The Unfinished Swan Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com The Unfinished Swan RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Honorable Mentions:
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  • Bastion
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  • Limbo
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  • Dear Esther
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  • Braid
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  • Super Meat Boy
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  • Hotline Miami
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  • OlliOlli
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  • Spelunky
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  • Rogue Legacy
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  • Oxenfree
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  • Thomas Was Alone
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  • Don't Starve
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  • Tokyo Jungle
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  • Actual Sunlight
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  • Three Fourth's Home
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  • Guacamelee
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  • Her Story
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  • Nidhogg
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  • The Beginner's Guide
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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/c/r/screenshot3-dbdc6.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/c/r/screenshot3-dbdc6.png","type":"slide","id":"157674","description":"
Stardew Valley
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-1ebd6.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-1ebd6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"148191","description":"

Shovel Knight

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Journey

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Gone Home

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Inside

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Everybody's Gone To The Rapture

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Undertale

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

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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.

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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!

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The Unfinished Swan

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Firewatch

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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.

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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.

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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.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/e/z/fez-010-d9bf6.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/e/z/fez-010-d9bf6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"148187","description":"

FEZ

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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5 of the Best PS4 Games on PlayStation Plus https://www.gameskinny.com/h2k3v/5-of-the-best-ps4-games-on-playstation-plus https://www.gameskinny.com/h2k3v/5-of-the-best-ps4-games-on-playstation-plus Fri, 08 Jul 2016 05:57:31 -0400 Andy Fletcher

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Rocket League
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Rev up your engines and take to the skies in the game that surprised everyone and set itself among the best game of 2015. Introduced onto the PS4 through PS Plus, it grabbed gamers with its frantic paced, adrenaline-filled battles. Easy to pick up but difficult to master, Rocket League is an intensely layered competitive game that veterans have sunk days in, perfecting their aerial hits and goal line clearances.

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The games can be chaotic, as players duke it out 4v4 in a game mode aptly titled Chaos. Or it can be calculated and cooperative in 2v2, sussing out your opponents and striking a winning partnership with your teammate.

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With an ever growing community and developers always looking to give back to their strong fanbase, Rocket League is updated regularly with new maps, new cars, and new game modes like Basketball and Ice Hockey. Even if you weren't fortunate enough to grab this when it was free, it is undoubtedly worthy of a purchase. 

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These are just a handful of the great games PS Plus has to offer, and they are just my personal favorites. Games like Magicka 2, Zombi, NBA 2K16 have also been available for free, covering plenty of different genres. So no matter what games you love playing, PS Plus will have one for you.

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Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
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A child of the Metroidvania era of gaming, Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a game that doesn't take itself seriously, which is all part of its charm. Littered with references from one of its founders in Metroid to modern games like Journey, Guacamelee! is a game made by developers with a passion for the games they love. In an all-too-familiar story line of rescuing a female love interest from the clutches of a villain, a silent protagonist sets off on a journey to rescue his love and stop the evil forces.

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What sets this game apart from the games it parodies is its brilliant dimension-hopping ability that adds a fresh twist on puzzle solving as well as combat. A clever unlockables system creates shortcuts and new pathways to previously trodden on areas, and each of these unlockables increase your luchador's fighting skills, adding layers of depth as the player explores further into the game.

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For lovers of Metroid and 2D adventure games, Guacamelee is the game for you.

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The Unfinished Swan
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Experience the beautiful world of The Unfinished Swan on PS4. The player enters a book and begins in a blank page, white filling the screen. Firing ink pellets create edges to the world, uncovering corridors, statues, walkways, trees, benches -- a fantastic premise that must be explored. 

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The gameplay changes with each of its four chapters and keeps things fresh. The player begins growing vines to climb on, exploring the darkness, manipulating light as they traverse, constructing shapes within a blueprint, and then exploring a dream world.

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This is another relaxing game to unwind with and an experience not to be passed up. The Unfinished Swan is a must-buy exclusive on the PS4.

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Telltale's The Walking Dead
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Return to the post-apocalypse as Clementine while she continues to survive, though this time without the paternal figure of Lee to protect her. It's a dead-rubber if you haven't played Season One, but those who started Clementine's story on PS3 can continue it on PS4 for free. 

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Filled with the difficult choices and the subsequent serious consequences, The Walking Dead is a Telltale game that always leaves you second guessing your actions.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/v/a/l/valiant-hearts-art-cd7e4.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/v/a/l/valiant-hearts-art-cd7e4.png","type":"slide","id":"125135","description":"
Valiant Hearts: The Great War
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Step back in time and into the shoes of the heroes from The Great War and experience it for yourself. Valiant Hearts goes back in time and explores the heroes in one of humanity's darkest times. The game tells the story of people from five different nations helping others and trying to reunite with their loved ones.  

