Despite what the media might tell you, video gaming is an inherently social medium.  And while you might not remember it all the time, given the stereotypical image of the PC gamer – fingers stained with cheetos tapping away at hotkeys in dimly lit basements in the middle of the night – it was PC games that first expanded the boundaries of multiplayer gaming beyond the couch and into cyberspace.  We want to game with our friends, and X-Box Live and PSN are nice and all, but we were sending headshots to each other across hundreds of miles of distance more than a decade ago, so forgive us if we seem hard to impress.

Rooted in that tradition, going as far back as the first DOOM, is a love of cooperative gameplay, and that’s what we’re here to talk about tonight.  The co-op experiences that helped form us as gamers, the ones we enjoy taking part in now, and the ones we’d like to see in the future.

You may notice as you listen that we lament a bit a shift that seems to have happened in game development where co-op play has become a standard of console games (and their PC ports), but rarely the province of PC exclusives.  I fear that I might have come across as saying that there are no good PC co-op experiences anymore, though, and that’s very clearly not the case.  A quick trip over to our good friends at Co-optimus will quickly dispel such a notion, and their list of PC co-op titles is a fantastic resource.  And, of course, the indie and mod scene haven’t forgotten the importance of co-op play; last episode’s indie game Flotilla has a local co-op mode, and mods like Fistful of Frags and Sven Co-op bring the experience to games that didn’t support it initially.

Come join us as we get by… with A Little Help From Our Friends.

Hosted and Summarized by Eric [Ravenlock]
Participants are Robert [Trebor], and J_Arcane
Produced by Clayton [Voodoo]

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

“And so it begins” are the famous words that begin the five seasons of Babylon 5 back in 1994. But for those of us PC gamers, who fell in love with the story, the characters, the mythos, and the technology, we never got any love from the PC game development community and thus, no Babylon 5 PC games ever made it to our hard drives. However thanks to a certain game called FreeSpace 2 going open source and the FreeSpace 2 Source Code Project, the total conversion mod, The Babylon Project, became a reality. This space combat simulator lets you ride fire in an EA (Earth Alliance) Starfury in over a dozen different campaigns, some of which are based on actual Babylon 5 episodes and others are from the creative minds of developers that are huge fans of B5.

So join Robert [Trebor], Eric [Ravenlock], and Clayton [Voodoo] in the Cobra Bays as we mount our SA-23E Mitchell-Hyundyne Starfurys and prepare to launch to, The Babylon Project.

I originally wanted to stick with the space shooter theme of Episode 31, but as it turns out, there aren’t that many indie games out there right now that put you in the cockpit of a spaceship.  What there’s a lot more of, though, is strategy games set in space, and the recently released Flotilla has been getting a whole lot of buzz for all the right reasons.  Brendon Chung’s Homeworld-esque galactic adventure is leisurely paced but still contains moments of high tension, looks and sounds great, and comes at a very attractive price.

By happy coincidence, the XBLA version of Flotilla recently caught the attention of our own Mike Bellmore, and he gave it a favorable writeup over on Colony of Gamers.  We found that his observations also apply well to the PC version of the game, and if you’ve got $10 to spend and a hankering for a very re-playable strategy game wrapped in a truly silly (but enjoyable) plot, this is a fine place to invest that cash.

Of course, nobody’s asking you to buy it sight unseen, and we’d encourage you to give the demo a try and decide for yourself whether this voyage to the stars is one you want to take.

After, of course, you listen to the Episode 31 Indiecast.

Want to talk about Flotilla?  Come discuss it over at Colony of Gamers.

On this stellar edition of the Immortal Machines Podcast, your intrepid spaceship jockeys Robert [Trebor], Eric [Ravenlock], Clayton [Voodoo] and J Arcane talk about one of the defining space combat saga to ever grace the hard drive of a PC, the one and only Wing Commander series. Covering Wing Commanders 1 thru Prophecy, you will get all the space combat commentary you can handle, along with our takes on the Wing Commander story line, the inclusion of full motion video, different story arcs, and what our thoughts are about the future of space combat games. But before we settle into the cockpits of our Rapier medium attack fighters and recount tales of taking on the Kilrathi fleet single handed, we have a very lively chat of what we’ve been playing on our PCs since the last podcast so worry not, there is still plenty of gaming gossip gestation.

So strap yourselves in and get ready to take a ride on The Rise and Fall of Wing Commander.

Links, links, and more links for your reading pleasure:

Wing Commander I

Wing Commander II

Wing Commander III

Wing Commander IV

Wing Commander (V) Prophecy

Wing Commander Prophecy: Secret Ops

SMod Tactical for Source

D-FEND Reloaded

Pinnacle Game Profiler