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Friday, March 30, 2007
This forum thread is a constantly updated list of what users of the Game Maker engine have voted to be the best and most memorable Game Maker games ever made. Currently the top ones are:

Seiklus - tapeworm
Jumper (s) - YoMamasMama
Hover Tank 3D - FredFredrickson
Jetz Rampage (s) - Shawn64
Ark 22 - Srehpog

Soldexus - Pneophen
Hard Hat (s) - Damaged
The Jeluvian Project - Pondwater
Ore No Ryomi (s) - Mr.Chubigans
Battleships Forever - th15
Raging Skies - darthlupi

Arthur Lee interviewed at Planet Freeplay, regarding the development of The Underside, among other topics.

Labels: ,


Hello all, this is Shih Tzu. Tim threw an account at me the other day, apparently for me to deface his creation with profanities and screens from softcore mahjongg games. And don't think I won't! But until that day comes, I'll sporadically assist with... I don't know what. Japanese stuff, probably.

Anyway, I thought I'd add a few clarifications I (think I) was able to glean from the 3Hiki blog, 3Hiki ga Takuramu. The group, the new home of the members of GR3PROJECT (La Mulana), is working on a new project called "Death Village", as noted earlier here. According to some of the posts by members Naramura and Samieru:

* The group is now going to try their hand at releasing games commercially.
* The goal: "Sure, there are lots of companies churning out franchise games for popular systems with expensive advertising campaigns... But, we suggest, why can't there also be a company of artisans trying out things to see if they work, one where the graphics and advertising might be disheartening but the games are consistently weird?"
* Death Village is not a sequel to La Mulana, and the public shouldn't expect a similar experience.
* The group actually has two projects in the works. Samieru is concentrating on the second, "more experimental" one.

There is also lots and lots of commentary on Ys Eternal, R-Type, God of War II, Soul Blazer, retro games, freeware games, the Xbox 360, and probably everything in between.




Retrobattle updated with four new skill levels and enemy variations. [Hero remake by Wolverine, Iji preview, past projects by Daniel Remar]

A new screenshot from the Astro Marine Corps remake is up at Wolverine's site.


A review for Something Amiss: Chapter 2 can be found here. [walkthrough]

Scratches: Director's Cut has been out for a while now. There's a couple of changes and also a sneak peek at Nucleosys' next project.

A couple of screenshots from White Birds Productions' Sinking Island (Paradise) were recently added.


A commercial version of Prototype Mk II is in the works. [Castle Software, Gravitron, Xain'D Sleena review, Prototype]


A DHTML version of Master Mind was recently released by Thomas Weibel. [Mahjongg Solitaire, Sudoku]

Here are some album recommendations by OMEGA, the creator of Every Extend.

16 dimensional records (creator of Soup ver 0.9)
- A Japanese netlabel for NES-like music.

1. 16D002 Gone Square - Dong (15 tracks)
2. 16D001 Go Square - Dong (12 tracks)

Amen Best Hit's, supposedly a collection of tracks made out of elements from other songs. For example, Guchon's Pajama Hero is an eclectic mix of samples from Super Mario Bros. and an awfully familiar pop song.

Thursday, March 29, 2007
Crazy Patterns renamed to rEIZUs3. Features:

- randomized enemies with different parts (thousands of variations)
- flags denote the type of shot attributes for each enemy ship

Release date: next week. [Crazy Patterns, Clean Asia review, past projects by cactus]


Screenshots from Death Village (La-Mulana sequel) uncovered at 3Hiki's site. Current discussion is centered around the process of switching palette color for game development, from sixteen to 16 million. [La-Mulana review]

Hamish's War Angels cancelled. A new game entitled Project Explosion will take it's place.

A top ten list of 8 and 16-bit games most deserving of a remake can be found at QuickJump Network. Some tributes and remakes:

7. Double Dragon: Double Dragon: Fists of Rage
6. Legend of Kage: Legend of Shadow
4. Dig Dug: Dig Dug Aftershock
3. Pooyan: Game and Watch remake
1. Balloon Fight: Balloon Tournament

Dust Scape is a new experimental project by Jph, this time it's a reinvention of the classic gameplay elements found in Snake. Use the left and right arrow keys to inch your way towards a green nucleus. Use the control or J key to brake.

