Day Z Standalone: First Impressions

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My first character lasted 30 minutes. After washing up on the beach, I stumbled into the first town I came across. I scraped together a couple cans of food from the buildings before I was spotted by a zombie. I didn't bother thinking about which way I was going and just ran. I lost the zombie  and found myself in a swamp. My character had been screaming for a drink since I started the game, so I crouched in the brackish water and took a few drinks. Bad idea. Before long, I was sick, and not long after that, I was attacked again. Without any medical attention, my vision blurred, color drained from the world. I could feel the blood on my clothes, and could see spurts of it coming from my side. I lost consciousness on the road and died a few minutes later.

Walking Dead Season 2: Getting Serious

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The closing episode of The Walking Dead's first season left me in tears. The season told an incredible story of survival and hope in a world overrun by death. Most of the first season is spent doing whatever possible to protect Clementine; a little girl encountered early in the first episode. The bond developed throughout the first season is strong, and it's this honed, protective instinct that Telltale is taking advantage of in Season Two. This time, you are Clementine.

My Eight Year old Writes More Efficient Code Than Me

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My oldest daughter never ceases to amaze me. She's in second grade, and obsessed with Doctor Who, loves dragons, books and games. We play chess at least once a week (she's teaching her little sister to play as well), she's my co-pilot when playing War Thunder, and  is always in pursuit of games we can all play together.

Not long ago, she came home beaming. She took a certificate out of her backpack saying that she had participated in the Hour of Code. The our of Code is a national movement to get computer science and coding into the classroom. This year, my daughter's class joined thousands of other students to learn some basic code from developers themselves. 

Is This the X-Wing We've Waited for?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Star Wars is one of my favorite things (despite the prequels). When I was six years old, I would pull my brown corduroy game chair to the TV and put A New Hope in the VCR. I'd tuck pencils into the folds in the upholstery and pretend they were the controls of my X-wing. When the rebels attacked the death star, I would tip and rock the chair to mimic their maneuvers. For a while, that was as close as I could come to flying a starfighter. 

Then came the heady days of X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and X-Wing: Alliance. I could fly virtually any ship and could enlist to serve either Alliance or Empire. Since then, I've waited for another game in the series to surface. While the Rogue Squadron series lightly scratched that itch, it put me on too short a leash. My wait has been long, but might be ending soon.

[UPDATE] Reset; A Beautiful Game with a (possibly) Troubled Future

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Indiegogo is home to a lot of interesting games seeking support. Tonight I'd like to turn your attention to one game in particular. Reset, a game from Finnish developer Theory has only six days left to meet it's goal. It's a beautiful looking game with a very interesting premise. It's got a ways to go before it meets it's goal, but with a kick of support, it could still make it through.

[UPDATE] Darkout; It's Always Dark...Out

Thursday, December 12, 2013

[UPDATE]: I've been informed that due to a mix-up, I was playing the Beta build of the game. I will post a re-written piece of the recently patched retail release soon. Please read on, with this in mind.

Darkout is an indie survival game from Allgraf. It's a sci-fi game that crashes the on dark, forbidding planet. Forced to fend for yourself, players must construct shelter, learn, research and adapt to the environment. It's atmospheric environments are intriguing, but forbidding. There is  a great deal to discover and do in Darkout, but players will have to struggle through the games numerous issues to get there.

Tales From The Borderlands; Commence Joy Puke

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

While the public opinion of the VGX Awards has been less than sensational, it would be silly to say that nothing good came from the event. Big name titles like Destiny and Titanfall gave us new material to ogle at, the announcement of No Man's Sky made many swoon and Ubisoft's Snowdrop Engine strut it's stuff for viewers. One announcement completely stole the show for me. Telltale and Gearbox are collaborating to bring an episodic adventure series set in the Borderlands universe.

DARPA Verigames Make you Unintentionally Productive

Thursday, December 5, 2013
DARPA is a name I associate with unmanned drones and terrifying robots. It is not generally speaking, a name that comes up in talk of videogames. And yet, I would be wrong. DARPA has released five puzzle games. They are free to play and most are browser based. What's the catch?  By playing these games, you are helping create more stable software for the military.

Two Take to the Skies

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

World of Warplanes has been my primary source for aerial combat. I like it's selection of planes, and the attention to detail and customization I expect from Wargaming. I've been hearing a lot about War Thunder, the aerial combat game from Gaijin Entertainment (War Thunder will eventually offer tanks and warships as well). After some research on the title, I decided to check it out.

