Link Dump Friday


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Link Dump Fridays

DoraJune is set to convert you into a real-life 20% cooler incarnation of Indiana Jones with two particularly amazing indie games set for release on the same day. Of course, that's not all that's on the horizon. We've also got some good old fashioned childhood trauma (which is always good and good for ya), a huge interstellar journey, and, of course, yet another giveaway!

ResonanceCongratulations, You Win Terror! You know Wadjet Eye Games, right? If you like adventure games at all, you definitely should. Especially since they've combined their Wonder Twin powers with xii games for the upcoming techno-thriller adventure Resonance, which weaves a complex story about four different (but playable) characters in search for a vault left behind by a dead scientist. The game is due out on June 19th, and we want you to play it when it hits! That's why we're giving away three copies (to be delivered digitially June 19th 2012 upon release) through Good Old Games! To enter for your chance to win, just leave a comment on this article telling us which three characters from any game you would most like to go on an adventure with and why. Contest rules: Entries must be submitted by June 8th, 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT-5). Winners will be announced shortly thereafter. One entry per person only. You must be at least 13 years of age or older to enter. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. (Update: Congratulations to our winners: bandsix, Lin, Clipartman! Thank you for playing with us. :)


Among the SleepChildhood is Terrifying Chances are, you don't remember much about being a toddler other than all that diaper changing your family guilts you for. There's a good chance, however, that it was probably a pretty weird and unsettling experience at times. After all, you had no idea what was going on around you, and everything seemed strange and unreal. But what happens when something otherworldly really does happen to that young and impressionable a mind? Due out next year for PC and Mac, Krillbite Studio's "interactive experience" Among the Sleep aims to answer that question. The first-person game follows you as a two-year old put to bed one evening who wakes up late and night to discover... things have gone wrong. How much of what you are seeing is something genuinely horrific and how much is just the misperceptions of a child? You can check out the captivating and eerie gameplay video over at the official site, and follow the developer's blog for more progress. This one looks like it could be something special, and supremely creepy as well as captivating.

Tiny and Big: Grandpa's LeftoversGrandpa's... Underwear? Kids these days. All having adventures with their lasers and their grappling hooks and their wacky platforming to find their Grandfather's underpants. Amirite? Due out June 19th, Black Pants Game Studios' Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers follows nerdy inventor Tiny whose arch nemesis Big has stolen his Grandpa's bequeathed underpants and leads him on an action-packed journey to the forsaken desert. The game is available now for pre-order from Good Old Games, and if you're a fan of comic-styled adventure and humour, you'll definitely want to check it out and keep your eyes peeled for our review!

StarboundBuild Your Own Time Suck It's been a while since we talked about Starbound from Chucklefish, so let's do so again. Due out towards the end of summer this year for PC, Mac, and Linux, the sandbox adventure game is about you as one of the only survivors of the destruction of your homeworld, saved from becoming lost in space when your escape pod collides with an abandoned space station. What makes Starbound neat is that everything about every planet you'll visit is procedurally generated, from the landscape to the weather and gravity to the behaviours of the fauna and more. The game is ultimately story-driven, but you'll be free to explore, build up your ship and crew, and even colonize a new home world you can terraform to your liking. The developers just recently published the game's first playable race, the Avians, but the entire site is packed with fascinating information and gorgeous screenshots. Keep your eyes peeled for this, and join me in the bushes as I camp this one out.

Build a BundleBuild Your Own Time Suck If you like all these pay-what-you-want bundles of indie games but often find that you aren't really interested in all of the games offered in them, the Build a Bundle might be for you. Choose at least three but up to twelve of the twelve titles available, such as The Ball or Nikopol, and set your price. The minimum is a measly $1.00USD, but surely even one of these great titles is worth more than that! Plus, 20% of each dollar goes to polar bears... saving them, I mean, since I don't think polar bears are after money when they maul people. The ability to pick and choose what you want from the selection is a great idea, and definitely makes this one sale worth checking out.

Games for GirlsGender Does Not Dictate High Scores If you're of the female persuasion and play video games of any sort, you've probably been dragged into a debate about women and gaming at some point whether you want to or not. The concept of female gamers as being separate somehow and having hardwired different tastes from their male counterparts simply because of their reproductive bits is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, so Kotaku's recent article titled She Tried to Make Good Video Games for Girls (Whatever That Meant) was an interesting read. It focuses on Brenda Laurel's failed Purple Moon company, which dedicated itself to working with the idea of games for young girls. Making games "for" girls and women has always been a tricky concept, since the idea of what females like is, obviously, huge and varied. (Though I tend to believe we just like good games.) What do you guys think? Are there any particular indie or browser games out there you would consider as being more geared at females, and why?

