Author Topic: Top ten games you've never heard of.  (Read 7679 times)

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Offline Blue-ninja

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Top ten games you've never heard of.
« on: October 10, 2007, 10:50:04 pm »
All right, this was on the GameInformer magazine a while back...issue #156 if you want to know. Anyways, I'll just copy it off the page and put it here for open discussion and criticism on some of the games listed.
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1 SOLDAT

www.soldat.pl

Developed by Michal Marcinkowski when he was still in high school, Soldat (released on the net in 2002) has consistently been one of the most popular freeware titles on the Internet. After playing the game for about five minutes, you'll quickly understand why: it's damn fun. Marcinkowski's basic premise was to take simple, 2D Worms-influenced level designs and gameplay, then infuse it with a greater degree of control and multiplayer modes from popular FPS series like Quake. After a quick bout of zooming around the levels via jetpack and unloading massive firepower on your foes, we guarantee you'll be hooked. For hardcores, there are numerous Soldat clans, mods, and forums, all easily found via Google or the Soldat home page.


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2 FACADE

www.interactivestory.net

While some games, like Soldat, are happy to provide us with nothing more killer gameplay, the experimental side of freeware community is well represented by Facade, an "interactive drama" created by AI researchers at the upstart company Procedural Arts. The game places the player at the center of a story about Trip and Grace, two disaffected friends whose marriage and urbane life distintegrates before your very eyes during the course of a dinner engagement in their upscale apartment. By typing in dialogue and using the mouse to interact with objects in the environment, you will eventually be forced to choose sides in the conflict and ultimately help determine the couple's fate. In gaming, where "adult" usually means Kojima's convoluted dialogue or GTA's prankish lad humor, Facade is shockingly well written and more than a little depressing. Not "fun" excactly, but a real revelation to anyone interested in just how emotionally gripping interactive media can be. Deservedly, Facade won the Grand Jury prize at the recent Slamdance festival.


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3 OCULAR INK

www.pistachioproductions.com

If you're sick of cliched game characters like soldiers, we've got a hero for you! Ocular Ink details the adventure of a detached eyeball armed with a paintbrush. While strange, the title features gameplay that manages to be innovative yet intuitive at the same time. While rolling your eyeball through top-down levels, you use the mouse to manipulate the paintbrush, which can fling objects and enemies in the environment by painting lines on the ground. Needless to say, the action quickly ramps up to a sublime level of chaos. Ocular Ink also displays a finely crafted, cel-shaded look and humorous dialogue. Of the more "experimental" games we've checked out, Ocular Ink is the most ready to make the leap into the realm of commercially released products, and would be a great fit for the DS.


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4 RUNESCAPE

www.runescape.com

A java-based MMORPG that operates on most Internet browsers, Runescape is an extremely long-running and successful shareware game. Recently, the amount of live players on Runescape eclisped the 185,000 mark -- a number envied by many commercially released MMOs. Originally released as 2D/3D sprite-based title, Runescape is now in full 3D, and offers such amenities as full camera control, friends and ignore lists, and a wide array of items, skills, and quests. Considering the amount of features and content available, along with the fact that it's exclusively browser-based, Runescape is one of the most impressive feats of programming ever. It's certainly not the most refined MMO, and the visuals are more Ultima than World of Warcraft, but it does provide most of the basics of the genre in suitable form. If you've been skeptical of the genre, Runescape is a great, no-cost opportunity to get your feet wet in online questing without shelling out a hefty sticker price and subscription fee. If you become hooked, a fuller-featured version of the game is available for the reasonable price of $5 a month.


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5 NARBACULAR DROP

www.nuclearmonkeysoftware.com

Don't judge Narbacular Drop by the screenshots (or its unwieldy name). What appears to be a slightly shabby looking platformer is actually one of the most creative action/puzzle games we've seen in ages. Developed by Nuclear Monkey Software and recently featured at the Slamdance festival, Narbacular Drop, like most great puzzle games, makes use of a concept that's both simple and incredibly deep. Here's the gist: you can place one blue and one red red gate almost anywhere in the environment.¬  When you walk into one, you will instantly walk out of the other one. By using this principle, you must navigate the main character through a series of increasingly complex 3D levels. It takes a while to understand just how this concept works in the game world, but once you get the hang of it, it's completely engrossing and impressibe in how much it changes the way you think about navigating the environments. You simply must experience the first time you see yourself going into one gate and coming out of the other side-by-side. Remember those pictures of a man watching a television broadcasting a picture of him watching television? Kind of like that, man...trippy.


