Gone Home Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Gone Home RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 5 Video Game Worlds that Should be Expanded into Novels https://www.gameskinny.com/w1att/5-video-game-worlds-that-should-be-expanded-into-novels https://www.gameskinny.com/w1att/5-video-game-worlds-that-should-be-expanded-into-novels Wed, 08 Nov 2017 16:35:33 -0500 Lauren Harris

Video game stories and adventures are just as good as any book we’ve read or are currently reading. For some of these games, I think their story should be continued or created into heart-warming and courageous novels. Most video games stories deserve to be written and expressed meticulously to the reader and these are some of the best RPG adventures about survival, mystery, and hardship that should be published in a good book.


Firewatch was one of those first-person RPGs that stayed with me after I completed the game. The intense fear of being by yourself in the Wyoming wilderness with only a walkie-talkie to communicate with your supervisor is a compelling premise. The game really gave you the feeling of actually being the character. Creating a book around Firewatch would be a good way to expand the story and bring out a lot more detail. It would be exciting to display to the reader how scary it can be when you're on your own in the wilderness and highlight the story of survival and friendship found within the game.

Gone Home

This nostalgic mystery exploration game gives you that classic 90's feel. The player returns home after a year overseas. You get home, and no one’s there. This interactive story lets you comb through each part of the house to pick up objects and find clues. You discover the events of the lives of your family members in the items they left behind. A book adaptation for this game would really bring out the story of the characters. It’s a story about discovering one’s self. Books bring out detail in every story, and a book for Gone Home would bring the story to life on another level. This game would be an amazing mystery book for all ages to enjoy.

Heavy Rain

Quantic Dream has created some of the best life-like games that I've ever seen. Their video games should be made into movies if you ask me. Heavy Rain was one of the most emotional games I've ever played.

This action-adventure and cinematic psychological thriller revolves around multiple characters. Each character has different agendas in the story. The player's decisions affect how the game progresses. This could be a good interactive book. This game covers the struggles and consequences associated with the decisions each character has to make. Readers could relate to some of their stories and feel the pain of the result of their actions. The story of Heavy Rain is heartbreaking, but it has profound potential to be written into multiple stories or become one thrilling novel.

Horizon Zero Dawn 

This exciting action/adventure RPG takes place in a vast post-apocalyptic world where deadly machines have taken over what’s left of the ruins. The civilization of humans is primitive and almost extinct. 

The game has great potential as an in-depth fantasy book if written by a good author--someone who can bring the ruins of this once thriving world to life and illustrate that surreal feeling to the readers. The story is an exhilarating action adventure about survival--the struggle to survive and co-exist with machines. Writing a book about this game would be a new chapter to keeping the video game's story alive and it could also build more stories from the game to extend the adventure. 

Infamous:First Light

Sucker Punch created a standalone game which allows the player to control Abagail Walker. Abagail and her brother Brent ran away from home because of an accident in school that involved injuring a student. They both turned to drugs to deal with their struggles, but Brent eventually got clean. He wanted Abigail to get clean as well, so he would hide her stash. He even ended up working for gangs to get enough money to cross the border to Canada by boat.

First Light could be a novel about the struggles that both siblings had to face from society and in their everyday life. Although the story-line of the game was short, it has the potential to become a powerful fantasy novel. This story could be expanded to delve deeper into the characters' lives and show how resourceful they both had to be to survive. The story of this game could definitely be an interesting novel. 


Everyone has their own opinion about video games and how they’re portrayed in movies. I have to say most movies don’t do the video games they are based upon any justice because they don’t stick to the story or the characters they portray. Extending the story in a good book gives the game life and actually takes the reader on a journey into the life of the characters. We all know books are far better than any movie. So, to create a novel about any of these amazing characters would be an exciting adventure I’d want to be a part of. 

Do you think video games should also become novels? Which video game stories would you like to see in a book? Let’s hear your opinions in the comments below. 



10 Video Games That Are True Works of Art https://www.gameskinny.com/jq2ey/10-video-games-that-are-true-works-of-art https://www.gameskinny.com/jq2ey/10-video-games-that-are-true-works-of-art Thu, 09 Nov 2017 17:19:35 -0500 spacechaser

Are video games art? This much-debated topic has plagued gaming journalism and the gaming community for years now. To answer that question, one must first answer another: what is art?

"the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." - Google Dictionary

By that definition, video games should be considered art. Here's another excellent GameSkinny article on the subject, if you still need convincing. And on that note, here are 10 games that are, undoubtedly, works of art.

1. Journey

One of the most visually stunning games in existence, some people have even equated playing Journey to having a spiritual experience. Like some of the other titles in this article, Journey is a completely wordless game. The only way to communicate with any partners you're paired up with during your play through is with pinging noises and jumping, but somehow just having someone with you to experience the beautiful and nerve-wracking adventure is reassuring and comforting.

2. Darkest Dungeon

Perhaps a surprise entry on this list, Darkest Dungeon is a specific brand of beautiful. Suffice to say, this game wouldn't be as effective as it is without its disturbing monsters and moody lighting. Together with its punishing gameplay, Darkest Dungeon's ominous narrator and characters work to make a game that's both frustrating and impossible to put down.

3. Hyper Light Drifter

A dark and atmospheric post-apocalyptic adventure, Hyper Light Drifter merges beautiful visuals and somber electronic music to create a frightening world. This game is equal parts stunning and horrific, and is living proof that the two aren't mutually exclusive.

4. Super Mario Odyssey

Nintendo's newest Super Mario title is probably the most joyful game of the year. Each Kingdom is lovingly sculpted down to the smallest detail and is full of secrets and funny characters. The scenery is bright and colorful to reflect its lightheartedness, with plenty of difficult puzzles and platforming to keep you on your toes.

5. The Witness

This confounding and beautiful game has no story, no purpose, and no people. The Witness is a first person puzzle game with surprises around every corner, quite literally. It's a good thing the environment in this game is gorgeous, because you'll spend hours staring at it in wonder only to discover its hidden meaning in an epiphany that hits your brain not unlike an electric shock.

6. Bioshock

In a terrifying undersea city full of bloodthirsty drug addicts, Bioshock makes it very clear that you can't trust anyone unless they're a hacked robot. There's a kind of wonder and disappointment that comes while exploring Rapture that makes you wish you'd seen it in its prime. The dilapidated city is simultaneously beautiful, sad, and scary. 

7. Gone Home

Starting out, Gone Home seems like a typical scary game, with something terrifying ready to jump out a you from every shadow. As you go on however, this game reveals itself to be so much more. With beautiful writing and highly detailed environments, Gone Home is a sad and emotional story, told through its setting more than through its narration.

8. Okami

Based on traditional Japanese calligraphy, Okami's visual style is unique in the gaming world. The earthy, natural colors of the human world help the brighter, magical elements pop. Though other games have used a similar cell-shading technique, Okami captures the feeling of being in a storybook, recounting the tale of the Shinto goddess who saved the world from darkness. 

9. Katamari Damacy

Another bizarre series of games, Katamari Damacy combines a hilarious concept with a cartoony style to bring its world to life. This game is chock full of silly objects and colorful characters. Katamari is just fun to look at, and is a joyful experience that'll make you want to come back and play again after you're done.


This list would be incomplete without including at least one VR game, so here it is. SUPERHOT is a challenging, visually captivating fps that uses color to differentiate between important elements. Through various fourth-wall breaks and, of course, the use of VR, SUPERHOT makes the player feel like they're actually in the game. 

So... are video games art? 

Even with simple games, or joke games, art had to be created for it to exist. Textures, sprites, character models, and even coding are forms of art in themselves. It seems unlikely that when artists join forces to create something, the result of the project isn't art. 

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Is Your Valentine a Non-Gamer? These 5 Games Will Change That https://www.gameskinny.com/b45ln/is-your-valentine-a-non-gamer-these-5-games-will-change-that https://www.gameskinny.com/b45ln/is-your-valentine-a-non-gamer-these-5-games-will-change-that Sat, 11 Feb 2017 16:53:24 -0500 Rob Kershaw

We’re approaching Valentine’s Day, and what better way is there to celebrate the execution of religious martyrs than spending time with your loved ones in front of a TV? It’s what they (probably) would have wanted. However, if your significant other is a non-gamer, fear not. It is the day of love, after all, so why not help them fall in love… with games?

The great thing about the gaming industry is that there are hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from over the last four decades. Failing to find at least a few games that you can enjoy together will be nigh-on impossible, for even the pickiest of players.

But let’s assume you’ve moved on from the days of the Sinclair Spectrum and fancy something a bit more modern. The trick is to pick a game that a.) engages and b.) isn’t so difficult that it will turn off your beloved before they’ve started to enjoy it.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions that you might want to introduce to your beau or belle as you snuggle on the couch.


One of the most joyfully addictive games ever created, Peggle never fails to bring a smile to the face of anyone who plays it. And how could it not? It has a ridiculously simple premise: fire a ball at pegs until they all go away. Even the most ardent non-gamer can understand that.

The qualities that set Peggle apart, though, are in its meticulous presentation. Zingy colors, brilliant sound effects, wacky characters, and a tremendous, uplifting rendition of Ode to Joy, which is pelted out when you complete a level. Yet beneath the glossy veneer lies a surprisingly challenging game -- especially if you’re trying to collect all of the trophies for each level. Despite that, Peggle is never a chore to play.

It even comes with a Duel mode, so if you get bored of trying to complete a level together, you can instead get a bit more competitive and play against each other. A sequel was released which offered more of the same and an even shinier coat of paint -- but at the cost of some of the original title’s game modes. Warning: if the person you are playing Peggle with displays zero emotion throughout the session, it’s probably a sign that you need to find a new partner.

Gone Home

If you fancy something a bit more atmospheric and story-driven, Gone Home will tick all your boxes. A spooky tale of a girl returning home to an empty house and trying to work out what happened to her family, The Fullbright Company’s debut is a masterful exercise in subverting expectation. With a strong female protagonist and progressive narrative beats that finally offer a mature discussion of feminist topics, Gone Home will surprise and delight -- as well as unsettle at times.

While it’s a single-player game, it’s also not a fast-paced one. You won’t need to gun anything down or beat anything up, as the entire experience is one of exploration and discovery. It’s a perfect shared experience for couples who want to spend a few hours uncovering a mystery together. Also, it won a BAFTA, so you can play the “arty” card with utmost sincerity, and impress your true love.

You Don’t Know Jack

If your Valentine likes comedy, game shows, or both, then YDKJ will be right up their street. Packaged as part of the Jackbox Party Pack Vol. 1 on PS4 and Xbox One, this somewhat anarchic trivia quiz takes place over ten rounds and a final head-to-head. It’s hosted by the snarky Cookie Masterson, and the questions are obscure enough to make you think, but not so insanely difficult that they put you off.

They’re also presented in interesting ways, and a variety of different special rounds means that the time will simply fly by. Favorites include “The Put The Choices Into Order Then Buzz In To See If You Are Right…Question” -- which is, umm, exactly as it sounds -- and “Cookie's Fortune Cookie Fortunes (with Cookie "Fortune Cookie" Masterson)” where a nugget of generic fortune cookie wisdom is twisted into a vaguely relevant question. There’s plenty of innovation here, and the laughs come hard and fast.

Also, as it’s a quiz, competitive couples may enjoy demonstrating their knowledge of random garbage as they trying to screw over their other half. Literally -- you can use a once-per-game “screw” if you think they don’t know the answer, and if they get it wrong you’ll be given bonus points. Of course, if they do know it, you’re the one who ends up screwed.

Valentine’s Day: perfect for screwing.

Life Is Strange

Episodic adventure games have become very popular with couples over the last few years. At around two hours per episode, they offer an interactive experience, while at the same running time as an average film. The best part is that two people can shape the way the story turns out, while simultaneously learning something about the other person from the choices they made.

We could easily have mentioned The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us here too, and both are very valid alternatives if you’re both interested in the horror or comic-book genres. However, Dontnod Entertainment’s five-part tale of a girl called Max who is able to rewind time gets our vote for two reasons.

Firstly, the main game mechanic means that the conversational choices and the decisions you make are not necessarily set in stone, should you wish to backpedal and change them. For a gaming newbie, this may appeal immensely as it offers the option of experimentation with gameplay.

Secondly, the characters are strong, well-written (as the BAFTA would attest), and exist in a more realistic setting -- if you discount the supernatural powers that Max has. Taking control for a scene and then handing the controller over to your other half is a popular way of playing similar games, and the bond of experiencing a shared story is far more powerful than just watching a film together, since you are able to direct it yourselves.

