Here's what we're playing this weekend, how about you?
The weekend is so near I can almost taste it. Here in Britland the sky is a blank grey texture, devoid of depth - a rubbish skybox. Beholden to the circadian law of Fridays, we'll no doubt retreat from that sky to the soft, warm glow of a pub and then run home to play some videogames. But which ones? The sky will no doubt have opened by then, drumming summer rain into our window panes. A cup of tea and an adventure game might suit, or a round or two of Civilization, perhaps. Here's a round-up of the games we're planning to install, and a question: what will you play this weekend? Let's chat.
Graham has just moved flat, which means learning how to play games without an internet connection to download/activate them. It's surprisingly difficult these days. His solution - put Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe onto a memory stick and spend the weekend weaving roads and railways into beautiful, efficient tapestries of traffic. It's free, so if you fancy doing something similar you can grab the latest build from the Open TTD site.
Phil is going to try Zafehouse: Diaries, a game about managing a group of survivors through an apocalypse via the interface of a grimy, bloodstained logbook. Your team have a degree of autonomy, which means they'll wander around your infested stronghold, chatting to each other, tinkering with things and almost certainly splitting up and getting eaten a lot. Zafehouse promises detailed simulation without relentless micromanagement, something that plays like a work of interactive fiction but with a more complex engine behind it. Hopefully Phil will discover exactly what a "Zafehouse" is so he can tell us on Monday.
Rich has spent the afternoon dipping into Rogue Legacy, a side-scrolling dynastic roguelike that lets you take charge of the next tier of your hero's family tree when they die. Your offspring have various genetic conditions that can dramatically alter their perception of the dungeon. A warrior afflicted with chronic vertigo will have to play the whole game upside down, for example. I imagine Rich will have clocked up hundreds of deaths by the time we return on Monday.
Chris is determined to play something that isn't Dota 2 this weekend. Will he succeed? Well, he's got Sleeping Dogs to finish and Receiver to experiment with. The first is an entertaining, gung-ho crime adventure set in Hong Kong, the second is an exciting little shooter born out of a seven-day game jam. Considering that we've been shooting things in games since games were invented, very few have played with the idea of the gun as a complex piece of machinery. In Receiver you must manually attend to your firearm, using different button presses to free the clip and plop round in one by one. The result is a tense shooter that turns the FPS into a tactile challenge of your memory and finger dexterity. Highly recommended.
I can't buy a win in Company of Heroes 2 at the moment, so I'll spend the weekend scowling over cold cups of tea learning to play, and then probably giving up and replaying the first two chapters of Kentucky Route Zero, a serene, surreal and beautiful episodic game that I'd describe as a "redneck Murakami adventure" if I had to cram the experience into a reductive three-word phrase. And I do, because it's so very nearly the weekend, and somewhere out there there's a Company of Heroes 2 trampling with my name on it.
You can catch up with our writers' progress, and their many tangential observations via Twitter. That's us, but what about you? Catching up on blockbusters past? Playing experimental indie games, or dipping into the latest releases?