Vegard Skjefstad

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Tag: Computer Games (page 1 of 28)

Press Play On Tape

The Internet Archive’s free Commodore 64 games collection is open for business.

If you’ve heard of the Internet Archive, there’s a good chance it’s because of their Wayback Machine. Since 1996, it’s been slurping up every site it has come across on the internet. The sites are archived, and everyone can browse through historically accurate versions of all the archived webpages. Wonder what Google looked like in 1998, when it only did internet searches, and wasn’t evil? The Wayback Machine’s got you covered.

But the Internet Archive is more than just the Wayback Machine. A lot more. In addition to websites, the archive contains millions of videos, audio files, images, TV shows, eBooks, text, and a whole lot more. My favorite, though? The Internet Archive Software Collection.

The software collection has close to three hundred thousand files, covering every platform from MS-DOS to the Apple II. The real gems in the collection, however, are the games. You’ll find classic arcade games, and games for platforms like the ZX Spectrum, Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, Amstrad GX-4000, and many more.

Now, the Internet Archive has also started archiving games for the computer that broke the European home computer market wide open: The amazing Commodore 64.

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Limit Theory Development Ends

After 6 grueling years, Josh finally admits defeat, and pulls the plug in Limit Theory.

In 2012, Josh Parnell had a vision: Limit Theory, an open-world space simulator, a sandbox game with no restrictions. In the beautiful, procedurally generated universe, players could explore, trade, pirate, mine, escort, hunt, defend, build, and more.

To finance Limit Theory, Josh did what many indie developers did in 2012. He launched a Kickstarter campaign. With great screenshots, amazing videos, and his unprecedented enthusiasm, Josh managed to raise a grand total of $187,865 from 5,449 backers. I was one of them, and I even covered the game on this site. The campaign was a success, and he now had the means to focus on Limit Theory without having to worry about money.

The game was a massive undertaking, with an enormous scope. Josh was a computer graphics student at the time, but that didn’t stop him from working 40 hours a week on Limit Theory. Unlike many other Kickstarter projects, he also engaged with his audience regularly, and somehow found the time post regular video updates on YouTube.

The game was originally slated for release in 2014, just two years after the Kickstarter campaign ended. It became obvious early on that the planned release date was not even remotely realistic. Limit Theory had the scope of No Man’s Sky – sans multiplayer – and it kept changing slightly. Josh, being a perfectionist, seemed to find it hard to actually finish a particular feature, and move on to the next. On top of that, he would not only develop the game’s features, he would also develop game’s engine from scratch.

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Telltale Games Calls It Quits

After 14 years, it’s game over for adventure game company Telltale Games.

Since its founding in June 2004, Telltale Games has almost exclusively released self-published episodic graphical adventure games. Adventure games were big business in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Sierra On-Line and LucasArts where both household names back then, releasing classic titles like King’s Quest, Police Quest, The Secret Of Monkey Island, and Maniac Mansion.

But adventure games has been a niche genre since the beginning of century, when first person shooters took off. Telltale was one of the few companies that managed to do any business in the genre, but now that adventure has come to an end as well. On Friday, September 21, Telltale announced that they were letting 90% of their 250 strong staff go. A skeleton crew is being kept on the books to finish Minecraft: Story Mode for Netflix.

Some of the talent that got booted from Telltale Games.  If you’re in the games industry, and have job openings, please post them to Twitter using the hashtag #TelltaleJobs.
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Surviving Mars

Surviving Mars had a difficult birth. Now, three major patches later, is the game finally living up to the expectations?

Surviving Mars is a city builder set on Mars. It’s developed my Bulgarian video game developer Haemimont Games (Tropico 3, Tropico 4, Tropico 5), and published by Paradox Interactive. This combination made every science fiction, and city builder fan go a little giddy when the game was announced last year. Haemimont Game’s run with the Tropico franchise was quite successful, and Paradox Interactive also published another great city builder, Cities: Skylines, that one set on Earth.

Unfortunately, Surviving Mars didn’t quite live up the hype when it was released. The game received mixed feedback from the players, who cited bugs, a rather terrible UI, and even more bugs as their major gripes. Not the kind of ticker tape parade you hope for when you release a game. There have probably been some long days at the office for the Haemimont Game developers since the game was released in March, as the game has received three major updates.

They have addressed many of the issues raised by the players, but has the effort turned Surviving Mars into the game we wanted?

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Tropico 5

Read my long overdue Tropico 5 review to find out why the fifth installment in the series doesn’t live up to the expectations.

I hope you don’t mind me continuing to review semi-ancient games. Tropico 5 was released way back in 2014, but for once I didn’t wait until the game and all DLC were on sale to purchase it. Since I really enjoyed Tropico 4 (review here), I bought Tropico 5 in 2015, quite close to the release date by my standards. I even started writing this review in 2015, meaning it’s been in my drafts collection for three years before I now finally managed to get it published. That’s probably not a good sign for the final score.

Many of you are already familiar with the recipe used to cook the Tropico series, but for new readers, here’s a quick summary. Tropico is a series of city builder games where you play as a dictator, El Presidente. The goal is to build and manage a thriving city on an island (or several islands, depending on which game in the series), and to stay in power. If the rebels, or a foreign power, manage to throw you off the island, it’s game over, man!

The games have a great tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, and is pretty laid-back. I’d perhaps go as far as to call both Tropico 3 and 4 borderline casual games. And that was one of the most appealing aspects of both of them. Kick back, relax, and rule your island with an iron fist! Tropico 5, however, makes a few changes to the Tropico formula, changes that make the game a lot more stressful than its predecessors. The experience is even downright annoying at times.

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