A few nights ago I attended the PC Zone magazine wake, which was pretty intense. Great laugh with some industry veterans and a whole bunch of thoroughly nice chaps and chapesses. Lots of people shouting the word C*nt very loud as well, as you'd expect when you throw so many reprobates into the same place together. Charlie Brooker wasn't there, but you can't have everything, I guess. What there was, though, was talking about games, even on a night such as this. And, to tie this in ever so tenuously with the theme of this particular column, there was talk of a certain game called Minecraft. I seem to be the only person in the world who doesn't care about it, but I also cared not a jot for Garry's Mod. And, as Minecraft can be paid for now, I officially rule it out of the discussion in this column. Do go have a look if you like all that creativity business, though, right here. It would be remiss of me never to even mention it.
So, that's that done and dusted. I never have to talk about that game ever again. Quick little mention for Dwarf Fortress, though, basically the ASCII version of Minecraft, which can be looked at here. Today we're in regular indie/free town, so none of these genre-spanning uber-games. Games about paper and cutting with scissors. That's much more the thing, not creating various Enterprises in a certain aforementioned game. Cut It is very much in the same mould as Crayon Physics Deluxe and things of that ilk, which was an extremely worthwhile little puzzler that suffered from repetition and some bonkers puzzles towards the end.
Cut It seems to be going down the same sort of road, but we've not been asked to part with cash for it yet, so it's much easier to forgive such issues. Creator Petri Purho is nothing if not prolific, and has a refreshing openness and willingness to put his ideas into practice that means, when one clicks with the public, any and all 'proper' developers scramble to steal his ideas and beat him to the punch.
The object of each level is to get the white box onto the green platform, with key concepts being introduced gradually. Soon you've gone from easy snips to stabbing yourself in the groin with the scissors in frustration. Like Crayon Physics, it's great at first, but there's the suspicion that pixel-perfect precision is too necessary in the later rounds, meaning only frustration rather than the satisfaction of solution. And, like Crayon Physics, the idea is a good one, so expect to see 20 different variants hurried out the door before a full version of Cut It comes out. Just remember where it came from, people.
Let me just eat this Dinosaur Turkey Roll I bought from the shop, then I'll tell you about the next game. It's got a white bit in the middle that looks like a brachiosaurus, which is pretty cool. Right, that's done. The next thing this week is one for you Fallout 3 lovers. I bet you thought it was pretty scary out there in the wasteland, huh? Think again, as you're playing the arcade version. Head over to Mod DB and check out Fallout 3 Reborn: A Realism Mod, which aims to make everything you do in the irradiated lands a hell of a lot more taxing.
It's not just things designed to make life more difficult, like the need to quench your thirst and, subsequently, expel said liquid from your character. There are also a bucketload of fixes for some of the more inexplicable things going on with vanilla Fallout 3, such as cars and vehicles being much harder to send up in flames, the karma penalty for stealing being reduced and the level cap being raised to a startling 100. The list of changes is huge, definitely one worth checking out if you're going to have another crack at the game.
Continuing on a Bethesda tip, why not try out Nehrim: At Fate's Edge, a total conversion for Oblivion? An entire new RPG-heavy version of such a great original title is an enticing prospect, especially to the legions of fans out there who were disappointed with the 'dumbening' from Morrowing to Oblivion. These frankly mad modders have created a whole new world (ish) from the Oblivion template and, while previously it was only available in Deutsch, it can be played in full-on Anglo-speak (well, subtitles).
Nehrim is much closer to the Gothic series than the Elder Scrolls games, curiously. You level up in a different way and have to spend “learning points” at various skill teachers, which as the modders acknowledge is directly lifted from Gothic. There's also no fast travelling system, so expect hours of trekking on either foot or hoof. Forget about that whole nonsensical armour-levelling thing too, where regular NPCs would suddenly have glass or Daedric armour just because you'd gone up a few levels. That madness has gone, thankfully. It's highly ambitious, quintessentially mainland European in approach and just on the right side of insanity for people to enjoy.
One for the battle-hardened now. If you're at all squeamish, stay away from Peter Lu's Roulette, which is a game about Russian roulette, where you place a gun to your head and hope for the best. It's a strange one and I'm not going to sit here and say it's great or anything, but it's certainly a curious and interesting little number and worth a look for the inquisitive, for those who like to say they've tried everything.
The creator has used video footage with various effects over the top to shock the player, and to an extent it works. Your competitor is made up of various video clips strung together, so it'll be a while before the results begin to get too similar. However, it's unlikely you'll ever play long enough to get to this point. Just think of it as a Deer Hunter simulator.
Freeware Classic bit now, people. Let's see... ah, yeah, why not go try this out? UFO 2000 allows you to play, essentially, the tactic-y bits of that classic turn-based strategy title UFO:Enemy Unknown (or XCOM, depending on where you came from) in multiplayer against other human beings. To those in the know, this means you'll get an absolutely amazing game of strategy combat going.
There's also the more sophisticated UFO: Alien Invasion, another open source project that's got a lot more ambition and drive behind it, and UFO: The Two Sides. Both are also attempting to include a single player element too, which means a remade version of the old Geoscape world system. It almost makes you forget about the worryingly 'new' modern reboot of the series, doesn't it? Almost.