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A Game About A Pretty Princess Who Tends To Die Gruesomely



Here’s Hanako Games’ Long Live The Queen, which looks a lot like the Princess Maker games. In it, you guide a princess into queendom, balancing the various aspects of her personal and professional life, and try not to die horribly in the process.

It’s been out for a little while now—you can play a free demo and buy the full game for Windows, Mac and Linux. The game has resurfaced as Hanako is now pushing a Steam Greenlight campaign, trying to get the game to a wider audience. If this trailer is any indication, it looks like a fair bit of off-kilter fun.

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Chasm brings ‘Metroidvania’ action to Kickstarter



Discord Games recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring its upcoming 2D “Metroidvania-styled” game Chasm to Windows, Mac and Linux. The developer plans to take its inspiration from games such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and The Legend of Zelda series to new heights by building procedurally-generated dungeons in six different areas into the game.

In Chasm, players will control a soldier that enters a mining town coping with a reawakened ancient evil force. Along the way, players will equip weapons and spellbooks, as well as learn new abilities to reach previously-inaccessible areas. The game will include both normal and hardcore difficulty modes, as well as leaderboards that track stats such as quickest times and damage taken.

Discord Games is seeking $150,000 in funding by May 12 to make Chasm a reality. The developer is already offering playable demo to fans, which is available to download through its Kickstarter page. The game is also on Steam’s Greenlight service, awaiting fan approval to make it to the platform.

The Game

Chasm (pronounced kaz-um) is a 2D Action-RPG Platformer currently in development for Windows, Mac, & Linux. Taking equal inspiration from hack ‘n slash dungeon crawlers (procedurally generated dungeons, loot drops, etc) and Metroidvania-style platformers, the game aims to immerse you in its 2D fantasy world full of exciting treasure, deadly enemies, and abundant secrets.

Discord Games are creating an authentic retro experience similar to the games you remember. Chasm was heavily influenced by games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Diablo. If these games are your style, then this is the game you have been waiting for!

In Chasm, players take up the role of a soldier passing through a remote mining town on their journey home from a long war. The town’s miners have recently disappeared after breaching a long-forgotten temple far below the town, and reawakened an ancient slumbering evil. Now trapped in the town by supernatural forces, you’re left with no option but to explore the mines below, battle enemies and bosses, and increase your abilities in hopes of finally escaping and returning home.



PLAY THE CHASM GDC DEMO!

Windows: Download (Requires XNA 4.0 runtime)

Mac (OS X 10.5+): Download (Requires Mono Framework)

Linux: Download (see official Linux thread)

From Linux Game News:

Chasm did very well at GDC 2013, receiving a number of great reviews from online press and media. The 2D Fantasy ARPG already has a great demo available for everyone to play, and rather inspiring actually.

These old-school style games are making an impressive come back, giving the player the chance to relive some of those earlier gaming experiences. Complete with most responsive controls, more special abilities, massive boss battles, secret items, and far more diversity.

With all the Kickstarter campaigns posted on Linux Game News, it was a true inspiration to be able to pledge a Discord Games title.

Do check out the demo and have a look at their Kickstarter page.



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An Interview With Chris Avellone on Project Eternity: A Word on Romance

Obsidian Entertainment’s Chris Avellone talks to us about Project Eternity, and shares his thoughts on writing romances, non-lethal options, and more.



”an-interview-with-chris-avellone-on-project-eternity-a-word-on-romance”

It’s been two weeks since the success of Obsidian Entertainment’s success with funding Project Eternity on Kickstarter. Garnering over $4 million in funding, the party-based, isometric RPG is set for release sometime in early 2014 for the PC, Mac, and Linux platforms.

Since the success of the Kickstarter, I finally had a chance to sit down with Chris Avellone to talk about Project Eternity. Chris Avellone is one of the game’s lead designers and the narrative lead of titles such as Fallout: New Vegas and Alpha Protocol.



I’ve finally compiled the questions I wanted to ask you. Apologies for the lateness!

Do not ever apologize to me, Ian. Instead, you must offer tribute of blood and intestines to the time gods.

When you guys were putting together the Kickstarter pitch, did you ever think it would be as successful as it is?

No way. At least not for me… I am a born-again pessimist since age 13. Rob Nesler, our art director and wearer of fine hats and drinker of fine booze (which you can observe in our livestream video here), however, was convinced we’d leave flames in the dirt from our screaming tire tracks. Still, because he’s apparently our very masculine (?) version of Cassandra, we didn’t heed his prophecies until the day of judgment. The players and backers knew better than us as well, so maybe we have 70,000 Cassandras.

But streuth (Australian-archaic for “truth,” which I promised I’d never use in conversation but said nothing about writing), it’s been a challenge. Bloody oath,* has it. Let me elaborate in this next question.

