How to create a business facebook page / market an Indie Game + photos

Marketing 101 (The things you need to know but no one ever tells you)

(Taken from a conversation between Creative Director Alex Byrom and a young start up)

Facebook Page

Alot of what you need to do is very minor things.

 Are you proud of your game/ company? Change your cover picture to it and add in the description links to your website and where you can buy the game.

 Fb profileFb profile2

Just been looking at your Facebook page. In the about section add your website. I know it’s in the website section but you only see that if you click on the about button, if it’s in the description people see it straight away

FB2Fb1FB3

Game DB

If you haven’t done so already make a game db account

http://www.moddb.com/games/go-to-hell-dave

Mod Db

and put all your details of the game up there. screenshots videos ect  and add backlinks in the description of your pictures.

Blog

If you haven’t already start a blog.

Blogs can be great for drawing in new people to your product. If someone keeps coming to you for video tuts or advice, they will have faith in you that you know what you are talking about.

This article I wrote may interest you.

10 tips on marketing and developing an Indie Game

https://gotohelldave.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/10-tips-on-marketing-and-developing-an-indie-game/

Social Networks in particular Twitter

Make an account on ever social media you can. Twitter, Linked in, Instagram. Google + You can link them so you only have to post on fb and it updates to the rest.

Google + Instagram

Get talking to the local press. Ring up your local newspapers. They love you start ups and it’s good to get experience ringing/ emailing people asking for a feature or an article based off the press pack you send.

How to contact the press in general

GET ON TWITTER. Game press are very lazy you need to have everything present in a nice an easy form for them and get it in front of them. Chat to them, They are human at the end of the day. Don’t be afraid to hunt them down, Look at news articles , Who it’s published by, give their name a google, It will usually then come up with their twitter account, if not look for the contact us button. Press are not going to go looking for you. You have to find them and hunt them down.

Twitter

Help other and they will help you / get free work if you can

Other things you can do, is just be active on social networks (but don’t spam) help people out and they will help you in return. It’s very much a community indie games. One thing I would recommend if money is an issue see if there are any grants in your country I.e university start up grants ect. Also pull in favours from friends. Got a friend who is great at audio ask him to make a track for you. Got a friend who is good at art ask him to do some concept work.

Fake it until you make it. Make your game seem much bigger than it actually is. If you don’t believe in it no one else will.

App Button

One thing people forget as well if you are creating an app. spend a decent amount of time working on your app button i.e the rounded square Icon, This is the first thing people will see of your game, if this isn’t interesting people won’t buy it.

I think That’s all I have for now, Hope some of it helps.

If anything with friends just say, yes we have no money to pay you but it will look great on your portfolio/ cv to be on a published game. You aren’t lying the first thing an employer will look at is your prortfoilo to see if you do have any practical experience, Purely just having a degree isn’t good enough anymore.

Email backlinks

Yeah just take your time and work through the stuff. I’m no expert and I’m learning all the time.

One last thing do you email people?

If you do I’ve set my email so it always has my back links like this

 Email

I’d recommend you do the same

From the office of Falchion Games: Go To Hell Dave

 

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Top 12 Point-and-Clicks

People often ask me what my favourite type/genre of game is and I always find it difficult to answer such a question, as I tend to view games, not in genres, but in styles.

For example, take ‘Final Fantasy X’ and ‘The Secret of Monkey Island.’ I would imagine that to most people they seem like games from completely different genres and most people would be absolutely right. One of them is a Japanese RPG and the other is a point-and-click adventure game. But to me, as a designer and writer, they are two extremely similar games. They are both linear and they are both story-driven experiences, in which the mechanics are often subservient to the plot. They both feature a young male lead from a foreign place, who is portrayed as somewhat comical and at times, quite pathetic, but who thinks of himself as a superstar. They both feature a female love interest who holds a position of power and they both have a long story, in which you can travel from place to place via an overworld map.

That isn’t to say these games don’t have huge chasms of difference between them. But in my odd subconscious, I link them together because of mechanical and plot-based elements.

Anyway. That was the extremely long way of me saying that I don’t have a favourite genre, but I do have a favourite style, timbre, feeling or whatever other arty-douchebag word you want to use. What I also have is a type of game that I am known for, because there is a type of game that I make for a living and they are point-and-click adventure games.

I’ve played a hell of a lot of point-and-clicks and I reckon I’m pretty well versed in them at this point. So I felt it was high-time I shared a personal list of my favourite point-and-click adventure games. As always, this is a very subjective list and isn’t meant to be definitive in any way, as it is based on what I felt personally when I played these games over the last 20 years or so.

