitty projects that turned out shitty for reasons that have nothing to do with their job as design manager. In the case of Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian Entertainment was denied bonuses because they were tied to an 85 rating on Metacritic, and the game received an 84. Awful.

If You Click It, It Will Play

I Don’t Know About This Kickstarter Thing, But These Projects Look Neat

  • Volgarr the Viking, an old-school brawler that I'd originally written down as the much cooler Volgarr the Biking.
  • Knock-knock, a new game from the creators of Pathologic, a game I've heard much about over the years.
  • Steam Bandits: Outpost, F2P town builder promising to avoid bullshit plauging rest of the genre. Hope?

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+