Do yourselves a favor and step into the world of Life is StrangeBecause, given current world events, it probably won't seem that weird in comparison.

LEGO Games

If you’re looking for harmless, enjoyable, and fairly simple fun on a night in (steady, now!), you could do far worse than booting up a LEGO game for some co-op action. Aside from being colorful, intuitive, and rather addictive, they’re perfect for people who haven’t been exposed to many games -- because everyone understands LEGO.

The best thing about the LEGO series is that the film franchises they are based on are so varied that you’ll be hard-pressed to find at least one that you don’t enjoy. Whether it’s Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or Indiana Jones, there’s bound to be something for everyone.

Our pick of the series is LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, which tapped into the MCU zeitgeist at just the right time, and did so with a polished and interesting experience, oodles of fan service and a cracking score. And as it’s a co-op game, it’s even better to play with your other half since you can work together to overcome obstacles, smash up enemies and solve puzzles. What could be more romantic?

What games do you like playing with your significant other? Are they gaming fans, or did you convert them? Let us know in the comments!

The 10 Best Indie Games of All-Time https://www.gameskinny.com/us8ll/the-10-best-indie-games-of-all-time https://www.gameskinny.com/us8ll/the-10-best-indie-games-of-all-time Fri, 05 May 2017 08:00:02 -0400 Curtis Dillon


Well that's it for our list, and I'm sure you're all happy and agree with every game on here. All jokes aside, we want to hear what your favourite indie games are. Feel free to drop your personal Top 10 in the comments below and let us know where we went horribly wrong!


There are so many amazing indie games it was super difficult to narrow this list down to 10 - hence the overlong honourable mentions. It pained me personally to leave out games like Oxenfree, Rogue Legacy, and Guacamelee, but that's part of the fun. The gaming world is so vibrant right now, with amazing titles coming out on a weekly basis. It's incredibly encouraging that six of the games in this list, came out in the past three years!


Gaming is alive and well in every spectrum, the least of which is the indie scene. Games like Shovel Knight prove that what's old can be new again, while Everybody's Gone To The Rapture show immense beauty and a narrative that can only be told in a game. There's so much breadth and diversity that everyone can find something to love. And on that note, we also want to hear which of those 10 is your favourite! So get chatting in the comments and be sure to stay tuned to GameSkinny for all your gaming coverage!

Honorable Mentions:
  • Bastion
  • \n
  • Limbo
  • \n
  • Dear Esther
  • \n
  • Braid
  • \n
  • Super Meat Boy
  • \n
  • Hotline Miami
  • \n
  • OlliOlli
  • \n
  • Spelunky
  • \n
  • Rogue Legacy
  • \n
  • Oxenfree
  • \n
  • Thomas Was Alone
  • \n
  • Don't Starve
  • \n
  • Tokyo Jungle
  • \n
  • Actual Sunlight
  • \n
  • Three Fourth's Home
  • \n
  • Guacamelee
  • \n
  • Her Story
  • \n
  • Nidhogg
  • \n
  • The Beginner's Guide
  • \n
Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a phenomenon. Similar to Undertale, it has a rabid fan base and everyone that plays it falls in love. And there's a very simple reason why: it's addictive.


I'm not a fan of farming simulators, games like Animal Crossing never appealed to me. Yet I kept hearing reverent praise for Stardew Valley, so eventually I picked it up on a PSN sale and figured I'd play a few hours before deleting it. 94 hours later I finished Stardew Valley.


Why? Never before had I played a game with a better carrot on the end of the stick. Every day cycle in Stardew Valley lasts one hour, and in that hour you might water your crops, chop down some tree's, run into town and go fishing, and go to the bar to talk to the locals. Of course you could turn it off there but tomorrow you want to go to the blacksmith and crack open an ore, run down to the forest to see if the gypsy with the travelling cart is back, then maybe go up to the mines where you accidentally run out of stamina and pass out. You wake up the next morning and someone stole your money, so now you have to make it back, as well as check out the community centre, and maybe you have your eye on a villager so you'll want to bring them a gift. That's a quick example of how you could easily lose three hours to Stardew Valley.


Stardew Valley is a really special game that is every bit as charming and fun as it is life-consuming. It's so much more than a farming simulator; Stardew Valley is like Animal Crossing meets The Sims, with a dash of Zelda thrown in. Even now that might not sound like it's for you, but I bet if you give it a couple of hours, you will be caught, hook, line and sinker.


Shovel Knight


Shovel Knight was a game funded on Kickstarter and one of the true success stories to emerge from the platform. Carrying-on the lineage of classic platformers like Super Mario World, Mega Man, and CastleVaniaShovel Knight didn't reinvent the wheel but it might have perfected it.


Of course, in the world of gaming it comes as blasphemy to say anything is better than those that pioneered the way, those that people hold the most nostalgia for, but the reality is that Shovel Knight combined the best elements of all of those classic games to make the perfect action platformer. Even though it is an amalgamation of those games, taking the world map, inventory, and combat from NES classics, Shovel Knight was a success because it has a personality of its own.


With whimsical characters, fairytale setting, and flawless mechanics, Shovel Knight did was so few other modern platformers were able to achieve: originality and peerless quality. Available on pretty much every platform imaginable, there's no excuse not to play Shovel Knight. Personally I played it on the PS Vita, where it feels right at home. Furthermore, Yacht Club Games, developer of Shovel Knight, has released two full-length DLC's, the most recent being a brand new game from head-to-toe, and there's more to come. Oh, and all of it has been free if you already own the game. That's fan service like no other. So, what are you waiting for?




Journey is often considered the crown-jewel of indie games. A break-taking voyage through a scorching desert in order to reach the shining peak of the mountain ahead; a deceptively simple premise.


Journey celebrates the majesty of nature and offers-up an adventure that is as unforgettable as it is beautiful. The game clocks-in at around two hours and takes you through the full spectrum of emotions, from the awe of climbing your first dune and seeing the vista ahead, to the dread you feel when traversing the dark underground locales.


And, perhaps most importantly, along the way you might meet a friend. As you play Journey you can encounter another traveller, who joins in your trek to the mountain top. This partnership formed the core of many Journey experiences, especially when the game ends and you realise it was another player and not just an AI. In all the online gaming house I've played, none has been as unique and touching as my solitary Journey playthrough.


There's a reason Journey is revered to the extent that it is. It is a masterpiece of storytelling and visuals that manages to tug on all the right strings while not uttering a single word. When people say video games cannot be art, point them in the direction of Journey.


Gone Home


What can I say about Gone Home that hasn't already been said? The game launched in 2013 on PC and set new standards for environmental storytelling and progressive topics in gaming.


Gone Home, from The Fullbright Company, tells the story of Katie, a college student who returns from a summer abroad to her family's new home in Oregon, set in 1995. The family is still in the process of moving, so there's a lot boxes and disarray around the home, and her parents and sister are nowhere to be found. Once again it's hard to say much more without spoiling the game for anyone.


Gone Home, in a way, put "walking simulators" on the map. Even though the term is often used in a derogatory fashion, the sub-genre is alive and well, in large part thanks to the brilliance and success of Gone Home.




Playdead was always going to have a very hard time attempting to follow-up its smash-hit Limbo. However it did something much, much better; the team eclipsed every single element of Limbo and crafted a game so stylish and weird that it demands to be played. They crafted Inside.


Not quite as grayscale as Limbo, Inside added a little red to the proceedings and some excellent lighting, to create a really stunning game. It's difficult to talk about the plot, or even mechanics, of Inside without delving into spoiler territory in some fashion. I will say that it plays a lot like Limbo but much improved, and I guess that kind of sums-up everything about Inside: it's Limbo on steroids.


In short, Inside is a fantastic game that you should play. It's the modern evolution of the puzzle platformer, which uses all the facets of the genre to perfect it.


Everybody's Gone To The Rapture


Set in a perfectly recreated 1980's English village, in which every single person has disappeared, Everybody's Gone To The Rapture tells a story of everyday life coming to an abrupt end.


As a voiceless wanderer, you are guided through the picture-perfect village of Yaughton by an ethereal ball of light that seeks to reveal to you the mystery of what happened to the locals. The people have left behind literal traces of themselves, which, when prompted, take form and act out some of the last moments of their lives like a message from beyond the grave. You can follow these particular people and watch exactly what they did: who were they with? Or were they alone when they met their demise? Did they at least get a goodbye?


The answers to those kind of questions are what pushes you through the game, while unravelling the much-larger mystery at hand. You become connected the the villagers, while never actually meeting any of them. Everybody's Gone To The Rapture is a testament to well-written dialogue and a perfectly created setting. These elements come together to weave a story that will tug at your heart strings as much as it makes you scratch your head and wonder.




When you talk about beloved video games, you think Pokemon, Zelda, Skyrim, but you can definitely add Undertale to that list.


Emerging from obscurity in 2015, there was a long ground swell of devotion and fanfare for Undertale. It seemed that everyone who played it, fell in love with it, and rightfully so; Undertale masterfully created a game that weaved typical RPG elements with original Pokemon-style graphics, and a fairly simple story. Then it took all of those elements and flipped them on their head; the story twisted into something much darker and revelatory (while still making you laugh), and the battle system changed, continuously kept you on your toes.


Undertale is the perfect storm of mechanics, characters, art-style, plot, etc., melding together to create a masterpiece. It's an example of every single element of a game being utilised to further the experience and keep players engaged. Undertale is an adventure like no other and one I implore everyone to take - and you can play it on your standard laptop for $10!


The Unfinished Swan


Giant Sparrow is a games developer that was signed by Sony literally out of college, and the first thing they created was a plain white room, in which the player would splash black paint around. Eventually, after years of development, that rudimentary idea formed into The Unfinished Swan.


Standing toe-to-toe with Journey as the best indie game on the PS3, The Unfinished Swan portrayed the adventure of Monroe, an orphan, who was only allowed to retain one painting from his mother's collection, after she sadly passes away. One night, Monroe wakes-up to find the swan missing, and so he leaps into the canvas and finds himself in a completely white world.


The mechanic of the game sees Monroe throwing paint, which splashes on surfaces to reveal the world and help you navigate. The sheer sense of wonder that comes from throwing every blob of paint to find a mundane object, such as a park bench or a wooden crate, is equalled by the touching story of Monroe searching for place in the world. The game is a beautiful, serene journey, narrated by a soothing voice, that will stick with you long after it's over.




The first game from developer Campo Santo, Firewatch had lofty expectations ahead of its release in 2016. With a development team that worked on The Walking Dead and Mark of the Ninja, and art courtesy of Olly Moss, it's easy to see why this game was so highly-anticipated.


Firewatch puts you in the shoes of Henry; a middle-aged man who needs a break from his difficult life, so impulsively takes a job as a forest lookout in the Shoshone National Park, Wyoming. The game takes place in 1989, a year after the horrible Yellowstone Fires. Playing as Henry, you have a walkie-talkie that connects you to the other nearest lookout, Delilah, who guides you through the first days on the job.


Firewatch is sheer beauty. From the jaw-dropping art by Olly Moss, to the emotionally-charged voice acting, Firewatch is everything a narrative-driven experience should be. The gameplay aims to serve the story, and the overall package is so finely crafted that it's impossible not to become immersed in the gorgeous world that Campo Santo has created.




Fez was arguably the first big-hit of the indie scene. Created almost entirely by Phil Fish, Fez is a marvel of game design.


With mind-bending level design, in which you rotate the levels to progress, beautiful pixel-art, and pleasant sound design, Fez is simply a joy to play. Sure it might look like a Super Nintendo game but your SNES would have a stroke if it tried to play Fez.


Fez begs you to explore its world at your own pace and it's a testament to the design that you can do so without getting frustrated. The first time you jump into the blocky world and the entire perspective shifts, you'll have a smile on your face and be hooked to the brilliance of Fez.


What defines an "indie game"? That is the question... that I will not be answering here today. That's right: I'm not about to answer the tired debate of what actually constitutes an indie game and what doesn't. Truth be told, the word has lost all meaning in the current development landscape of Kickstarter and Steam Early Access.


For the sake of this list, we can agree that indie simply means downloadable title made on a low budget by a small team of developers. That, too, is redundant considering all games are available to download -- but I digress.


Anywho, the world of indie games exploded onto the scene way back in 2008, with Braid. Back then, downloading a game onto your console was still a foreign concept and few gave the idea a second thought. Fast forward almost a decade and these games are making up two-thirds of the games released on PS4 and Xbox One.


