Near Death - interior
Review

Near Death is a little too numb

Near Death begins when a woman crashes at the abandoned Sutro Station in the Marie Byrd Land region of Antarctica. There is no ceremonious setup, only the bare-bones facts of her situation: the temperature, the location, the condition of polar night, and the wind chill. She fumbles through the dark with the dim glow of a flashlight before finding one of the buildings of Sutro Station and uses a small personal heater to circulate warmth. Her situation only worsens as her contact cannot extract her in extreme conditions, and she resolves to find some way to survive or escape before…

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News

Hyaline plans to bring more empathy to the survival game genre

A collection of game creators from Australia are trying to build a new planet. Nothing as expansive as No Man’s Sky has promised, but instead taking cues from survival games like Don’t Starve (2013) to create a world that is as dangerous as it is beautiful, and full of life that you can’t just hack your way through. Producer Rose Morgan has been working on Hyaline—the planet, not the game, though it will spring from the same world-building effort—for the better part of 10 years. According to the game’s website, it’s a “super-Earth that orbits a G0 star,” with rocky rings…

Overland
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Overland is the road trip from hell, but it’s okay, there are dog friends

Finji showed off a new trailer for their upcoming game Overland yesterday as part of the PC Gaming Press Conference at E3. In order to be both accessible and complex, Overland has pared the tactics genre down significantly. It plays out on a series of nine-by-nine grids, where your squaddies have around three health tops, can usually perform two actions per turn, and—whether it’s a machete or a medkit—can carry only one item at a time. There’s a lot of tense counting out steps Each turn feels like a puzzle—how will we keep quiet and still collect the gas we…

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Before gets NSFW in its latest update (but it’s still beautiful as heck)

Before is a new spin on the survival game from Rust developer Facepunch Studios where, rather than controlling a single character, players must lead a whole tribe of cave people to survive in an intimidating post-Ice Age world. Up until now, we’ve had a few opportunities to gawk at the game’s naturalistic vistas and see early glimpses of how the player’s tribespeople interact with both the environment and each other. But thanks to a new update over on Before’s blog, we now have a better idea of the specifics on how they’ll live and fight in this still young society.…

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News

Did Rust just become the first transgender MMO?

Unlike many other online multiplayer games, Rust doesn’t give players any control over what their character looks like. Instead, it randomly generates a set of features and ties them permanently to the player’s Steam account. This means that, even if they leave the game, their character will look the same when they return. It’s a fitting choice, given how primal the world of the survival-based Rust is. Just as in real life, Rust doesn’t let you choose what you want to look like, but instead spits you out naked into its world with a body you had no say in, and tells…

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No Man’s Sky finally revealing its mysteries when it launches this June

It’s been a little over two years since ambitious space exploration game No Man’s Sky, with its “planet-sized planets” and “universe-sized universe,” was first announced back in December of 2013. Since then, the game’s trailers and various press showings have been great at capturing the imagination, but haven’t exactly shown us too much of just what this game is about. What’s there to do in this massive universe? What sort of creatures and people live in it? What’s this all leading up to? As with J.J. Abrams and his mystery box, part of the excitement of No Man’s Sky comes…

dangerous writing app
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New writing app deletes your work if you don’t concentrate

I’ve never been a writing-within-hours-of-the-deadline type of person. In college, I was probably an anomaly of a student. I’d write my papers in advance, then pop into my professors’ office hours for feedback before turning in a final draft. Some peers called me an overachiever. Others had no idea how I could ever not write a paper the night before it was due, fueled by Five Hour Energy Shots and Totino’s Pizza Rolls. The answer was always simple: I set myself early personal deadlines because I’m easily distracted, and needed the extra time to slowly gnaw away at a project. That’s…

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Creators of The Novelist want you to avoid freezing to death next

Orthogonal Games, the studio behind 2013’s The Novelist, has announced its next project, called Near Death. It presents a simple premise: Your plane has crashed in Antarctica. You’re cold, you’re alone, and it’s dark. There’s an abandoned research station within walking distance. Try not to die. It’s an effective hook, evoking the excitement and immediacy of the first BioShock‘s (2007) opening sequence, in which the game’s protagonist finds himself half-drowned in the middle of the Atlantic only to see a mysterious lighthouse in the water nearby. The major difference is that Near Death has no Rapture (the game’s underwater city) for its protagonist to…

The Flame in the Flood
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The Flame in the Flood’s post-disaster journey begins on February 24th

Boy, videogames sure do want out of the narrow, crate-filled corridors of their youth, nowadays! First-person hiking simulator Firewatch has been receiving critical praise all week, in no small part because of its beautiful renditions of the American Northwest. Now The Flame in the Flood, a game about a little girl surviving a post-disaster America, is also striking out for the wilderness with a release date: it’ll be out on February 24th for Windows, Mac, and Xbox One. But it isn’t emotional hardship behind Scout, the young protagonist of The Flame in the Flood; it’s torrential rains, which will be…