Thanksgiving Gaming Traditions

Thursday, November 28, 2013
Image credits: Reddit User jodycb

Today is Thanksgiving. There's a turkey in the oven, various other assemblages of food in various states of preparation lie strewn about the kitchen. MST3K is on in the living room. The DVR's red light assures us that it's recording the football game. Pre-dinner Thanksgiving is chaotic from every angle, and while some harbor ill feeling towards the holiday altogether, it's always been one of my favorites. If not for the food and time with friends and family, then for the games that have become traditional after dinner entertainment.

Your Pizza Adventure: FMV, Choose Your own Adventure, Serious Nostalgia

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

There was a time in my youth that FMV games were everywhere. Some said they were the future. Those people were wrong, of course, but the sight of an FMV sequence today plucks at my nostalgia strings like few other things can; except for Choose your Own Adventure books. Those things were boss.

The Horrible Hunger of The Ravenous Wattle Gobbler

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gearbox has shed more light on their upcoming Headhunter pack, The Horrible Hunger of The Ravenous Wattle Gobbler. The Thanksgiving themed pack will bring a new area, new characters and a return of the ever-popular Mr. Torgue. Like the last Headhunter Pack, the shenanigans will lead to an immense boss battle, after which each player will unlock a special head to mark the achievement. The Boss this time? An enormous, nigh invincible Turkey monster creature... thing. It's scary, trust me.

InFluent: Using a Game To Learn Languages

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Learning a new language can be really difficult, especially as an adult. There are countless programs and courses available online meant to help make the process easier. From DuoLingo to Rosetta Stone, each has it's own methods and gimmicks to keep it's users interested. When I took my first french class, the instructor told me that the first two semesters would be the most trying. Not through any fault of the language, but because the basics of any new language are difficult to keep engaging. 

InFluent, an independent game from Rob Howland and Emily Olmstead aims to keep the entire process interesting. A classic adventure game, InFluent asks the player to assist inventor Andrew Cross. His device, a handheld language learning tool called the SanjigenJiten has been stolen and he needs help proving that the creation is, in fact, his. 

Humble Store: My Wallet is Weeping with Joy

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Today is day four of the debut sale for the Humble Store. The latest addition to the steadily growing Humble Bundle, the Humble Store promises 10% of all sales to charity. Offering a wide variety of games, from Planetary Annihilation and Receiver to larger studio titles like Shadow Warrior and Arkham Origins, the debut sale is offering new games for steeply discounted prices every 24 hours. This new outlet for Humble Bundle titles promises clearer transactions, less DRM, and the opportunity to contribute to some very important charities.

Blood, Sweat, and Tears; Blood of the Werewolf

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

As we've said before, Blood of the Werewolf is incredibly difficult. It's devices and traps are simple, and the most frustrating parts of the game shred nerves like so much paper. These moments stretch on into minutes and beyond as the game taunts you with seemingly simple tricks of timing and agility. It's exhausting at times, but the sensation of finally besting BOTW's gauntlets is more than enough reward to keep you playing.

Tabletop Ruts

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I love tabletop games. Pathfinder has been our game night staple for almost two years now and we've all had a number of different characters in that time. If you're familiar with Pathfinder or any other tabletop roleplaying game, then you're probably no stranger to some of the common issues faced by regular groups. Scheduling, module selection, DM rotation, all these things can end disastrously if not handled well. I think there is a more dangerous problem common to groups everywhere. Let's talk about comfort zones

Giving and Gaming

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Today, The folks from the Humble Bundle unveiled their latest offering. At the same time, Good Old Games has announced their own charity gaming deal. While each of these offers are unique, they both offer some great games and promise to give to some particularly worthwhile charities.

2013 Pumpkin Preview; Kerbal Space Program

Saturday, November 2, 2013

You all know that we love Kerbal Space Program and can't stop talking about it. If you haven't seen any of the coverage we've done so far here are some links. With the most recent video from Squad celebrating Dia de Muertos, we thought it appropriate to share our KSP pumpkins. The one above was inspired by fan art from Timmon26. Our pumpkin doesn't do the original piece justice, but it served as a great inspiration.

2013 Pumpkin Preview: Foul Play

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween everyone! Here we are on Day three of our Pumpkin Preview. Today we pull back the curtain to reveal our Foul Play pumpkin. We first fell for Mediatonic's beat-em-up at PAX. Foul Play is a unique take on the genre with a great story to boot. Foul play charmed us with it's vaudevillian aesthetic, crisp wit and responsive controls.

