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E3 2018 diary, day two: Zombies, zombies, and more bloody zombies

Here’s our round-up of some of the things we saw and did on day 2 of E3 2018. Mostly we played zombie games, for some reason.

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E3 2018 Overkills the Walking Dead

Here’s our round-up of some of the things we saw and did on day 2 of E3 2018. Mostly we played zombie games, for some reason.

Evening, nerds. This E3 2018 diary is coming to you a little later in the day because we’ve been hanging out at The Mix, an indie event that featured indie games, snacks and drinks on the roof of a downtown LA hotel. The roof also has a swimming pool on it, so we’re counting that as a rooftop LA pool party. No we didn’t go in; we’re not really the skinny dipping types, and we’re pretty sure the security guards would’ve thrown us out. Anyway.

This morning was less eventful than yesterday. Nobody lost anything on the way to the convention centre (or indeed, before we left for the convention centre) so travel went off without a hitch. This was good, as our rescheduled appointment from yesterday – to see Dying Light 2, with Techland – was at 9am.

Zombie game count so far: 1.

Once we had changed our underwear, we head over to the Sony press area, in which we play Spider-Man, simultaneously. We are Spider-Men, if you like. As ever, we’ll have detailed thoughts on all the things we played over the next few days, but in short, Spider-Man is as impressive as it looks.

Next, we played Days Gone which, as hard as we try to take it seriously, always seems to descend into Benny Hill with zombies. We’re sure it’s a very serious horror game but the “Oh cock, my traps didn’t work and now a horde of fast zombies is chasing me round and round a parked truck” never ceases to be hilarious. We don’t know if “hilarious” is the tone they’re going for. It has a nice motorcycle, though.

Zombie game count for the day: 2.

Next up, we visited the Indiecade area, a collection of indie games on the E3 show floor. Which, incidentally, is pronounced in-dee-cay-de, not in-dee-cah-day – the person we know who pronounces it that way knows who they are. There were lots of interesting things on show there, with a surprisingly high number of VR games; indie devs seem to be embracing virtual reality for more experimental titles, even if mainstream publishers are struggling to tap that market effectively.

The giant chopstick food preparation game looked like fun, but we spent the most time with Desert Child, a hoverbike racing game combined with a management simulator. The aim of the game is to build your wealth and fame as a hoverbike racer so that you can resettle in a new life on Mars. We resist saying “Get your ass to Mars” to the booth demonstrator every time the objective comes up. We can’t say for sure if the presenter knows that we’re biting our tongue, but we think it’s probably appreciated. It’s also got a really nice custom arcade cabinet on the show floor, and a fun, competitive two-player mode.

We retire to the media room to write up some stories, like this one on the influences behind Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Once again, we eat lunch boxes because they are available, in spite of not actually being hungry. Not everyone in the media room is working as hard as us, however, and we struggle to concentrate over the buzzword bingo, humble bragging, and out-and-out bragging going on nearby. Another journo, with whom we’ve been stoic, quiet table buddies with for a little while, rolls his eyes at us and pops in his headphones. Headphones help a little, but it’s still hard to concentrate.

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One of the team leaves the convention centre for an appointment off-site, which leads to a strange turn of events. First of all, there’s this:

And then there’s this.

All in all, it was a very odd walk, but the game was enjoyable. Upon returning to the media centre the not-so-humble bragging continues apace, but has moved to another table to try and impress others with higher status. It brought to mind some primate behaviour we’d seen in documentaries, like male bonobo monkeys. Mostly, we were thankful they weren’t waving their penises around. We charged our devices and readied ourselves for more demos, which included F1 2018 and Metro Exodus, among others.

Metro isn’t explicitly “zombies” but we’re still counting it: that puts the zombie game count at 3 so far. Don’t forget we’ve already seen Resident Evil 2 and The Last of Us Part 2 on previous days, as well. A quick stop off at Gearbox saw us playing an as-yet-unnamed competitive shooter, before we headed off for our final appointment of the day.

We ran into this poor soul en route:

And, of course, we were on our way to another zombie game: Overkill’s The Walking Dead. This is less like Benny Hill and more like The Walking Left 4 Dead, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we are quite tired of zombies by this point. And also, just quite tired. The zombie game count for the day stands at 4.

Thoroughly tired of zombies and guns, we strolled over to The Mix, to play something a little different. Also, to partake of the free drinks and snacks, but mostly to spend some time talking to a group of very enthusiastic and diverse indie developers. At the end of a very long day, towards the end of a very long week, a social mixer is both exhausting and – because of the company we’re in – energising.

As it stands, however, we’re quite tired now.

Goodnight, nerds. We’ll see you all again tomorrow, when this insanity comes to a blessed end at last.


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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds pledges support for Able Gamers charity

Steven Spohn teams up with that bloke from Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine to raise awareness for the Able Gamers charity.

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Ryan Reynolds Aviation Gin
Aviation Gin

Steven Spohn teams up with that bloke from Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine to raise awareness for the Able Gamers charity.