Also, I’ve never played ‘Maniac Mansion’ or ‘Day of the Tentacle.’ I know, I know. Don’t cry about it. I’m intentionally saving them for a rainy day when I’ll really need them. Such as a divorce or when I find out my son supports Derby County (English Football Joke.)

 

12. Toonstruck (1996)

256px-Toonstruck-European-Cover

In the mid 90’s, CD technology was just a baby and a lot of game developers saw those little shiny circles and thought to themselves; “Oh my God! 700 megabytes! We can put shit loads of video footage on them!” Thus began that era of gaming that we all like to forget about, the FMV era. Toonstruck was one of those rare games that used FMV and actually did it well, by combining it with green screen technology. The game’s plot centers around a comic book artist (voiced and acted by the Doc himself, Christopher Lloyd) who gets sucked into the whacky world of his creations along with his sidekick, Flux Wildly (voiced by Dan Castellaneta of ‘Simpsons’ fame.) This game was both technologically and financially ambitious at the time and was, unfortunately, a commercial failure, despite receiving excellent reviews. If you can get it to run today, you’ll find a kick-ass adventure in a truly imaginative world.

 

11. Sam & Max Hit the Road (1993)

Sam_&_Max_Hit_the_Road_artwork

The early 90’s were a glorious time for point-and-clicks and Sam & Max are two endearing characters from the golden age of the genre. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Sam & Max are a pair of private investigators who happen to be a rabbit and a dog. They are compelled to embark on a ludicrous case involving an escaped Bigfoot and a girl with a giraffe neck, which takes them all across America. This is a classic LucasArts adventure title and one that ought to be in any serious fan’s collection.

 

10. I Have no Mouth, And I Must Scream (1995)

Screamcover

If you like your narratives disturbing and insomnia-inducing, this is the game for you. Based on the Harlan Ellison short story of the same name and co-written/narrated by the man himself, ‘I Have no Mouth and I must Scream’ is a nightmarish trip through the twisted psyches of five unfortunate humans, being kept alive in a future Earth by a sentient computer who wants nothing more than to torture them, physically and mentally, for the rest of time. The hopelessness of their plight, combined with the frankly disturbingly innovative ways in which the characters are tortured makes for a kind of horror game that we rarely ever see.

 

9. Dragonsphere (1994)

200px-Dragonsphere_cover

The main thing I remember about Dragonsphere was that it was hard. I’ve played some frustrating adventure games in my time but this one had me seriously stroking my beard and at times, ripping out my dreadlocks. But that’s OK, because tough is fine when the puzzles make sense, which they do in this game. Aside from having absolutely phenomenal graphics for it’s time, the game also has a deceptively complex plot. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t played it, but the initial story of rescuing a king and killing an evil sorcerer quickly gives way to all kinds of twists and turns. Given the obscurity of this game, I really can’t recommend it enough. The world itself is highly whimsical and beautifully drawn, the voice acting is good, the story is engrossing and the puzzles are hard but very imaginative. If you haven’t already, you should consider giving Dragonsphere a try.

 

8. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992)

Fate_of_Atlantis_artwork

This should have been the plot to the fourth ‘Indiana Jones’ movie. Made around the time of the release of the third movie, ‘The Last Crusade,’ this game succeeds simply by being and genuinely feeling like an Indy adventure. You travel the world, from American College campuses, to Arabian bazaars, to desert excavation sights, punching, pilfering and parachuting your way from location to location. This game is just pure, old-school fun combined with cool puzzles and that classic Indy whit that we love so much.

 

7. Gemini Rue (2011)

geminirue

Whenever people tell me that point-and-clicks are a genre of the past I take a swing at them. But not before telling them about Gemini Rue. Gemini Rue is an excellent dystopian, cyberpunk adventure set in the distant future. You simultaneously play as a man trapped in a government facility where a person’s memory is wiped and then reconditioned to be more useful to the government, as well as his brother Azrael, who is attempting to break him free. Seamlessly being able to switch between the two characters is a great innovation as it alleviates the headache caused by getting stuck on a particularly tough puzzle. Gemini Rue is also quite a rare find in the genre as it is a wholly serious adventure game, defying the comedic tendencies of most point-and-clicks.

 

6. Discworld 2: Missing Presumed….!? (1997)

Discworld_2_cover

Adventure games, perhaps more so than most genres, rely heavily on good world design. After all, who wants to go on an adventure in a boring world? Discworld, therefore, has a head-start in as much as it can draw from the excellently written and phenomenally designed world created by Terry Pratchett in the series of novels with the same name. In Discworld 2, you play the role of useless wizard ‘Rincewind’ once again, as he travels around the disk attempting to uncover the secret behind the fact that people have stopped dying. The puzzles are cool, the gags are witty and Eric Idle is by far the best actor to have ever portrayed Rincewind. What’s not to love?