2013 Pumpkin Preview: TK Baha's Bloody Harvest

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I promise, this one is not a cop out. The latest in a long line of DLC for Borderlands 2, T.K. Baha's Bloody Harvest brings back one of our favorite characters and pits players against a fresh batch of themed enemies. Our beautiful pumpkin here is based on the climactic boss fight with the Pumpkin Kingpin.

Bloody Harvest is the first of a number of upcoming DLC packs called Headhunter Packs. Each pack will feature a theme area, mission and boss fight. Upon completion, players will receive the head of the areas boss. Because nothing says "badass" like wearing the head of your enemy.

A while back, we had the opportunity to talk to Josh Jeffcoat, the lead designer of the Headhunter Packs, to talk about Bloody Harvest and the Kingpin himself.

2013 Pumpkin Preview: Blood of the Werewolf

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hello dear readers, and welcome to another edition of Somnambulant Gamer's Pumpkin Preview. Tonight, in the first of four posts, we take another look at the excellent game Blood of the Werewolf. One of the first games to be published by Midnight City, Blood of the Werewolf has impressed us already.

First Glance: Contrast

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Here's a fascinating game that we got to meet while at PAX.  My first opinions at a glance was that the unusual take on the surroundings of the character, it seemed rather surreal, dark, and yet very organic as opposed to the typical rainy night of most games nowadays.  Thankfully, we had the opportunity to speak with Guillame Provost, the studio head of Compulsion Games, about Contrast to find out more.

Forced is Classic Co-Op

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Beta Dwarf is a small studio based in Copenhagen. Today they released their first game, Forced, via Steam. The game is an action arcade game with a heavy focus on cooperative play and puzzle solving. It's an engaging and challenging mix that will keep players on their toes for hours. It's a wonderful debut for team that has worked so hard and come so far.

Beta Dwarf started as eight people working and living illegally in an unused university classroom. After being discovered some seven months later, the growing team pooled their resources and launched a Kickstarter campaign to get them into the small studio they now call home (literally). Their team went to serious extremes for this game, and their three years of effort have paid off. 

The Wolf Among Us; Fairy Tale Noir

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When I first wrote about Telltale's The Wolf Among Us, I hadn't yet had the opportunity to play it. While I knew it to look true to the comic series, I couldn't speak at all to it's gameplay. It's much more difficult, I've discovered, to quantify how much a game feels like a comic than how much it looks like the comic. I'd encountered this same predicament playing Telltale's earlier foray into the comic world, The Walking Dead. My impression of The Wolf Among Us after the first episode was overwhelmingly positive, both as a player and a long time fan of the comic series.

Hands On Science: Kerbal Space Program Launches .22

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Yesterday, Kerbal Space Program launched the highly anticipated .22 update, adding career mode along with a host of other tweaks and improvements. We were lucky enough to get a shot at .22 before launch. I've spent a lot of time in career mode, conducted a lot of experiments and I'm ready to report my findings.

Bringing New Voice to Old Characters

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

On October 25th, Arkham Origins, the latest in the successful series of Batman games from Warner Bros. entertainment will launch. Among the numerous villains making appearances in this latest iteration, the Joker is the one most fans have treated with trepidation. This game will be the first without the incredible voice talent of Mark Hamill as the Joker. Troy Baker has taken on the role; and if his performance at the NYCC is any indication, there is very little to be worried about.

Lawless Los Santos

Saturday, October 12, 2013

We've all had issues with the GTA Online servers, bugs and crashes. That’s been hashed and rehashed over and over again since the game’s launch. Moving beyond that, the true beauty of the game still shines through.

Bionic Dues review and Sweepstakes

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Just two days ago, Arcen Games latest title Bionic Dues launched on Steam and the Arcen Store. The game has made a great deal of progress and changed slightly from the demo I played at PAX earlier this year. The new mechanics they've introduced and the sheer depth of customization and options available to the player should keep anyone playing for a long time. To help celebrate the launch of Bionic Dues, Arcen Games has supplied us with a cache of Steam Keys for many of their other games for our readers.