Touching a fire ball ends the game. Collect twenty-one green nuclei to restore the use of both up and down arrow keys for vertical movement.

Name: Dust Scape
Developer: Jph Wacheski
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB



Wednesday, March 28, 2007
RodHumble I recently had the chance to interview Rod Humble, creator of the widely-blogged artgame The Marriage. Rod has been working in the industry since 1990 and is currently Head of Sims Studio at EA. In the interview, he discusses his reaction to the recent buzz, along with his views on games as art. He gives us a list of interesting games worth trying (Floor 13 is now on my to-play list), and even shows us one of his paintings.

You can read full interview over at Arthouse Games.



Tuesday, March 27, 2007
(From Retro Remakes)

RGCD is a new downloadable CD-ROM based magazine containing retro reviews, features and developer interviews. RGCD's main focus is on the releases for 8/16-Bit computer platforms, but also dedicating a good percentage of their reviews and feature space to retro look-and-feel PC-based remakes.

In each issue of RGCD you'll not only find reviews of all the latest retro releases, but there'll also be direct links (to files on disc) of each game, emulator or tool reviewed irrespective of platform.

Please note that at www.rgcd.co.uk you can preview each issue of the magazine (essentially just the featured game review and a list of the other content), but in order to actually read the rest of the articles and reviews you'll need to download the .ISO image and either burn it to disc or mount it on a virtual drive. There is also a cut-down 'lite' version (excluding all games and emulators) provided as a downloadable .ZIP archive.

RGCD is 100% spyware free and all files are virus checked before uploading.

Download 10MB lite version.

Download 160MB .ISO version.

Immortal Defense is a game currently in production by RPGCreations, makers of Alphasix and Missing. The game is based on a simple idea: what if you took the central mechanic of the "tower defense" games -- which are often single-level mods to popular RTSs like Warcraft 3 and Starcraft -- and based an entire game around it? There have been stand-alone tower defense games before, but never one as extensive, with a story and characters and dozens of missions. It's also more than a tower defense game, as there are elements of shooters as well: the mouse can fire at enemies and use special attacks against them.

The story is set in the universe of the sci-fi dystopia Raberata by Robert Bisno (a friend of the authors of this game who gave his permission for this), and takes place entirely in path space, a realm above hyperspace. The story deals with themes of defending what one values from harm.

The graphics are mostly abstract and procedurally generated, although it also uses sprites in parts. The music is a mix of classical early 1900s jazz and gospel, and original music written in the style of classical piano -- not to everyone's tastes, but it was selected to add a feeling of strangeness to the game.

Additional screenshots of the game in production: [1], [2].

The game has been in production since December 2006, and will be released as shareware (albeit with 1/3rd of the game playable for free) in April or May. If you'd like to help playtest game while it's in development (it's currently in v0.7), and influence it through suggestions for improvement, you can do so here.

Soup ver 0.9 is a production loosely based on LSD, a trippy dream recollection available only on the Playstation console. Choose the first option to play in full screen mode. A different part of the adventure is unlocked for each new game attempted by the player.

Hold the left shift key to look around, and touch a wall to exit any room. Describing the game any further is equivalent to providing possible spoilers.

Name: Soup ver 0.9
Developer: Unknown
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB

Monday, March 26, 2007
Gems is a new puzzle game made in Game Maker, and one of the better puzzle games I've ever played. Gems can move in any direction, but they keep moving until they hit something, much like some of the dungeon puzzles in Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

But the variation of the gems is much greater than in that game: there are gems that can only be pushed a limited number of times, gems which have a count-down before they explode, gems which can only travel on a particular line, teleportation tiles, gems which explode when hit and have to be deactivated by other gems, and others. There's an element of timing to it too, as the most dangerous part of the game are gems which explode and bounce back and forth between two points.

There are over sixty levels, although each is short enough that if you're good at puzzle games you can finish the game in 3-6 hours. There's also a level editor, and you can upload the levels you create and download the levels of other people. The level editor doesn't allow everything the game itself has (such as teleportation tiles) but that's my only problem with the game.

One note: this isn't mentioned in the manual, but to skip the slow-scrolling tutorial text you can press the shift button.