It took a long time, too long, for these games to get the recognition they deserve, with a lot of gamers clinging to the ignorant idea that if it isn't on a disc, it isn't worth their time. Thankfully that mindset is all but gone today, and most gamers use the valuable time between AAA titles like Resident Evil 7 and Mass Effect: Andromeda, to catch-up on many smaller games that can be completed in a single sitting.


The best thing about the "indie" games, is that they are filling the void left by mid-tier developers like THQ. Such B-level video games have been replaced by passion projects that don't have the same requirements as a full-release title would -- for example, had Outlast released in 2007, it would have been 10 hours longer, you would have had a gun, and it would have been less impressive.


The "indie" scene allows developers to be artistic and branch out, spreading their wings without pressure. Furthermore, we may have once considered an indie to be a side-scrolling, 2D game that could run on an SNES, but now it can be anything from Limbo, to Firewatch. There is no pigeon-holing or defining this aspect of gaming and I for one love it.


So here we are, about to celebrate the ten best indie games you can possibly play. This list is in no particular order and it's important to remember that there is always a level of partiality, so do not be offended if your favourite title is merely an honourable mention. So, without further ado...

Could VR be the Tech that Takes Exploration Games to New Lands? https://www.gameskinny.com/1bo5p/could-vr-be-the-tech-that-takes-exploration-games-to-new-lands https://www.gameskinny.com/1bo5p/could-vr-be-the-tech-that-takes-exploration-games-to-new-lands Wed, 28 Dec 2016 03:00:02 -0500 Clayton Reisbeck

Exploration has always been one of my favorite aspects of video games. When done properly, a video game world can have a player itching to learn every aspect of a world and come to know it about as well (and sometimes better) than the world that they actually live in.

Before now, players have been locked to just looking through a window into these worlds. But with the advent of virtual reality, we now have the opportunity to immerse ourselves further into those game worlds. Instead of just looking through a window into the world of a game, we can actually walk around that world, hear the sounds in 360 degrees around us and interact with the world in completely new and novel ways.

I have been able to use VR on only a few occasions but one of the things that I always walk away from the experience thinking is how awesome it was to be standing in that game's world.

The best experiences that are available for virtual reality right now seem to revolve around that exploration aspect of gaming -- or experiencing a world that you can't experience with the technology we already have. Considering this, I feel that VR has a unique opportunity to revitalize the exploration game genre and bring it to new heights around the gaming community.

Games that focus on exploration have been kind of tossed to the wayside in recent years. The closest I feel that we have seen exploration games coming into the limelight are with the newfound "walking simulator" genre. I'm going to focus on my favorite of the genre that I've played, Gone Home.

If you haven't checked it out, Gone Home is the story of a girl, Kaitlin, returning home from a trip abroad. Upon returning to her house on a stormy night, Kaitlin finds a note from her sister, Samantha, saying that she is sorry that she isn't there to greet her and that Kaitlin shouldn't go digging around for where she is (but of course, you're going to). From here, you are able to explore the house to find out where Samantha went.

The game does a great job of feeding you information little by little to piece together the story of where your sister went and the story of what your family was up to while you were away. But I think that where this game excels the most is when you have to search the environment to find more clues to that story.

Gone Home is definitely not the most visually stunning game nor action-packed in the modern sense, but the exploration and the storytelling, both visual and written, are things that I feel would be right at home in VR. You would be able to walk around this house and actually be in the rooms that you are searching for. You would also be able to actually pick up and examine the many objects you come across during your playthrough of the game. What's more, Gone Home's sound is already mixed in stereo, giving you that 360-degree audio immersion and the short length of the game would also make for a perfect session using VR.

Another game that I feel would benefit from the VR treatment is No Man's Sky. Now, I can already feel the tension in the air as I write this, but hear me out. No Man's Sky is a game where exploration is the main focus. Flying from planet to planet, docking at far-off space stations, landing on and exploring new planets in order to find all the secrets the planet has to offer. It's exploration genre 101.

As we all know, No Man's Sky fell flat for a lot of people (myself included), but I do feel that if there would have been VR support for the game, No Man's Sky may have found a little more longevity.

The ability to actually wander around the planet would definitely lengthen the time spent in-game and may have made the whole exploration mechanic feel much more special than it actually felt through traditional means. Not only that, instead of stumbling across those elements at an almost never-ending rate, finding those large deposits of rare minerals may have felt much more rewarding.

Because VR has the ability to allow for room-scale tracking, the player is forced to slow down their movement and actually look around them. This creates a slower pace at which the game moves. If the pace of the game is slowed down, those moments of finding that needed resource are spread farther apart and allow for more time to actually explore a planet -- a bit like having moments of "boredom" between excitement. Does this fix the issues with the game, no but it does allow for a refocusing of how the game is played and how the core mechanics work.

While VR can help games that are already on the market, what about games that are still on the horizon? What can VR do to help the genre going forward? A couple companies think that they may have that answer. Axon VR and Tesla Studios are developing haptic suits to allow you to actually feel different things in games.

Let's start with what Tesla Studios is offering. Tesla is developing suits that will be able to connect to a range of devices from VR headsets, to gaming consoles to even phones. In the suits themselves are an array of feedback points that provide low voltage zaps that range in strength to simulate different feelings that you may come across in different virtual situations. Situations like being shot in a game or basic interactions with different things you would find in a game world. From my understanding of their offerings they will also be able to provide some feedback that sync up with different phone alerts.

Next, let's take a look at what Axon VR is offering. Axon is not only providing a suit that will be able to simulate different virtual feelings, they are also developing technology that will be able to tell you how something actually feels in a game world. Things like how rough an object is or the temperature of the object. Their suit also allows for the mapping of a player's actual movements that can be transferred to an in-game character. This allows for the deepest level of immersion that I think we could see in games. The ability to actually feel what something would truly feel like is an exciting prospect to me.

So what do both of these offerings mean for the exploration genre? Exploration is about finding new experiences. These technologies allow us to immerse ourselves deeper in a game's world through being able to literally feel that world. Imagine sitting the cockpit of a starship and making the jump to light speed and actually feeling yourself sinking into your captain's chair. I've been dreaming of that feeling ever since I saw a Star Wars movie. That's just scraping the surface though. These technologies open up a whole new world of opportunity in exploration.

Virtual reality is still in its infancy and it has yet to find that title that has made it the must-own item in every gamer's home, but I truly feel that we may see that title in the exploration genre. Its focus on exploring new worlds and interacting with them is something that VR has a unique opportunity to show us. With that in mind, I look forward to seeing the new worlds that VR will take us in the coming years.

What do you think? What games do you think would be helped with VR support? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5 Halloween Games for Scaredy Cats https://www.gameskinny.com/y41oo/top-5-halloween-games-for-scaredy-cats https://www.gameskinny.com/y41oo/top-5-halloween-games-for-scaredy-cats Sun, 09 Oct 2016 13:28:10 -0400 Cryptastic

The Halloween season is a wonderful time. Leaves are changing colors. The air starts to feel colder. The nights are longer. It's all just fantastic. And to top it all off, Halloween itself is a holiday centered around the concept of fear. Just the thought of that is amazing on its own. Other holidays focus on love, honor, purity, and other happy and fluffy stuff. But Halloween is different. It's special.

Halloween is a great time for video games too. Horror games are a pretty big part of the industry. Entire franchises and companies depend on them. Games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill have become household names. We all know them. We've all seen them. However, not all of us have played them.

It can be fun to be scared. Unfortunately, it's not fun for everyone. A lot of people hate it with a passion and avoid it at all cost. However, it's not fair that they have to miss out on the Halloween festivities. To fix that, we've made a list of games that represent the season without scaring your pants off. Don't worry, scaredy cats, these games are safe to play.

Costume Quest

Costume Quest is a clear choice. The game was one of Double Fine's best titles before they started scamming money from their fans. It takes place on Halloween. Players take control of a group of trick-or-treaters as they get into all kinds of hi-jinks. There's no scary catch here. It's good, clean fun.

One of the things that makes Costume Quest unique is that it is really imaginative. It has a turn based combat system that's simple to use, but it focuses on an interesting concept. During the fights, the kids take on the persona they are dressed as. What was a low-budget knight costume turns into a sparkling set of real armor. And, of course, unique abilities come with the costumes as well.

Costume Quest is a fun, Halloween-themed game with a lot of promise. It has that holiday feel without the terror. There are elements of exploration, quirky story, and funny dialog. Basically, the exact opposite of horror.

Bioshock 2

Now we get into some games that turn up the scare factor. The original Bioshock is a creepy and unsettling experience. Players took control of a lone man as he struggles his way through horrific experiences at the bottom of the ocean. Though it isn't specifically a horror game, it has a lot of frightening moments and a tense atmosphere. One of the most horrifying moments is going up against hulking enemies in emotionless, deep sea diving suits.

What makes the second one different is that players actually take control of one of those hulking, diving suit wearing, monstrosities. This change shifts the entire dynamic. Instead of being a fragile guy surrounded by danger, you pretty much have nothing to fear. You are the thing to fear. This way, you can safely experience all the creepiness that the city of Rapture offers without being scared out of your wits.

With the fear taken out, players are free to experience all the really cool aspects of the Bioshock world. The plasmid powers and collection of weapons are fun to play with. But the biggest plus is getting a first hand look at the intricate lore of Rapture without being distracted by all of that pants-wetting.

Left 4 Dead 2

This time, the name of the game is cooperation. It's much harder to be terrified when you're sharing the experience with your good friends. The Left 4 Dead franchise pits up to four players against hordes of the undead. However, the zombies spend less time spooking you than they do running at you stark raving mad.

Left 4 Dead is absolutely a shooter before it's any kind of horror title. It has spooky music and tense situations, but nothing really terrifying happens. A creature or two may pop up to attack you, but it doesn't ever make you jump. And again, especially if you're playing with friends, it's hard to get all anxious while surrounded by three other allies helping you out.

Pick Left 4 Dead 2 over the original. On top of having more complex levels and weaponry, it fully includes the first game's missions anyway. So you don't miss anything going for the sequel instead of the first title.

Gone Home

Gone Home is a special case. First of all, the less you know about it, the better. The mystery of the game is what holds your attention. Players take control of a college student who visits home to find it completely abandoned. The first piece of evidence you find is a cryptic note apologizing. The entire atmosphere and tone of the game is haunting and alluring at the same time.

What makes Gone Home a great game for scaredy cats is that there are no cheap scares or anything like that. The game is centered around the mystery of what happened and where everybody has gone. Also, you are free to explore at your own pace. When things get a bit too tense, feel free to stop and take a breath. But you won't have trouble picking up and moving on, because the game itself is phenomenal.

Blizzard Games

I know this is a game company and not a single game, but hear me out. Blizzard is really big on including holiday events in their games. Regardless of your game of choice, there is likely some kind of Halloween celebration going on. So whether your preference lies in MOBAs, MMOs, or team-based FPSs, you'll find some Halloween content waiting for you.

Heroes of the Storm has their Hallow's End event complete with character skins. World of Warcraft also has their own Hallow's End celebration. WoW takes things to a whole new level, though. The whole of Azeroth changes to support a huge, seasonal celebration. Players can find themselves bobbing for apples, trick-or-treating, and taking part in all kinds of Halloween events.

This year, Overwatch joins the party. Being its first year, it is uncertain what the season will bring. However, the Summer Games brought a new game mode and Olympic-themed loot boxes. These included unique skins and other goodies that could only be earned during the event. And, of course, they all had something to do with the Olympic theme. Surely, something similar awaits Halloween. Regardless of your taste, Blizzard has a scare-free Halloween experience waiting for you.

When you sit down and really look, there are plenty of Halloween games for scaredy cats. It's true that fear junkies have the monopoly on the games out there, but there are plenty of options out there for all of us. And who knows? Maybe playing enough of these games will give you the courage to play something scary next year. Probably not, but maybe.

Sony Announces June's PlayStation Plus Free Games https://www.gameskinny.com/31sfb/sony-announces-junes-playstation-plus-free-games https://www.gameskinny.com/31sfb/sony-announces-junes-playstation-plus-free-games Tue, 31 May 2016 12:13:59 -0400 Cody Drain

Sony has announced this month's free PlayStation Plus games, and they are quality choices. The first game for the PlayStation 4 is NBA 2K16.  Released just in time for the NBA Finals (which begin on Thursday), 2K16 is one of the best entries in the NBA 2K franchise to date, including modes such as MyGM, MyCareer, and MyTeam for the ultimate virtual basketball (and arguably sports game) experience. The second game is Gone Home: Console Edition. Greg Lewickyj, Sony's PlayStation Plus Content Partnership Manager, praises the first-person action-adventure game as an "intimate and unique story." 