Borderlands 2: No Better Time Than Now

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Borderlands 2 has been out for more than a year now. We've spent a great deal of time playing it but a disproportionately small amount of time talking about it. Tonight, we change that, and at the perfect time. Today, 2K Games and Gearbox Studios released the Borderlands 2 Game of the Year Edition. Alongside this release, 2k has also announced the $100K Loot Hunt, a contest featuring some of the games rarest loot and an array of impressive prizes. All these things aside, Borderlands 2 remains an expansive, hilarious and sickeningly fun game.

Telltales "The Wolf Among Us" Brings Fabletown to Life

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Today, Telltale games opened their latest series The Wolf Among Us, for pre-order. The game is based in Bill Willingham's Fables graphic novels. In preparation for the game I've been re-reading the books, trying to get into the head of Bigby Wolf a little more, but also just revisiting one of my favorite graphic series'. 

When I first saw the trailer for The Wolf Among Us, I remarked how much it looked like the comic. I still stand by that statement, but having the issues in front of me again, I realized just  how much like the comic it is. 

Learning to Fall is Fun; Skydive: Proximity Flight

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
The newest game from Gaijin Entertainment, Skydive; Proximity Flight is the first game I've played, or even heard of, built around the sport of base jumping (Just Cause doesn't count). Built to work with the Playstation Move and Sixaxis controller, the game is equally fun with a standard controller. Sporting multiple modes of play and fast paced gameplay, Proximity Flight is no gimmicky motion control game, but an incredibly fun title.

Mastering the Craft: Blood of The Werewolf

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Games don't frustrate us these days. Not in the way they used to. Seldom in recent memory have I been confronted with a puzzle I just wasn't fast enough to solve, or a gauntlet of enemies I couldn't defeat through sheer respawn attrition. There have been a few exceptions (I'm hesitantly looking at you Ninja Gaiden Black) to that rule, and many of those were frustrating due to poor design. Blood of The Werewolf seeks to change that. 

World of Tanks 360 Edition: This War Has Changed

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I've been playing World of Tanks on my PC for a number of years. I've seen the game change many times since I started playing. From the addition of larger and more powerful tanks, to the physics engine and graphical overhaul of 8.0 and beyond. The changes I've noticed in Wargamings first console port are by far, the most drastic.

From the mechanics of upgrading and purchasing new tanks, to the way the games flow, everything has been noticeably adjusted or overhauled. The game feels significantly different from top to bottom. At first blush, I was a little disappointed to see the World of Tanks I knew so altered. The more I play, however, the more convinced that most of these changes are good.

How Do We Say Goodbye?

Thursday, September 19, 2013
image credits to reddit user: edavid21

I was at my desk at work today when I heard that Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who put Nintendo on the map, passed away. He was among the founding fathers of the video game industry. It's difficult to cope with the loss of industry pioneers like Yamauchi. We're still a very young industry, as events like this make starkly apparent.

PAX Prime Press Q&A, via Alpha Geek Radio

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Micheal Sayre, Morgan Weir, Steven Hammond, and I attended the Press Q&A with Mike and Jerry on September 1st. We have our own audio of the session, but while I have been hemming and hawing about how best to make it available, Todd Whitehead over at Alpha Geek Radio posted their recording of it.

You should give it a look,
PAX Prime 2013 - Media Q&A with Gabe and Tycho, via Alpha Geek Radio

The Play's The Thing; Thoughts on Foul Play

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Foul Play, by developer Mediatonic, tells the ripping tale of Baron Dashforth, the secretive and mysterious daemonologist. Using a platform of the classic vaudevillian play, you act out portions of Dashforth's autobiographical tales, along with the assistance of his ever faithful sidekick Scampwick.

The Games I Play Today

Friday, September 13, 2013

The majority of my gaming time used to be spent largely with big name titles from large developers. On any given day, I would prefer Halo, Battlefield 3, Assassin's Creed or Mass Effect to smaller titles. Consoles were my primary platforms for play, with my PC serving more as a stereo than anything else.

Times have changed lately. More and more, I've been playing independent titles over large studio games. While I still enjoy playing many major releases like Borderlands 2, the vast majority of my time has been given over to the indie games. Why? For the longest time I couldn't put my finger on it.

Give me More Papers, Please!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Papers, Please is the independent game that is currently absorbing the lives of every game writer and journalist, the world over. It's described as a "Dystopian Document Thriller," which is accurate, but doesn't exactly smack of intense gameplay. Trust me though, Papers, Please will make you sweat. 