Name: Gems
Developer: GameCave
Category: Puzzle
Type: Freeware
Size: 7 MB

Pictured right, a new screenshot from Crazy Patterns. [Clean Asia review, past projects by cactus]

Here's an excellent article about roguelike games by The Codex, entitled Rogue Like Treasure.

A page with screenshots and descriptions for each playable entry in the latest 3Punge competition can be found here. Unfortunately most of the games require the installation of RPG Maker XP. [RPG Maker XP download page]

Trouble in Cloudland updated to version 1.1. [Trouble in Cloudland download page, a selection of Autofire 2007 compo entries]

Two screenshots from both the upcoming Raid on Bungeling Bay remake and original.


Sunday, March 25, 2007
Twenty of the best freeware shooters released in 2006 and early 2007, ordered alphabetically.
[Top 50 shmups page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, the entire list]

1. Ablation
2. Blue Wish Resurrection
3. Clean Asia
4. Demolition Gunner
5. End Effector: Accomplished Edition
6. Ether Vapor
7. Gamma Bros.
8. Mogura 2
9. Titanion
10. Vacant Ark

1. Ablation

Ablation is basically a four color vertical shooter with an interesting concept. Touching a white bomb neutralizes all projectiles, while activating a black one destroys every object in range. Collect power-ups for a firepower upgrade. Controls are:

Left CTRL, Z, Space - shoot
F5, F6 - change window size
P - pause

Black pixels do no damage, though contact with a white pixel will cause your ship to lose one power-up degree. Destroy an enemy's weak point for a special core bonus.

Name: Ablation
Developer: Nenad
Size: 7.50 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top

2. Blue Wish Resurrection

Blue Wish Resurrection is a vertical shooter by x.x that features two ships to choose from, three difficulty levels and five stages with obligatory end-level bosses.

There's an autobomb option in the config screen, and pressing space will bring you back to the main menu even when you're playing. The Heaven difficulty is probably too easy for most players, while Normal is the best one to start with. Health indicators are shown for large enemies to help you gauge the amount of damage they can take.

Name: Blue Wish Resurrection
Developer: x.x
Size: 56.5 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top

3. Clean Asia

Part Warning Forever, part Tumiki Fighters, all style. In Clean Asia, the eyes of mankind has decided to leave their hosts and take over the earth. Their first move was to escape to the moon, where they developed their hostile weapon technology. Ten years later they return and forcefully take over some prominent countries in Asia. Thailand and New Korea has both succumb to the hostile threat, while China insists on dealing with the eyes themselves and refuses any helping hands from around the world.

America sends a pair of pilot twins with extraordinary sixth senses to battle against the evil eyes. They both have designed their own space ships that seems to be about the only thing in existance that can be used to battle these terrible fiends.

It has three levels and two selectable ships with distinct controlling differences and abillities, fourteen bosses and ten regular enemies.

Name: Clean Asia
Developer: cactus
Size: 5.62 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top

4. Demolition Gunner

Think Under Defeat, but with 2D sprites. Demolition Gunner: In Search and Destroy was originally developed for a three minute gameplay competition, then turned into a complete production featuring seven stages and obligatory boss encounters.

These battles last only twenty seconds each, so there won't be much of a struggle beating them assuming that you're good at dodging an insane number of bullets. Press the Z key to shoot, or hold the X key for a few seconds before releasing the button to launch a napalm bomb.

Name: Demolition Gunner
Developer: DHC
Size: 11.2 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top

5. End Effector: Accomplished Edition

End Effector Accomplished Edition is another superb freeware shooter from Japan that actually showcases 3D graphics for sprites and backgrounds, although gameplay is still very much on a flat 2D plane.

Textures are poor but that's practically the only drawback of an otherwise excellent shmup. The Z key is assigned as the cancel/secondary button, while the X key is used for selection and shoot. Pressing the C key will bring up a menu. Hold the Z key for a few seconds to charge your special weapon.

No power-ups to collect as you're already equipped with a powerful charge weapon that can be used like a slingshot. The first level is quite plain, but things do pick up after the initial boss battle.

Name: End Effector: Accomplished Edition
Developer: KMC
Size: 69.1 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top

6. Ether Vapor

Ether Vapor is a 3D shooter that looks very impressive, with plenty of special effects and cutscenes to set up boss fights. The action switches from vertical to horizontal halfway through the demo, practically offering two types of gameplay for the price of one.