The other Sony platforms haven't been left out, either. The first free game for the PlayStation 3 is Echochrome, an interesting puzzle game with hand-drawn aesthetics built around the five "perspective laws," such as the "perspective landing" and the "perspective jump." The second title is the horror game Siren: Blood Curse (Episodes 1-12). Meanwhile, PS Vita users will receive the gory God of War: Chains of Olympus and Little Deviants, a game where players navigate a cute, cartoon ball character along courses filled with obstacles and threats.

With the long months of summer beckoning on the horizon, this is a good opportunity for PlayStation users to grab some great games for free!

How The "Walking Simulator" Is A Cruel Manipulation https://www.gameskinny.com/80pfk/how-the-walking-simulator-is-a-cruel-manipulation https://www.gameskinny.com/80pfk/how-the-walking-simulator-is-a-cruel-manipulation Thu, 14 Apr 2016 04:14:06 -0400 Justin McGovney

I'm just going to put this out there: I hate those types of games that I like to dub "walking simulators." It's not a term I came up with (I have to thank Jim Sterling for that), but I'm sure most of you are familiar with what I'm talking about.

Games that fit this criteria are ones such as Everybody's Gone To The Rapture, Dear Esther, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and Gone Home. These games are unique in that they have almost no action at all and often have little interactivity in their worlds. They mostly focus on the atmosphere and story that they are trying to tell.

Honestly, I wouldn't even consider them to be "games." Yet, a lot of these "walking simulators" are very popular. I have always questioned why this is the case. I still don't really know. Now, I have played each of these games and I loathe them. Really, they frustrate me to no end. Never has a game caused this kind of frustration that feels like a nail is being hammered into my mind.

So, here is why I feel that these games are controversial. Time for another unpopular opinion from yours truly, MetalMack.

Are they actually games?

So here's the big question: are these walking simulators actually games?

I would argue that they are not.

The biggest reason for me is the interactivity. When I think about what to expect from a video game, I expect some kind of interactivity with the environment or influence on the story/world as a player. That, to me, is what separates video games from movies. Movies show you and tell you the story without hardly any input from its audience. Games allow audience influence. To me, that's the biggest reason why I hate these "walking simulators."

There is no influence from the player. Sure, you can maybe pick up a few items here and there and mess around with them. But other than that, your interactions in the world of the game have a null effect. It doesn't matter. Heck, and some of these games don't even allow you to pick up things! You just walk around and are told a story through narration, off-hand dialogue, or notes left behind. That takes away the essence of what a game actually is.

I'm going to give you folks an example of the difference between a "walking simulator" and a real game. The first video you will see here is gameplay from Telltale's The Walking Dead series:


And here's one from Everybody's Gone To The Rapture:

Do you see the major differences between these two? They're pretty similar in fashion. But what makes The Walking Dead an actual game instead of Everybody's Gone To The Rapture is the interactivity and influence of the player. As Lee, the choices you make and the actions/inactions you take have a great effect on the world, the story, and the character's interactions with you. This is not the case at all with Everybody's Gone To The Rapture. You are told a story and walk around to find more parts to it. That's it.

I'll give these walking simulators a lot of credit for making some beautiful environments. But I can the same effect from watching a movie, pay far less for the experience, and not feel like I was cheated out of being a part of this unique world.

So now, we come to what separates these "games" from the rest: their story and atmosphere.

Their "Narratives" Suck

Yeah. I said it. 

With a few exceptions, games of this genre just don't have interesting stories to tell. But, more importantly, it's more of how they tell it that's the worst part. Again, it all comes back to interactivity.

But I enjoyed playing The Stanley Parable. What separates it from the rest of the pack?

The Stanley Parable is simply entertaining. It has a funny and interesting story to tell. You want to unravel the story, which is pretty much total insanity, and you have fun doing it. It kept my interest and made me want to play more. And what's more, The Stanley Parable actually has some of that interactivity I keep harping about. You can choose to follow the narrator's instructions...or not. You can do any number of things at different junctures -- you know, like a real game.

But The Stanley Parable is an exception to the rule, not the standard. 

Games like Dear Esther are the standard. And you can literally complete a game like Dear Esther in as little as an hour -- it's not even the length of a feature film!

If you watched the video, I'd like to know how is this an enriching gaming experience? You are just being told the story through narration. I mean, isn't this pretty much like a movie at this point? If so, why would you waste your time with this? If you really like the story then sure, I can't take that away from you. But if you find it to be lackluster and boring, then why are these games still really popular?

I'm not sure to this day.

And I really hate it.

Thing is, these "games" are doing a considerable harm to the industry. The most obvious is the effect on your wallet. A lot of these "games" run for $10+, sometimes more. That's a lot of money to invest into a "game" where all you do is walk around, look at the environment, and are told things. For those who love that sort of thing, the more power to you. But I would like to believe that gamers want to play games for the money they put in, not what's essentially a simulator.

In some sense, these "walking simulators" also manipulate their potential customers. If you look on some of their Steam pages, these simulators use short little trailers and descriptions to make you interested enough to buy into the "game". Here is the trailer for The Vanishing of Ethan Carter:

Seems really interesting, right? You don't know much of what's going on but man, it looks cool right? The Steam page also really hypes it up, making it seem more than what it is. I think that for "walking simulators", The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is alright, mostly because the beginning of the mystery really hooked me in (until the end of course). But, for $20? Is it really worth that kind of investment? I don't think so.

We as gamers need to be more cautious when it comes to this kind of genre. These simulators are manipulating you to put down a chunk of money for that is essentially half a game. It feels similar to when triple-AAA companies release their games unfinished. But it's almost as if these simulators were made to be unfinished. And you pay to keep it that way.

Again, for those who really love these simulators, then that's great. You should never sacrifice a love or like you have because someone like me doesn't like it at all. But, as for those who aren't hardcore fans of the genre, I urge caution. Because you might be out $20 for something you ended up not liking (or even playing) at all.

Thank God for Steam refunds. 

What do you think of my opinion? What are your thoughts? Start the discussion below!

You should 'Go Home' and play this https://www.gameskinny.com/2tftm/you-should-go-home-and-play-this https://www.gameskinny.com/2tftm/you-should-go-home-and-play-this Sun, 27 Mar 2016 10:34:44 -0400 Templar KS101

The Fullbright Company, developer and publisher behind Gone Home, describe their game as an “interactive exploration simulator”, and that’s exactly what it is. The game was released in 2013 for PC, and just this year (2016) for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The game is set in Boone County, West Virginia in 1995. You, a woman named Katie Greenbriar, have just returned home from an extended holiday around the world to find the rest of your family absent. It is your job to find out what happened to everyone by exploring the house. The story focuses on your sister, Sam, who leaves notes and items littered around the house. Each time you discover a special one, Sam adds another piece to the puzzle in the form of a voiceover. The story shared is a very touching one that will likely hit anyone who plays Gone Home right in the feels. You can really feel that love and devotion was added to the mixture when making this game.

For me, the atmosphere created with the sound and graphics was the best part. While playing, I kept looking out my real-life window to check if it was raining. The vibe of Gone Home is quite an eerie one -- almost like a light horror where you keep expecting something to jump out at you. The wood structure of the house is constantly creaking, keeping you on edge. No background music is used which keeps it more realistic. However, there are many points in the game where you can pick up a cassette or record and play it through one of the music players. The graphics displayed in Gone Home may not be the best ever, but they are unique. The Fullbright Company combined 3D rendering (for most of the game) with snapshots of real images. This creates a weird feeling where the lines between real and fiction are slightly blurred, enhancing the atmosphere and believability of the story.

The Steam Controller was my weapon of choice for Gone Home. The controls, while not the most important feature, worked fine and did not detract at all from the gameplay. The ability to pick up almost anything and inspect it was really interesting for me. It created a sense of freedom and encouraged more exploration. However, even with all of this exploration and the story, the game did not take long to finish and I was done in 2 hours. This is not necessarily a negative point, however. The game does everything it needs to within that 2 hours. In fact, I found it a nice change to be able to sit down and finish a whole game like that. I believe the game may warrant a second play through if you really enjoyed it, but don’t be expecting great replayability as the story is the same every time.

So, would I recommend Gone Home? Yes, I would. The game is unique and tells a touching story, with a strong and believable atmosphere. However, I do not believe the price tag fits. In my opinion, $20 USD is much too high for a game that lasts only 2-3 hours. I would recommend picking this game up only when it goes on sale as I did.

4 games you should be playing in January https://www.gameskinny.com/2miz7/4-games-you-should-be-playing-in-january https://www.gameskinny.com/2miz7/4-games-you-should-be-playing-in-january Tue, 19 Jan 2016 15:05:41 -0500 Alex Chin


What will you be playing this January? Anything you're looking forward to playing in 2016?


Let us know in the comments below!

LEGO Marvel Avengers 

Serious, story-driven games can be beautiful experiences. But they're emotionally tolling -- and sometimes, you'd rather be mindlessly destroying things. If that's the case, LEGO Marvel Avengers is for you. It's the second installment in the franchise, and will feature over 200 playable characters, including favorites like The Hulk and Iron Man.


Look out for it when it hits shelves January 26. 

That Dragon, Cancer 

Developed by Ryan and Amy Green, That Dragon, Cancer is a game inspired by their son Joel, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly after birth. Like Gone Home, the gameplay is simple. It is designed to make the player focus on the experience -- an experience the developers and their son personally lived through. 


That Dragon, Cancer is an unforgettable, emotionally wrenching game. This poignant point-and-click just launched a few days ago for PC and Mac.

Gone Home 

Gone Home was originally released for PC in 2013, but it recently became available for PS4 and Xbox One users.


The concept is simple. You play as a girl named Kaitlin, who returns home after a year-long absence to find a mysterious note from your sister. You must examine objects within your home to uncover what's happened while you were away and find answers to many questions. There are no set objectives, just exploration. And that's all you need to know before playing. 

 Life is Strange

Originally released in 5 parts between January and October of 2015, Life is Strange comes to consoles and PC on January 19. It's a choice based adventure game -- think Telltale's The Walking Dead. And it's complete with a compelling story and meaningful characters. You play as Maxine, a photography student who discovers she can rewind time and change the course of events.


Life is Strange got praised for bravely tackling tough emotional issues, and some gamers have said that it actually helped them cope with real life. 


If you missed it last year, definitely give it a try. 


If 2015 was one giant party for the gaming industry, this January would be its hangover. With the holiday madness over, things are slower and game releases more scarce.


Thankfully, not all hope is lost. Chances are you didn't get to play every fantastic game that came out this year. But before a new year's worth of releases get added to your list of things to play, take some time this month to catch up on what you missed. 


Here are 4 games you should be playing to start this year right.

Gone Home finally coming to consoles https://www.gameskinny.com/zh3be/gone-home-finally-coming-to-consoles https://www.gameskinny.com/zh3be/gone-home-finally-coming-to-consoles Mon, 07 Dec 2015 19:56:21 -0500 Andrea Koenig

It's been in the news before, but hopefully it's for real this time. The Fullbright Company announced today that its 2013 indie hit Gone Home will finally be making its way to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in mid-January. This comes after cancellation for a console edition occurred earlier this year.

The earlier 2015 cancellation occurred not long after the publisher Majesco's indie branch company, called Midnight City, signed on to be part of the console edition's creation.

A formal announcement in March stated that the relationship between the two companies unfortunately ended, due to financial issues, including low stocks in Majesco. So with the end of this relationship came the end of the console port production.

In a recent announcement, it was said that Fullbright and Midnight City kept in touch and are now ready to release the upcoming indie for Xbox One and PS4 on January 12, 2016.

The console version will contain the same consuming atmosphere and strategic manner of storytelling that gamers came to love in the PC version. In addition to the game, console versions will also come with over 90 minutes of commentary from the development team. 

For those unfamiliar with the award-winning indie game, Gone Home is a first-person interactive storytelling adventure exploration game. It takes place in the player-character Kaitlin's home in Portland, Oregon on a stormy night when she returns from college to find that nobody is home to greet her. You must uncover the whereabouts of Kaitlin's parents and her sister, and discover what else lies in wait in the home based on the clues you find.

The game's developer, Fullbright, was founded by a three-person team that previously worked on a special single-player campaign together in the hit action-adventure game, BioShock 2.

