Good morning, internet! Here's your weekly serving of updates, news, previews, and subliminal messages! This week's Link Dump Friday is a big one, full of Pokemon, zombies, monsters, creepers, and more! Don't worry, we made sure to keep the separate... I... uh... huh. Oh. Oh dear. Does anyone know how to clean Pikachu out of the carpet?... and the ceiling?
News and Previews
The Polls Are Open! It's that time of year again! Because nobody will listen to my awesome idea of a Battle-Royale-style event to decide which developers are the best, voting is now open on our yearly awards for Best of 2012. Once each day, you can cast a vote in each category and genre from browser to indie and beyond for the game you feel deserves to win in its category, including casting a single vote overall daily for the game you think was the single best game of 2012. Last year that honour went to Ironhide Games' tremendously stupendous Kingdom Rush, but with so many celebrated browser and indie games this past year, the award could go to anyone, anywhere. Naturally, I have a few favourites I am going to throw a ginormous tantrum over if they don't win and will never speak to you again if you don't vote for them, but since telling you which ones they are would be unethical, I'm just going to sit here and glare meaningfully. Now get out there and vote!
Gotta Update 'Em All! Hope you haven't hung up that red and white cap just yet, 'cause tower-defense/RPG hybrid Pokemon Tower Defense 2: Generations has just received a substantial new update! Bringing the game's version to 1.30, it brings a new chunk of story to play through for those of you who had already reached the current limit, as well as some balance changes and a new soft level cap on top of the ability to have some challenging rematches. I'm not sure how much that's going to help me, since my Pokemon team is less dictated by strategy and effectiveness and more by the Pokemon I think are cutest, but I'm sure you Pokemaniacs will have no trouble with it! The game still is far from finished, so you can expect more updates with more story, Pokemon, and everything else in the future.
The Apocalypse is On Hold Many of you were excited at the prospect of getting a standalone version of the zombie-survival multiplayer action game DayZ (which currently requires a copy of ARMA II: Combined Operations to run.)... especially since it was originally promised for the end of 2012. Well, with that date done and dusted, the DayZ devs have taken to their blog to explain what's going on, and the result is largely good news... even if it means you and I will have to wait a while longer to frolic through the killing fields together. The bare-bones explanation is that instead of simply repackaging and polishing the mod into a simple standalone for sale, they're instead completely rebuilding the game on its own engine, which is understandably going to take a while. It's always a little disappointing when something you're looking forward to gets postponed, but with such massive upheaval and improvements to the player experience, I think we can probably forgive them. Stay tuned!
Curses, Possession, and Side-Scrolling Calling your game a "mix of adventure classics like Zelda and Mega Man" sort of sounds like fishing for nostalgics with illegal bait, but darned if Lacuna Entertainment's platforming adventure Noctemis doesn't look intriguing. The game is set in a place where the inhabitants of a cursed town release their nightmares on the world as they sleep, and a drug supposed to suppress these abilities hasn't been the cure they hoped for. You'll play as a scientist willing to venture into the town and solve its mysteries, while combating the creatures you encounter. There's a lot of detailed story to be found on the page, as well as some great artwork. The extremely detailed breakdown is also refreshing since it details exactly where your money will be going and what their plans are. If you love horror and stories blending with action, this might be one to reach into your pocket for.
All The Meat, None of the Fat If you liked the free indie RPG Vacant Sky: Act 1, here's something to pique your interest. Creator Bishop Meyer has launched a Kickstarter for Vacant Sky: Awakening that looks to be a vastly different beast but an extremely intriguing one. Billing itself as a "pre-apocalyptic RPG", it follows a cast of characters over seven years and promises that your decisions will shape your party's evolution. It's sort of a big claim when you think about just how much can happen in seven years, but right now it looks extremely promising. If you were a fan of the original series, this should be on your radar, and if you're interested in the Kickstarter the free original game is a great way to tell if you're interested in the team's style. Trust us, they've got some serious talent and this could be something extra special.
Sometimes You Get More Than You Pay For, Especially When You Pay Nothing There are a lot of amazing free indie games out there, but not all of them get the attention they deserve, which is why the Free Indie Bundle is a great idea. The CabreraBrothers have created a totally free download bundle, primarily for Windows, that highlights some of the best free indie games you might have missed, including great titles like Imscared and Abobo's Big Adventure. There are a lot of pay-what-you-want bundles out there for quality indie titles, but it's wonderful to be reminded that there are a lot of freeware games out there that are still more than worth your time. Pick up this bundle, and make sure you send them a tip if you think you know a free indie game that should be included in the next one!
Step by Step, Block by Block User RXReckonHD is here to destroy your self-esteem about the little square house you made in Minecraft with Moving Blocks: A Mincraft Stop-Motion, a three-week long project that turned into a music video showing you a mansion being built block-by-block. Obviously the game is running with a few mods and texture packs, but there's no denying that the resulting video looks fantastic and is painstakingly well choreographed. Do you know what the last two things I built in Minecraft were? An irregular rectangle stone "coffin" that I hid in crying while Endermen snorted around outside and a giant Netherrack butt floating in mid-air outside the window of the castle my husband was building. You'll forgive me if I'm just a bit in awe of this.
Congratulations, You Win Snark! (Also Cash and Accolades) The Escapist's entry period is now closed for the 2012 Indie Speed Run, where developers each created a game in under 48 hours to be judged and have a shot at being sent to Yahtzee Croshaw, who will decide who the winner of the $2500.00 grand prize. Why should you care? Well, because in addition to this being a great opportunity for developers to get some exposure, you get a whole bunch of mini games to play! There are a ton of games to play and rate, and your ratings will help choose three of the finalists, so go get your game on and make some dreams come true.
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!