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This is a fun game to unwind with or to play on the side of more hardcore games. It's simple side-scrolling adventure/puzzle game cramped with entertaining characters, brimming with humor and personality. 

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The game is a much-needed reminder of the services and sacrifices this brave generation endured to ensure victory, and the game provides information about the war for keen gamers wanting to learn more.

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We all love free stuff. And with PlayStation Plus, each month gamers are given 2-3 games free of charge. The program was a huge success on the PS3, with titles such as Demon's Souls, Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands 2, leading the impressive backlog of games.

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On the surface, the PS4's collection is lackluster in comparison. A severe lack of AAA titles and a vast amount of PS3 cross-buy games have left users underwhelmed with their PS Plus offerings.

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However, Sony has not actually disappointed with the roster on PS4 -- there's just a lot of solid games offered that have been quickly dismissed. Here are some of the best PS Plus titles available for PlayStation 4. If you don't have some of these, I implore you to pick them up. 

"}]]]>
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.

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May PS Plus IGC Review https://www.gameskinny.com/bl3h0/may-ps-plus-igc-review https://www.gameskinny.com/bl3h0/may-ps-plus-igc-review Sun, 10 May 2015 08:12:43 -0400 Curtis Dillon

Every month since 2010, Sony has given away 6+ games as part of the PlayStation Plus Instant Games Collection. The IGC comes with your monthly (or annual) PS Plus subscription and offers great value for money. PlayStation owners get over 60 games a year on PS3, PS4 and PS Vita, all of which have a Metacritic rating of 70 or above.

A year's subscription of PS Plus costs £39.99, or $49.99, which works out to little over £3 a month. Playstation Lifestyle reported that PS Plus subscribers received over $1300/£841 worth of games last year. So yeah, PS Plus is a very good service that helps players discover games they may otherwise never have even looked at. 

This is the first (ongoing) review of the Instant Games Collection for each and every month. So, once a month, when the IGC goes live we will post a review - a synopsis and mini-review of each game, the value for your money, and whether or not we recommend you pick them up.

Ether One (PS4)


Ether One was released for PC last year and turned heads for its subject matter: dementia. This first-person adventure game (which are so popular right now) tasks you with restoring the memory of a 69-year old dementia patient.

You traverse a picturesque landscape and pick up anything and everything along the way, which can be stored in your hub-world. You can solve puzzles and learn more about the world and what happened to the patient's memory, or just progress freely and get the basic gist of the tale. If you enjoy plot and exploration that's free from combat, check this out.

Ether One is a beautiful game, in both its aesthetic and the story it weaves.

Guacamelee: Suber Turbo Championship Edition (PS4)


Guacamelee is one of many MetroidVania-style games to be released in recent years but it's also one of the very best. Top-notch platforming, wonderfully colourful visuals, and a hilarious cast of characters are just a few of the reasons why Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition holds an 87% on Metacritic, despite having been released across 9 platforms.

If you enjoy old-school platforming games, ridiculous humour and fun, Guacamelee: Super Championship Edition is for you!

Race The Sun (PS4, PS Vita)

Race The Sun is an infinite runner developed by Flippfly and released last October. It's not a typical endless runner in that you are flying a silver spacecraft, but Race The Sun is fast-paced and slightly addictive.

Admittedly, I had never heard of this game until I saw it on the IGC. Regardless, I downloaded it and gave it a shot. I've only played it a couple of times, but I get what it's trying to do. I'm not a huge fan of endless runners, but this is a pretty good one - especially if you use Spotify on your PS4 and listen to whatever you want!

Race The Sun is frenetic and very difficult, perfect for anyone wanting a quick and challenging experience.

Hohokum (PS3, PS4, PS Vita)

Hohokum is reminiscent of Journey, Flower, LocoRoco, and many other, smaller, Playstation exclusives. You may be wondering how the heck any of those games are similar, but they share the same simplistic and artistic lineage.

Hohokum doesn't require much in the way of gameplay or deep thought, but that's the point. It's very simple and very enjoyable. You play as a long worm-like creature that carries people to their destination, be it a wedding or through a cave. It's a relaxing game that suits anyone who enjoyed the aforementioned titles.