Are all Video Games still "Games?" https://www.gameskinny.com/9l6by/are-all-video-games-still-games https://www.gameskinny.com/9l6by/are-all-video-games-still-games Wed, 09 Dec 2015 05:24:06 -0500 Joe DeClara

Since the rise of home console gaming, the term video game has come to cover a spectrum as wide as that of the word book. With the rise of virtual reality headsets, independent developers, digital distribution, and the ubiquitous mobile device, video games have never been more diverse, nor as universal.

And with this diversity comes an overwhelming variety in genres and forms of gaming; for every extra-violent FPS (first-person shooter), there is a tranquil FPX (first-person experience). For every complex Civilization V, there is a mindless Candy Crush. Comparing these games feels ludicrous; quite literally, the only common trait between these titles is that they are games.

Or are they? The increasing diversity and ubiquity of the video game calls the established nomenclature into question. Though the single concept of video game has come to cover any visual computer software designed to entertain, the latter half of this compound word (often spelled videogame) has become problematic. What specifically makes a video game a "game?" Interactivity? Competition? Entertainment value? Finding a universally similar attribute between every title commonly referred to as a game proves to be a difficult and complicated (if not impossible) task in this day and age.

The late Satoru Iwata was the first to coin the term "nongame."

The Oxford Dictionary's definition of the word game gives us our first bit of criteria to explore: a form of competitive activity or sport played according to rules. Competition might be the greatest and most prominent unifying element in all video games. Whether in a bout of Super Smash Bros. with friends, a race against hastening Tetris blocks, or a battle of stats and skill against Sephiroth’s final form, gamers are more often than not striving for victory and superiority over others.

During their time off from establishing superiority over friends and AI, however, those same gamers may choose to roam the streets of Shropshire in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, navigate through the choose-your-own-adventure story of Three Fourths Home, or build a fully functional computer in Minecraft. These nongames are not competitive by nature, but rather focus on elements like narrative, creativity, and free-form exploration (the last two specific to Minecraft).

Interactive Art

In nongames like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Gone Home (commonly referred to as walking simulators), goals are mostly navigational; go from point A to point B and discover plot points on the way. Rather than offering the player combat systems to master, puzzles to solve, or any other interactive challenges to overcome, these virtual worlds act as conduits for each game’s story. With a complete lack of skill or strategy-based challenges, interactive art pieces like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture fall into a category removed from the traditional label of game.

Another narrative-based nongame, Three Fourths Home removes itself even further from model video games. Unlike the “walking simulator,” Three Fourths Home features little to no gameplay at all. Besides holding a single button to “drive,” the only other interactivity present takes form in a conversation simulator. While driving home in a storm, the player dictates the protagonist’s mood, relationships, and overall character by choosing between multiple pre-written dialogue blurbs. Each response opens up unique branches of dialogue.

Three Fourths Home and Gameplay

This form of gameplay is not entirely unique. Long before the rise of the home console, or even the arcade game, text-adventure games stood as one of the few forms of entertainment in the late ‘70s – early ‘80s to be known as a video game. Games like Colossal Cave Adventure, The Wizard and the Princess, and Zork existed entirely in text form. Scenarios were conveyed to the player and would present puzzles that were solved by typing two to three-word actions like “open door” or “slay the dragon.”

SPOILERS for Three Fourths Home directly below.

Though the format of Three Fourths Home appears congruent with the text-adventure genre, the nongame’s narrative reveals a dichotomy. In text adventures, the outcomes of every interaction between the game and its player result in either failure or success. At the end of Zork, for instance, the player is given a score out of 616 points. Three Fourths Home gives the illusion of choice by allowing the player to choose what Kelly (the protagonist) says, but ultimately comes to the same end. Like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, you are free to explore and discover, but only as a observer. Participation is permitted, but expect no ramifications.

Software Toys

The indie game phenomenon from Mojang shares this dissimilarity to traditional games, though with a drastically different format. Upon starting a game in Minecraft, the player is given very little instruction besides a control-scheme tutorial and occasional crafting hints. No overarching series of goals and objectives is given in game. Instead, the player is dropped into the gameworld, given a brief introduction to its rules, and is then granted absolute freedom to explore, harvest, build, or destroy.

Unlike aforementioned games, Minecraft is not void of challenges or competition. Through a minimalistic combat system, players may do battle with zombies, skeletons, giant spiders, or other players. There are riches to be gained, glories to be had, and epic adversaries to be sought out. But this is what distinguishes Minecraft’s objectives; they must be sought out by the player. Objectives are set and pursued on the player’s terms, not the game’s. Technically speaking, nearly any video game can be experienced in this way, but Minecraft’s encouragement of playstyle freedom is quite novel. While some players create adventures filled with treasure-hunting and monster-slaying, others use the game as a creation tool for building towns or making fan art. Some choose to explore their worlds on their own, and others treat the game as a multiplayer brawler. Excuse the cliché—Minecraft is a platform of endless possibilities and playstyles.

But is it a game? Executive editor at IGN Dan Stapleton once said on a gaming podcast “It’s not a game, it’s a toy. Games have a beginning, middle, and end.” Though Minecraft does feature a playable area known as The End, wherein players do battle with mobs of Endermen and the giant Ender Dragon, this portion of the game was added after the game’s official release, and does not seem to represent a closing to an overarching, cohesive gaming experience. Though calling Minecraft a toy does not necessarily disparage it, the interpretation does shed light on the antiquated nature of such labels. Perhaps this need for linearity in games is an outdated sentiment, or maybe this medium has simply outgrown its archaic title.

Games vs. Nongames

Using the term game to describe a piece like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Three Fourths Home, Unfinished Swan, or Gone Home can be a detriment to its reception (as an established super-phenomenon, Minecraft need not worry). If players go into these virtual experiences with expectations associated with traditional video games, it can lead to unfavorable reviews and irrelevant feedback.

Though these titles easily fall under the broad umbrella term of video game, they are in fact not games at all. Minecraft can be a platform for games, or it can be a creation tool used for designing housing structures, or a palette for a piece of fan art. Three Fourths Home serves to tell a harrowing and definite story of loss and regret. It cannot be changed by player agency, and it does not present any challenges of skill.

These are not games.

Establishing a new title for these interactive art pieces seems unrealistic, as convenience and familiarity will always trump accuracy and progressiveness. However, it is still important to recognize these “video games” for what they are, and to acknowledge their achievements in spite of whatever petty criterion they fail to meet.

10 Bands Who Need to Compose a Game Soundtrack https://www.gameskinny.com/kfngr/10-bands-who-need-to-compose-a-game-soundtrack https://www.gameskinny.com/kfngr/10-bands-who-need-to-compose-a-game-soundtrack Wed, 22 Apr 2015 20:34:55 -0400 The Soapbox Lord


What do you think about my crazy ideas? Which of your favorite bands would you like to see work on a game soundtrack? Let me know in the comments below! 

The Pogues with Shane MacGowan

As much as I enjoy Flogging Molly, The Dropkick Murphys, and other Irish/Celtic punk bands, there is no topping The Pogues, especially with Shane MacGowan on vocals. Along with fiendishly clever lyrics laden with black humor, The Pogues also had a knack for taking traditional Irish music and reformatting the folk songs to fit their punk sound, making the old new again. Look no further for your Irish punk fix!

Dream Game:

An interactive, multiplayer drinking game. I know you didn't see that one coming.


Like their namesake, Mastodon is a mammoth in the metal world. Despite only being around for 15 years, the band has racked up countless awards and success for their music. Starting out as sludge metal, the band has added progressive elements, which make for one trippy and fantastic live performance. Known for immaculate musicianship, jaw-dropping drumming skills, and killer solos, Mastodon has become a fan favorite and metal mainstay.

Dream Game:

Their more progressive songs would be a great fit for the Escher visuals of Monument Valley or Antichamber. For their heavier stuff, a new Painkiller or Bulletstorm with Mastodon doing music duties would be pretty damn great. 

Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman

Nothing quite says over-the-top like Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell album series. However, many people fail to recognize the massive influence Jim Steinman had on the two Bat out of Hell albums he composed. Meat Loaf encapsulates grandiose and overblown at its best, and the music is glorious for it. No one else could pull off performances like Meat Loaf does or the compositions Steinman effortlessly unleashed upon the world. Given the overblown nature of some games, they are practically begging for collaboration with these two.

Dream Game:

Racing along at breakneck speeds, causing vehicular mayhem and crashes in Burnout while Meat Loaf blares over the speakers would be a suitable match. Honestly though, is there anything Meat Loaf does not go well with?


While Weezer’s newest album was a solid return to form, they have made some lackluster ones lately as well. As solid as any new albums may be, sadly, Weezer will never be as great as their peak as they were with Blue and Pinkerton. Blue was a masterwork of alternative power pop. With introspective and honest lyrics of being nerds, being rejected, and dealing with an alcoholic, Blue was a welcome departure from self-obsessed music at the time.


For the follow up to the catchy, hook-filled Blue, Rivers Coumo went into self-imposed isolation and poured his being and soul into music. The result was Pinkerton, a startlingly, and at times, disturbingly honest release filled with anguish and loathing. Needless to say, the album was reviled upon release. Rivers went into a deep depression and subsequent Weezer releases returned more to the sound of the Blue album. In the following years, fans and critics realized the masterwork of Pinkerton and have clamored for a return to the sound.

Dream Game:

Titles full of teen angst such as Life is Strange and Gone Home would be a perfect fit for the Weezer of yesteryear. 

The Big 4 and Exodus

Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax are the bands commonly referred to as The Big Four. The Big Four are known for pioneering thrash metal and bringing it into the limelight. Although Exodus is not considered to be a part of The Big Four, they deserve to be recognized with the rest for their work in the genre. Do I really need to explain why having these bands working on a soundtrack would be amazing?

Dream Game:

Let them have a crack at Devil May Cry and watch the sparks fly. Very metal indeed.    \\m/


I’ll be honest; Needtobreathe is on here simply because Bear Rinehart singing in a game would be bliss. Seriously, this guy is insanely talented with one of the most passionate and soulful voices around. I had the privilege to see this band perform live not long ago, and I was blown away. While Bear’s vocals are great, the entire band comes together to create a beautiful harmony which is heaven for your ears. This is a band you want to see live if you possibly can.

Dream Game:

Let these guys make some vocal tracks like Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett did on Transistor, and you have a match made in musical heaven. Maybe even put Darren working with these guys since Bastion had such strong country, frontier-like sounds. I’m drooling just imagining the possibilities. 

Devin Townsend 

Devin Townsend is one of the hardest working and talented people in music today (not to mention possessing one of the best set of vocals cords around). Devin formed the beloved Canadian extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad way back in 1994. Despite being a hugely influential metal band, Devin also did solo work on the side which was vastly different from SYL’s catalog. When SYL disbanded in 2007, Devin began working on his solo career in earnest and has released nine albums since, on top of producing, remixing, and working on countless other albums. Thankfully, he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.


The most striking thing is how varied his catalog is. His work with SYL sounds completely different from his solo work. However, even his solo work is incredibly varied.

Dream Game:

His album Ghost would be the perfect fit for a zen-like puzzle game, whereas Deconstruction would be right at home being the soundtrack to a gonzo, over-the-top action affair like Bayonetta

Modest Mouse 

Modest Mouse remains one of the quirkiest and interesting bands in independent music 22 years into the game. After 22 years, vocalist Isaac Brock still possesses a remarkable energy with a delivery few others can match. Besides having a unique vocalist with Brock, Modest Mouse has also embodied quirky with their music. While they are classified as indie rock, there is no other band that does what Modest Mouse pulls off effortlessly. Couple unique rhythms and sounds with thought-provoking and usually less-than-sunny lyrics, and you have an exceptional musical cocktail.

Dream Game:

Pair this band with the demented geniuses at Dejobaan Games and you have a winner!


Sweden has proved to be a most fertile land for metal. At The Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquility are only a few of the legendary bands Sweden has given rise to over the years. In fact, these three bands were pioneers of a new style of metal called the “The Gothenburg Sound” which was named after the city where these bands were living when they became noticed.


Unlike their melodic counterparts, Meshuggah is about as far from melodic as it gets. Known for their odd time signatures, rapid tempo changes, and jazz fusion elements, Meshuggah has stayed true to their roots and delivered uncompromising, extreme metal on each of their releases. A gargantuan beast in the underground world, Meshuggah is not for the faint of ears.