 

5. Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars (1996)

Broken_Sword_1_cover

Despite having an American lead in Robert Stobbart, Broken Sword is a very British adventure, created by English studio ‘Revolution Software.’ Few games can recreate that ‘Indiana Jones’ level of swashbuckling adventure and hidden secrecy without having the man himself in the title. But Broken Sword manages it, taking you on an epic journey through France, Ireland and all over Europe to uncover a sinister and supernatural plot devised by the enigmatic society of the Templars. The way European stereotypes are portrayed is quite over the top, but done with an evidently loving touch that makes you love every single character, even the villains. This really is chilled out gaming at its highest level.

 

4. The Longest Journey (1999)

256px-Longest

Time seems to have forgotten this particular gem. When it was released in 1999, adventure games were no longer in the limelight and that fact, combined with the solely PC release of this game, perhaps doomed it to obscurity. Those of us who did play it found a game of infinite imagination, with a storyline straight out of a particularly awesome acid trip and possibly the coolest female protagonist of any game ever. The game was ahead of its time in so many ways, from the mature themes such as exploration of sexuality and explicit language to the excellent use of a 3D engine in an adventure game, something which was quite impressive at the time. The Longest Journey was both long and entertaining and no serious adventure games collection is complete without it.

 

3. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991)

250px-LeChuck's_Revenge_artwork

If you haven’t heard of this game then chances are you won’t have heard of any of the games on this list. The Monkey Island series really is the flagship (no pun intended) series for point-and-clicks. This is the series where the partnership of famed game designers Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer really paid its dividends and cemented them as firm fan favourites.

Anyway, you take the role of Guybrush Threepwood, a hilariously useless pirate as he goes on his second adventure on the high seas. This game really is just packed full of awesome characters, imaginative locations and brilliant puzzles, something which Schafer and Gilbert never seem to get wrong. But for me, the most memorable element is the use of ‘iMuse,’ a kind of audio integration that enables the game to effectively improvise the transposition of music between rooms, making it seamlessly change subtly as players move from location to location.

Monkey Island 2 is an absolute classic and a pinnacle of the genre, one that every gamer ought to play.

 

2. Beneath a Steel Sky (1994)

Beneath_a_Steel_Sky_Coverart

With a lot of collaboration from ‘Dave Gibbons’ who you may know as co-creator of the comic book series ‘Watchmen,’ Beneath a Steel Sky creates a typically dystopian future vision of Australia, in which cities are huge steel-metropolises, with the rich living at the bottom and the poor living high up with the smog and congestion.

You play as Robert Foster, a man who was taken in by a tribe of scavengers who live in the desert beyond the city. When the military police fly out to seize Robert and take him back to the city, killing his entire tribe in the process, Robert causes the plane to crash over the city and thus begins an epic journey through an amazingly designed and realized future-society.

This game somehow manages to take the horrific dystopian elements of cyberpunk and blend them with the natural comedic tendencies of point-and-clicks. For that fact alone, it deserves many a play-through. This is due in no small part to the excellent comedic duo provided by Foster’s sidekick, Joey the robot. Add onto that a cast of hilariously over-the-top British stereotypes and you’ve got yet another masterpiece from ‘Revolution Software.’

 

1. Grim Fandango (1998)

Grim_Fandango_artwork

This game just did everything so well, except sell. Grim Fandango has the most wonderfully bizarre plot. You play as Manny Calavera; a man who is dead and his job in the afterlife is to sell travel packages to the recently deceased and send them on a journey to heaven. The speed and comfort of this journey is determined by how good of a life the person lead. Upon discovering that his boss has been scamming good people and forcing them to embark on horrific journeys through the underworld, Manny decides to flee purgatory in search of a saintly woman he accidentally damned to walk through hell.

If you haven’t played Grim fandango and that plot still hasn’t peaked your interest, you have no soul.

Add onto the amazing story and characters the elements of top-notch voice acting, solid and entertaining puzzles and an award-winning score by experienced composer Peter McConnell and you have all of the elements that make up the best adventure game ever made.

 

B. Burns

My Top 30 Games of All Time

I don’t know why I’ve made this list. I have a cold and thinking about my childhood is warming me up so maybe that’s why. Also, I think I get my enjoyment of list making from my Dad who is obsessed with League tables and has consequently passed on a desire to rank everything in order to his oldest lad. This is by no means meant to be any kind of definitive or objective list, it’s merely a list of my favourites. I agonized over some of these but I reckon this is how my heart truly ranks them. Hopefully this should spark some healthy debate and maybe it’ll be fun to look at in ten years’ time to see how my opinions have changed.