Three weapons are available to the player but only one can be used at any time. Enemies do look a little bland with gray as their primary texture color but credit to Edelwiss for squeezing in so much into a 15.5MB trial version.

Name: Ether Vapor
Developer: Edelwiss
Size: 17.9 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top

7. Gamma Bros.

The name Gamma Bros sounds like a platformer but it is in fact a shooter. Use the W, A, S or D key to shoot in any of the four directions. Collect coins to purchase upgrades or health, and get close to an enemy to fire rapidly. You can change characters by touching your partner's ship when it appears on the screen.

A password save function is available, allowing players to continue from the last stage attempted. Access it by pressing the arrow keys while viewing the main menu. There's a Mac version as well.

Name: Gamma Bros.
Developer: Pixeljam Games
Size: 19.5 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top

8. Mogura 2

Mogura 2 is an excellent shmup by Krobon Station, featuring two characters with different abilities and weapons. Both gets a standard shield which can be activated using the X key. Hold the Z key to shoot, and tap the C key to initiate a special attack. Press the left control key to change the way your weapon operates.

A tutorial can be accessed from the main menu by selecting the third option. The second offers a difficulty setting. After picking a character, you can choose to either start from the first level or continue from the last stage attempted.

Note: Installation can be a bit of a hassle but the effort is worth it. Rename the largest executable and cca file to the same name, then repeat for the smallest file. For example mogura2.exe, mogura2.cca, config.exe and config.cca.

Name: Mogura 2
Developer: Krobon Station
Size: 15.8 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top

9. Titanion

In Titanion, the ship you pilot has a capture beam that can be used to coax enemy craft to your side. These deserters will form a line formation and act as options, increasing your firepower in the process.

There is a standard level progression implemented, with all captured enemies retained from one stage to the next.

Name: Titanion
Developer: Kenta Cho
Size: 5.29 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top

10. Vacant Ark

Vacant Ark is a strange departure from standard horizontal shooters, featuring excellent sprite designs by Buster but employing a slightly awkward gameplay system. You can only store and use up to six bullets at any time, although this supply can be replenished by collecting blue gems from vanquished enemies.

You lose all your energy stock if an enemy bullet grazes your on-screen character. A life is lost if you have no energy left when receiving damage. Your pod can also turn enemy bullets into gems when not in use for a few seconds.

Each end level boss requires a different strategy to beat. Some weapons are more effective in certain situations. You can only progress to the next zone if none of the bosses escape.

Name: Vacant Ark
Developer: Buster
Size: 9.83 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top



More Curly Brace fan art... [Pondwater's web site, past projects, desktop wallpaper by Kyle T.]

Kaptain Brawe was recently picked up by a publisher and will be released as a full game. [Kaptain Brawe review]

Escort Wing 2 announced. [Escort Wing review]

Arsecast 007 is out.

Charlie's next project will be a vertical shooter with an underwater theme. [Bullet Candy web site]

Here's a video from Trigger Heart Exelica, a recent Dreamcast release.

"The game involves playing one of two anthropomorphic fighters to battle against five stages of enemy ships. Players can fire anchors to catch enemy ships, then use the caught unit as a shield or throw it to inflict more damage." [Trigger Heart Exelica front cover, back cover]

A collection of gameplay videos from Karous (Hard Mode) can be found at the Shmups Forum.

The playable demo for Die Feen should be out on the 31st of March.

mentisworks is currently developing a new game.

Veck 2 will be out next week. [latest post on smayds.com]

DROD: The City Beneath is set for a release next month.

Another one for the shooter fans, Crazy Patterns is a bullet dodging simulator with randomly generated patterns. Use the Z key to shoot, and the counter will increase accordingly when damage is inflicted. Hold the X key to activate the slow motion mode.

Name: Crazy Patterns
Developer: cactus
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB



Friday, March 23, 2007
Phantasmagoria of Flower View is a versus type shooter with Reimu, Marisa and Sakuya as initially playable characters, but the list adds on as the player progresses in the storyline. Playing as one of sixteen characters, you must battle your way through nine difficult encounters to uncover the truth behind an unnatural spring season.