Dream Game:

They could make one hell of a soundtrack for a precision platformer. Meshuggah + Super Meat Boy!

The Sex Pistols 

While The Sex Pistols are not the only punk band nor are the necessarily the progenitors of the "punk" sound, but The Sex Pistols were perhaps punk personified. We are talking about a band from the U.K. who wrote a song ragging on THE Queen. They also refused to attend their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not only did their music tap into a vein of anger, the band themselves embodied the rebellious, punk spirit (as self-destructive as it was). The band only recorded one album, but that one album has proven to be one of the most influential albums not only in rock and punk, but music as a whole. 

Dream Game: 

The punk world of Sunset Overdrive would have been a perfect match for The Sex Pistols. 


Game music has seen a wonderful evolution along with video games themselves. From the simple polyphonic scores of the NES to the fully-orchestrated works we have today, game soundtracks have evolved as much as games. There are an innumerable amount of talented composers working to produce lovely soundtracks. While I love the music we have now and the works composers produce, I can't help but wish some of my favorite bands would score or contribute to some game soundtracks as well. Stewart Copeland has worked on the Spyro series; so why don't more bands give it a shot?


As with all lists, it's hard to narrow down candidates (especially when you listen to as music as I do), so I tried to focus on the bands who might deliver something special and unique. Are you ready to go down the rabbit hole of dreams?

Dragon Age: Inquisition Wins Game of the Year, but Nintendo Dominates the 2014 Game Awards https://www.gameskinny.com/71655/dragon-age-inquisition-wins-game-of-the-year-but-nintendo-dominates-the-2014-game-awards https://www.gameskinny.com/71655/dragon-age-inquisition-wins-game-of-the-year-but-nintendo-dominates-the-2014-game-awards Sat, 06 Dec 2014 07:59:48 -0500 Esteban Padilla

Awards shows have never really been the strong suit of the video game industry. From G4’s G-Phoria to Spike TV’s VGAs, many have attempted to throw a good end-of-the-year event, and they have failed to draw in the same prestige and large audiences that music and film awards shows do. But that didn’t stop Geoff Keighley from trying.

Without the network support that he previously had from Spike TV hosting the VGAs (now defunct since they retooled the titular event to the more trailer-filled VGX), Keighley decided to personally fund an entirely new gaming awards show. 

Backed by the holy trinity of gaming - Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft - along with a slew of other industry heads, the inaugural Game Awards was set to be a different kind of video game award show, more focused on bringing together developers, journalists, and fans from all aspects of gaming. In fact, the new format allowed for free submissions, giving indie and small developers a chance to really shine alongside the big industry players.

The result: a more intimate evening with video game lovers from all walks of life rubbing shoulders together and enjoying their trade without the slog of sponsorships and blatant pandering seen in other events.

The Big Award of the Night

Dragon Age: Inquisition Gameplay Screenshot

Screenshot of Dragon Age: Inquisition Gameplay, which was voted as the Game of the Year.

The elusive Game of the Year title, went to BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition.  Although the game has been receiving generally positive reviews in its first few weeks of public release, it has been under a fair amount of criticism for its filler content, and was not as highly regarded critically as some of the other contenders, such as Dark Souls II and Bayonetta 2It should be noted that the panel of judges included developers and journalists alike, so maybe BioWare’s solid track record influenced the decision. 

Other games that performed well at the Game Awards include:

  • Hearthstone (Best Mobile/Handheld Game)
  • Far Cry 4 (Best Shooter)
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Best Narrative AND Games for Change awards). 

A full list of the nominees and winners can be found here.

Despite popular fan opinion...

Mario Kart 8 took home both the Best Sports/Racing Game and Best Family Game awards for the evening. 

Nintendo didn’t win the Game of the Year award for Bayonetta 2 or the Best Mobile/Handheld Game award for Super Smash Bros 3DS. But before you start feeling like they were robbed, you should know Nintendo walked away with four awards, including:

  • Best Fighting Game (Super Smash Bros. for Wii U)
  • Best Sports/Racing Game (Mario Kart 8)
  • Best Family Game (Mario Kart 8)
  • Developer of the Year

Special mention should go to the Best Fan Creation and Best Independent Game awards, as they both involved properties closely associated with Nintendo (Twitch Plays Pokémon by Anonymous and Shovel Knight respectively).

As if winning 4 out of the 18 awards available to developers wasn’t enough, Nintendo also took control over the screen time. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé himself was there to do what he does best, which is get us excited about games we’re dying to play already.  Along with opening the evening with footage from Mario Maker (seen here along with every other trailer and footage clip shown at the Game Awards), we were treated to the world gameplay premiere for Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., Nintendo’s new 3DS title that looks like their take on XCOM: Enemy Unknown - if it borrowed some of Borderlands’s aesthetics and threw in a healthy dose of steampunk design choices, that is.  

Eiji Aunuma demonstrating horseriding and exploration gameplay for the Legend of Zelda Wii U title to Shigeru Miyamoto.

As exciting as this was to see, it probably paled in comparison to the headliner event of the evening: the Legend of Zelda for Wii U gameplay footage.  The game is set to be released sometime next year after the Majora’s Mask remake for 3DS and Star Fox Wii U title.

To top it all off, Nintendo finished the event strong with a combined Legend of Zelda music medley involving American rock band Imagine Dragons and the prolific Koji Kondo, who is responsible for just about every iconic Nintendo earworm tune you’ve ever heard.

To top it all off, Nintendo finished the event strong with a combined Legend of Zelda music medley involving American rock band Imagine Dragons and the prolific Koji Kondo, who is responsible for just about every iconic Nintendo earworm tune you’ve ever heard. 

The event signed off with a collaborative acoustic performance of Imagine Dragon’s breakthrough hit “It’s Time,” which really demonstrated the more personal and unorthodox tone of the evening. 

That’s not to say that no one else made a big scene at the Game Awards.

The Metal Gear Online gameplay footage was one of the highlights of the evening.

Several other trailers and games were announced (again, all of them can be found here), including new titles from Gone Home’s creators and Hazelight Studios, well-known for indie darling Brothers: A Tale of Two Songs

We also got to see gameplay footage for Metal Gear Online and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (which won Most Anticipated Game that evening). Not to mention everyone’s favorite gamer violinist, Lindsey Stirling, also offered her own musical contribution with her (beautiful) rendition of the Dragon Age: Inquisition theme. 

But being able to open and close the first Game Awards really showed Nintendo’s pull in the gaming industry and their prowess as a titan of gaming.  Good game, Nintendo, good game.

Gone Home Winning Game Of the Year is Like Twilight Winning The Pulitzer Prize https://www.gameskinny.com/s27wr/gone-home-winning-game-of-the-year-is-like-twilight-winning-the-pulitzer-prize https://www.gameskinny.com/s27wr/gone-home-winning-game-of-the-year-is-like-twilight-winning-the-pulitzer-prize Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:08:27 -0400 Angelina Bonilla

Gone Home is not nearly as groundbreaking as everyone makes it out to be. In 2013, Game of the Year was a controversial subject among gamers because that independent title called Gone Home won multiple Game Of The Year Awards from various sites and acclaimed video game journalists.  Not only that, but the game has been given praise from those who believe that because of the sensitive romance portrayed in story, it has no flaws.

When a game is lauded with such praise one would expect to be blown away by the experience they were given, not sit in an apathetic stupor by its end saying: “That’s it?”

$20 is too high of a price for the little you get.

According to the Hollywood Reporter as of 2014 the average price for a movie ticket from the first financial quarter, is $7.96 with movies being around 90 minutes to 120 minutes.  If Gone Home resembles anything, it’ s a film for how it is structured throughout the narrative of the story.  In order to complete the game, unlocking every aspect of the story and otherwise, it’s only around 3 hours. Which means that a player is paying twenty dollars to go see a three-hour movie, just for themselves, without bringing anyone else with them.

Short games aren’t always a bad thing especially if they have a lot of replay value, but once you’ve beaten Gone Home once (whether or not you’ve found all the secrets) it’s not likely you’ll play it again. You know the story and that’s the biggest draw that people have to a game like Gone Home.

There are always the Easter Eggs you can find, but even then it doesn’t really add anything else.   It just seems like a waste of money because while a game doesn’t need replay value to be good, it does need to offer you something that makes you want to pay the full price for a game you’d only want to play a few times. 

Gone Home doesn’t do that.

Dear Esther is cheaper and offers more to you than Gone Home does.

 The game’s price would be much more reasonable if it was $10 similar to another popular narrative game: Dear Esther.  The main difference between the two being that Gone Home is the same experience  every time you play it, Dear Esther tries to give you a unique experience every time with dynamic elements of the game while retaining a similar story.  

The atmosphere is very misleading

If there is one thing about Gone Home that was very enjoyable it was that it created its atmosphere very well, constructing an old deserted house trapped in a perpetual time warp of the 90’s. Of course, with it being stuck in the 90’s this also means that it panders hard to 90’s crowd.

Look a Super Nintendo Cartridge! See, 90's!

Which it did successfully judging by how many reviewers compliment on this rather than addressing the one problem with the atmosphere.  It also constructs a very believable horror environment that really builds up the incoming terr-

“Oh wait it’s not’s a horror game?”

While I did love the atmosphere they set up in Gone Home, it was really misleading. The story has almost nothing to do with horror except for an underdeveloped plot point which I will get to later. The game is built up with a horror aspect because you are dreading what has happened to your sister. What’s distracting is that it feels like the game doesn’t want to just be a narrative exploration game like advertised in the trailer, but an unsettling suspense game as well. 

Some may not see it that way, but the way that everything was set up in the game made it seem like a horror game.  It was just distracting from the overall feel of the game and made certain moments less impactful. The game needs to pick a semi consistent tone and stick with it instead of jumping around as much as it did.

None of these characters are as developed as they should be

I've had groups of Sims that have more personality and backstory than these characters and this is a game with an actual story.

Gone Home is constantly praised for the brilliant characterization of the members of the Greenbriar family and I have no idea why.  I know it’s not the family’s story as much as it is Samantha’s but they have to develop this family a little more. I’ve had groups of Sims that have more personality and back story than these characters and this is a game with an actual story. In a way it unsettling resembles Twilight in the fact that it, doesn't develop any characters outside of the one in the romantic relationship. The other characters reek of potential and yet fall short due to the focus on what should have been more well-rounded tale.

Let’s discuss each of these characters and what aspects of them needed more fleshing out:

Katie Greenbrair: She just came home from being abroad and arrives at an empty household. From what little can be perceived from what you find around the house, Katie was your typical 90’s movie protagonist.  Katie gets little to no development throughout the entire game having her serve as a decoy protagonist. While this can work, it’s still a little disappointing that we don’t find much out about Katie. She’s just there to be a sounding board for everyone else’s story, which is disappointing.

 I would have liked to see her develop more as she learned more about Sam’s life. We did get to see her go “Ugh.” and Gross.” when reacting to certain things but that really wasn’t enough. How are we supposed to get behind this family if the very family member we are playing as has as much personality as a cardboard cutout of a 90’s kid?

Janice Greenbriar: Janice’s entire character seems to focus around on how she’s a ranger, how unhappy she is in her marriage and that she doesn’t think Samantha is a lesbian.  Her characterization isn’t much more than a clichéd mess of a mother character. I would like to see more of who she was and why she reacted the way she did to Samantha other than.“People weren’t as accepting back then.”There’s always a lot more of a reason for people act the way they do than just a simple statement.

I’d like to have seen more of the family dynamic between her and Sam or even mentioning’s of her and Katie’s relationship.  Something that really hammers in just who she is because now she’s just an unhappy mom who is opposed to lesbianism and that’s not good enough.

Terry Greenbrair: Other than Sam, Terry gets the most development throughout the game but that doesn’t mean much. We find out he’s a writer who isn't doing well at the moment. He hasn’t been writing as well as he did with his first book, which causes a lot of financial issues within the family. We also find out that the house used to belong to his uncle and the development around that story really deserved some spotlight. It's fully analysed here and a confirmation of this analysis was placed here

It isn’t covered much in the media today but Terry was molested by the uncle that used to live in this house, so being there all the time must not have been easy for him.   While I would never want to take away from another characters story, I did want to see more focus on Terry when I put all the puzzle pieces together. Maybe an entry about it in Sam’s many diaries? It’s disappointing to see any character glossed over especially when a revelation like that comes to light.

Samantha Greenbrair: Samantha is the real main character of the story, she’s what the entire narrative focuses around and her disappearance is what sets off the story of her life since Katie’s been gone in motion. We learn that she goes to school, doesn’t fit in, meets a girl, and falls in love and then runs away with her.

