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Worth Reading: 02/24/2012

Yo, weekend! Here's more games you should play, more stories you should read, and maybe even free stuff. Also, there's a crackling fire. I'm not kidding.

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If you don't own an iOS device, at least listen to Sword & Sworcery's terrific soundtrack.
If you don't own an iOS device, at least listen to Sword & Sworcery's terrific soundtrack.

Hey, fans of reading and playing. Why not load up Jim Guthrie’s soundtrack to Sword & Sworcery EP: Superbrothers on Spotify, pour yourself a beer, and cuddle close to the virtual 8-bit fire?

Relax.

This week’s installment of Worth Reading in here, and by doing it two weeks in a row, I guess I’m committed. There was a glitch last week, which meant the story never showed up in the database proper. If you missed out on Worth Reading’s debut, click over here.

Worth Reading is for the weekend. Work is over, and there’s free time ahead. Worth Reading is whatever makes sense at the end of the week, be it highlighting some games that didn’t make sense for the other ways Giant Bomb covers games, news you should be aware of, and essays that need talking about.

And potentially other stuff! I’m open to suggestions.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Hey, You Should Play This: 1,000 Amps

Make music an integral part of your game, and I'm sold. Bit.Trip Runner isn't the best platformer, but how the soundtrack interacts with running, jumping and sliding sweeps me away every time. 1,000 Amps, which just launched on Steam for the PC and Mac, plays with similar ideas, though with a much larger emphasis on puzzle solving that leaping from platform to platform. The striking black/white looks great, too, and reminds me of Closure.

Damn, when is that game finally coming out?

As a bonus, designer Brandon Brizzi was kind enough to provide five Steam codes. I’m told there are such things as Steam “bots” automatically snapping up codes, though. That’s a bummer, so I’ll make a request. The first five people on Twitter to say the title of the movie I’m partially responsible for getting made will get DM'd a code.

Note: Codes are gone!

Also, Consider Playing This: The Fourth Wall

Yeah, I’m a sucker for a clever platformer. Games like that are a dime-a-dozen in the independent development community, but some are better than others, and The Fourth Wall has an excellent twist. In The Fourth Wall, the barriers of reality do not necessarily apply. The properties of up, down, left and right do not conform to traditional norms in The Fourth Wall. It’s a game whose tricks are best experienced by simply downloading the game and playing, but imagine this: when you fall into a pit, you die, right? In The Fourth Wall, you fall from the ceiling.

Let me make it simple: The Fourth Wall was made by DigiPen students, is incredibly smart, and it's free.

And Maybe You Should Read These:

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The Penny Arcade Report is just one (!!!) of the promising new gaming publications that launched this week, and it’s already an excellent destination for lengthy, interesting stories about games. Ben Kuchera, formerly of Ars Technica, is taking a similar approach to myself, and he’s quickly taken advantage of his freedom at Penny Arcade. This story, based on Kuchera’s conversation with Twisted Metal designer David Jaffe at DICE, is an insightful summary of Jaffe’s approach to everything these days--design, press, stories. Perhaps most telling is the interaction afterwards with Kotaku editor-in-chief and friend Stephen Totilo. “You want to be a fucking reporter? Report this.” It's on.

He is one of the most available developers in the business and does an amazing amount of press. I told him that I often feel bad for him in interviews, as it often seems like reporters are just there waiting for him to say something crazy. It’s as if they’re mentally pushing him to dance for the cameras. “I make a conscious choice not to give into the cynicism of thinking the press is just waiting for someone to fuck up… let’s assume it’s really high, and out of every ten reporters I talk to, eight are waiting for me to fuck up to get yellow journalistic bullshit on the top of their site,” he said. “You’re going to die one day, and you’ll have contributed nothing to the world except you’re an asshole. Fuck you, I don’t care.”
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Congrats on launching, Vox Games. And you win this round, McElroy. I’ve been meaning to write a story about Johann Sebastian Joust ever since being introduced to designer Douglas Wilson and playing his wonderful creation during last year’s Big Live Live Show Live! I don’t have to write a story anymore, though, because McElroy crafted the piece I could have only hoped to spin out. McElroy makes the case for why Johann Sebastian Joust is paving needed new ground in games, overlapped with a compelling recreation of playing the game against his roommate.

He has me cornered in the kitchen when the game's guiding tempo of classical music spikes. We both lunge at each other's off-hands, but his wingspan far outmeasures my own, ensuring that his blow connects a half-second quicker. I fall to my knees in disgrace as the tip of my Move goes red, and his glows a sequence of victorious neon hues. I'm exhausted, and grinning. “We're going to need more controllers,” I say.

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Friendly reminder: this is not a three-day weekend. Aww. See you Monday!

Patrick Klepek on Google+