I blinked back tears, my heart aching in my breast, deeply affected. I opened my post-editor and then I began to write this, dabbing occasionally at my eyes with a tissue.
Katawa Shoujo (translation: “Disability Girl”) is a free, English, Visual Novel game by Four Leaf Studios, which is a collection of talented people scattered around the world. Five years in the making, the game is among the best of its breed, in my opinion.
There are dozens, nay, hundreds of ways this Visual Novel project could have gone awry, turning to mere pap or horribly insensitive trash; instead it is remarkably well thought-out, smart, sensitive, emotional and insightful.
This-morning, I had climbed a rise to take bearings on some landmarks, to see if I could figure their precise locations. One distant spire (what is it? A lighthouse? One of the primitive statues, perhaps? I do not know) was obscured by some trees, and I took a few steps sideways to try to get a better view.
That was a mistake.
Got an Android device handy? Want a cool little management game for just a couple bucks?
Give Kairosoft’s Game Dev Story a whirl. Currently, the game is 40% off to celebrate the release of their newest game, Hot Springs Story.
Game Dev Story is just what it sounds like. A game about developing games.
Power. Intrigue. Ambition.
Five nations held together in an uneasy alliance, threatened by neighbouring nations, and troubled by their own differences. Choices you make early on affect later events.
Do you remember when I wrote about Gondola? Did you tragically lose a half a day to its rapacious mechanisms?
Well, I nearly didn’t get this piece about SpaceChem written. I didn’t want to stop playing long enough to write it. So be careful, it’ll eat a chunk of your day (or even days) and it’ll eat twenty bucks. You might also be afflicted with high levels of intellectual stimulation and fun. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I’d seriously sweated for my midterms. Astrology, dialectic and calligraphy, I felt I had in the bag. Arithmetic and geometry, well, I figured I could get by on geometry with the extra-credit work that I’d done.
Incantation, though. Why had I taken incantation – one of the toughest branches of magic – this year instead of something like botany? Pride? The lure of being able to bend the forces of nature with a well-tuned wand? Whatever it was, I just knew I was going to make a poor showing on my midterms, and I had a lot to make up before the finals. I didn’t dare wash out.
All in all, I’m glad I picked up Academagia: The Making of Mages. I played it right through, and I had an awesome time with it.
The appeal of mercenary company simulators is somewhat more broadly-based than other gaming genres, as they tend to (more or less) successfully blend strategic, tactical and logistical tasks into an appealing framework. Choose your work, or your targets, select your personnel, make sure everyone’s equipped, fed and getting paid, fight your battles – and maybe get some looting and pillaging in on the side.
Here are my pet picks from the genre, in no specific order.
This is sort of awkward. I don’t want to tell you about this game.
That’s because I don’t want to spoil it for you.
Let’s pull some adjectives out of the bag. It’s refreshing, surprising, haunting and surreal.
Got that? Good. Play it now!
For the rest of you who are still here, I’m wondering quite how to describe this without giving you the wrong impression.
Something a little unusual this time around. One that you can play right away.
From the very skilled – and I might even be inclined to suggest ‘artistic’ and ‘spectacular’ – Andrew Plotkin comes a sterling piece of short interactive fiction. It’s compact and lovely, and not too difficult.
Seven dwarfs, a wagon with tools and supplies, and a landscape rich in raw materials. Set up a colony, protect your dwarfs, expand and grow rich.
That’s Dwarf Fortress, perhaps the deepest and most intricate sandbox simulation game I’ve seen, and I have been meaning to write it up for a long time.