You may not know Steven Spohn – though you absolutely should, and we’ll get to that in a minute – but you probably do know Ryan Reynolds. He’s a big Hollywood superstar. You’ve probably seen him hawking Aviation Gin and in such movies as The In-Laws, Green Lantern, and playing Wade ‘Deadpool’ Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

(We’re kidding, Ryan. We think you’re great. You totally redeemed Deadpool and you’re easily the second-best actor to ever voice Pikachu.)

Right, anyway, that’s the Hollywood bloke out the way. Now let’s get onto the really interesting guy: Steven Spohn.

Steven is the founder and chief operating officer of Able Gamers, a global charity that champions accessible gaming. He’s won prestigious awards for his positive contribution to the video game industry, developed numerous accessible controller options and contributed to the Xbox Adaptive Controller, and has consulted on accessibility options for numerous games. He’s a powerful voice in this industry and you really need to know who he is. He’s brilliant, and we need more people like Steven.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Steven tweeted the following:

And to be honest, we forgot about it. The only “famous” people we know are game developers, and we had a feeling that wasn’t exactly what Steven had in mind for extended outreach for Able Gamers, so we didn’t really give it any more thought.

Then today, imagine our surprise when we saw the following tweet on Steven’s account:

That is big Hollywood celebrity actor man Ryan Reynolds going into bat for Steven Spohn and Able Gamers, which is amazing to see. Well done to everyone involved, it’s quite the collaboration. (We’re also reliably informed that Ryan still hasn’t blinked.)

You can find out more about Able Gamers – and, of course, donate to the cause – on the Able Gamers website.

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Four more games added to the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle

There’s over $300 of cool stuff in the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle.

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humble double fine 20th anniversary bundle
Double Fine / Humble

Update: August 6, 2020

Four additional games have been added to the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle. They’re in the “pay more than the average” tier and we’ve added them into the list below.

Original story: July 30, 2020

There’s over $300 of cool stuff in the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle.

We love Double Fine. Don’t you? Everybody does. They just seem like a really good bunch, so it’s heartening to see the developer and publisher celebrating its 20th anniversary.

In order to help you all get in a celebratory mood, Double Fine has teamed up with charity bundle flinger Humble to bring you the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle. In it, you’ll get games (and more) from Double Fine’s 20-year history. Yes, it’s exactly as the name suggests.

Highlights include, of course, the wonderful Psychonauts, and Double Fine’s classic remastered adventures, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. Those four games are worth the price of admission alone.

But there’s more: Brütal Legend! Massive Chalice! Gang Beasts! Costume Chest! Gnog! Everything! (That’s the game, Everything, not literally everything. Though you do get quite a lot in this bundle.) Plus a whole bunch of soundtracks and the three Amnesia Fortnight events, which include videos recounting Double Fine’s legendary game jams, and all of the prototypes that were produced.

Here’s everything (including Everything) that’s included in the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle.

Everything in the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle

Pay £0.79 or more to unlock

  • Psychonauts
  • Double Fine Adventure! Complete Series – Deluxe Edition
  • Amnesia Fortnight 2012
  • Amnesia Fortnight 2014
  • Amnesia Fortnight 2017

Bonuses in £0.79 tier

  • Gnog Soundtrack
  • 140 Soundtrack
  • Thoth Soundtrack
  • Everything Soundtrack
  • Escape Goat 2 Soundtrack
  • Gang Beasts Soundtrack
  • Grim Fandango Remastered Soundtrack

Pay more than the average (currently around £6.22) to also unlock

  • Day of the Tentacle Remastered
  • Broken Age
  • Brütal Legend
  • Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin
  • Massive Chalice
  • Costume Quest
  • Iron Brigade – new!
  • Stacking – new!
  • Hack ‘n’ Slash – new!
  • Spacebase DF9 – new!

Pay £7 or more to also unlock

  • Rad
  • Gnog
  • 140
  • Thoth
  • Mountain
  • Everything
  • Escape Goat 2
  • Gang Beasts
  • Kids
  • Full Throttle Remastered
  • Grim Fandango Remastered
  • Headlander

Bonuses in £7 tier

  • 1 Month Free of Humble Choice for New Subscribers

The Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle is on sale right now and runs for the next fortnight. It ends on Thursday, August 13, at 7pm BST. And as ever with Humble bundles, the money raised all goes to worthwhile charities.


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Wilmot’s Warehouse is free on the Epic Games Store

Wilmot’s Warehouse and game dev-focused “playable sitcom,” 3 out of 10, are free on the Epic Games store.

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Wilmot’s Warehouse - Epic Game Store

Wilmot’s Warehouse and game dev-focused “playable sitcom,” 3 out of 10, are free on the Epic Games store.

Wilmot’s Warehouse is this week’s headliner as people have played it and know what it is. The puzzle game, which tasks players with “keeping a warehouse running in tip-top shape,” released last summer to positive reviews. So, check that out if you haven’t.

