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Quest For The Unicorn is back
"I cannot believe it but it has been 25 years since Quest for the Unicorn was first released" says the author. Time flies...but the vast timespan makes this news even better. We need more old school roguelikes very badly these days and this ancient hero is most welcome in 2015.
Quest for the Unicorn is similar to Omega, at least on first impression - "up in the air" inventory system, large starting town, and general vibe. Hopefully the dev will keep the updates flowing...check out the current version here.
Allure Of The Stars 0.5.0.0 released
Another classic RL updated - more excellent work from developer Mikon. Allure is a squad based RL - a rare beast indeed - and a weird one to boot, but weird in a wonderful way. What way? Well, "Nano medbot faucet hisses at you with its fissure" is not the kind of message you often see in a roguelike (or anywhere else for that matter) - but in Allure Of The Stars its quite a standard fare. Try it for yourself - get the latest build from this link.
And there`s also LambdaHack - game engine library written in Haskell that powers Allure and is available for budding developers free of charge.
Aurora RL Alpha
New sci-fi roguelike hybrid appears on the scanners, signal is quite weak at the moment as it`s an early alpha... looks quite interesting though. Authors cite Prospector and Star Control as inspiration and sure enough, conversations with bizarro aliens, scanning for resources and madcap dashes to the lander when low on oxygen are present.
Still too early to tell how it will turn out in the end - writing is a bit heavy at the moment and balancing all the different subsystems might be tricky, but hopefully they can craft something fun and replayable out of it. You can check the alpha for yourself, downloads are featured on the devblog.
Another NES RPG Translated
This time it`s The Legend of Double Moon - apparently a Dragon Quest clone, but with some interesting additions, like more advanced combat system. Congratulations to Stardust Crusaders, the team responsible for translation! Head on to Romhacking.net for the patch itself.
Deadly Premonition On Sale
The Director`s Cut (what?) of this bizarre open world horror adventure is on sale now, DRM Free at Groupees, priced at 2,50$ in a bundle. For that minimum you get some other games (two Steamlocked) plus music and comic books too. Definitely worth checking out.
Though bear in mind that "This list is not meant to be an authoritative ranking of the games. If you dive in, you will see different reviewers often disagreed on the rankings. Instead, it is a way for you to help select which 7DRLs are likely to have things of interest to you."
Well put...most people have their own "ranking" anyway but this list is good fun and quite helpful too. Enjoy!C4CPC - Flash Cartridge for Amstrad CPC
A new build of an excellent, Shin Megami Tensei inspired roguelike Demon, was released a few days ago. Featuring tons of new content - 19 additional monsters, 50 (wow) abilities and multum of other substantial changes. Downloads can be found at Ferret`s devblog and comments/discussion at Roguetemple thread.
Rogue Harvest = HarvestRL Extended
AquaTsar, developer of HarvestRL - one of the highlights of this year`s 7DRL contest - announced that the work on his Harvest Moon influenced roguelike will continue (yes, yes, jRPGRL-likes are like busses wait (?) for ages and...ahhh, anyway).
Cthangband Resurfaces Just Like...
...1) city of R`lyeh
...2) Arkham Manor itself
Modern Arcade Title Manufacturing
Yeah, they still make`em (though maybe not as they used to). The particular title in question is Batman - an open-Gotham Batmobile-combat game. While it doesn`t exactly sound as exciting as, say, Bionic Commando, it`s nevertheless an interesting read over at the Edge, with lots of insights regarding such operation. It`s a niche market these days and that`s reflected in the shoestring budget and team size - 7 people getting a whole game built from scratch sounds quite impressive. While not exactly something we`d be desperate to play, it`s good to know that modern arcade market still exists and has its fans.
DragonBox Pyra - OpenPandora`s Successor Announced
Some of you might be familiar with Pandora - world`s only handheld computer with dedicated gaming controls and QWERTY keyboard. Conceived by a group of enthusiasts as a spiritual successor to GP2X, it had quite a turbulent development history. The new 1GHz version is still being sold and you can sometimes find the old ones on ebay. It`s a bit rough around the edges and the price (heart&wallet-breaking 500 Euro) is quite an issue too, but the fact remains that it`s an unbeatable device for those interested in a handheld that can emulate old obscure computers and also runs DOSBox very well.
