The title of Else Heart.Break() keeps it’s conditionals hidden. If what else heartbreak? Suffice to say that so far the condition stil holds: I love this game and it seems to love me back and nobody needs to get hurt.

If you’ve read anything about Heartbreak it’s probably about the code. Most things – from cigarettes to mainframes – can be hacked. This is true but that’s not a fit description of the game. Else Heart.Break() accomplishes that rare thing of making me feel like I inhabit the character I’m controlling. At the outset I felt lost and disoriented in a bizarre world that seemed as ill prepared for me as I for it. A couple of hours in I feel like a bona-fide, bad-ass cyber-noir detective. Allow me to explain.
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Godus Wars – an RTS spin-off of Peter Molyneux’s Godus – is out (in some EA form or another) and reactions haven’t been kind. Usually this means that people don’t like the game. In this particular instance it means that and more. Molyneux gave an interview to Eurogamer in connection with the launch and that set the ball rolling. John Walker’s mention on RPS is as much a critique of the person Peter Molyneux and Nerd3’s “Nerd3 hates Godus Wars” has a prominent picture of Molyneux on the cover. I haven’t seen the video but the cover speaks volumes. The RPS piece unleashed a torrent of abuse against Molyneux in the comments section. The same happened on Ars Technica after a piece mentioning the Eurogamer interview.

I don’t care to go over Molyneux’ alleged ‘crimes’ but this is clearly not about Godus Wars. 2014 highlighted hateful speech directed against creators in the video games industry. Now, Molyneux is not a woman and I haven’t seen any comments asking for him to suffer anything worse than ignominy and derision. But I still fail to understand how he – or anybody – merits the level of vitriol and outright hatred, that is directed his way, or why it is tolerated if not outright encouraged by the gaming press when we have become so much more aware it’s detrimental effects.

It’s videogames, people. Save your outrage for poverty, inequality, human rights violations etc.

Called it!


Perhaps the biggest brand-new announcement came from Double Fine, whose founder Tim Schafer took the stage to announce a crowdfunding campaign for Psychonauts 2

– Ars Technica, “Psychonauts 2, Rock Band VR, more new games announced at The Game Awards”

I just wanna say ‘called it’. Okay, so Raz is still onboard but he’s clearly sharing the bill with Lili. So yeah, I clearly have psychic powers in this world as well as game worlds.


First impressions: The Long Dark


This was to have been an obituary. “Here lies Lorrie Olson who died of thirst after three days because she couldn’t find a container to carry snow for meltwater in.”

Turns out you don’t need a container for snow. Seeing as it’s everywhere, The Long Dark simply treats it a ressource you always have in infinte quantities. Lucky for Lorrie I figured this out just in time, having settled her in front of a roaring let’s-all-die-of-thirst-in-oh-say-five-minutes fire.

The Long Dark just launched for Linux/SteamOS and I just spent two hours surviving three days. And what three days they have been. Remember that time when we ate raw venison and got food poisoning because I was still figuring out the controls? What larks. And then when we ran out of water and were completely dehydrated and found a box of salty crackers? Man, Fate has a nasty sense of humour. Fortunately it also had stoved some carbonated beverages away in a cupboard for me or I wouldn’t have been able to swallow those crackers. Quite literally.

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Losing the lottery


When Papers Please was still just a demo, that I played rather obsessively, Lukas Pope, the game’s developer, sent out a call for names. Enter your name in this form and maybe it would get included in the game. This was before all the accolades of 2013  would rain down on the game but I had a hunch this was something special. So I entered my name in the form and kinda forgot about it. Well, not quite. When I played the final game I would sometimes recall that submission and wonder if I might suddenly have to deny myself entry.

Doing some housecleaning on a soon-to-be-abandoned Gmail account, I found the ‘receipt’ email from filling out the form. I clicked the link in it thinking that it would probably not work any more. Instead I got a metajoke from 2013. I guess it’s something. Better than getting deported.

Why wasn’t my name included?
A name may have been excluded if it was inappropriate for the setting, offensive, too long, too short, copyrighted, from an existing character, or simply not checked. Of 27,271 submitted names, I was able to check 20% (5,669) and only about half of those (2,705) were selected.
Why not include all submitted names?
My original intention was to include all submitted names but even a cursory check revealed a surprisingly vast number of inappropriate, copyrighted, offensive, not-theme-fitting, too-long, bad-joke names submitted by players. These kind of names can be fun but negatively affect the mood of the game. I decided the best move was to check each one manually. After nearly 6,000 names, I never want to see another fake Eastern European name again.

Strangestone or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love PvP


I’ve just finished a match in Hearthstone. I played using someone else’s deck and someone else’s tactics but that’s another matter (though if you are going to netdeck, the basic decks and strategies from Icy Veins are really well thought out and even better explained). The point is that I played against another human being and it wasn’t a big deal.

And why should it be? Thousands of people can say the same any second of the day. The reason I’m making a fuss is that before Hearthstone the only game I had any serious PvP experience in was WordFeud and that’s so unthreatening that my mother plays it. You see, PvP as a concept is incredibly intimidating to me and I don’t think I’m the only one.

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