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Saxxy 2013 Winners

Games and Gaming, Gaming Culture, News

The winners of the Source Filmmaker competition — aka The Saxxy Awards — have been announced. Enjoy the fine Valveriffic goodtimes, below. All the nominees are here, and you can watch Valve’s honorable mentions here.

Best Short: The Mann Co. Symphony

Best Action: Chinatown Getaway

Best Comedy: Disruption

Best Drama: Till Death Do Us Part Two

Overall Winner: Lil’ Pyro Guardian

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There Was a Hole Here

Games and Gaming

On Silent Hill 2, Grieving, Relationships and Identifying with Game Characters

“Games are power fantasies.” If you’ve spent more than five minutes talking to anyone about videogames, you probably know the concept. It’s a popular idea. To a certain extent, I even understand it. Playing Jet Set Radio makes me feel free and lawless and infectiously optimistic; No More Heroes 2 makes me feel a sense of unearned mastery as Travis gracefully dismembers wave after wave of cartoon goons. Psychedelic “pretty colors and happy sounds” affairs like Audiosurf and Rez can both thrill and relax me. The act of playing a game can sometimes even help ease my chronic anxiety (another article altogether). So, I get it; kind of.

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A Short Tale That Illustrates A Universal Truth

Features, Games and Gaming

You are going to die.

Friend, you are going to die. That’s the one thing I can say about you, without the tiniest shadow of a doubt, no matter who you are. It’s one of the few things that all humans share. Awareness of that universal truth might just be the thing that makes us human. We know we’re going to die, and we build glorious, airy structures of belief to help us deal with the Fear, or to convince ourselves it’s not going to happen. But it is. You’re going to die. And whether or not you’re a believer in some kind of continuity of self after death, it is still an End, of a sort. You can believe that you’ll flit around clouds, winged and be-harped with a smiling god enthroned and beaming, you can believe that an eternity of pain and torment and screaming and fear await you because of that time you rubbed your downbelows a bit in church, you can believe the quantum standing wave that instantiates your personality in your skull jelly will persist with or without the meat substrate, you can believe in a self made of spirit that will coalesce with the universal consciousness after your heart stops beating, you can believe in the great wheel of becoming and that you’ll return until you Level Up. Whatever you believe — even if you believe nothing, or have decided due to lack of concrete evidence that it’s best to reserve judgement — dying is going to be an Ending. And just possibly, in some ways, a beginning.

The Stanley Parable is about endings.

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Rimworld Title Screen
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RimWorld – Alpha Review

Reviews
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I’m not new to roguelikes and I love a lot of the genre. I’m not a Dwarf Fortress player but I could be. My roguelikes? Rogue, played on a PDP-11 – no colors or easy to recognize characters, thank you. Also hack and NetHack and larn. (Even used to play a custom branch of hack that included lemmings.) Fast forward to FTL or pretty much any contemporary roguelike that I can lose badly. I have a special affection for Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space.

Having enjoyed Prison Architect, but not as fully as I wanted to (mechanics/philosophy stuff I won’t go into here), I was thrilled to hear about RimWorld’s more Firefly-esque approach to building and cultivating the colony and kickstarter-pledged immediately at a level that’d get me access to the Alpha.
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The Dorflike Round-up

Games and Gaming

Playing Dwarf Fortress is an amazingly deep and interesting experience, but it is not without a learning curve. The pairing of the enchanting, emergent stories the game produces with a nearly impenetrable interface has created a market for games that provide a similar experience with a prettier and more approachable interface.

This is no easy task. Gaming history is littered with barely-started projects that have been abandoned by their creators. Lately, however, it seems that an increasing number of these games are getting to playable states and showing varying degrees of progress and promise. Many of them have playable releases and I’ve tried as many of them that I can get my hands on; this is a report of my findings.

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