Honorable Mention: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
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It’s easy to look back at the five billion degree flips that we did on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and laugh, but this game really revolutionised the sports genre at the time and paved the way for other, more imaginative and mould-breaking sports games to come along. In the late 90s, all sports games seemed to be a well established sport like football, basketball or hockey and were normally sponsored by some celebrity or made by E.A. Then along came THPS with its awesome skater-punk soundtrack and twitch-timing based gameplay and basically flipped up a big middle finger to John Madden and Alan Shearer.

30. Grand Theft Auto III

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This game effectively created the template by which all urban action-adventure games are now created. It might not seem like much now but at the time, being able to explore the entirety of a 3D rendered living, breathing city was a huge revolution in game design. I spent hours running around Liberty City creating havoc and avoiding the cops. This game’s legacy cannot be overstated.

29. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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This is by far the most modern title on this list. Why Skyrim and not Oblivion? Because every inch of Skyrim felt different to every other inch. Each dungeon was unique, giving the sense that these were truly built by some ancient people, every castle had its own style and decorations, every town had its own character and attitude. This really is how you do an action-RPG. At no point whilst playing this game did I ever feel as though I was re-treading the same ground and I played this game for a long, long time. Many will disagree but I feel that this was and is the best title in the series.

28. HALO: Combat Evolved

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I saved up all my pennies when I was barely into my teens and bought a shiny new XBOX. I had two games with it and this was one of them. I remember staring down at the floor on this game, amazed that there appeared to be separate blades of grass instead of just a green-painted mess. But the grass was just the beginning! This game introduced me to the concept of capture the flag, sniping, camping and all of the other stuff that seems synonymous with FPS games. It was the birth of competitive console gaming and basically defined how it was to be done with a game pad from then until Modern Warfare came along.

27. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

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This game was unfortunately buggy and incomplete on release which is perhaps why it has slipped below the radar of many gamers. After nearly ten years of fan-made patches and updates it is now much closer to the intended vision of the game and is easily the best way to roleplay a vampire, a genre which video games have somehow managed to screw up repeatedly over the years. But the game is more than that. Creeping around the streets of Los Angeles late at night, feasting on the blood of innocent civilians as you uncover the tense power struggles that divide the various vampire clans of modern America is a very easy way to lose 30 hours of your life.

26. Pokemon Red/Blue

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Please stop laughing at me! This game was a solid RPG with excellent mechanics and a gripping story. To a 10-year-old boy, the idea of capturing and battling a bunch of vicious magical monsters seemed like the height of awesomeness. The fact that you could hook up two game boys and fight against your friends was utterly mind-blowing at the time. Every time I went on a long trip with my family I’d be sat in the back of the car or on the plane trying to catch ’em all.

25. GoldenEye 007

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Nowadays when people think of console gaming their minds are often drawn to the idea of kids sitting around an XBOX or PS3 playing first-person shooters. That particular stereotype owes its existence to this game. Goldeneye was the first console game which felt like it was made for multiplayer and competitive play. The weapons were numerous and bad-ass, the mechanics were slick and intuitive and it was endless amounts of fun to plant hundreds of mines in a room and then detonate them as your mates ran through it.

24. Street Fighter II

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The King of the ring; the ultimate beat-em-up. What can I say about Street Fighter that isn’t already shouted from the rooftops by it’s huge popularity, massive sales and lasting position as the poster-boy for fighting games? It basically defined the template for all fighting games that followed it and any game of this genre now measures itself up against it.

23. System Shock 2

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If you enjoyed the Bioshock series of games then say thankyou to System Shock 2 because she gave birth to it. This game was mind-blowingly scary. Trapped on a space ship with an insane artificial intelligence trying to kill you, your only hope was to attempt to survive whilst attempting to discover what the hell had gone wrong on this gigantic coffin, floating through space. This game seamlessly blended RPG, sci-fi and survival horror in a way that no other game has managed to surpass in the last thirteen years. It kicked ass and I will never forget the horrific sight of a mutated human attempting to kill me whilst choking out the words “please forgive me.”

22. The Longest Journey

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Time seems to have forgotten this particular gem. When it was released in 1999, adventure games were no longer in the limelight and that fact, combined with the solely PC release of this game, perhaps doomed it to obscurity. Those of us who did play it found a game of infinite imagination, with a storyline straight out of a particularly awesome acid trip and possibly the coolest female protagonist of any game ever. The game was ahead of its time in so many ways, from the mature themes such as exploration of sexuality and explicit language to the excellent use of a 3D engine in an adventure game, something which was quite impressive at the time. The Longest Journey was both long and entertaining and no serious adventure games collection is complete without it.

