I’m not much of a gamer at all these days, but I do get the occasional Steam game when there’s a good offer (the christmas sales), and play them when I take some time off my usual schedule. I’ve been a bit under the weather this past week, which I’ve used as a flimsy excuse to play a few games I got in the Humble Freedom Bundle. I say a few.
I mean 62 games.
For about £25.
Including some of the best indie games of recent years.
And %100 of the money goes to charities – ones that are proving vital in battling the rising fascism, inhumanity and stupidity that we are currently experiencing.
This is an important move from the gaming community, who hold much responsibility for the rise of the ‘alt-right’, which was foreshadowed by gamergate and perpetuated by many of the same losers. I mean people, sorry. Insults probably do more harm than good, but it’s hard to avoid the assessment that most of these people’s insane right-wing views are are fuelled by a bitterness that has twisted their perception of the world (coupled of course, with very poor sources of information). So to call them losers is probably to throw more fuel on the fire. But that’s not to say it’s not accurate. They won’t read this anyway… Nevertheless, it’s clear that in recent years they have done much to take the Gamers’ hard won acceptance into the mainstream and drag it back into the swamp. That’s one reason why this act of mass charity seems so important. This sense of collective responsibility from the best indie developers for the worst parts of their community is surely why this unprecedented deal exists. That so many of them are donating their games to help causes that specifically oppose the aims of the ‘alt-right’ sends a strong and necessary message. And they’ve raised over 6 million dollars already – clearly they are being heard. So if you use Steam at all it’s kind of a no-brainer (and if you don’t, I recommend it and this is a very affordable way to get started), but with less than 20 hours left to get this deal as I’m writing, you’d better hurry. My words here will be irrelevant very soon, but what else is new.
I’ve tried out around 20 of the games in the bundle, and that’s still less than ⅓ of them. But that still feels like more than enough to last me for several years. There is undoubtably some very good stuff here – so far I recommend these:
Super Hexagon – Brilliantly simple and addictive, played in very short bursts but you just have to restart as quickly as possible just to keep that music going. Seriously, that music. It’s leaking into my dreams.
The Stanley Parable – More of an experience than a game, but a great one. A meta-game. I won’t say too much, you have to find out for yourself.
Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball – Old-school style FPS reimagined as dodgeball. Roller disco dodgeball. With robots. Lots of fun with a controller.
Potatoman Seeks the Troof – Seemingly simplistic sidescroller that messes about with all the rules. Breathtakingly innovative at times, and funny too.
Super Meat Boy – The only game in this massive package that I already owned, it’s good though. You play as a bit of meat.
World of Goo – Innocent and charming tower building with blobs of good. Not very far into it but promising so far.
Nuclear Throne – Only had a quick go but the gameplay is very satisfying.
The Swapper – Brilliantly atmospheric. You have to keep cloning yourself to progress, which is proving to be as great and as troubling as it sounds.
Stardew Valley – This is one of those games where you wander around a village, talk to people, grow crops on your farm, etc. I’m not sure if I’m into that sort of thing. Seems a little long-winded – then again the original Pokemon games are not dissimilar and among my favourites so I’ll give this one a chance. It’s wittier than most and the sound design is amazing – the problem is I probably just don’t have the time to put into it.
Ninja Pizza Girl – Fun so far, free-running platformer. Though I’m not that good at it yet.
VVVVVV – Only played the first level, but this seems like another simple, brilliantly innovative game with great music. How is it that music is often the best thing in most games and the worst thing in most films? Maybe an exaggeration, maybe not. Retro games and electronic music are a sort of perfect combination. There’s too much sway towards the orchestral in film, music that is already beautiful and complete, and so clashes with the images, emotional overload. I think films need to use ‘uglier’ music more. I’ve gotten a bit off track here. It’s something I think about a lot and no one agrees with me.
Invisible Inc. – Very well reviewed, this seems promising from the first go. Turn-based play gives it the tactical appeal of a board game. I think the cutscenes are a bit naff but that’s probably because this is one of the more mainstream games in this package and cutscenes in mainstream games are invariably atrocious. They should just stop doing them. They’re trying to be films and doing them badly. Stop it. Be games instead.
That’s just a handful of them, not even mentioning The Witness, the most hyped and expensive of the lot – full price it would cost £30, more than this whole bundle. I’m very eager to play this. It’s from the makers of Braid, which is one of the most fiendishly brilliant games I’ve played. The small problem for me is that, along with a few other titles in this bundle, it’s only currently available for Windows, and I don’t have a computer running Windows at the moment. Which is a shame, But it’s likely just because it’s still quite a recently released and hasn’t been ported to Mac yet. Apparently it’s coming soon, and now that I own it on Steam I’ll be able to access it then. There is plenty to keep me occupied til then, especially seeing as I’m not a gamer at all really. Really, I’m not. I shouldn’t even be writing this, I’m not qualified. I suppose I could just play it on somebody else’s PC if I run out of patience…
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