The Unfinished Swan (PS3, PS4, PS Vita)

The Unfinished Swan is a very special game. This is probably the first indie game I ever played that really caught me. I downloaded the demo for The Unfinished Swan and immediately bought the game after the demo finished. I highly recommend it to everyone.

You play as a young boy who has lost his mother and follows a swan that escapes from its painting. The swan leads you to a completely white room, and that's where the game starts. The only gameplay mechanic is to throw paint, which guides your way through worlds in order to find your mother. It's a simple, elegant game that completely hooked me. The Unfinished Swan is beautiful and unique, and 100% worth checking out.

Murasaki Baby (PS Vita)

Murasaki Baby is a really weird, Tim Burton-esque game that is great on the Vita. Similar to The Unfinished Swan, Murasaki Baby has you playing as a child, looking for your mother. The difference? Murasaki Baby is creepy as hell.

In Murasaki Baby you guide Baby through different levels, literally holding her hand, and help her avoid all the evil in the world. You, as the omnipotent finger, can change the background to affect the elements and progress. The gameplay is very simple but effective and the art-style is wonderful. The story is nice and it's a bite-sized experience that fits the device it's on.

If you own a Vita and want a game that utilizes its forgotten features (i.e touch screens and motion control) Murasaki Baby is for you.

Overall

May was a really great month for PS Plus. The Instant Games Collection offers 6 unique games this month, 3 of which are cross-buy. Every game on this list is worth checking out and offers something different. Sure there might not be any AAA titles, but there's definitely something here for everyone.

Total Cost of this Month's Games: $89/£57

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Game Developers Choice Awards 2013: The Nominees https://www.gameskinny.com/h4x39/game-developers-choice-awards-2013-the-nominees https://www.gameskinny.com/h4x39/game-developers-choice-awards-2013-the-nominees Fri, 25 Jan 2013 06:33:00 -0500 Mat Westhorpe

As award season spins up worldwide, the video games industry clears its throat and prepares acceptance speeches as the nominees for the 13th Game Developers Choice Awards have been announced by the GDC Awards advisory board.

The winners to be revealed at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA on 27 March 2013, but the abstract Playstation 3 “interactive parable” Journey looks set to do well, with nominations in six of the ten categories. 

“The Game Developers Choice Awards are the premier accolades for peer-recognition in the video game industry, celebrating creativity, artistry and technological genius. Industry professionals from around the world nominate for the awards, free of charge, ensuring that the recipients reflect the community's opinions.”

Last year saw Portal 2 take three awards; Best Narrative, Best Game Design and Best Audio, with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim beating it for Game of the Year. Warren Spector of Deus Ex fame took the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Here are the nominees for 2013:

Game of the Year

  • Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
  • The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
  • Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)
  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Last Year's Winner: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)

Innovation Award

  • Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)
  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)
  • The Unfinished Swan (Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • ZombiU (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft)

Last Year's Winner: Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)

Best Audio

  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games/Devolver Digital)
  • Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
  • Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Last Year's Winner: Portal 2 (Valve)

Best Debut

  • Humble Hearts (Dust: An Elysian Tail)
  • Polytron Corporation (Fez)
  • Giant Sparrow (The Unfinished Swan)
  • Subset Games (FTL: Faster Than Light)
  • Fireproof Games (The Room)

Last Year's Winner: Supergiant Games (Bastion)

Best Downloadable Game

  • The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
  • Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)
  • Trials: Evolution (RedLynx/Microsoft Studios)
  • Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)
  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Last Year's Winner: Bastion (Supergiant Games)

Best Game Design

  • Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
  • Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)
  • Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)
  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)

Last Year's Winner: Portal 2 (Valve)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game

  • Gravity Rush (SCE Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • Hero Academy (Robot Entertainment)
  • Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • The Room (Fireproof Games)
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising (Sora/Nintendo)

Last Year's Winner: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery (Capy Games/Superbrothers)

Best Narrative

  • Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Entertainment/2K Games)
  • Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
  • Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
  • The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
  • Virtue's Last Reward (Chunsoft/Aksys Games)

Last Year's Winner: Portal 2 (Valve)

Best Technology

  • Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
  • PlanetSide 2 (Sony Online Entertainment)
  • Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Treyarch/Activision)
  • Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Last Year's Winner: Battlefield 3 (DICE)

Best Visual Arts

  • Borderlands 2 (Gearbox Software/2K Games)
  • Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
  • Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
  • Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Last Year's Winner: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)

Personally, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for my stand-out game of 2012, the modest indie title FTL: Faster Than Light, which has been nominated for the Innovation Award and the developers, Subset Games are up for the Best Debut. Go on the little guys.

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Is your game of choice represented?

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