Wilmot’s Warehouse - Epic Game Store

But, what I’m personally intrigued by is 3 Out of 10. This is the first episode, titled “Welcome to Shovelworks,” of a series that plans to release new, free installments each week through September 3. It’s a wacky workplace comedy that splits its runtime between animated story-focused sections and varied gameplay. The action follows a team at a game studio who, you guessed it, aren’t that great at making games. It just vaulted to the top of my list of games I want to check out in 2020.

What seems smartest about this release is the planned launch schedule. Episodic games often get bogged down in protracted development cycles. For example, I loved Life is Strange 2, but had to wait over a year to see the story’s conclusion. If developer Terrible Posture Games, Inc. — creators of Mothergunship — really manage to get all five episodes out in under a month, they’ll be blazing new trails in the episodic games space.

Both Wilmot’s Warehouse and 3 Out of 10 are featured through next Thursday, August 13. And, now that these games are up for grabs, Epic has lifted the curtain on next week’s freebies. Remnant from the Ashes, a Soulslike with Gears-style third-person shooting, and The Alto Collection, which includes Alto’s Adventure and Alto’s Odyssey, will be free next Thursday.

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Save on classic games with August’s My Nintendo rewards

The latest batch of My Nintendo rewards features savings on games from the Animal Crossing and Mario Party franchises.

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My Nintendo
Nintendo

August’s crop of My Nintendo rewards includes savings on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

The world has (rightly) gone crazy for Animal Crossing: New Horizons this year, but if you still have a Nintendo 3DS and haven’t played Animal Crossing: New Leaf, it’s available as one of August’s new My Nintendo discounts. We love new Horizons, but it has a long way to go to equal New Leaf‘s vast collection of content and items to collect. It might be an old game, but it’s still magical.

Other European rewards include two Zelda classics in Ocarina of Time 3D and the Game Boy Color’s Link’s Awakening DX, plus there are new 3DS themes based on Super Mario and Splatoon’s Squid Sisters.

An Animal Crossing: New Horizons Dodo Airlines Reusable Bag is also available in exchange for 400 Platinum Points, and some expensive postage.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Reusable bagNorth American discounts include a 30% saving on the mighty Rhythm Heaven Megamix, which is still one of the best music games ever created. Another highlight is a stylish 3DS theme based on the Nintendo Famicom Console.

Here’s the full rundown on August’s new rewards. We’ll likely have another update for you in a few weeks.

New My Nintendo rewards – August 2020

EU Gold Point Rewards

  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome amiibo – 40% discount – 80 points
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX – 50% discount – 80 points
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D – 40% discount – 80 points
  • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon – 30% discount – 120 points
  • Super Mario 3D Land – 40% discount – 80 points
  • Tomodachi Life – 50% discount – 200 points
  • Wario Land II – 50% discount – 25 points

EU Platinum Point Rewards

  • Kirby’s Blowout Blast – 40% discount – 70 points
  • Metroid: Samus Returns – Samus Aran Theme – 100 points
  • Tank Troopers – 80% discount – 40 points
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf: Isabelle in the Town Hall Theme – 100 points
  • Mario Characters Theme – 100 points
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Open World Theme – 100 points
  • Splatoon: Squid Sisters Theme – 100 points

US Gold Point Rewards

  • Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn – 30% discount – 90 points
  • Mario Party : The Top 100 – 30% discount – 90 points
  • Rhythm Heaven Megamix – 30% discount – 70 points
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf: K.K. Slider at Club LOL Theme – 20 points

US Platinum Point Rewards

  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons – 30% discount – 50 points
  • Pushmo – 30% discount – 50 points
  • Tomodachi Life – 30% discount – 200 points
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf: Isabelle at Town Hall Theme – 100 points
  • Famicom Memories Theme – 100 points
  • August Calendar – Animal Crossing: New Horizons – 50 points

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Littlewood is a cosy RPG set after the battle is over

Littlewood knows there’s nothing finer than a game that gives you a nice little epilogue.

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littlewood cosy RPG
SmashGames

Littlewood knows there’s nothing finer than a game that gives you a nice little epilogue. (No, not yours, The Last of Us Part II.)

But those games that let you go back to the world after the battle is over, to visit with the townsfolk, and just generally chill out are something special. The first game I really remember it from is Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap where, once restored to human form, you get to wander the village, chatting with the locals, before going to bed. That’s literally how the epilogue ends; you go back home for a well-earned rest.

It’s just so wholesome. Which is why Littlewood, a new RPG from Sean Wood and SmashGames, is so appealing.

“The world has already been saved. Now it’s time to rebuild your town, learn new hobbies, and forge lifelong friendships in this peaceful and relaxing RPG.”

It’s like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, then, but set in a world that was in peril – until the player character saved it. But the trick is, you can’t remember anything about your life before or what happened in the great battle to save the world. In order to restore your memories, you need to build up a welcoming town, encourage people to live there, and hope that spurs your recall.

But a game like Littlewood isn’t about the destination. There is an overall plot, of course, but cosy management RPGs are all about the micro-activities. And in Littlewood, you’ll be gathering, crafting, building, fishing, farming, bug catching, cooking, trading, and more – everything that people love about the genre.

Littlewood is out now on Steam.

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