Do you know an upcoming indie project or some community gaming related news you think deserves some attention? Send me an e-mail with LINK DUMP FRIDAY in the subject line at dora AT casualgameplay DOT com with the info, and we'll judge it with the all-seeing glare of our own self-importance for inclusion in a future Link Dump Friday article!

24 Comments

For Resonance, I don't exactly see any character sheets, but I suppose that's not surprising since the game's not out yet and they probably don't want to give anything away. So just going by the screenshots and what I saw in the trailer, the person I'd want to have an adventure with is definitely the girl character.

Aside from the fact that we're both the same gender, the screenshot that shows what I think is her when she was younger really resonated with me, if you'll forgive the pun. It really just reminded me when I was that age and all the nightmares I had trying to hide from something. In my case, I usually failed hard, but hey, maybe she's more successful and would've been helpful with my problems.

In their own way, each of the characters seem like they can handle themselves, but the girl character seems like she likes to keep to herself and not open much. Granted, I'm just extrapolating from that other screenshot with her and the blonde guy, but that's the kind of vibe I get.

I think hanging out with her would be great and any adventure we would have would involve a lot of the direct approach: forcing answers out of people, going straight to the top of the shady organization, etc, etc.

Not part of my entry: in the little blurb for Resonance, it says there's four characters, but then later on says there's only three. Typo?

Dora, I'm so with you on being peeved about being told that ovaries somehow means you choose different games.

I detest ALL of the gender-specific marketing - -I do a fair amount of the handywork around the house, and telling me I need to buy these cheap, crummy tools just because you painted them pink drives me nuts. The same with pink wine bottles -- as if the fact that I'm female doesn't mean I'm capable of appreciating a great old Bordeaux? (Or a single-malt Islay Scotch, for that matter)

Some of us like shooters, some of us like escape games -- and it really doesn't matter much.

Make a good game and it will be played -- and this includes competent heroines in games, rather than busty damsels in distress who show up at the end of the game for nothing more than to decorate the arm of the hero.

the comments on the Purple Moon article are awesome, by the way, and worth reading even if you skip the article.

I am 100% with you both, Dora and JustMe. I am horrified by the messages sent by sites full of "girl games" like dress up the beauty queen and my pretty wedding. Fortunately my daughter is bored to tears by these and plays real games like The Binding of Isaac, Magicka, and Minecraft. And she does so without sacrificing an ounce of femininity.

-a proud dad

I had to think about it a while, but I guess I'd love to go on an adventure with any three of the lead characters in Grim Fandango. They were such a cool crew to hang with even with the fourth wall (ie. computer screen) between us, I think we'd have a great time cruising Rubacava together, snapping fingers at poetry readings and all that jazz. No seriously, all that jazz we0d listen to. So, Manny, Glottis, Meche, in case you're listening...

Oh though trippin' with the trio from The Trine and Trine II would also be fun. I don't know what my contribution to the team would be though. Maybe mine would be the power to spout endless drivel, so tightly worded you could walk across.

As Movies, books, and games have repeatedly taught me adventures are fraught with peril and death, so my main goal in my adventure team would be to keep me alive.

Sissel from Ghost Trick seems like the best choice for that. Even if I do die he can rewind time and Rube Goldberg me back to life. Also, he is a pretty funny guy and seems like he would be a nice person to be around.

Next I would have the Heavy Weapons Guy from TF2, for obvious reasons. I am pretty sure he would be able to take care of any enemies we came across.

Finally I would the mobile platform you control in Enemy 585. That guy seems like he would have an infinite number of uses. Acting as cover, acting as stair etc. It would also be pretty interesting to meet a giant floating platform with a smiley face on it in real life. Can you imagine what that would be like if you just found that hovering outside your door one day.

So yeah. Sissel, Heavy Weapons Guy and the moving platform. I think that these guys would be really useful to be around and in Sissel and Heavy Weapons Guy's case they would also be pretty funny too.

Oh god - I just had a flashback to a particularly horrendous afternoon spent in 1996 playing the Michelle Kwan figure skating game when all I wanted to do was die of dysentery on the Oregon Trail. I agree with Dora that I'd rather play a good game than a girl game, although I suppose the two don't have to be mutually exclusive (do you remember Rose & Camellia?)

Though I wasn't exactly the target audience, I played the Rockett games with my sister, and found them boring as all get out. In retrospect, they played themselves as terrible Interactive Movies, when really, they were meant to be visual novels.

Of course, part of it was my actually being in 8th grade at the time, and finding the school life portrayed in that game to be wildly unrealistic. (While I find media's (especially games, especially Japanese ones, especially THOSE ones) sexualization of school-age students disturbing on a number of levels, one cannot deny that even the content of the worst such games is more sanitary than 5 minutes of conversation in your average Junior High School cafeteria.)