21. Shining Force II

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The Sega Megadrive was often overlooked when it came to RPGs as our friends who owned a Nintendo console were treated to the best that Japan had to offer. Shining Force II, however, was a shining (ha…ha) example of what the megadrive could offer in terms of an RPG. It had magic, battles, and an awesome plot which took you all over a beautifully crafted world. Most loved of all by me was the battle system which, at the time, felt closer to the real thing that the traditional JRPG-style of taking it in turns to slap one-another.

20. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

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If you owned a PC in 1991 then the most graphically impressive thing you could play was a graphical adventure game. This is THE graphical adventure game and it is absolutely fucking hilarious. Monkey Island 2 put the player in the boots of Guybrush Threepwood, a useless moron who thinks he’s a badass pirate. The ensuing adventure is crammed full of hilarity baked into a series of excellent puzzles. What other game has you taking part in a spitting contest, purchasing a used coffin and searching for a hidden treasure called the Big Whoop? This game hasn’t lost any of its charm, even today and there are now some excellent re-makes on the steam store with updated graphics.

19. Resident Evil II

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Whenever I think of scary games I think of RE2 first. This game scared the shit out of me as a kid, so much so that I never actually completed it until I was an adult. Why was it so scary? Because it got the fundamentals of survival-horror right (unlike most modern games) in as much as it was fucking hard to survive. You barely had enough ammo, first-aid supplies or information on where to go. It was hard as nails and the fear of being stranded in a zombie-infested city with nothing to protect yourself was more than enough to scare any kid in 1998.

18. Spyro The Dragon

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This game is just crammed full of real imagination and beauty. Never before or since have I played a game that felt so dream-like, it had an almost sedative effect on you. The areas, sound effects and music all combined to make one truly trippy game. I play this through at least once a year just to remind myself not to take the world too seriously.

17. Golden Axe

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In the early 90’s the side-scroller was king and there are so many of these games that it’s hard to choose between them. I was a Sega kid and for me there was one game that was cooler than all of the others. Golden Axe had dwarves, barbarians, axes, swords, magic and it even let you ride on a dragon. I must have completed this game hundreds of times over the last 20 years and it’s still fun today.

16. Shadow of the Colossus

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This game is something of a cult calssic. Chances are you’ve either played it and know how awesome it is or you’ve never even heard of it. Shadow of the Colossus had you running around barren wastelands and forests, finding, battling and killing giant monsters in the hopes of resurrecting your dead wife (or something like that anyway.) What made this game so different was the fact that it was basically a series of boss fights. That will either sound awesome or incredibly dull to those of you who don’t know of this game. Trust me, its the former. This game basically allowed you to take your time, plan your startegy and then strike when you know you’re ready for a real brawl. It really isn’t like anything else I’ve ever played and it is no surprise to me that this game is now a collectible and tends to sell for a fair amount of money.

15. Beneath a Steel Sky

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This game is the height of British adventure game design. It has you playing Robert Foster, a man on the run from the cops in a dystopian future city where the rich live near the floor where the air is still clean and the poor live high up in the smog filled streets beneath a giant steel dome. Uncovering the mystery of Foster and his father’s suspicious disappearance is an experience which I wish I could undertake for the first time once more. I love this game and it’s been a huge inspiration to me as a designer.

14. Left 4 Dead

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I have a mild obsession with Zombies so when Left 4 Dead came along I was a very happy bunny. Up until this point, the zombie genre had been about trying to overcome clunky controls and a lack of ammo in the hopes of surviving long enough to dodge the incredibly slow moving Zombies of games like ‘Resident Evil.’ Left 4 Dead effectively gave us unlimited ammo and a variety of cool special weapons and said “go ape shit and paint the walls with some brains.” Never had co-operation been so mandatory in a co-op game, as your survival absolutely depended on your buddies having your back. I spent many a late night pelting through the corridors of mercy hospital with my limping comrades in tow, as a torrent of hungry undead psychos chased us.

13. Sid Meier’s Civilization

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This was one of the very first PC games I ever played as a little kid on my uncle’s old DOS system. It was certainly my first taste of strategy and it has stuck with me for all of these years. At the time, the idea of building a civilization, organizing a military force, negotiating with foreign warlords and kings, managing citites…it was all just fucking awesome. It set me up for who I am today and I still play it to this day.

12. Chrono-Trigger

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Looking at things objectively, this game is probably the greatest JRPG of all time. It just did everything so well. The animations were slick and made the fights feel exciting and realistic, the characters were loveable without being cheesy, the art work was beatiful and the plot…the plot was awesome. You travelled through time, causing events which would effect the future. You even travelled to the end of time which was a mysterious chunk of victorian paved street, dimly lit by a street-lamp and populated by one old man with a walking stick and a bowler hat. It still sends shivers down my back just thinking about it.