* I was also asked never to say this in conversation. I believe it’s effectively “hell yes?” An Australian can correct me if they’re reading this.

How are you guys coping with the $4M+ budget and the heightened media attention?

The budget means more hiring than we expected at first - no surprise considering it’s roughly 4x the funding goal and the stretch goal content additions. The good news is we already have a capable crew to draw from, not to mention volunteers who popped out of the woodwork. It doesn’t affect time frame of the project, and considering we have the logistic info from the Black Isle Infinity Engine games (resources, time frame per asset, etc. – this is important because of one of the questions & answers below), and the fact that a lot of us have done this type of game before, that helps nail down a lot of the X factors involved with the project.

The press aspects are minimal compared to the fan and player-based feedback, and while corresponding with the backers takes time, it’s time well spent for a lot of reasons – dealing with the fans and processing their feedback ends up being more energizing and it saves a lot of time discussing and setting/clarifying expectations and features people genuinely care about vs. crap they don’t, so we don’t need to waste any resources doing it. I prefer the fan interaction, personally, as it beats working in silence for months and rolling the dice at the end to see if the game resonates with the public.

You’ve stated in the past that you don’t like romances in games—at least to the extent that they’ve been done in games thus far. Were you to implement a romance subplot in Project Eternity, what would it involve?

Not a big fan of romances. I did four in Alpha Protocol because Chris Parker, our project director, demanded it because he thinks romance apparently is easy, or MAYBE it’s because he wanted to be an asshole and give me tons of them to do because I LOVE them so much (although to be honest, I think he felt it was more in keeping with the spy genre to have so many romances, even if I did ask to downscope them). At least I got to do the “hatemance” version of most of them, which makes it a little more palatable.

Also, the only reason the romance bits in Mask of the Betrayer worked was because George Ziets helped me with them since he was able to describe what love is to me and explain how it works (I almost asked for a PowerPoint presentation). It seems like a messy, complicated process, not unlike a waterbirth. Don’t even get me started on the kissing aspects, which is revolting because people EAT with their mouths. Bleh.

So if I were to implement a romance subplot in Eternity - I wouldn’t. I’d examine interpersonal relationships from another angle and I wouldn’t confine it to love and romance. Maybe I’d explore it after a “loving” relationship crashed and burned, and one or both was killed in the aftermath enough for them to see if it had really been worth it spending the last few years of their physical existence chained to each other in a dance of human misery and/or a plateau of soul-killing compromise. Or maybe I’d explore a veteran’s love affair with his craft of murder and allowing souls to be freed to travel beyond their bleeding shell, or a Cipher’s obsession with plucking the emotions of deep-rooted souls to try and see what makes people attracted to each other beyond their baser instincts and discovers love… specifically, his love of manipulating others. You could build an entire dungeon and quest where he devotes himself to replicating facsimiles of love, reducer a Higher Love to a baser thing and using NPCs he encounters as puppets for his experimentations, turning something supposedly beautiful into something filthy, mechanical, but surrounded by blank-eyed soul-twisted drones echoing all the hollow Disney-like platitudes and fairy tale existence where everyone lives happily ever after.

Game writing and dialogue has typically been peripheral to the combat in games. In Planescape Torment, you had to wade through countless enemies regardless of your stats or the decisions you made. Are there any plans to incorporate dialogue options into the gameplay so the two aren’t necessarily separate from each other?

I’d argue dialogue and dialogue exploration was the principal mechanic in Torment (not something I’m proud of, wish I’d pushed for more dungeons and other mechanics). Now, the dialogue is more along the lines of Fallout 2/BG2 density, and it’ll have the same feel, which is appropriate for an Infinity Engine game. We do plan to have dialogues that effect the density and agendas of battles (and allowing you to avoid a chunk of them at an undetermined % of frequency).

Are there non-violent or non-lethal options available to the player in Project Eternity?

Yep. You can use stealth and speech options to circumvent, prevent, and resolve tense situations, much like in the Fallout titles. While there won’t be a pacifist path in the title, there are times where you can accomplish objectives with more social/sneaky builds in inventive ways.

We also want to explore the idea of speech as a tool, not as a key. That may sound odd – we don’t want speech skills used as insta-wins when the option comes up, which doesn’t allow for much player contribution in the interaction beyond pressing the highlighted button. We experimented with this slightly in Fallout: New Vegas and the DLCs, although what we’d like to explore is more along the lines of what we did in Alpha Protocol: if you know enough about a target or subject, there may be different ways and approaches you want to use to create a desired result, which may involve pissing the listener off, flattering them, or intimidating them, for example, but none of these technically “win” the scenario, they either provide a broader context or more information on the target’s attitudes and motivations but it all depends on which way a player wants to push them.