For the curious, though, the first four games have been uploaded in their entirety on YouTube. The fact that it's entirely possible to do so probably speaks volumes as to their limited success as games in the first place.

http://www.youtube.com/user/WeabooName

As for my adventuring companions, the choice is obvious: Dave, Bernard, and Razor. You're going down, Dr. Edison!

The Kotaku article, on "Games 'for' Girls," reminds me a lot of a recent article by Greg Rucka, called Why I Write "Strong Female Characters". His summary, if you haven't read the whole thing (and you really should), is:
Q: How do you write such strong/well-realized/positively portrayed women?
A: I don't. I write characters. Some of those characters are women.
To make a game that appeals to women means that you need to avoid the cliche male gamer stereotypes (like, as JustMe mentioned, "busty damsels in distress who show up at the end of the game for nothing more than to decorate the arm of the hero."). That takes time and effort, and the ability to convince the executives that it's worth both. However, the result is generally a better game which appeals to everybody.

Guybrush Ulysses Threepwood from Monkey Island Series - sense of humor

Manny Calavera from Grim Fandango - sense of humor

Aragorn son of Arathorn from Lord of the Rings Online - ah, a real man type but also sensitive

I like all styles of games. I do prefer games where female characters play a substantial role. But even if the role is small, I tend to be satisfied as long as there are some female characters. However, if all the characters are male, it tends to invoke the unpleasant feeling that I'm entering a boys club, so no matter how entertaining the game is otherwise, it won't interest me.

It's time for an adventure, and coming with me are three people useful in any situation.

1) Firstly we need someone who can save lifes with little equipment. Thats why I'll choose Alan Probe: Amateur Surgeon. He can save lives using staples, a knife and a car battery. So if someone gets hurt when supplies are low. He's the man.

Next we need a guide to lead the party to safety and avoid trouble. However if trouble should find us ths guide will help us fight our way out of trouble. Ezio Auditore Da Firenze. He can see guards including their patrol routes, climb building with ease, and has an array of weapons to solve those problems that problem solving cant help with.

Talking of problems solving our group so far has two people who have limited knowledge at solving problems, but no one who is an expert. We also need someone who is an expert in archaeology for all those historical problems that have been unsolved for generations. No not that whip-holding American. The very British Gentleman, Professor Hershel Layton. He solves puzzles for fun, is the perfect gentleman, can handle a sword and is a great teamworker.

Oh and I would be there for you know bringing the food and holding the inventory that all these guys need.

Girl, gamer since the C64 days when I was 8. Purple Moon games would never have appealed to me because I don't care for interactive movies (which the promo'ed one looks like) or visual novels. Boring.

I like RPGs, old-school and current. I like creative sim games and sandbox games. I like roguelikes and dungeon crawlers. I like the random MMORPG. I'll play escape games and platformers sparingly. I love the Nancy Drew games and other adventure/mystery games that aren't overly scary (creepy music freaks me out). I don't care for FPS or games like Gears of War because, honestly, I don't find them challenging.

I hate that some companies think that in order to appeal to girls, they have to make things pink or purple and sparkly and revolve around fashion or love. Just make a game. Let someone play as a female character. Don't create some stupid gender-tied skills that make playing as a female character less desirable. And for the love of whomever, don't dress all the females in skimpy bikinis.

Why does it say "Build your own Time Suck" on two different news.

The three characters I'd like to go an adventure with?

The first is Raz from Psychonauts, if he could lend me that mind-tapping ability, as I've always wanted to explore the complex world of the mind.

Then there's Manny from Grim Fandango--he'd be a great tour guide for the land of the dead, a darkly enchanting world that I can't forget about. GF was a bloody great game!

And the last is the driver from Big Rigs Racing, who I expect can teach me how to drive through walls, houses, mountains, etc.

I want to go on an adventure with Floyd the robot, from Planetfall. He is one of the most endearing game NPCs of all time, and he'll lay down his life for you without hesitation. Not that I would let him.

I want to go on an adventure with Garrett from the Thief series. Not because he can do amazing things, but just to hear what he would say. Frankly I'd take him to the grocery store if it would get him making snarky comments.

I want to go on an adventure with Alyx Vance. Smart, funny, and (vanishingly rare in the FPS genre) totally capable of taking care of herself AND her companion. With the added bonus of possibly having Dog show up.

As for the whole girl games nonsense, there is no such thing. But I do wish there were more interesting female protagonists. I have enjoyed being The Nameless One, Max Payne, Gordon Freeman, J. C. Denton, Mardek, Gabriel Knight, Garrett, Guybrush Threepwood, Harry Mason (yes I liked him better than James Sutherland, though I seem to be the only one), Perry Simm, Christof Romuald and many, many other excellent dudes.