11. Psychonauts

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Tim Schafer truly has the most awesome imagination of any game designer in the industry. In ‘Psychonauts’ he created a summer camp for kids who can jump inside the minds of sentient beings and explore the odd metaphorical worlds which exist within. That very concept alone leaves space for almost total creative freedom, but Schafer went a step further by ensuring that the minds you jump into are all in need of rescue and he treads the line between emotion and comedy perfectly, creating a world full of lovable, memorable characters which is a joy to explore again and again.

10. Mario Kart 64

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When I was supposed to be working in sixth form, I was almost certainly playing this instead. I’ve never been a huge fan of driving/racing games but this one is just too much fun. There’s no better way to chill out with your mates than to kick back, have a few beers, order in a pizza and dart around some mario kart maps blowing the crap out of each other with shells.

9. Medieval II: Total War

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Many people sight the previous entry in this series as their favourite and Rome: Total War was certainly a brilliant game, but I feel that the studio really perfected the formula with this one. The political power struggles and unpredictable behaviour of noble families, the religious backdrop of Islam and the Roman Catholic Church all combined to create a truly compelling strategic experience. But this game reached true levels of awesomeness when the battles commenced. Controlling your troops on the field of battle really felt like you were charging steel-clad warriors into walls of pike men or raining down fire on a group of defenceless peasants. It was awesome.

8. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos

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I have spent so many hours on this game, its almost hard to believe. Many console gamers will probably be completely unaware of the existance of the Warcraft series of RTS games for the PC, as it has been somewhat overshadowed by its MMO sequel ‘World of Warcraft.’ However, it is this particular gem which I remember so fondly. It had a wonderfully engaging plot and was fantastic fun to play in Skirmish mode with friends or against the A.I. The real prize-winner in this game, however, was its engine. This game has spawned so many mods that they are virtually impossible to list in this one paragraph. It virtually invented the MOBA genre which has since spawned several insanely popular games in League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and DOTA. It popularised the turret defence and hero defence genre. The real testament to this game is in the fact that still, after ten years, Blizzard regularly patch this game to accomodate its thriving community. This is easily my favourite strategy game of all time.

7. Streets of Rage

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It might not seem like a big thing in today’s modern world of ultra-violent, weapon-wielding action games. But in 1991 when Streets of Rage let you stick a glass bottle into the face of a gangster and then proceed to beat him with a baseball bat, you knew you were playing a game that didn’t shy away from the violent nature of melee combat. It had the perfect mechanics for a beat-em-up; simple to learn but complex to master, a variety of bosses to test your twitch-gaming reactions and an awesome soundtrack. What more could a kid want? This game just sweated awesomeness with every uppercut.

6. Final Fantasy X

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Final Fantasy is a series that divides gaming enthusiasts into haters and lovers. The division amongst those who love this series often comes in the deliberation over which ones are the best. I suppose that’s to be expected in a series with this many titles. For what its worth, I feel that this was the last truly brilliant Final Fantasy game. FFX had a heart-wrenching, imaginative and wonderfully compelling set of characters who fit so perfectly with a story that still haunts me to this day. The final scene is etched into the memories of everyone who ever played this game and Blitzball was probably the coolest mini-game in any RPG ever. When I think of the PS2, this is the game I imagine spinning around in the disk tray.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

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This is the game that made me want to make games. It had a day and night cycle with different things happening at different times of the day, it had time travel, it let you play a musical instrument, you could play mini-games to win prizes, you could go fishing, you could ride a horse and all of this was just optional and played second-fiddle to a story so simple and straight-forward that it almost seems cliché, but you really wanted to rescue that princess. This game blew my mind in 1998 and I think I’ve been searching for a better world to explore ever since, to no avail.

4. Deus Ex

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Ask anyone who was playing PC games at the turn of the Millennium what their favourite games are and I can almost guarantee you that this game will be on that list. Never before or since has a game made you feel as though you have this level of freedom. Want to run through the game guns blazing? Go for it. Want to hack and creep your way through the game? That’s fine too. There seem to be innumerable ways to play this game and I’m still discovering them over ten years later. Deus EX defined cyberpunk for my generation. To its credit, the graphics have aged significantly since its release but it still feels organic and most importantly, futuristic, even to this day.

3. Grim Fandango

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In Grim Fandango, Tim Schafer created a world which felt both alien and familiar. Exploring it was a delight, with its quirky characters and dark parodies of modern western society. However, the most impressive thing about this game is the award-winning soundtrack by Peter McConnell which combines big band jazz elements with Latin grooves and folk music. All of this combines to create what will probably always be my favourite adventure game.