A better example of a dialogue tool is the “Empathy” skill from Fallout 1 and 2. It was a perk that color-coded your responses to indicate whether the response would create a favorable, neutral, or hostile reaction. That didn’t mean that that option would lead to a good or bad result, however, and you had to decide what to do based on the clues the Empathy perk gave you (for example, you may not want to get in good with the leaders of Vault City in F2 because you feel slimy and dirty doing so, even if you’re being unfailingly polite – or you may want to make a mob boss angry and hostile so he has a heart attack right then and there).

A few RPGs, including the newly released Dishonored and the much older Deus Ex contain scripted elements while allowing for non-scripted or emergent behavior. Are there any plans to allow, or even create opportunities for the player to “play outside the bounds” of the scripted events in Project Eternity?

While we’ll have a core narrative, we would like to allow for player-driven stories through the game mechanics when possible, as those end up being far more personal and stronger to a player than anything we could script (a lesson I learned very early on in my gamemastering days all the way to the Van Buren play sessions we had at Black Isle for Fallout 3).

Aside from writing the stories in the games you’ve worked—and are working on, how else do you contribute to the games? Do you have any input on the game’s design?

It depends on the title – at the most senior level of a project (if I’m in the role of Project Director), I have full input on all design aspects of a title with the exception of owner input and publisher input and often, in these instances, I’m weighing in on all aspects of the design and often doing core writing and core design (Fallout New Vegas DLCs).

When it comes to other projects, I often am in the role of an advisor, imparting suggestions for pipelines and cautionary tales based on the many, many mistakes I’ve made in the past. While giving advice and support is welcome, I prefer a specific role on at least one project in the studio since that allows me to get my hands dirty and contribute more directly (and it keeps me on the front lines so I don’t get rusty or unhappy).

For the Fallout New Vegas DLCs, for example and a few of the pitch projects, I’ve been Project Director and Narrative Lead, for New Vegas, I was a senior narrative designer for the most part, for Knights of the Old Republic II, I was Lead Designer and Narrative Lead, while on Alpha Protocol I was largely a narrative lead with some lead designer responsibilities (system design fell to the Project Director, Chris Parker, on Alpha Protocol in that instance, and he guided the Systems Lead with input and vision).

So to make a long answer even longer, the amount of input I have on design varies, and the goal is to allow people at their level to be empowered to have their vision imparted in the project – so, for example, if I’m not a Project Lead on the title, I defer to the Project Lead and the owners’ design direction and advise or give perspectives, critiques, etc. when asked. It’s taken me a while to figure out the best role to assume at the studio to be helpful, and it tends to change on a yearly basis and also change based on the project.

Other specific contributions I have are design producer duties (I’m obsessed with pipelines and hierarchies and making sure nothing gets lost, based on previous mistakes), writing and scripting characters and quests, and doing level design (such as for Wasteland 2). Wasteland 2 has been a breath of fresh air, since I haven’t had much opportunity to do level design since Knights of the Old Republic II and I love drawing maps and laying out area quests.

Besides your future work on Project Eternity and having already returned to Fallout, have you any other universes or settings you’d like to visit?

Sure. Wasteland 2 at inXile has already been an opportunity to return to one of my favorite franchises, so I can check that off the list (until Wasteland 3 - ::crosses fingers::). Other ones include: The Wire, Firefly, Ghost in the Shell, the Walking Dead (movie or comics), Chronotrigger, Torment (although that’s difficult for a variety of reasons), and Star Wars (I’ve always wanted to do Knights of the Old Republic III and finish the trilogy).

It’s been officially disclosed that Obsidian plans to use Unity to develop Project Eternity. Is there a reason you’ve chosen to use Unity’s development tools over other options?

It meets our needs, has a good deal of support, fits within our budget, and is user-friendly. I’ve been happy with it on Eternity and on Wasteland 2, and it works great, so… yeah, that’s pretty much it. I wish I had something more critique-y to say, but I don’t.

Given your vast experience with designing and developing RPGs, are there any lessons or experiences you’d take from those previous games to avoid in Project Eternity?

Awareness of scope. If you don’t know the scope, find out the specs for each part of the design and development toolbox (build a small level, a medium level, a large level, write a 15 node dialogue, a 50 node, a 150 node or more companion, build a weapon from start to finish, build a critter using the full range of animations, etc.). Then use a stopwatch to time each task until you know how long each one takes, and use that as a gauge of how much work you have in store – then seriously consider cutting it down to 50% or 75% of that amount to account for X factors during production.

Second, always ask “why the player should give a shit?” with every design decision, lore choice, and faction design. When fleshing out the world, keep in mind the player’s role as an agent of change, not your personal presentation. While you do want to put yourself and topics you’re passionate about in a title, that doesn’t mean crap if the player can’t interact with it in a way that empowers them.