A few weeks ago EvilDragon, CEO of OpenPandora made a demonstration of Pyra - the long awaited follow up to Pandora. It`s a similar concept and design - an open source gaming handheld/computer, this time with much improved specs. More details on the website - 1.7 Ghz ARM Cortex processor, 2GB RAM and 5" 1080p touchscreen sure sound good. Shame the price will most likely still remain sky-high, but that`s the unavoidable problem with such low key, non-mass produced operations. While out of reach for our poverty-stricken pockets, we`re still glad that the concept lives on, and maybe one day...
The Mystery Of St. Bride`s Manor
Games(tm) magazine has a truly wonderful article on its pages - history of one of the gaming`s most bizarre publishing houses. Based in an old mansion in an Irish seaside village of Burtonport, it was ran by two women with a penchant for Victorian-era dresses and customs - in fact their main operation was running St. Bride`s, sort of a role-playing community for those into this kinda stuff. By a strange twist of fate one of their members arrived equipped with a Commodore 64 micro - a thing totally out of place there, since their Victorian rules didn`t exactly allowed for such modern deviltry. And yet, one of the matrons ended up being fascinated by the videogame medium - interactive fiction in particular, and they ended up coding some of the 8-bit era`s most unusual and fascinating text adventures - The Secret Of St. Bride's, Bugsy, White Feather Cloak and the infamous Jack The Ripper. Overall, an amazing story, totally unmissable...The Arkhamites approve!
Optical Storage With Infinite Lifespan
Bit rot and media decay were always a scary prospect for those of us interested in preserving the videogames - it`s good to know some folks are actively researching the subject (perhaps with different motivations, but hey). In a rather science-y article on Phys.org researchers from the University of Southampton describe the new method (in a language full of terms like nanovoids and femtoseconds), head there if you feel brave/qualified enough, for the rest of us it`ll suffice to know that there`s hope for a better storage on the horizon!
Mapping The Earth
So, modelling the entire Blue Planet sounds like quite a task, sure, but that`s probably why the French dev team Pixyul plans to do it in many stages (they call it "bricks") in their new game called ReRoll. Gamasutra reports on this ambitious project that also happens to be a survival-action-RPG - what with survival games being all the craze recently, it`s not much of a surprise.
UPDATE: There`s lots of things about this project to be skeptical about - especially their methodology, which supposedly uses data gathered from drones scanning the terrain. But after looking at the already-made engine called Outerra - with a working demo that apparently allows you to go anywhere on our ole planet, one cant` help but wonder "what`s the point guys?"
New ZX Spectrum Games
There`s a bunch of updates on FreshBEEP pointing to a few newly-released ZX games - Larry The Lander II - Cosmic Carnage, Thunderturds and Lost Treasure amongst others. Check`em out!
Found via RetroCollect, the above is a title of a modern Amiga magazine - an enthusiast, just-for-kicks project from one guy. It contains reviews of old games, cheats/tricks and some banter plus lots of old advert-art. Also, a Cover Disk, in digital .adf format. The whole package is extremely well put together and if printed, it wouldn`t be far off from the real publications. You can download the two existing issues over here, and while at it, why not send the author a little mail of encouragement - so maybe we will see #3 in some point.
Natural Doctrine New Info
This rather interesting title from Japanese developer Kadokawa Games has just been previewed in Famitsu - (check Gematsu for English version). Billed as fantasy simulation-RPG with (allegedly*) turn-based combat, it is said to incorporate ideas from natural selection theory...whatever that means. This hereditary thing seems to be a trend recently, with traces found in titles ranging from Rogue Legacy through Conception to Tokyo Jungle. Hopefully they can turn this mish-mash of ideas into a decent videogame.
*sorry, but after Ni No Kuni we`re rather skeptical about any jRPG claiming turn-based combat.
Altirra 2.5 Test 16 Released
Good news for fans of 8-bit Atari as a new version of Altirra, possibly the best emu for these machines, has been released. Seems this is a series of tests before a proper 2.5 release. Grab it here.
