Friday, December 30, 2011

The Humble Bundle

If you don't know about The Humble Bundle you are missing out.

There are five things to know about a Humble Bundle. (1) You get awesome independently-made games that you can play on any computer (PC, Mac, or Lenix). (2) You get to name the price. (3) Part (or all, you decide)  of the money you pay is split between two charities, the American Red Cross and Child's Play. (4) The games are all DRM free, meaning you can install them as much as you want without ever having to worry about copyright issues. (5) They make very silly trailers that are always fun to watch. Sample:

As stated, you can pay as much or as little as you like. Some people (buttheads) will just pay 1 cent. However, they're offset by some of the higher donors. The highest donation in the last bundle was $16,000! Plus, there's always an incentive to pay above the average like soundtracks or extra games. As a result of this, I have about 20 in my Steam library that deserve a lot more attention than I've given them. I have decided to start a regular feature highlighting games I've received from these bundles. I'll kick it off today with VVVVVV.

VVVVVV is a side-scrolling puzzle game about scientists who get lost in another dimension...! It's also the only game I've gotten from a Humble Bundle that I've managed to get all the way through. It's fun, easy to pick up and put down in short intervals, and very challenging. It also boasts a fantastic retro soundtrack. The soundtrack is so awesome, it costs twice as much as the game (seriously). The soundtrack is so awesome, it actually made my one-year-old nephew stop crying bloody murder and burst into dance. Gameplay trailer here:

Feel free to pick it up on Steam (currently on sale for only $1.24 until January 2nd) or the author's website. Soundtrack here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

iOS Nastolgia

Apparently, in an effort to make money off all the kids (and adults) getting new Apple mobile devices, people have finally gotten on the bandwagon of re-releasing classic games onto iOS. I've been crossing my fingers for Final Fantasy 6 for about two years now, but still no luck there. However, we've been graced with some awesome stuff lately. Including:

I wanted to put two or three exclamation points after each one of those, but that just wouldn't do. I'm so excited about all of those. I've resisted buying all of them, but I did fall prey to the overpriced FFT as well as Chrono Trigger and Sonic. I've always had a thing for Sonic the Hedgehog and I never played CD, so that had to happen. I played through GTA 3 when it came out and I'm not in high school anymore, so I think I'm a bit past killing cops for fun.  I didn't get Mega Man X because I distinctly remember having to press a direction button, jump, dash, and shoot all at once. That was pretty tricky on the SNES controller; it's got to be impossible on an iPod screen. 
I still can't consistently hit a specific target,
but I'm having a great time doing it!

Which brings me to a point about iOS ports. As exciting as these games are, they were tuned for whatever control scheme they were initially released on, and don't always lend themselves well to iPods. Final Fantasy Tactics is particularly hard to manage sometimes. In fact, it's made me want to play it less and less. Chrono Trigger has been really hard to get used to as well, I'm still running into walls on accident and can almost never attack a specific enemy consistently. Anyway, if anyone at Square reads this, they should think about implementing an alternative form on control. That'd be awesome. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Another Gaming Blog!?

Where do I sign up?

I, Mike Harrell, am one semester into the University of Utah's Entertainment Arts & Engineering program and I think it's about time I starting a gaming-centric blog. Anything gaming/video game programming related is what I'm going for.

Some of my more current favorite games include WoW, Starcraft, and Skyrim, so expect to see a lot about those. I only have a PC and an iPod Touch, so most first-hand gaming talk will focus on these platforms. Feel free to donate if you think I need to branch out. 

And that's about it! Let's get started.