The game most resembles Twinkle Star Sprites, where two equally matched characters fight head to head within individual and separate play areas. Upon meeting certain conditions, players are able to unleash a variety of character-specific Spell Attacks upon their opponents in an attempt to whittle down their remaining health points, in a manner not unlike a versus puzzle game such as Puyo Puyo.

ZUN's offering also features a Match Play Mode in which the player may face off against individual AI opponents or compete against other human players, as well as observe AI versus AI matches. With the netplay patch, multiplayer is also possible through LAN or over the Internet, although it has proven to be unstable, at best.

Name: Phantasmagoria of Flower View
Developer: Team Shanghai Alice
Category: Shooter
Type: Demo
Size: 30MB



Sub Atomic is a reimagination of Taito's The Electric Yo-Yo, but to access jph's remake the arcade classic has to be beaten first. Complete the game or use the insert and page up key combination to skip all three stages. A Sub Atomic executable file will be unlocked, decompressed and placed in the same game folder.

In the original, your objective is basically to clear the entire screen by moving your Yo-Yo over each block to remove them. Both creatures must be avoided, unless you've gained temporary invincibility by looping an energized brick. Earn more points by maximizing the distance travelled between two blocks.

The new version features six levels, with the additional ability of launching seekers bestowed upon your electric yo-yo. Use the control key to spawn a seeker at the cost of one charged dot, and they will target your nearest adversary. Press the shift key to make the seekers follow your yo-yo for a short while. Hold a directional arrow key to chase the nearest dot. An orange line at the top of the screen indicates the number of dots that you're required to collect in order to advance. The next phase is triggered when this line touches the word 'goal'.

Name: Sub Atomic
Developer: Jph Wacheski
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB



Thursday, March 22, 2007
Veck 2 gets two thumbs up from the creator(s) of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Here's an excerpt from the article:

....we'd like to call out a really nice example of exactly what we were talking about.

The game in question is Veck2, a rather kick ass top down shooter. You can see it here. I love the crazy particles flowing around the screen in the background. The enemy types are interesting, and there's generally been a lot of thought put into the concept.

Our hat is off to Smayds, good job man.

[Veck review]

The MAGI is a game about dueling wizards; you begin the game by creating a character, and you go through a series of battles, learning new spells and gaining more experience, until your ultimate battle with Death -- and chances are unless you gained a lot of experience along the way and lived for many years, you won't beat Death.

Its gameplay can be pretty addicting, particularly trying out new combinations of spells and stats; there's a deep strategy to it. The interface and what all the stats mean and what all the spells do can be a bit overwhelming at first, but there's a tutorial and help boxes so I managed to pick it up after a battle or two. It also has some of the best particle effects I've ever seen anywhere, and the game overall is very polished. I'm hoping for a more story-centric sequel to reveal more of the game's background setting and world, I find the idea of wizards fighting Death to find immortality dramatic.

Name: The MAGI
Developer: Tomek Grochowiak / TeeGee
Category: RPG/Strategy
Type: Shareware
Size: 14MB

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
More screenshots from Nenad's upcoming shooter. [preview two, additional media, Ablation, Deathchase UFO, Counterclockwise review]


ECD Systems is proud to announce the 2nd Annual Indie Game Showcase, a contest held online with the aim of providing more exposure to indie game developers.

Visitors to the website will be able to play the games and then vote on their favorites in two categories: general and casual. For each category, there will be a grand prize winner and three finalists. The award ceremony will take place at the Austin Games Conference in Austin, TX, September 5-7, 2007. The grand prize for each category is a fully configured high-end developer’s work station. Each finalist will receive an IPOD Nano plus other valuable prizes.

Participants can submit their games through the Indie Game Showcase site (www.indiegameshowcase.com). Games need to be a demo that runs on a PC platform. (The game itself can be intended for any platform.) Enter unpublished titles or titles that have been released in the last six months prior to March 9, 2007.

The deadline for submission is mid-July; however, the sooner the game is submitted, the more people will be able to vote on it. Voting begins May 1, 2007. A panel of judges will decide the winners and three finalists from the ten most popular games of each category.

Direct questions to Jim Feeney at jfeeney@ecdsystems.com or (508) 420-6990.

iceMice is a simple puzzler by GoGameGlad, featuring nine stages and a functional level editor to faciliate user creations. Collect all cheese in a room to reveal the exit, though certain obstacles require both mice to work together if a solution is to be achieved.