"Pay per death? That would be terrible."
So says Takeshi Miyazoe, and to put this quote in context, he`s the producer for Dark Souls 2. He`s talking about possibility of Souls franchise going the free-to-pay (sorry, "play") way. As in "no way!" - which is music to our ears. It`s very rare these days to hear such statements, and he has something to say about DLC too - "For Dark Souls 2, we don't even expect any additional downloadable content because we want to deliver a full game, the full experience, to fans who purchase the package from day one." What a game. And what a guy. (Via Edge interview)
Sorcery Saga Review
Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God is a new PS Vita jRL - perhaps more of a roguelike-lite than the more hardcore PC offerings, but it looks competent and charming nonetheless. And instead of boring save-the-world angle, this one features save-the-local-curry-house one. How refreshing. If this sounds lik your kind of thing Hardcore Gamer has a rather favourable review.
Shenmue Undub Completed
The well worn phrase "better late than never" seems appropriate here. This is a real gem for those who like to play Japanese games with Japanese voiceovers, what better incentive to replay this excellent adventure (as an added bonus your save from this undub will be compatible with Shenmue 2). Check out this isozone.com thread for more details.
Approaching Infinity - Kickstarting A S-F Roguelike
Roguelikes, similarly to classic RPG games are mostly set in some sort of fantasy world. Why is that the case, while the science-fiction settings offer equally -if not more - tantalizing opportunities, remains a mystery. And so, every designer who makes forays into the SF territory is most welcome - especially when the game in question is a roguelike, and a traditional one to boot. Enter Approaching Infinity - IBOL`s (aka Bob Saunders - an all round great guy plus an experienced game designer) newest project.
Age Of Decadence - New Demo
Gamebanshee has an update regarding this long-awaited old school epic. Unfortunately the demo is only for the backers (preordering the game costs 25$, can be done here)...but the fact they`re still working on it is good news anyway. It`s not like there`s plenitude of super-detailed turn-based RPGs out there vying for our attention. Take your time guys...
Breathtaking Vistas From Space Engine
In space no one might hear your scream, but gentle "wow!" uttered in front of your monitor should be quite audible. Space Engine is a freeware Universe exploration sim. There`s no "gameplay" here as such - all you do is fly around and marvel at the views... and those are definitely worth checking out, spanning from distant galaxies right down to planetary surfaces. Here`s a bunch of new screenshots from The Outer Space...
Happy Birthday Megadrive!
Sega`s finest turns 25 this week. All the best! Long retired but never forgotten - and to think people still write and release games for it...
New(ish) ZX Spectrum Roguelikes
Sinclair micros have - obviously - a special place reserved in AM`s pixelated heart, and the same goes for roguelikes. Combine the two together and we couldn`t be happier, therefore it was a great pleasure to discover No Time To Play collective - some guys who seemingly share the aforementioned sentiments. On their website you`ll find two RLs they`ve written for ZX Spectrum - Spectral Dungeons and Escape from Cnossus. And while browsing there, we`ve stumbled upon a bonus - link to another Spectrum RL! It`s called Ossuary and have also been released just this year. Fantabulous stuff!
Archive.org + MESS
These good folk at archive.org now have a dedicated videogame section - called Historical Software Collection, it allows you to play some of the classic-ests classics in a browser window, thanks to the wizardry of JMESS (yeah, it`s Java + MESS). We find their approach to information preservation most heartwarming and applaud this project very loudly (though of course always advocating proper, offline emulation for more serious play and option tinkering).
Kickstarter Heavyweights Roundup
Wired has an interesting article of where-are-they-now variety, regarding some of the most famous videogaming Kickstarter projects, including our favourites Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity. Most of them seem to be doing okay, despite numerous delays - but you`d have to be rather naive to expect such endeavours to be delivered on time. More worrying are downright disasters like the Double Fine`s "sorry, you`re only getting half the game" stunt or just being generally underwhelming and full of lame design decisions like Shadowrun Returns (never even mind their "DRM free!" promise being changed to "Steam only"). Let`s hope the remaining ones can avoid such pitfalls.