This is character development but not nearly enough to make Samantha more than clichéd stereotype. We learn about Samantha outside of all of this. We learn she wants to write, watches tv and plays video games. Other than that, her entire character arc focusses on Lonnie, her girlfriend.   Her entire life just becomes enveloped in the idea of having this romance.


Samantha doesn’t develop as much she stagnates in a state of teenaged rebellion amidst her high school romance.  Romantic relationships aren’t a bad thing to have with a character in a video game and can be done very well. But it’s when character entirely focusses on just that relationship is what makes it a badly written character.

She’s passionate and fiery about Lonnie but she just doesn’t become more than teenager in love which has been done before and while representation of the LBGT community is wonderful, no romance should be written like this. The romance presented perpetuates the romanticism of unhealthy obsessive relationships portrayed in the Twilight Series and now 50 Shades of Grey.

If all of the family members were far more developed than what was presented to us through visual storytelling and Lonnie’s diary entries, I understand part of the reason people gave this game as much praise as they did. But as it stands, these characters are very dry and resemble the stereotypes 90’s time period they are stuck in rather than actual people.

A game like Three Fourths Home which I reviewed recently, gives far more character development to an entire family within an hour of gameplay than this game did in 3 hours.

Gone Home had a lot of ambition but didn't deliver on what was advertised

In the above trailer of Gone Home, it shows all of the praise the critics have given it, including IGN calling it a “Remarkable Achievement.”

The definition of remarkable is worthy of attention or striking, which is an interesting way of talking about this particular game. Gone Home doesn’t do anything differently than other games of this genre or any form of medium of that matter. It is a story about a girl, coming home to find her sister is missing and then pieces together what has happened. 

If you look up almost any mystery novel or game for that matter, you’re going to get the same thing. Think of a game like Trace Memory, where you are looking for your father on a deserted island and you put together what happened to him. All of the characters are developed and the subplot is solved, the game is just an hour long and wasn't even full price when it came out on the DS.

It left plot points that should have been important by the wayside.

Gone Home doesn't even solve its strange paranormal sub plot that was going on throughout the entire game. It left plot points that should have been important by the wayside. What’s the point of mentioning a lot of these things if you aren’t going to elaborate or explain them?

I understand that sometimes implications of aspects of stories can be better without explaining the entire thing, however, when you just leave several hanging plot threads at the end of a game it leaves player unfulfilled. An abrupt ending is one thing, but several unresolved plotlines is something else entirely.

Speaking of the ending, I’d really like to address how this game ends. Lonnie, who’s 18 gets off the bus going to boot camp for the military and goes to get Sam so they can run away together. Now while this is a typical ending to a romantic story, allow me to slap some reality on to this.  Lonnie is probably going to go prison because she just went AWOL on the military and Sam’s parents who we know don’t fully accept her sexuality will probably accuse Lonnie of kidnapping Sam because she’s a minor.

I can't wait to see the inevitable trial that Sam and Lonnie will have to go to when Lonnie is arrested for going AWOL.

This abrupt “Happy Ending” for this game was a big part of what really killed the story for a lot of people, myself included. The game ended up more like a romantic film than anything else, and that was a little jarring considering the tone for aspects of the game.  This was another aspect that resembled the infamous Twilight Saga in a way, giving us a non committal ending to what should have been a fulfilling finale. It wasn’t the kind of ending that really sealed this games story.  While you don’t always need closure for an ending, having an ending as outlandish as this, while the rest of the story really attempted to stay grounded in reality is just poor writing.

Is Gone Home a bad game?

No, it just has a lot of problems that many seem to overlook. I’m all for increasing awareness to sexualities that don’t get as much exposure in the media. I appreciate Gone Home’s attempt at focusing on this.

However, Gone Home executes it very poorly, making what should have been a well-developed story about a girl coming out to her slowly fracturing family into a badly written melodrama. There is really no reason to give Gone Home the title of Game of the Year not because it’s "not a game" as so many like to point out, but because the very thing it prides itself on, it’s story and characters, is a broken mess.

Q&A: Midwest Game Developer Summit Representative Andrew Matt Sheds Light on Event https://www.gameskinny.com/zavse/qa-midwest-game-developer-summit-representative-andrew-matt-sheds-light-on-event https://www.gameskinny.com/zavse/qa-midwest-game-developer-summit-representative-andrew-matt-sheds-light-on-event Sun, 20 Jul 2014 11:31:56 -0400 PencilPusha

Last weekend in Oconomowoc, WI, the annual Midwest Game Developer Summit (MGD) began. For two exciting days, aspiring gaming industry students got to hear from real industry game developers of all kinds (from Random Seed Games to Volition). How are games designed? How are games published? What kind of audio should go with a game? This event covered it all.

The MGD Summit is all about exchanging information through lectures, panels, exhibits and more. This event also allows those with game demos to showcase their talent and points aspiring game industry students in the right direction.

 Andrew Matt, public relations for the Summit, shares details about putting the event together, success stories, his current gaming habits, and more.

GS: How long have you been with MGDS?

Andrew Matt: Just a little under a year, I started working on the project back in September of 2013.

GS: So have you always been the PR guy or have you done other things for the project?

Andrew Matt: PR is my formal title, but I wouldn't say it defines what I all do. I wear many different hats. I wrote the majority of the Kickstarters body, filmed and edited our pitch video, helped with event organization, scheduled speakers, folded handout schedules, designed our new logo, and more.

GS: What do you like about your job?

Andrew Matt: Everything, haha! If I had to say one thing in particular, it is knowing that I'm working on something I believe in on a subject I'm incredibly passionate about.

GS: Do you work closely with the creators of the event?

Andrew Matt: Yes. We have weekly meetings on Skype and we talk about all the things we can do to improve the event, how we can make it bigger and better.

GS: What was it like organizing the event?

Andrew Matt: It was a lot of work. The event actually was started in 2012, with Travis Garski and Ben Mathwig (the creators) holding an event called the Wisconsin Game Developers Summit at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's student Union in April 2013. That event was held using grant money from the university and required that we held the event there. Breaking away from them and making the event bigger by rebranding as an event that was inclusive to the entire Midwest was a challenge and required a lot of effort and determination to get it funded and delivered.

GS: What have been some of the biggest challenges you've had to deal with as far as being the PR guy?

Andrew Matt: Trying to get attention to the event from the biggest video game focused blogs and websites would probably be the biggest challenge as far as PR goes. We sent things out to a lot of the big sites, but most told us that we were too small of an event to be worth covering. There are a lot of video game developers and fans in the Midwest and trying to reach them on the biggest mediums has been a bit tough. Thankfully, we are starting to get some recognition, and we were featured in Game Informer's upcoming events schedule in their Far Cry 4 issue.

GS: Did you get the chance to sit in on scheduled events or play any demos in the expo area?

Andrew Matt: Yes, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. I had to hop around a lot between our different session rooms to make sure things were running smoothly or to cut speakers off to keep us on schedule.‏ The best game I got to see was probably Lacuna Passage, which is sort of like Gone Home on Mars. Really awesome.

GS: Were there any exhibits or lectures in particular that were the most anticipated or had the most attendees this year?

Andrew Matt: Well, the keynote by Keith Fuller was something I was looking forward to. We have known Keith for a little while and he is a pretty great guy and incredibly knowledgable when it comes to this industry, so that was fun to see. All of the sessions were pretty full though, we had a pretty great turnout.

GS: Do you feel that the Summit was an overall success?

Andrew Matt: Yes, I'd say it was. We had just over 350 people who came to the event and we had incredible people speak like Tim Gerritsen, Jeff Hanna, Pat Dwyer, and more. Obviously we didn't become GDC or PAX overnight, but this was a great stepping stone toward building something sustainable.

GS: Have you heard any success stories based on past MGDS attendees as far as networking or showcasing game demos?

Andrew Matt: Well, from WGDS we had Tetrapulse and Race the Sun both shown in the expo. At the time, Tetrapulse was still a student project and went on to have a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $15,000 and is listed in Steam's upcoming games list. Race the Sun had just barely finished a successful Kickstarter at the time they were at WGDS and went on to get the game on Steam and are now porting it onto Playstation platforms. We hope to hear more stories like those moving forward from MGDS.

GS: What did you hope attendees took away or gained from the event?

Andrew Matt: I hope they took away that there is a great game development scene right here in the Midwest. A lot of times we focus on the West Coast and the East coast as hubs for the industry, but rarely highlight that big sect of developers that exist in-between. I mean, we have a great indie scene in Chicago with Iron Galaxy, Younghorses, Robomodo, and more, and there are great AAA studios like Volition and Netherrealm nearby as well. This is a great spot to be a developer and I'd like to think that people came away knowing that they can find great success here.

GS: Was this the first time that Kickstarter was used to fund MGDS? Why use Kickstarter?

Andrew Matt: This was the first time we used Kickstarter. The precursor event, WGDS, was funded by grant money from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In order to make the event larger and host it at whatever location we wished, we needed to give that up and find an alternate funding source. The best way we decided to do this was crowd-funding to make the event possible. We've looked into venture capital and other means to get the project off the ground, but we thought that Kickstarter's model was the easiest way for us to be able to accomplish what we wanted to for the event in 2014.

GS: How well have social media outlets, like Twitter and Facebook, worked to spread word about the MGDS since it began?

Andrew Matt: Pretty effectively. We have a decent amount of engagement and organic reach from our pages. I think it helps that there are people who are looking for this sort of event that is in their backyard. Not everyone can make a yearly trip to Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, or LA for the big events, so the fact that there are people looking for an event like MGDS has helped us on social media.

GS: The Midwest Game Developers Summit is fairly new. What's in store for next year's Summit? How soon do preparations for the Summit begin?

As of right now, our plans are to move MGDS into Chicago as soon as it is viable.

Andrew Matt: We are taking a week or two off to recover and lay low, but preparation will probably start again at the beginning of August. As of right now, our plans are to move MGDS into Chicago as soon as it is viable. We want to have the event near a major airport like O'Hare and in a larger city to draw a bigger crowd. Will that happen in 2015? Well, I'm not so sure about that, but I wouldn't rule it out. We'll definitely try to move it south of Milwaukee and get it closer to Chicago so we can have the cities local indie developer scene more involved with the event.

GS: What do you feel sets MGDS apart from other gaming conventions?

Andrew Matt: It's accessible. Right now we only charge $60 for a two-day pass to the convention and we try to offer things like an after party with the speakers and developers there for fans to mingle with. When you are at a PAX type event with tens of thousands of fans, it is really hard to be able to just get a half hour of one on one time chatting with a developer. We try and make the event a bit hands and I think people like that because they can make some great personal connections that way.

GS: Since GameSkinny is dedicated to all things video games, do you have a favorite video game? Console? Game genre? What are you currently playing or looking forward to playing?

Andrew Matt: Haha, that is a loaded question. Well, I really love indie games, I'm one of the co-founders of indiegameinsider.com and I love getting to play zany new concepts and chatting with small developers. Recently, I've been looking forward to Push Me Pull You as an indie game. It's part wrestling, part human centipede and probably the zaniest and most grotesque couch co-op game I've seen in quite awhile. Overall though, I'm predominately a PC gamer and I've been just tackling my backlog lately, playing through Rogue Legacy, Far Cry 3, The Wolf Among Us, and Wolfensten: The New Order. I just got Divinity: Original Sin from a good friend of mine, so that might be what I tackle next.


GS: Do you have anything to add?

Andrew Matt: Just that if you want the latest updates from MGDS to like the Midwest Game Developers Summit on Facebook, follow us @MGDSummit on Twitter, and check out our website at mgdsummit.com. If you want to read what I'm up to on a daily basis and what new adventures I go on with video games, you can follow me on Twitter @AndrewJMatt.

Unity 5 Announced, Pre-order Available https://www.gameskinny.com/uuti2/unity-5-announced-pre-order-available https://www.gameskinny.com/uuti2/unity-5-announced-pre-order-available Fri, 21 Mar 2014 19:23:16 -0400 NorthwestGamer

Anybody who develops games, or stays up to date on game development tools, has heard of Unity, but people who just play the games might not have. Unity is a game engine with a payment plan that appeals greatly to indie developers. It allows anybody to start developing games by offering a free and royalty-free version with tons of powerful features. They also offer a pro version, which can be bought as a one-time purchase or as a subscription. 