2. Metal Gear Solid

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I played the demo of this game as a kid on my PlayStation before the game’s eventual release. It gave me the opening level to play which consisted of maybe ten minutes of gameplay. I played that level to death, finding every way of entering the Shadow Moses compound, killing every guard in every possible way, exploring every corner of it. When the game finally came out I was treated to a thrilling masterpiece of level design wrapped around one of the greatest stories ever told in a game. Metal Gear Solid made you care about everyone involved in that plot. When Sniper Wolf lay dying in the snow I genuinely felt sorry for her, despite the fact that I’d fatally wounded her just a few moments ago. I can’t think of many other games that provided such an emotional rollercoaster before or since. The game’s huge amount of voice acting was an incredible achievement at the time and Metal Gear Solid is perhaps responsible for the creation of voice-acting celebrities in the world of video games. Everyone knows who David Hayter is now.

1. Final Fantasy VII

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What can I say about this game that hasn’t already been said? Love it or hate it (and I very much love it) no-one can deny the huge influence it has had on the gaming landscape. It effectively brought RPGs to the masses and introduced a whole generation of kids to concepts such as hit-points and levelling up. The characters were all damaged in their own special ways, but were all good at heart and you desperately wanted them all to find inner peace, so much so that you followed them through the plot in the hopes of giving them all the salvation that they so desperately needed. They were, of course, fictional characters. But to me, as a kid, they were just as real as anyone I knew in the real world and I think that’s why this game was so popular. It forced you to care. The game’s world was a bizarre combination of cyberpunk dystopia, medieval fantasy, eastern feudalism and 20th century suburbia which really opened up a world of possibilities in terms of plot. Nobuo Uematsu’s soundtrack proved that midi didn’t have to sound crap and has since been re-arranged and recorded multiple times. Final Fantasy 7 was a genre-defining game and one that I’ll probably still be playing when I’m all old and wrinkly.

B.Burns

@gotohelldave

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Top 10 Horror Games That You’ve Probably Never Played

MY TOP TEN HORROR GAMES THAT YOU’VE PROBABLY NEVER PLAYED

 

I’ve always been a fan of horror as a genre. When it comes to games, the very idea of horror entertainment takes on an entirely new dimension thanks to the existence of interactivity. For some reason, horror games seem to slip into obscurity much more easily than any other genre. Perhaps this is because, as a genre, horror requires a lot of emotional investment. You can sit and play FIFA for hours without breaking a sweat but a horror game can be tiring to play, especially if you’re shitting your pants for the entire duration.

Anyway, here is a list of horror games, which I feel deserve a lot more love.

10. Realms of the Haunting PC (1996)

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This PC shooter from the classic era seems to have been all but forgotten by time. I suppose it couldn’t compete with the likes of Doom and Quake. However, if you scratch below the surface a little you will find a highly story-driven FPS, something which was quite a novelty for the time.

You play as Adam Randall, who ventures to a haunted house in order to investigate the mysterious circumstances around his father’s death. As he enters, however, the doors lock behind him and he is forced to journey throughout the entire house while looking for answers as well as a means of escaping it.

If you can get it to run, you may find a rather charmingly old-school game wrapped in a very scary plot.

9. Siren: Blood Curse PS3 (2008)

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This one really seemed to go under the radar of western gamers, which is a shame because it was a truly scary game. It comes in 12 chapters as the player takes control of a multitude of characters, from members of an American T.V crew to a lost little girl who cannot defend herself.

The plot centers on a mountain village which disappeared in the 70’s, suddenly re-appearing, packed full of the undead. The various characters are simply trying to escape the nightmare without falling victim to the monsters. Some interesting mechanics, including certain characters having the ability to see through the eyes of the zombies, keep the game interesting for its relatively short duration.

The game is available on PSN, so there’s no excuse for any PS3 owning horror fan to not have this in their collection.

8. Clock Tower SNES/Playstation (1995)

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In Clock Tower, you are being relentlessly stalked by a crazed killer who carries a giant pair of scissors. The fact that he seemingly appears at random makes the game feel as though he is constantly wandering around the place, searching for you. This adds a real sense of urgency and desperation to the game, as you tentatively move from room to room, attempting to achieve your aims without being chopped into little pieces.

This game is both gory and suspenseful and has a lot of adventure-style elements to it as well. If you’re looking for something to add a bite to your point-and-click then it is definitely worth your time and money.

 

7. Sweet Home NES/FAMICOM (1989)

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Many fans of the genre consider this to be the first real horror game. It is hardly surprising to learn that Resident Evil was heavily influenced by it. In fact, Resident Evil began its development as a re-make of Sweet Home.