Tecmo`s Deception Is Back
This time on Playstation 4. We`re glad to hear about the return of this unique PSX trapfest, it`ll be interesting to see how it pans out on the next-gen system. More details and a trailer on Gematsu.
Good ol`Edge features the 8-bit classic Barbarian in one of their "The Making Of:" articles. Interesting read for fans of the era and of course the game itself. Barbarian was not only groundbreaking technically, but also caused quite a stir in the very conservative English society - thanks to the cover art which featured gorgeous Maria Whittaker in full bloom. While nobody would bat an eyelid these days upon seeing some lass in a bikini, back then it was an outrage and various preachy institutions latched onto it. Which of course only contributed to game`s success, as free advertising. Germans on the other hand objected to the gore - resulting in the first time that videogame blood ran green, not red.
For those of us fond of London there`s another interesting angle, as Palace Software had its headquarters in The Scala building - an amazing cinema in the-then infamous (but full of character) King`s Cross area. Studio placed behind the screening booth, surrounded by streets full of crackheads, lunatics and strippers - one can only imagine the vibes. Heady days! And a far cry from safe & sterile studios of today...
Guided Fate Paradox - New jRL For PS3
Similar to some other old school RPG designs, roguelikes were always a much loved genre in Japan - unfortunately seldom localised in the West. So it`s a real treat to discover one is coming our way - and it`s a PS3 outing, not the usual handheld fare. Named Guided Fate Paradox, the game is a spiritual successor to Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilman - another NIS PSP classic. Here you play as a god - i na form of a teenage boy of course - who needs to...well, nevermind, it`s a ll deliciously insane as usual wit Nippon`s games - but do check the website for amazing visuals and some promising gameplay treats (we`re especially fond of these mad cube-like levels)
This is definitely one game that needs cash support at launch - not everyday we get localised Japanese roguelikes for an HD console. Wallet Vote Activate!
The Last Guardian, Recent News
In this news snippet we can hear Shuhei Yoshida trying to wiggle his way out of another pesky question about TLG. This follows a now well-established template, but also feels more concrete this time. So, the game is in development, and it really is all that matters. Whatever platform it will be released on or when it will happen is sort of less relevant, given the previous cancellation worries.
A New Cartridge For 8-bit Commodore Micros
Codenamed Cassiopei, it is a device that plugs into the tape port of any ol` Commodore computer - from PET to C128. Thus enabling the running of .prg and .tap files from its 8MB flash memory. Overall it looks solid, simple to use, hopefully won`t be expensive and most importantly, enables the less popular machines like PET to benefit from the wonders of flash-loading.
Unconvinced ("nah, my sd2iec rulz")? Well, have a look at this candy sorting machine...stuff like this restores our faith in humanity. Simply amazing.
Procedural Plot-And-World Generation
...or, well, something like that. The paper regarding the subject - described in detail on Gamasutra - is rather technical, and easily to get lost in if (like us) you`re a complete layman when it comes to programming. Worth having a look if you`re interested in new ways to implement storytelling into your games. Could be especially handy for roguelikes where procedural world generation is a must and story implementation can be rather tricky.
Class Of Heroes 3 Support Drive
Oprainfall uncovered some Tweets from Gajinworks` Vic Ireland. Apparently they`re planning to localise Class Of Heroes 3 - an excellent PSP dungeon crawler - if there`s enough interest.
As some of you might remember, they tried a Kickstarter campaign for physical version of CoH 2 some time ago. It has failed, but the game was released anyway, after gauging interest through sign-ups and preorders. Very good news, since it`s a truly great title and there`s not that many first-person dungeon crawlers being released. Watch this space, we`ll be keeping tabs on these sign-ups!
New Turbo Card for Atari XE/XL
Polish hardware wizard Lotharek, well known amongst old-time microcomputer enthusiast massive is about to release another of his superb extensions. RetroCollect reports that the new product is an external Turbo board for the 8-bit Atari micros. Codenamed "F7" it`s basically a CPU accelerator offering mindboggling possibilities when it comes to enchancing old games. Take a look at these videos for Rescue On Fractalus and Eidolon - simply amazing stuff.