Ludic Linux

  • Stellaris

    Oh shit, it's 5am

    Stellaris represents a determined effort on the part of Paradox to take what people love about Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV — the complexity and emergence, the intrigue, the weirdness and the sense of telling your own story — and bring it to a wider audience by making it more accessible.

    It’s a tough thing to do as, to a great extent, what made those games difficult to approach was also what, further down the line, made them interesting. Can Paradox really simplify something like that without compromising its fundamental identity and losing what it essentially is?

    In short; yeah they can and have. But of course it’s a little more complicated than that …


    It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years

    I need to get this out of the way at the start: SUPERHOT is beautiful.

    I’m partial to constructivist and suprematist art so maybe I’m influenced by that — the explosions of red polygons, the solid black weapons and white ground make screenshots look like artworks by Rodchenko, Lissitzky or Malevich — but this game really is aesthetically stunning. There’ve been times when I’ve died because I was so distracted by the beauty of the scene before me that I failed to notice the bullet about to enter my face.

    SUPERHOT is a first person shooter with the central conceit that time only moves when you do (which isn’t quite true, time moves very very slowly when you’re stationary) allowing the player to pull off some crazy John Woo-esque moves that wouldn’t be possible in a normal shooter. Punch a man in the face, grab his gun from the air as he drops it, shoot him with his own gun, turn 180°, throw the gun in the air and punch the man who was behind you in the face after side-stepping the bullet he just fired, turn to your left and catch the gun you threw, shoot the man to your left and so on.

  • OpenVPN for Gaming

    How I got it set up

    I’m no expert, certainly not in networking, so this isn’t so much a HowTo as a HowIDid. I’ll show you how I set up OpenVPN to allow my friends and I to play old ass games that only work on LAN (in our case, Titan Quest and a spot of FlatOut 2, both via Wine in my case, of course). This solution works for games which rely on UDP broadcast (i.e. games where you can’t just enter a direct IP, you have to look for games on the local network).

  • Snakebird

    Has genetic science gone too far?

    Snakebird is an absurdly cute abstract puzzle game. It’s one of the hardest puzzle games I’ve ever played, second only to the how-did-a-human-being-make-this-thing SpaceChem. Snakebird’s difficulty doesn’t derive from complexity — all you can do is move one of up to three snakebirds in one of four directions — it’s about abstract logic and creative thinking.

    And it really is preposterously cute. Just look at this little fella:

  • Grow Home

    The joy of sandbox

    Grow Home is ostensibly a game about growing a plant in order to get home. And also collecting things. None of that is why you keep playing though, that’s not what it’s really about.

    More than anything, Grow Home reminds me of Just Cause 2.

  • Victor Vran

    Why did it have to be snakes spiders?

    Victor Vran is an ARPG (the devs have even added “ARPG” to the game’s name on Steam, so you can be sure). As such you will be killing a lot of spiders and skeletons (some of whom will be wearing bowler hats). This game has so many spiders that it pushed the average leg-count of enemies up to nine. One cave in particular housed such a huge number of spiders that it crashed my co-op partner’s game (this was during early access, don’t worry).

    To best highlight some of the things Victor Vran does right, I need to outline a few things ARPGs often do wrong…

  • OpenMW (& Morrowind)

    Why they're both amazing

    There’s a certain type of gamer. They played Morrowind at some impressionable time in their lives and fell in love with it. They spend their time on forums and in chat rooms trying, any time it’s mentioned, to convince people that Morrowind is the greatest game ever made and, importantly, why it’s so much better than Oblivion and Skyrim. They wander like hungry ghosts, craving an understanding they never see and dying a little more each time someone says “yeah, sure, but the combat was better in Skyrim”.

    Occasionally they meet another like them and feel an immediate bond, a kinship with this person. Until their new friend reveals that they were a member of House Telvanni. Dirty slaver wizard scum.

  • A Game of Armello

    When you play the game of Armello, you either win or you don't

    Armello is a boardgame played on computer, if you can imagine such a thing. It takes place in a fairytale kingdom populated by anthropomorphic animals who compete with each other to become monarch in what seems to be a very unsustainable governmental system. The game encourages both straightforward combative play and devious skulduggery.

    It’s difficult to usefully describe a game like this; I can tell you that it’s a boardgame-like game which takes place on a hex board with card-based character progression and dice-roll combat, but you could get that information from a screenshot. So how about I play a game and take you through it?

  • Thea: The Awakening

    Non-linear survival strategy steeped in Slavic mythology

    If your first reaction to “roguelike city-builder” is “what?” then we’re in the same boat.

    The devs of Thea: The Awakening recently made us a free Linux version because they’re not (yet) willing to officially support it. I asked them whether there’s going to be an official Linux release at any point and they were understandably (they’re upfront about their lack of Linux experience) non-committal but they did intimate that they intend to keep updating the Linux version:

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