Unity announced the newest version of their game engine, Unity 5. For those of you who already develop, are starting to develop, or might be interested in developing video games will be interested to see the details of this new version. Plenty of new, powerful tools are being offered here, so lets start by taking a look at the new features.

Shaders and Lighting

Unity 5 Global Illumination

The biggest changes Unity 5 has brought graphically is the improvements to the built-in shaders and the addition of Global Illumination. Shaders are essentially a script used to control how textures are turned into materials. A material is a combination of textures, such as combining a diffuse texture (the colors of a texture) with the a specular texure (the reflectiveness of the texture in different areas). Unity has greatly improved on the graphical capabilities of their shaders by providing physically based shading to its users. Put simply, physically-based shaders are more adaptable. They look great in a variety of different lighting environments, whereas normal shaders tend to take more tweaking as you transition between lighting.

The second addition, Global Illumination, is removing the need to use lightmap baking. In the current and past versions of Unity, developers would have to "bake" the shadows of static objects. When you have an object that does not move, such as a building, and a light that does not move, then you can logically state that the shadow cast by that object from that light will not move; therefore, to reduce performance costs, baking lightmaps would apply that shadow on top of the textures of the objects that are receiving the shadow. This means that the engine does not need to render the lighting in real-time. Now, with Global Illumination, the engine has a much more powerful lighting system and the shadows will update automatically when you move objects. Which means you do not need to constantly tweak your objects, bake an entire lightmap, and repeat.

Game Audio

Unity 5 Game Audio

Unity 5 features a massive overhaul to the audio system. This is actually one of the features that I am the most excited about. The editor now features a live mixer that can be adjusted. While you are listening to the audio play, you can now perform actions such as raising the ambience sounds, lowering the narrative, raising the gunfire, and any other volume balancing you may wish to perform. This feature will greatly reduce the time it takes to tweak audio by providing a similar approach to traditional music-editing software.

Web Deployment Using WebGL

In past versions of Unity, it was already possible to build to a web game that would play similarly to a Flash game; however, like Flash, it would require the user to download a Unity plugin in order to play the game. Although this was only required once, most people would not have it because there were not many games out there that used it. 

Now, with Unity 5, games can be built to the web using WebGL. WebGL is a JavaScript API library that is used for video games and other 3D web applications. Integrating with JavaScript means that the game will work out-of-the-box with any web browser that has JavaScript enabled, which most browsers do.

64-Bit Editor

This is a pretty self-explanatory feature. Before Unity 5, there was only a 32-bit editor available, even though you could build 64-bit versions of your games. So, regardless of what operating system you were using, every developer was running the same, 32-bit version of the editor. Now, a 64-bit version of the editor has been added for those developer who are using 64-bit operating systems. This translates over to Unity being more efficient when handling demanding operations, resulting in better performance in large-scale projects.

Unity Cloud

A big feature that Unity has in store, which a lot of companies are implementing, is the Cloud. Most people in the gaming world should have heard of the Cloud by now. It plays a big role in gaming these days, especially in Microsoft's "master plan" for the Xbox One. In the announcement on Unity 5, they mentioned that they will be using the Cloud to allow for increased cross-platform promotion campaign on mobile devices. This involves monetization and other promotional systems to be set up under one system and deployed to multiple mobile platforms seamlessly.

This is just the beginning though. In the trailer for Unity 5, they have stated that it is the "first of many" Unity Cloud features. So what will be the next Cloud service that they offer? I guess we will have to wait until Unity 5.1 for that, but it is a feature that could mean endless useful features. The obvious potential is improved version control and other features to manage your projects across multiple computers.


For those of you who do not have experience in game development, these price tags might come as a bit of a shock; however, these are actually incredibly reasonable prices for a game engine. Unity has always been well-known for being affordable for indie developers, and continues to be in this version. The important thing here is that this is for Unity Pro. The free version of Unity is still going to continue and it contains tons of great features for independent developers. Most people will not purchase Unity Pro until after they have at least one successful game.

It is also important to note that, for those of you who are in school, they offer student pricing for Unity Pro, both learning and commercial, licenses at Studica, but I will not be going over those prices here.

One-Time Purchase

The "classic" way of paying for Unity Pro is to just purchase it once and own it forever. This will entitle you to all updates of Unity 5, but not of versions 6 and up. So you will get 5.1, 5.2, and so on for free, but you will need to repurchase the engine for future full versions. The following are the prices for Unity 5 and its extensions on a one-time purchase:

  • Unity Pro: $1,500
  • iOS Pro: $1,500
  • Android Pro: $1,500
  • Team License: $500

It is important to note that there are discounts for upgrading from past versions of Unity, starting from $600.

Monthly Subscription

The new way of paying for Unity Pro is to subscribe. Many development applications and suites are using this system now, such as the Creative Cloud suite and Microsoft Office. It is a preferred payment method for some people because your bill is spread out and you just keep subscribing to seamlessly move between new versions of Unity. The following are the prices for Unity 5 and its extensions on a subscription:

  • Unity Pro: $75/month
  • iOS Pro: $75/month
  • Android Pro: $75/month
  • Team License: $20/month


There are a lot of great new features coming in this version of Unity. I have never had an interest to purchase or subscribe to Unity Pro, since I make games for fun instead of profit, but there is certainly a slew of new features here that I am excited for. More information can be found on Unity's official website, what feature are you most excited for?

Our BAFTA Games Awards Predictions: GTAV https://www.gameskinny.com/4wbp6/our-bafta-games-awards-predictions-gtav https://www.gameskinny.com/4wbp6/our-bafta-games-awards-predictions-gtav Fri, 21 Feb 2014 00:46:07 -0500 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

It’s almost time for one of the biggest games awards in the industry, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Games Awards. This prestigious organisation, who also host one of the world’s most prestigious film awards outside of the Oscars, started recognising achievement in video games in its own separate ceremony in 2003. 

This year’s list of nominations don’t really contain many surprises, as 2013 was a stupendous year for video games. But this also means that almost all categories are tightly contested, and trying to predict a winner in each will be tricky. However, we’re going to predicted which awards Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV) might and might not win.

This game has swept up awards across the globe, and there’s no real reason it shouldn’t also do so here, especially as it has raked in no less than NINE nominations.

What It Should Win 

Best Game in 2014

http://www.rockstargames.com/V/It will be very surprising if GTAV doesn’t win this. Yes, there’s some very stiff competition from the likes of The Last of Us and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, but the financial figures and metacritic scores unequivocally makes this the most successful game of all time. 

Action & Adventure

Again, for this is almost a shoe-in for Rockstar’s masterpiece for the same reasons it’s likely to win Best Game in 2014. 

Best British Game in 2014

Despite the series revelling in hallmark American gangster culture, it often surprises everyone that the game is actually 100% British. It’s a shame to see other great British games like Tearaway and LEGO Marvel Superheroes lose out in this category, but what chance do they have? 

What It Might Not Win 

Game Innovation

http://tearaway.mediamolecule.com/This isn’t to say that GTAV isn’t at all innovative. The ability to switch between protagonists at any point between missions, to join them in whatever they might be doing, was something definitely different to how mainstream titles have dealt with character development and narrative progression. 

However, games such as Tearaway made more marked achievements in experimenting with controls and interface. Furthermore, Papers, Please, in its bold remit of being a harsh and unwieldy document simulator, has become one of the most absorbing and surprising games of last year, and therefore most likely to win this category. 


Multiplayer has been a great addition to GTAV, but it’s not its star quality. When you pit it against the hotly anticipated Dota 2 and the runaway success of World of Tanks, it just doesn’t stack up. 

Story in 2014

http://en.wikipedia.org/Again, whilst GTAV’s story is great, there are just some games that have done much better. The Last of Us is undoubtedly one of the strongest contenders in this category, with its gripping character development and brutally down to earth take of the old hatchet that is zombie survival horror games. 

However, we think that it’s the indie underdogs that might just clinch the prize. Davey Wreden’s unforgiving and sardonic The Stanley Parable was groundbreaking in sending up game design as well as the entire industry. Whilst Gone Home was also groundbreaking for it’s complete lack of linear narrative, with the game experience relying solely on exploration of back story.

Performer in 2014

Kevan BrightingThis is most difficult category to predict. But what we will say is that GTAV's Steven Ogg, who voiced Trevor Phillips, is probably the least likely to pick up this award. When you're up against The Narrator from The Stanley Parable (Kevan Brighting, pictured), Jodie from Beyond: Two Souls (Ellen Page), Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite (Courtnee Draper), and both Joel and and Ellie from The Last of Us (Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson), you've not got much of a chance.

For a full list of nominations for the BAFTA Games Awards 2014, visit http://awards.bafta.org/award/2014/games.

For more information about GTAV, visit www.rockstargames.com/V.

Who is Gone Home For? A Review of the Game, By Player Type https://www.gameskinny.com/z4lri/who-is-gone-home-for-a-review-of-the-game-by-player-type https://www.gameskinny.com/z4lri/who-is-gone-home-for-a-review-of-the-game-by-player-type Mon, 27 Jan 2014 13:53:33 -0500 B. Chambers

Two things you need not worry about while reading this review are:

1. Spoilers

2. Me jumping into the asinine debate about 'whether or not Gone Home is a game'

With those bases covered, let's talk about what different types of gamers may take away from the Gone Home experience.


If you love storytelling at the forefront of your games, Gone Home will certainly answer the mail for you.

What I can't tell you definitively is whether or not you will enjoy this particular journey. The entire game's narrative is driven by looking at and listening to the world through the eyes and ears of the main and supporting characters. I found the overarching story to be extremely engaging early in the game. Unfortunately, the climax of the story was far stronger than the ending. I also found myself often wanting to skip through the parts that weren't related to the main story.


Exploring Gone Home's world was where I had my most fun.

Discovering the next piece and direction of the story simply by traversing the world in front of me was very gratifying--when what I was discovering was actually interesting (see my previous comment about skipping subplots). It was this sense of discovery that propelled me to play the game entirely in one sitting.


On the sonic side of the house, you've got superb voice acting mixed with a perfectly fitting native soundtrack.

I stress the word 'native' because there are other opportunities to experience music in Gone Home that are not quite as enjoyable as the organic soundtrack. In fact, I found some of them downright grating.  


Perhaps what sells Gone Home's story best is the intelligent use of the third person camera.

I'm not a film guy, so I don't know the technical terms for the camera trickery that's going on in game. Just know that the developers use it very well to sell some of the more dramatic scenes (especially the final scene). 


Gone Home is a quick game to finish.

If you prefer your gaming experiences to come in at under five hours, you may have found your match. 


Gone Home is hard for me to bottom line.

On the one hand, I heavily enjoyed the story right up until what I felt was a less memorable and somewhat telegraphed ending. But, this is coming from someone who does not score heavily in our bookworm category. At the very end of it, I'm glad I had the experience so that I could see what everyone was so fired up about. But, I also could have watched someone else play it on Youtube and been almost as satisfied save for the lack of exploration. I think it was an excellent start to what will hopefully become more consistently engaging narrative-driven games in the future. 

Our Gamer Category Review System Explained.

Humble Store - Thanksgiving Sale! https://www.gameskinny.com/mlh2w/humble-store-thanksgiving-sale https://www.gameskinny.com/mlh2w/humble-store-thanksgiving-sale Thu, 28 Nov 2013 03:01:32 -0500 Courtney Gamache

It might be a day earlier than Black Friday, but Humble Store is preparing the gamers with a lovely Thanksgiving sale to help your turkey food-comas. Pick up some games at cheap prices, and enjoy them all through the hustle and bustle of Black Friday.

What's on Sale?

There are many great games, and plenty variety that there should be a game for everyone, and at fantastic prices.

  • Crusader Kings II Collection - $19.99 (normally $79.99)
  • Kentucky Route Zero - $12.49 (normally $24.99)
  • Mount & Blade: Warband - $4.99 (normally $19.99)
  • Game Dev Tycoon - $6.99 (normally $9.99)
  • Godus (Early Access Game) - $14.99 (normally $19.99)
  • Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes - $9.99 (normally $39.99)
  • Gone Home - $9.99 (normally $19.99)
  • Frozen Synapse - $4.99 (normally $24.99)
  • Beat Hazard Ultra - $3.89 (normally $12.99)
  • Vessel - $3.74 (normally $14.99)
  • Worms Re-loaded & Worms 2: Armageddon - $6.49 (normally $19.99)

All of the above games are available on Steam, and are great deals. If you think you'll be bored on Thanksgiving, might want to buy from the Humble Store, and get some games for decent prices, while also giving 10% to charity. Seems good to me!