The game plays like an RPG but is packed full of horrific imagery, especially for its time, including zombies, demon-dogs and possessed dolls to name but a few. You have a party of five characters, who all have different skills and you must escape a haunted mansion (sound familiar?)

6. Fatal Frame/Project Zero Ps2/XBOX

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Fatal Frame (or ‘Project Zero’ as it is known in Europe) is a prime example of why the Japanese are miles ahead of everyone else when it comes to making horror games. The game is set in a haunted mansion (aren’t they all?) The player controls a young woman named Miku who is searching for her missing brother who disappeared while doing research for a novel.

You soon discover the building is packed to the rafters with ghosts and spirits which can only be dispatched by capturing their image on an antique camera. This adds a very interesting dynamic to the game because the player not only has to photograph ghosts, but is also forced to scavenge for film. The staple of any good survival horror is the feeling that you are either defenseless or under constant threat of running out of ammunition. This game combines the two by making your sole weapon a battered-up old camera and giving you very little film for it.

Fatal Frame is a truly scary experience and one which is worth quite a bit of money if you still have a copy of it today.

5. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream PC (1995)

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Imagine a future where a rogue supercomputer has destroyed all but 5 members of the human race, whom it has made immortal in order to keep them in a constant state of mental and physical torture, as a result of its hatred of them. Does that sound scary?

‘I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream’ is a point-and-click adaptation of the short story of the same name by sci-fi author Harlan Ellison. The game has multiple endings and only one of them can be considered anything remotely like a victory, such is the grim nature of the source material.

4. Haunting Ground PS2 (2005)

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The key to making a truly scary survival-horror game is instilling a feeling of helplessness in the player. This is where Haunting Ground hits the nail on the head, by putting you in the shoes of someone who can’t really fight back.

You play as Fiona Bell, a young woman who has been kidnapped and brought to a castle from which she must escape. Her only friend is her pet dog, who will often try to hassle enemies while Fiona runs away. This really is a game all about fleeing in terror. If you don’t, Fiona is likely to be caught and in some cases, raped. It’s fairly grim material and ability to tackle controversial, sexual themes makes it a brave title to say the least.

Also, it has one of the coolest enemies ever; a large, mentally disabled man-child called ‘Debilitas’ who thinks you are a doll. And he wants to play.

3. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth XBOX/PC (2005)

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Never before have I felt so hated by a game. The vast majority of Call of Cthulhu takes place in the small town of Innsmouth and the people who live there hate you. You’re an outsider and they make sure you know about it. As a private investigator sent there to look into the disappearance of a young boy, you are quickly labeled as a nosey outsider who knows too much and that’s when the whole town turns on you.

Dark Corners of the Earth is both compelling and a worthy adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s original source material. Unfortunately, it was buggy on release and ended up slipping into obscurity. However, after plenty of patching, it is now quite a compelling experience and an extremely unnerving game.

2. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem Gamecube (2002)

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This game sold extremely poorly on release, but has since come to be known as one of the greatest horror games of all time. It actually simulates the effects of insanity, a mechanic that gamers wouldn’t really see again for another 10 years. As the player loses their grip on reality, various unsettling things may happen. These include anything from the camera angle being skewed slightly, the player finding themselves walking on the ceiling and audible hallucinations, right up to the game simulating hardware errors and even a blue screen of death.

Furthermore, this game has some of the best combat of any survival-horror ever. Remember how clunky and awkward games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill could seem at times? Eternal Darkness’ combat is smooth and fluid.

Finally, the game has an excellent plot revolving around Alexandra Roivas, who is investigating the mysterious murder of her grandfather Edward Roivas. While exploring his Rhode Island mansion, she discovers a secret room containing, among other odd items, a book bound with human skin and bone. You are then thrown between various different characters throughout time as you unravel the mystery behind the book and its powers.

1. System Shock 2 PC (1999)

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What can I say about this game? It’s just so awesome. It combines sci-fi and horror to such a degree of perfection that no other game has ever truly been able to compete with it. The ‘Dead Space’ series ought to be thanking this game because a cynical gamer may accuse it of borrowing heavily from System Shock 2.

You play a lone soldier on board a Space Ship in the year 2114. You are woken from a deep sleep to discover that the ship’s AI has gone homicidally crazy. It has murdered most of the crew, but they’re the lucky ones, because the survivors have become monstrous mutations.

This game is terrifying.  It really makes you feel as though you’re alone in an unrelentingly hostile environment. The ship’s AI constantly taunts you as you make your way through its various chambers of mutilation. Your former crewmates beg for your forgiveness as they lunge at you, unable to control themselves.

This game was genre defining and anyone who considers themselves a fan of survival-horror ought to have it in their collection.

B.Burns

From the writer of Go To Hell Dave

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