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6 CLOUD

www.thatcloudgame.com

Created by students at USC's new, state-of-the-art Interactive Media Lab, Cloud is another game from the more esoteric fringe of the freeware universe. Interestingly, it's almost completely at odds with the current climate of video games, generating a mood that's at once calming and dreamlike, at the same time getting across a subtle message of ecological consciousness. This zen-like atmosphere is greatly enchanced by a gorgeous and meditative musical score. In terms of gameplay, it's a bit like a more diffuse, abstract Katamari Damacy -- you fly through the air, gathering up groups of clouds, internalizing them, then using them to form shapes in the sky. Although at times it feels more like an "experience" than a proper game, it's definetly something you owe it to yourself to investigate. Along with Facade, Cloud seems to point to a bright future for games, one that will be filled with a range of emotions far beyond what most commercial titles are capable of invoking.


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7 N

www.harveycartel.org/metanet

Not surpisingly, given the budget and personnel restraints that many upstart developers operate under, many of these titles take inspiration from old-school PC and arcade titles. One such is N, which is a clever and surprisingly addictive amalgamation of Lode Runner and Pac-Man, with some moder-day character control, animation, and physics modeling thrown in to make this game feel like much more than just the sum of its parts.Basically, you control a small stick figure...er...ninja (because, well, it's just cooler if you call it a ninja), and navigate through dozens of single-screen levels outfitted with labryinthine layouts and other extras like switches and jump pads. Along the way to the exit, you most collect as many small Pac-Man style pellets as possible. N is timeless fun, simple and well-crafted.


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8 STREET BIKE FURY

www.s64games.com

Eschewing the high-brow, philosophical bent of some of the student-created freeware games, Street Bike Fury is a product of the underground, homebrew development scene, and packed with loud, rude, and over the top thrills. Created by scene veteran Shawn Noel, Street Bike Fury was recently released to rave reviews on the popular freeware site Acid Play (www.acid-play.com). Bascially, it's simple and fast destruction. The game places you on a high-powered motorcyle, then sends you careening through a series of side-scrolling levels as you shoot down everything in sight. Using the mouse for aiming and the WASD keys for bike control, you'll set of a number of massive explosions and even trigger impressive scripted events. The environments, which are rendered through unique,¬  comic-book inspired visuals, are highly destructible.


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9 EPOCH STAR

www.epochstar.com

Epoch Star is an example of a game that, while not really pushing any left-field concepts, or truly innovative gameplay, managed to succeed by sheer craftsmanship and attention to detail in a genre that's largely been left by the wayside in gaming: A 2D, top-down space shooter in the vein of Asteriods or Star Control. It's pretty simple; you traverse through multiple galaxies by way of warps, using your mouse to target various enemy ships, and other dangers like asteriods. It's good fun, bit tje real addiction comes by way of the game's very robust upgrade and economics systems. When you dock at various space stations, you'll be able to buy new ships, engines, power-ups, and weapons. Overall, Epoch Star features a level of customization that rivals many currently released commercial products.


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10 STINKOMAN 20X6

www.homestarrunner.com/games

While many freeware games are overtly attempting to push the art of game design forward, Stinkoman, which runs on most browsers, instead looks back to the heyday of NES-era side-scrolling platformers like Mega Man and its ilk. Hosted by the popular Homestar Runner site, Stinkoman displays that site's goofy sense of humor. This is most evident in its dialogue, which is a satirical tribute to the often grammar-mangling Japanese-to-English dialogue translations of many popular 8-bit titles --¬  one example being the "Keep Try!" message that appears on the game over screen, Sure, the control won't put Super Mario Bros. 3 to shame, but it's quite entertaining, filled with funny characters and the requiste visual non-sequitors. It's definetly a good way to while a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, especially for those of us who grew up in the NES era.


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« Last Edit: October 11, 2007, 12:12:27 am by Blue-ninja »

Offline SadistAtHeart

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2007, 10:56:09 pm »
Facade was hilarious, I loved breaking my own "Get kicked out really fast" records.

Offline Spyder

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2007, 11:34:08 pm »
Runescape in top 10? You kidding me rite?