First Glance: Nekro

Monday, September 9, 2013

Forgive the massive title, I am just in love with the art for this game!  How often do you get a protagonist who looks like Onimusha's Guildenstern is an actual badass?  To be honest, this poster was the first thing that attracted me to this game (shush, I can be shallow, too!)  I should also add that creature design (according to the creators, Burtonesque) is awesome, playful, and quite creepy.  Then again, that's just what makes it great, the use of cell shading as only an outline also adds to the cartoony allure of Nekro.

Bionic Dues: Mechs vs. the World

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Arcen Games doesn't want their games to go easy on you. Bionic Dues places you immediately into a no win situation. You're a trainee, freshly inducted into the Corps. You are able to command huge, powerful mechs, but you face hordes of machines bent on your destruction. You'll have to be crafty, and you'll be required to use every tool at your disposal. Win the day, and you'll become the front line of defense against a relentless army. Fail, and all of humanity is lost.

Interview with Erik Mona of Paizo

Friday, September 6, 2013

This last weekend at PAX we had an amazing opportunity to talk to Erik Mona, the publisher at Paizo. In addition to autographing our books, Erik took the time to sit down and and chat a bit with us about where Paizo and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game have been, where they're going, and some insights into what they've been thinking along the way. So without further ado....

Video Games Live: Leveling Up With Tommy Tallarico

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tommy Tallarico is no novice in the video game industry. He has been a composer of video game music for over 23 years, and has worked on over 300 video games (a Guinness World Record). His prolific catalogue of works includes titles like Earthworm Jim, Disney’s Aladdin, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and franchises like Madden, Mortal Combat, Metroid Prime, and many more (thus the Guinness Record).

11 years ago, Tallarico (and Jack Wall) began a labor of love called Video Games Live, a tremendous symphonic and visual spectacle with a focus on audience interactivity. The whole point of this undertaking for Mr. Tallarico was to “prove to the world how culturally significant video games have become.”

[UPDATE] Kerbal Space Program .22 Update Details: A PAX Prime Bonus Report

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kerbal Space Program has been building steam for a while now. We sat down with creator Felipe Falanghe, developer Chad Jenkins, and PR manager Bob Holtzman to talk about KSP in depth. Along the way, we were able to get a first look at some of the new features coming in update .22. So without further delay, here is what's next in KSP.

Treads and Steel: An E-Sports Evening to Remember

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sunday night, we had the pleasure of attending the World of Tanks Championship. Hosted by NVidia at the Showbox SoDo in Seattle, the championship hosted five teams from around the world, competing for a grand prize of $20,000. It was a very memorable night for the teams involved as well as the spectators.

Lessons From A PAX Veteran

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The first time I went to PAX was 2007. I stood and sat in the the enormous line with my friend Josh for what seemed like an eternity. Ushered into what was then the main theatre, we listened to Wil Wheaton give that incredible keynote that became the guiding light for my PAX experience since. PAX 2007 was an incredible three day whirlwind.

Playtests, People, and Pathfinder

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
As you may have already read, our little group of friends has been actively involved in play-testing the new Pathfinder 3pp (or 3rd Party Publisher) material being crafted by the mad wizards over at Dreamscarred Press. Specifically, the classes for their new Path of War product which takes the material from the old Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 book Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords and brings it into the current Pathfinder setting with a few updates and new twists on it.

We decided to conduct one of our play-test sessions by running the module "The Ruby Phoenix Tournament," a module for 11th level characters set in an Asian themed martial arts tournament. We play-tested both of the new classes currently available from Dreamscarred, the Warlord, and the Stalker. (To read some of our running commentary on the progression of these classes, check out the Paizo forum thread here.) We ran them side-by-side with some of the classes from the Pathfinder main product line, the Ninja, the Cleric, and the Bard. We had a blast. 

Ryse Above The Masses (for a small fee)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013
You don't have to pay for that stuff, but it helps.

So dismay is tossed in with what was already grand disappointment, Ryse: Son of Rome has been announced to have micro-transactions. What is particularly appalling is how they are trying to sell the newly announced pay-to-win function.

Safe Se.... I Mean Public Networking

Monday, August 26, 2013

If only it were that easy.
To all of those who will be making the annual pilgrimage to PAX Prime or whatever big convention with potentially malicious tech savvy people, let me give you a few tips that will at least keep your computational machine a little safer.

Orcish Beauty Tips

Friday, August 23, 2013

Post your Orcish Beauty tips to Twitter with #OrcishBeautyTips

For the care and keeping of your human beauty, check out