19 August 2010

Podcast! The Easy Button Episode 10

Surprise! Episode 10 of The Easy Button: Double digits edition! This episode i find that i am incapable of talking. We chat about the games we've been playing - mainly Alien Swarm, Oblivion, Hearts of Iron and Echelon Book 1.


The Easy Button Episode 10

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If you want to contact us please feel free to email us with comments, shout-outs, suggestions or questions at: the.easiestbutton AT gmail.com

17 August 2010


Games like Minecraft are why I love PC games. It is also an example of why, when people talk about PC games dying off, I shrug my shoulders and go play another PC game.

Minecraft is about as open-world a game as you can imagine. You start off by spawning into a 3-D world made of blocks of stuff. This stuff can be anything from water, dirt, gravel, and sand to coal, iron ore, diamonds, or gold. You have to build everything, the game gives you nothing at the start. But by mining different blocks of stuff and combining them in your inventory (actually, a crafting table in your inventory) in different ways, you can combine different sorts of stuff into tools or better items.

For example, you can take sand and coal, put them into a smelter (which you build using a different recipe) and create glass blocks. These glass blocks make great windows for your tower (or pyramid or house or - well, you get the idea).

The beauty of the game is that only your imagination is the limit. Well, and a few laws of physics. Gravity works, for example; you will fall to your death more than a few times. Also, at night monsters spawn (zombies and spiders and I am sure a few other nasties) and will try and kill you, so you will need some shelter in order to live through the night. Of course, you can make weapons to defend yourself but only after you find the appropriate raw materials.

My comments on this game would not complete without acknowledging the old-school, 8-bit graphics. While I like the simplicity of the presentation, others may not like the retro look of the game. Their loss. This game actually looks fantastic - some of the views are awe-inspiring.

Build roads. Explore dark caverns. Create towers. Plant trees. Do a million other things. Just get it and play it.

Free older version is available here. For-pay (9.95 Euros during the Alpha) version available here. The free version is browser-based, the for-pay version can be run in a browser or as a standalone application. Since it is written in Java, it should run on almost any computer.

Oh yeah, one other thing: it supports multi-player. There is a server version available. I have not tried it yet, but I hear that it is pretty cool sharing the world with other people (as long as they aren't assholes :) )

Support an indie developer and buy this. You will not be sorry, except for all the sleep you will lose. I will leave you with a video - enjoy!

7 August 2010

75% Off.... for your soul.

Seriously, it's a trite title but i'm pissed. So Machinarium, a cool-looking point and click game that i never wanted to get at full price is now $5 or £3.25ish (from memory) because of pirates (apparently) whereby the creator decided to lower the price down as an amnesty for un-bought copies. Of course, it's just a bit of clever marketing since anyone can buy it for that price.

So i was going to buy it.


Why is that word in the past tense, Duo? Well, my friend it's because of the stupid way in which you need to buy it. You can go to the site, click on download the game - click on purchase the game and then the real issue comes to the fore. You have two options for payment: credit card and paypal. Regardless of whether you want to do either one you are required to enter your:

  • First and last name
  • Your email address
  • country
  • full address including postcode (ostensibly as your mailing address)

So, not wanting to give out these precious details with no restrictions or legal wrap around them, i clicked on paypal which does not require any of these things to work. Funny thing is that you STILL can't proceed with the order. It's ridiculous. The whole point of paypal is that you only give out your email address and the funds are transferred from your bank account. This just smacks of fishing for information to resell onto other companies.

Worse still is the whole "mailing address" thing because, quite clearly, on the page before it states:

You will get download links for 3 versions of the game (Windows, Mac, 32bit Linux) and the soundtrack (in MP3 format). Please note that you are not ordering CD version of the game! Also you need at least 1024x768 screen resolution!

So it makes even less sense.

Amantia design - i'm willing to buy your game, just make it so i can do so without giving away my first born.

4 August 2010

Is the gaming industry about to die?

Controversial title aside, there is some evidence that this may be the case!!

It's come to my attention that yet another beloved PC non-FPS franchise is likely to be FPSed (Definition: first person shootered; see neutered): Syndicate. Not bad enough that X-com is also going this route but I soon expect to see the announcements of FPS 'revivals' of Wing Commander, Koronis' Rift, Baldur's Gate and Theme Park.

"So why the doom and gloom?", you ask.

"Renegade...", I sourly reply. "See, also, Enforcer."

Yes, that's right! Two FPS games in a long line of non-FPS games (that's RTS and TBS respectively). The birth of Renegade marked the end of Westwood Studios and the downward spiral of the Command and Conquer series. Similarly, Enforcer was the death knell for the X-COM brand.

Extrapolating these events draws me to the shocking conclusion (and also the title of this post)..... is the gaming industry about to die?