Offline BondJamesBond

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2007, 11:43:36 pm »
I do believe this is incredibly old. Maybe. I could be wrong. But I don't think I am.
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Offline bja888

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2007, 12:10:48 am »
I do believe this is incredibly old. Maybe. I could be wrong. But I don't think I am.

I was thinking the same thing.

Offline Blue-ninja

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2007, 12:14:50 am »
All right, I finished the list, and added small screenshot images.

This list was made in that said issue in April 2006.

Offline Svirin Kerath

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2007, 12:19:04 am »
Hahah! Stinkoman.. i need to play that again.
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Offline echo_trail

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2007, 02:17:07 am »
That cloud thingy seesm pretty cool.. I'm definitely trying that out when I get home!
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Offline InuYasha

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2007, 03:36:56 am »
OMFG THEY FORGOT MAPLESTORY!!!! NOOOO!!

Offline Tallacaps

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2007, 03:53:31 am »

Cave story?

Offline echo_trail

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2007, 04:30:10 am »
OMFG THEY FORGOT MAPLESTORY!!!! NOOOO!!

Just kill me allready! That game isn't fun at all.. I tried it out once, and frankly it made me feel offended :P

They could've added EVE though.
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Offline Zero72

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2007, 05:15:27 am »
Ah, yes, Facade. I've had some moments with that. I'll have to dig up some logs later.

God I love the music in the Stinkoman game. I wonder if the final level will ever actually come out.

Offline Dascoo

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2007, 06:02:09 am »
Why is Runescape there? Everyone knows about Runescape...

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Offline Henito Kisou

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2007, 06:21:13 am »
Strange, no one mentioned Notrium ?
http://www.monkkonen.net/notrium.php

Offline Rainbow Concussion

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2007, 06:26:58 am »
I think Gunbound should be somewhere on that list. Much better than Runescape honestly.
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Offline SDFilm

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2007, 07:50:09 am »
They forgot Uplink!

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Offline Kszchroink

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2007, 08:45:41 am »
OMFG THEY FORGOT MAPLESTORY!!!! NOOOO!!

Just kill me allready! That game isn't fun at all.. I tried it out once, and frankly it made me feel offended :P

They could've added EVE though.

You don't find maplestory fun (it isn't fun)... but you like EVE online?
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Offline Blue-ninja

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2007, 02:21:27 pm »
Why is Runescape there? Everyone knows about Runescape...

GameInformer answered a fan's question about Runescape. As quoted:

Quote
It isn't surprising that people who are already a part of the online freeware community are familiar with Runescape. You are correct to point out that the game is fairly high-profile among those "in the know," but there are many gamers out there who rarely venture beyond their controller tethered to a home console. We simply wanted to spotlight those accessible and fun alternative gaming options; the aim of the article wasn't to unearth the most obscure and underground titles on the Internet.
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OMFG THEY FORGOT MAPLESTORY!!!! NOOOO!!

And in the same reply paragraph by GI:

Quote
However, we know the list was far from comprehensive, and we received a mound of letters suggesting other games that should have made the final cut. So, if you're craving even more of the unique flavor these games provide. check out one of these recommendations from your fellow GI readers:

Lands of Hope (www.fh02.com)
Gunbound (www.gunbound.net)
Maple Story (www.mapleglobal.com)
Little Fighter 2 (www.lf2.net)
Future Pinball (www.futurepinball.com)
Rubies of Eventide (www.eventide.net)
Astonia 3 (www.astonia.com)
Cyber Nations (www.cybernations.net)
StepMania (www.stepmania.com)

Offline Dascoo

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2007, 02:25:18 pm »
Are you kidding me? Everyone in my¬  elementary school knew about Runescape, and at my brothers school in Toronto it was the same. It was like the new Habbo Hotel.

It's bull [pigtail] ¬ that it's on this list. Especially the number 4 spot.

EDIT: Same with my friend who lived in another province!

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Offline Blue-ninja

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Re: Top ten games you've never heard of.
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2007, 02:29:08 pm »
Have you even done programming? Runescape is impressive not by it's graphics and choppy animation, but by a huge inventory of items, skills, and friends list. Plus the fact that's it's browser-based and took a hella programming to do.

So if you've DONE programming before, appreciate the work the JageX team has done, for they aren't really computer programmers with yellow cum-stains on every one of their white shirts.

To put it bluntly, they have done more with the game than you have done with your entire life.