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Things I saw at the Boston Festival of Indie Games

Candlelight Screenshot

A while back I took a quick swing up to MIT to check out the Boston Festival of Indie Games, which was a neat little show I really enjoyed visiting. Of course, as an indie show it had its fair share of games that needed tons of work or were just hopeless, but I got my hands on several really neat games, too.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 97: The Sex Show

This week we talk about sex and romance in games, who gets it, who doesn't, and how it can be better incorporated in the future. Plus we dish on the recent PAX Prime. If nothing else, I promise that you will never look at an iPad the same way again. Featuring Chi Kong "Approval Points" Lui, Brad Gallaway, Sinan Kubba, Richard Naik, and Samantha Allen.

00:00-00:12 - Intros and Pax discussion

00:12-00:16 - Getting to know Samantha

00:16-01:41 - Sexy time: discussion of existing games that depict sex/romance

01:41-01:50 - How can games improve these depictions?

01:50-01:59 - What would a true erotic game look like?

01:59-close - Thumbs

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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 96: The Listener Created Show

This week we put the fate of our show in the hands of our listeners and came up with a bevy of hot topics, from the Xbox 180 to the distinction between AAA and Indie games. Featuring Richard Naik, Brad "Doesn't Know What a Conch Is" Gallaway, Chi Kong "No Menus" Lui, Michael Cunningham, and Ashley King.

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Toki Tori 2 Review

Engage All the Learning

Toki Tori 2 Screenshot

HIGH Pulling off a complex series of environment manipulations without a hitch the first time.

LOW Knowing just enough of a puzzle solution's to solve it wrong. For hours.

WTF Some of the photographs have to be taken before the player is taught the photograph song.

The Walking Dead: 400 Days Review

A Shift in Perspective

The Walking Dead: 400 Days Screenshot

HIGH "Would you rather…"

LOW Wyatt's lightweight story.

WTF We don't see any of what happened after the stories but before the epilogue?

Interview with Pagoda West's Jared Kasl and Tom Fry

Major Magnet Screenshot

Pagoda West are a small independent studio who rose from the ashes of now defunct fan-game Sonic 2 HD. If that wasn't strange enough, they've just released their first game—poles of attraction platformer Major Magnet. I spent some time talking to two thirds of the team, Jared Kasl and Tom Fry, to hear about the process of making a first game, how magnets work, and why The Ren & Stimpy Show is such an influence.

Extra Credits: Differences in Scale vs Differences in Kind

Extra Credits looks at employing scale (i.e. more enemies) and tone to break up gameplay and maintain a player's interest level. Extra Credits' example of a game that got this right was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare—who knew that Call of Duty could be the game to actually teach us something?

Dungeon Hearts Review

Frayed at the Edges

Dungeon Hearts Screenshot

HIGH Pulling off a screen-clearing, game-changing combo is especially awesome when lives are on the line.

LOW Matching three chargers into an attack gem…right before it hits the edge of the screen and disappears. (This happens a lot.)

WTF I have enough power to use the Fighter's super move on this dinosaur twice! WHY WON'T IT DIE?!

Sparky's Games of PAX East 2013

Guacamelee Screenshot

I typically go to a lot of panels at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East, but this year relatively few of the offerings interested me (and some of the interesting ones were on simultaneously). So, I spent a lot of time on the show floor. The only major publisher I really visited was Ubisoft, where I learned that Might & Magic X will be coming this year and has a huge, wasteful UI. I spent most of the rest of my time in the Indie Megabooth and environs, both because this is a more efficient use of time and you're more likely to actually see the games and talk to somebody interesting there.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 88: A New Era, Monster Hunter, and Broken Games

Where one story ends—sorry Aliens: Colonial Marines Wii U—another begins anew. Welcome to the new, but pretty damn familiar GameCritics.com podcast with brand new co-host Sinan Kubba of Joystiq—yes, co-host—more details inside... Join Sinan and regular ruffians Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, Chi Kong Lui, and Brad "The Guy You Know" Gallaway as they summarize GDC and PAX East in two seconds, explore the depth of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, sink to the depths of Aliens: Colonial Marines, and fathom how the growing prevalence of broken-at-launch games is hurting the industry. All this and more in a GameCritics.com podcast episode that will rewrite history, woo-oo.

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