Future versions will include keyboard controls and more levels.

Name: iceMice
Developer: GoGameGlad
Category: Puzzle
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB

Perfect Cherry Blossom features three different playable characters to choose from, with two different Spell Card types each. Reimu Hakurei can weave through the smallest gaps with ease, and her attacks deal low to decent damage, depending on which type you use. Marisa Kirisame relies on her speed and power to compensate for her thin attack area, but the amount of power she wields is very considerable. Sakuya Izayoi has even wider and more versatile attacks than Reimu, but can be quite tricky to use and maneuver.

Almost every part of the game is linked with the 'Cherry Meter'. Shooting enemies increases your Cherry points, bombing or dying decreases your Cherry points, and reaching 50,000 Cherry points gives you a temporary shield. The higher the Cherry Gauge becomes, the more points you gain from Point Items.

Press the shift key to slow down the player's movement, makes the collision box visible and changing the properties of your attacks. When fighting a boss, a position marker shows up on the bottom margin of the screen, indicating where the boss is on the horizontal axis. Since your target can be completely obscured by bullets or darkness at times, use this marker to help you aim your shots. The marker will dim when the boss is being hit, and will flash red when her health bar gets sufficiently depleted.

Name: Perfect Cherry Blossom
Developer: Team Shanghai Alice
Category: Shooter
Type: Demo
Size: 10MB



Tuesday, March 20, 2007
A Ruff'n Tumble playable teaser was recently posted at the Retro Remakes forums. This demo consists of a small room with continually spawning enemies to shoot at. Use the arrow keys to move and hold the D key to fire. [older demo consisting of one full level and soundtrack preview in .ogg format]

Shezzor's remake of this Amiga platformer has been in development for four years now (one less than Cave Story). It's new features are:

- 640x480, 60fps (original version was 320x240, 25fps)
- improved graphics to complement the higher resolution
- parallax scrolling, new soundtrack by infamous
- coded in Blitz

The full freeware version will be released sometime this year. [Ruff'n Tumble screenshots, information page, gameplay video one, gameplay video two, boss battle, renders by kukerex]

Here's a wallpaper made from the vector image of Curly Brace. [mentisworks, Thruster preview]

Video footage of the complete awards ceremony (including the marriage proposal) will be downloadable from the GDC site soon.

There's a whole bunch of screenshots from Ether Vapor (a WIP with trial version available) posted on this site. [Ether Vapor review, download link]

Acidbomb 2 will be out before the end of March. The full version will feature roughly fifty levels and bonus content. [Acidbomb 2 preview]

Gesundheit! updated to version 1.0.1, save bug fixed. The lovely soundtrack is also available from the same page, nine songs conveniently zipped into one file for download. [Gesundheit review]

Two new Fester Mudd screenshots posted. [Fester Mudd preview]

The new site for Veck 2 is up. [Veck 2 screenshots]

Bernard and Hank 2: Springtime Again should out next week.

New Reunion gameplay video posted.

More wallpapers? How about one from The Underside... [Merry Gear Solid, The Underside preview]

Monday, March 19, 2007
The Marriage Rod Humble just released his experimental artgame The Marriage for public consumption. With no sound, no music, and barely-there graphics, this game is clearly not meant to dazzle your senses, but instead meant to intrigue your mind (and its low-fi nature is not a cop-out---Rod Humble's day job is at EA, so he has plenty of experience making high-fi games). The core question: What does the game mean? Rod answers that question somewhat on the download page, but I suggest you play the game before reading his explanation.

I have played The Marriage quite a bit, and so has my spouse. We've spent some time talking about what it might mean. The game, and my experience discussing it, have reminded me of experiences at galleries of modern art---for each piece, I stare at it, scratch my head a bit, and try to mine the piece for meaning of some kind. I'm also reminded of watching a David Lynch movie with friends---we'd spend the rest of the evening discussing what the movie might mean.

With The Marriage, we don't start that meaning-search empty handed. We've got the title, and we've also got Rod's one-liner: "The game is my expression of how a marriage feels."

I'm not sure if I will ever write a review of this one, because the game's success or failure depends so much on the player's personal temperament and taste. I'm posting it here as a point of discussion. Please add your thoughts in the comment roll over at Arthouse Games.