But I'd like a chance to play a few more characters like Jade, Laura Bow, Heather Mason, April Ryan and Lara Croft. I could list a lot of female protagonists, but when I tried to think of INTERESTING ones, the list got very short. I wanted to list Chell, but she's as much a cypher as any protagonist has ever been - GLaDOS, like SHODAN, was really the amazing female character, but not the one I played. I inhabit the characters I play, and only rarely has that experience been truly satisfying with a female protagonist.

George Stobbart from the Broken Sword series because we would delve into the mysterious of the mythology surrounding the Knights Templar.

April Ryan from The Longest Journey because we would have a talking bird companion :P Also, we would go on the most amazing adventure ever created and save the worlds from corrupt magic.

Kate Walker from Syberia and Syberia II because we would constantly interact with automatons like Oscar!

Case in point?

The screen shots from Loren the Amazon Princess...women only look like that in the minds of adolescent fanboys who have never seen an actual woman.

It might be an awesome game, and Loren might be an awesome character -- but the graphics end it before I ever click.

After all the years, Resonance actually made me create an account. ;) Well, either that or the fact that with so many bundles around atm, the gaming piggy bank is totally broke - and Resonance looks really promising.

Three characters I'd like to adventure with is one of those totally annoying questions for folks like me who can't decide what to have for dinner. So I'm just gonna stick to the games I'm (re)playing this week:
1) Raven from Arcanum is a joy to travel around with, her magic skills are rather useful and she's more friendly then the rest of the fighting closets you can choose from. Even though I wish she wouldn't only flirt with the males.
2)Ariel from Gemini Rue is so noir and rugged, adventuring with him would be a fantastic excuse to pull off the 'trenchcoat with upturned collar' look I've always been pining for.
3)And last but not least, Milish from The sea will claim everything, just because I can't think of anything cooler than adventuring with a polite rock eating teen dragon. I mean really. Also, I'd never need any lockpicking skills ever again, Milish would happily just eat the locks.

As for the girl gamers issue, I for one haven't been a girl in a while, but I've been a human being my whole life. The only non boring part of the discussion is the one where we put pressure on devs and game companies to create satisfactory female characters that are only sexualized to the same degree their male counterparts are in the same game. When games stop only using the boring old tropes and start making female chars that are the real deal, then girl gamers will have the ability to choose any game type they like without being forced to either play a dude or a sex object.

For the 'Resonance' competition:
Three companions to choose?

1) Guybrush Threepwood (the Monkey Island games). For maintaining humour in the face of not having a clue; for love of a strong female character; for continually going up against the mean, the competent and the supernaturally powered - Guybrush, I choose YOU!

2) Boston Low ('Commander Boston Low') - the man with the forgettable name, from an unforgettable game - 'The Dig'. For maintaining courage in the face of danger, death and the downright weird. For going it alone when madness and mayhem threaten. For saving himself, his companions and a whole world. Step up, Commander Low.

3) April Ryan ('The Longest Journey' and 'Dreamfall'). For exploring and solving strange and demanding challenges; for saving two worlds and solving the mystery of her own past; for being a thoroughly normal person who becomes the extraordinary - we salute you.
And who could resist the tag for 'Dreamfall' - "Save April Ryan!".

'The Longest Journey' is an all-time favourite - I ended up buying it again in later years, with the 'Dreamfall Collecter's Edition', and the soundtracks to both. I am still waiting for a possible 'Dreamfall 2'...!

Oh, in light of the above "damsels in distress" conversation - I should point out that (in 'Dreamfall') April Ryan didn't believe in the slightest that she needed saving! (and it was another girl sent to save her).

For the Resonance competition:

1) Carmen Sandiego (Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?): As the world's most notorious thief, she'll be an excellent partner in planning the logistics of breaking into... I mean gaining access to the inaccessible, stealing... finding tools to solve problems and getting out of problematic scenarios. Not to mention that she'll have the handy knowledge of trivia usually needed to solve obscure puzzles.

2) Putt-Putt (Putt-Putt series): All adventures need a means of transportation (and a getaway car!). What could be better than a friendly and altruistic talking car? He'll probably charm everyone with his upbeat personality.

3) Myosotis (The trader of stories): Her job of travelling in pursuit of collecting stories is so well suited to the purpose of adventuring. We'll offer her a ride with Putt-Putt to fix her problem of Zephyr being overgrown. Myosotis will record the many different adventures we have. Then someone will turn the stories into a computer game to be played by everyone. :)

Well - I'm guessing I didn't win a copy of Resonance... looks fun though - I may yet buy it. :-)

We just updated the post with the winners' names. Sorry for the delay, I should have put them up before now so those who wanted to get the game, but didn't win, could do so.

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