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Kev’s Slog #5, posted by Kevin Lew

Steam is very careful about protecting certain parts of their system, such as their database and such.  Steam updates are frequently picked apart by gamers and sometimes Valve intentionally trolls gamers that keep trying to dig through it looking for “scoops”.

There’s other areas that nobody wants to look at, and this information is hilariously out in plain sight.  Steam often releases information there and nobody ever looks at it.  Seeing games there doesn’t confirm a release date, but it does mean it’ll come out in six months or less, with less being more true.

Last week, for example, I knew that Girls Like Robots was coming out along with some others, but by the time I could write about it, these games were released.  If you’re wondering, Girls Like Robots is a puzzle game and I’m ashamed to say it, but I’m awful at the game.  I can’t get a perfect score on the demo, and I feel like I should take a remedial class in puzzle-solving.

Here’s some games that are definitely coming out in the next six months on Steam.  Some of these games should make you excited, I think:
* Black Mesa
* Distance (but this may be for the alpha)
* The Yawhg
* Tower Of Guns

Of all of these, Black Mesa has got to be the biggest one.  I suspect that it’ll come out in the summer.  I won’t describe Black Mesa because, come on, it’s Black Mesa.  By the way, you may need to buy Black Mesa because it won’t technically be a mod anymore.

Distance is a retro-based racer that had a difficult but successful Kickstarter.  Most of the game critics seem to like it.  The game is expected to release the alpha copy to backers very soon.

The Yawhg is a short, simple, and dark adventure game.  The idea is that you play a character living in a town, and nobody realizes that the Yawhg–a monster of unspeakable power–is coming to destroy everything.  The game has a very haunting soundtrack.  The game has been out for a very long time, and it has gotten moderately favorable reviews.

Tower of Guns is a procedurally generated shooter.  It’ll be similar to Paranautical Activity, but it won’t be voxel based and it looks like it’ll be more about shooting and looting.  The videos make it look interesting, and I think it has a better design than Paranautical Activity does.


I was going to write “Year Walk” in the above list, but today the developer announced the release date:  March 6.  It’s about the player going on a vision quest called a Year Walk.  It’s spooky as you can get, because you must walk around the woods in the middle of the night.   The game doesn’t use dead bodies or blood everywhere to drive the fear.  Again, you’re doing a Year Walk to find answers, but sometimes learning the truth can be worse than not knowing at all.  The game is very short, but I really want to play it.

On a totally unrelated note, I also recommend that you check out Fran Bow and Neverending Nightmares.  Both of these games are approved for Steam but haven’t been released yet.  I think both of these games have the potential of being very good games.

I need to mention a slight tangent.  Today, modern horror games are nothing but crazy men with giant axes chasing you.  Blood, dead bodies, and horrible violence drives the fear.  For example, “The Evil Within” coming August 26 on Steam is exactly this.  I hate to say it, but this seems like really lazy writing, and it feels like something derived from old teen slasher movies.

Fran Bow is about a girl whose parents are brutally murdered.  Fran is convinced that it was a demon of some kind that did it.  The police and social services believe that she’s suffering from intense trauma, so she’s sent into a mental institute.  But here’s the thing.  It becomes slowly obvious that the calm, clean environment of the hospital is filled with lies.  Fran decides that she has to escape.  To help her, Fran can take medicine that lets her travel to a parallel nightmare dimension, which looks exactly like the same world but everything is covered in blood and death.  The odd thing is that while the “real” world is full of lies, the nightmare world tells only truths.

To me, this game gets the horror done right.  For example, Fran keeps a picture from the past, a photo of her parents and herself, and they are all smiling on a sunny day.  If you enter the nightmare realm and look at the picture, somebody has taken a red marker and put “X” marks over your parents.  There’s also a crudely written message:  “I’M COMING TO KILL YOU.”

Neverending Nightmares is a game written by the same developer that created Retro/Grade which is still available on Steam now.  Retro/Grade wasn’t badly reviewed, however, it was not popular at all and it lost money.  The developer Matt Gilgenbach had put everything he could into that game and he ended up losing everything, including his pride.  Matt went into a deep depression and he began thinking about committing suicide.  He was saved by his friends and family, but he wanted to tell people about the nightmares he had…  That is, what it’s like to slowly lose control and you start thinking about killing yourself.

Neverending Nightmares became the game based on what he experienced.  While the game does use a few jump scares, a majority of the horror is different from other games or movies.  The game heavily implies that the player is the monster.  You’ll see the character commit terrible acts of violence, and many times it is against himself.  You can see violent murder happen in so many video games, but I think it is far more disturbing to see a character intentionally hurting themselves.


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