Name: The Marriage
Developer: Rod Humble
Category: Artgame
Type: Freeware
Size: 530 KB



Tails Gear is a new vertical shooter by Blue and White, featuring options which follow your ship and can be commanded to stay in a fixed position until recovered at a later time.

Hold the Z key to activate your secondary weapon and display the hit point. Colliding with enemy ships do not cause any damage, though the game doesn't seem to allow any input with a keyboard when the continue menu pops up. A joypad works fine though. Two stages only.

Name: Tails Gear
Developer: Blue and White
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB



Sunday, March 18, 2007
Deo Dorant is a brilliant tribute to the classic platformers of old, specifically Commander Keen and the Apogee releases. Character movement is a bit slow but everything else is a nod to maze explorations and precision jumps.

Navigate around the dungeon using the arrow keys, and press the enter key to activate switches. The protagonist can jump off the surface of molten lava pit once, but do watch out for dangerous pits sneakily placed in unsuspecting places.

Use the S or L key for save and load functions.

Name: Deo Dorant
Developer: Majs
Category: Platformer
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB

Saturday, March 17, 2007
New interview with Nifflas over at Planet Freeplay.

[Knytt, Within a Deep Forest review]



The premise of Scientology Pwned is to essentially shoot everything in sight. The single unobstructed map has four enemy generators that create progressively tougher enemies.

Use the arrow keys to move your character, and hold the control key to shoot. Your shooting direction will automatically lock when the control key is held down.

Alternatively, the shift key can be held to lock your shooting direction when the control key is not held down. Music was composed by Jonathan Mak, creator of Everyday Shooter.

Name: Scientology Pwned
Developer: Jerry Liang
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB

Aces High Over Verlor Island is a 3D top-down arcade shooter where you pilot a biplane, and compete against other people online or take on three different challenges. A few special maneuvers are at your disposal, and various power-ups occasionally appear in order to help you stay in flight.

Each of the three single player modes has an online high score board set up so that you can compete against others, and you can also compete directly with people in dogfights of up to eight people at once.

Name: Aces High Over Verlor Island
Developer: Martin Crownover
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB

Friday, March 16, 2007
Hive Mind is a decent shooter by jph which combines three different gameplay modes into one single package. Use the up arrow key to activate your thrusters, and hold the left or right arrow key to turn your ship in the intended direction. Press the down arrow key to stop your ship and make it stay in one position.

Hold the K key for a few seconds to charge your super shot, and press the J key to lock on to the nearest available target. The lock on button can be pretty useful during the hive mind phase. Destroy the core to initiate the third wave.

When the hive mind is vanquished, energy crystals will appear in it's previously occupied spot. Protect these crystals from space insects and they will turn into blue orbs when the next phase begins. Collect the orbs to increase your shield count, indicated by a blue gauge at the bottom right of the screen.

Name: Hive Mind
Developer: Jph Wacheski
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB



Gaism is a decent vertical shooter based on three minutes' worth of gameplay, featuring three short levels with adjustable an difficulty level to provide beginners and veterans an equal challenge.

The ship's cannon will always point in the opposite direction of your movement when the shoot key isn't held. Energy can be increased by collecting the yellow orbs, though firing will cause it to drop at a steady rate. A bar is deducted whenever your ship collides with any harmful objects or projectiles until none is left, which will cause the game to end.

Name: Gaism
Developer: Yamoto
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB

Thursday, March 15, 2007
The objective of Forward Always Forward is to collect all gems that each red turret yields when destroyed. Your shield level increases by one for every green crystal collected, up to a maximum of five. Gems do not disappear so you can backtrack at any time to replenish your shields.

Aiming is achieved by rotating your ship using the J and L keys. Hold the K key to shoot. Another version which allows the use of a mouse to aim can be downloaded from this page.

Name: Forward Always Forward
Developer: Jph Wacheski
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB



Strategic Oil Reserve is a decent Missile Command remake by jph which featured several new additions. Alien spacecrafts will navigate around your shots, and land fills can be used to provide further protection against enemy attacks. Use the middle mouse button to drop some additional dirt, padding the area around your oil reserves.

Name: Strategic Oil Reserve
Developer: Jph Wacheski
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB



More screenshots from Nenad's upcoming shooter. [additional media, Ablation, Deathchase UFO, Counterclockwise review]