[Episode 43] It’s Dead, Jim.

If you’re a fan of the retail PC space, I may have some bad news… who am I kidding?  Who’s a fan of the retail PC space anymore?  That’s why it’s dead.  The only question now is whether to mourn or celebrate that turn of events.

Sorry.  I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.  For this episode of the show, we started with a question prompted in part by this article:  will digital distribution cause the demise of store bought, physical PC games in the next five years?  If my intro didn’t clue you in, we’re pretty much agreed that it’s a very plausible theory, but there’s plenty to say on that topic beyond just agreeing or disagreeing, and I hope you’ll enjoy our musings therein.

Only three of us were along for the ride this time, so the “games played” section was a little short on content (though not on length;  we are a chatty crew), but there’s still been some good gaming going on.  If, like James, you’re horribly addicted to Fallout:  New Vegas, you’ve probably already visited the New Vegas Nexus for more mods than you’ll know what to do with.  If you haven’t, well, now you will.  I’d also appreciate it if you’d check out But That Was Yesterday, a really unique free Flash title I wrote up that the Colony of Gamers crowd seems to like a lot.  It’s a bit odd, but it won’t take you long.

As we approach the end of the year, we also turn our thoughts towards the IMmies, wherein we’ll focus on the best 2010 had to offer.  If you’ve got a game you want to make sure we don’t miss, an e-mail would be prudent.  There may be a prize involved.

Whether we plan to weep or dance on the grave, death is inevitable and must be confronted.  Has the time come for the boxed PC game?  Too early to say for sure, but in our opinion…  It’s Dead, Jim.

Hosted and Summarized by Eric [Ravenlock]
Participants are James [Vigil80] and Robert [Trebor]
Produced by Eric (God help us.)

Want to talk about the show?  Come join the episode thread over at Colony of Gamers.

[Episode 42] Wherefore Freeware

PC gaming doesn’t always have to be expensive. There are a bevy of offerings for you to peruse free of charge. We discuss a wide variety, starting with the growing free-to-play MMO phenomenon. Turbine has been in the news lately with the transformations of its long-running titles Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. And eastern developers before them seem to have found great success in the free play model. What’s in it for the company, and for the player?

The domain of free games does not end there, of course. Listen in as the IM crew educates your co-host in what kinds of fully-featured freebies are out there for downloading, and why someone might develop a game only to give it away. And no discussion of free game content would be complete without a nod to the modders that have been creating content for games since the beginning.

Give a listen to Wherefore Freeware at our always low price. And don’t miss Ravenlock’s regular Colony of Gamers feature, Free and Worth Every Penny, for a showcase of free games.

Hosted by James [Vigil80]
Participants are Robert [Trebor], Chris [jpublic], and Turner
Produced by Clayton [Voodoo]

Join in the free exchange of ideas in the discussion thread at Colony of Gamers.

[IndieCast] Diamond Dan

One of the things that weighs on me when covering indie games – well, as heavily as anything can weigh on you when you’re writing about games – is that it’s essentially impossible to keep up unless it’s your full-time job.  Maybe not even then.  I mean, go look at the list of Indie Games in the Steam catalogue.  How many of those will you really ever play?  There’s already 100 in the list, and it really only covers games from this year.  Sometimes games, even really good ones, are going to get missed.

This episode’s IndieCast was very nearly one of those.  If it wasn’t for a writeup over on DIY Gamer, I never would have heard of Diamond Dan at all.  Luckily, though, they did write about it, and I’m glad it ended up on my radar.  It’s a charming action puzzle game, casting you alternately in the role of an Indiana Jones-esque archeologist and his intrepid female counterpart as they seek fame and fortune in treacherous caverns.

I have a few concerns with the game’s design that I expound on in the recording – I think it’s FAR too easy to get killed without warning at the end of a very long level and get tossed back to the beginning, which can get frustrating fast.  But I found myself wanting to keep playing anyhow; the around-the-cylinder map is an underused level design trick, and the randomized nature of the ever-changing labyrinth made each retry after death a new adventure.  Getting out with a high score is genuinely rewarding, and as much as the difficulty turned me off at points, it contributed to that feeling of success in the end.

Don’t miss out on this one like I almost did.  There’s no demo on Steam, but you can get one here, and if you like it, the full version will only set you back the cost of a couple of trips to a fast food joint.

Wait, don’t go yet!  First listen to the IndieCast, then do that stuff.  I mean, that’s why we’re here.

Want to talk about it with us?  Come join the discussion over at Colony of Gamers.

[Episode 41] Bring it on Back

In Episode 40, we talked about the longevity of games – how well a game, or a franchise, or a gameplay idea holds up over time, and what determines whether or not they’re worth revisiting years or even decades later.  Towards the end of that conversation, we started talking about reboots, and in the spooky spirit of Halloween, that’s the main attraction for this episode: necromancy!

Specifically, everyone was charged with proposing a franchise or a gameplay style that hasn’t yet been brought back from the dead, but that we’d like to return to.  We had a full house for this one, so there’s plenty of good ideas within.  Oh, and speaking of “bringing back”, former co-host Robert has returned in style to the show as a panelist, and brought a newcomer along with him – thanks to him and Turner both for joining us, and I hope they both make regular appearances from here on out!

Unsurprisingly, there was also some talk about Minecraft, because it’s amazing and we’re all psyched for the upcoming Halloween patch.  I promised to toss a link in here to the epic Colony of Gamers Minecraft thread, and so now I have.  Oh, and the city of Rapture made entirely in Minecraft.  That’s a thing that happened.

Also some chatting about what we’ve been playing, some complaining about Valve’s DOTA 2 announcement… you know, the expected stuff.

It’s starting to get cold outside, so find a nice warm beverage, get cozy and join us as we attempt to… Bring it on Back.

Hosted by Eric [Ravenlock]
Participants are James [Vigil80], Chris [JPublic],  Robert [Trebor] and newcomer Turner
Produced by Clayton [Voodoo]

Want to talk about the show?  Come join the episode thread over at Colony of Gamers.

EDIT: I forgot a link again! (Of course I did, I’m me.) The Vintage Game Club, currently re-playing Planescape: Torment, which is available on GoG if you don’t already have a copy. There’s a widescreen mod discussed on the GoG forums over here, to make it look a little more up-to-date, too.