Examine pacing and expectations. As an example, Torment was an extremely dialogue heavy game, and I do believe (I can hear pitchforks and torches being gathered) it could have benefited from more dungeon exploration, more combats, in addition to the dialogue depth it had. I tried to correct that when doing Targos in IWD2… I started off with a lot of fights and exploration rewards that immediately highlighted the threat the city was facing, then moved into dialogues (punctuated by a few fights), then a blast-off at the end.

Project Eternity has been described (by Forbes) as a ‘roleplaying risotto’ rather than a unique dish of its own. What are you doing to give the RPG its unique flavor and ensure that it’s more than just a mash-up of other games?

Finally, what makes Project Eternity more than a simple nostalgia trip?

Combining these two into one answer since the answer’s one and the same: Considering they’re all elements of Infinity Engine games, it’s taking the best of each, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. We have learned a lot of role-playing lessons over the year when applied to our designers such as how to employ dialogue mechanics (see above), making sure we’re rewarding for every style of gameplay (some titles we’ve done previously at Black Isle were punishing to a player that pursued a certain path, a path that we allowed, but cut a good deal of content out as a result – for example, “slavers” in Fallout 2), the idea of taking fantasy tropes and re-imagining them from the more narrative-driven metaphysical aspects of the world (soul transference, the nature of gods and their agendas, the Cipher class).

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Linux Support for Distance - A Next Generation Arcade RacerAccording to their recent update, Distance will officially be supported on Linux!
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Linux Support for Distance - A Next Generation Arcade Racer

According to their recent update, Distance will officially be supported on Linux!

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After LGP, RuneSoft is Bringing Good Old Linux Games back

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Few days back we reported that Linux Game Publishing is planning to bring all games in their catalog to Ubuntu Software Center and Desura. Some of their games like Sacred Gold and Majesty have already been released in these distribution services.

Now RuneSoft, another company that specializes in porting games for Linux, is planning to bring their games to Desura. Alongside their own published games, they have also ported games like Software Tycoon and Knights and Merchants: The Shattered Kingdom for Linux Game Publishing.

RuneSoft’s Linux games are otherwise available on discs only and having them on Desura will allow users to get their favorite games as digital downloads.

To start with, RuneSoft has released Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood on Desura for $15. Check out a gameplay video:



You can check out all the games they have ported for Linux from here. I hope RuneSoft will bring these games to Ubuntu Software Center as well.

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Maia, an Indie Development from the UK KickstarterThrough a recent Twitter post, the details about a game called Maia caught my attention.…View Postshared via WordPress.com

Maia, an Indie Development from the UK Kickstarter

Through a recent Twitter post, the details about a game called Maia caught my attention.…

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Kickstarter Campaign ‘Strike Suit Zero’ To Get Linux SupportI have no idea how I missed this, but here it is, Strike Suit Zero. They just hit their $75,000…View Postshared via WordPress.com

Kickstarter Campaign ‘Strike Suit Zero’ To Get Linux Support

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Developer using Kickstarter to fund a stealth survival game for the British gentleman

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Sir, you are being hunted. Well, not really, but you could be in the new procedurally generated survival stealth game from Big Robot Games called … Sir, You Are Being Hunted.

The developer is Kickstarting its new “tweedpunk” sci-fi game. In Sir, You Are Being Hunted robots hunt humans for sport across the british countryside. Big Robot created The British Countryside Generator which creates unique terrain for each player. Sir, You Are Being Hunted runs on the Unity Engine and the studio will release it on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a first-person game. It has a lot of combat and shooting, but it’s primarily about survival. The game uses a visibility meter and a foilage-based stealth mechanic which allows players to easily hide in the thick English woods.



To survive, gamers will have to evade the hunting robots, loot abandoned buildings, and collect pieces of a machine that could help the protagonist escape.

Fans of the recent DayZ mod for Arma II or the Ukranian-developed Stalker games should have a good grasp of what Sir, You Are Being Hunted is attempting. Big Robot distinguishes its game with a pinch of dark British humor. For example, the developer promises a disembodied sinister butler, strange lore, pipe-smoking moustache-wearing robotic citizens, and pubs.

Big Robot has worked on the game for the past six months and is now asking for help through Kickstarter. The studio is looking for 40,000 quid, which is around $64,000. Backers have already pledged over $20,000.



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Interstellar Marines on Kickstarter is coming to LinuxInterstellar Marines a sci-fi FPS focused on tactical co-op, role-playing and nonlinear gameplay…View Postshared via WordPress.com


Interstellar Marines on Kickstarter is coming to Linux

Interstellar Marines a sci-fi FPS focused on tactical co-op, role-playing and nonlinear gameplay…

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Kickstarter opens doors to UK developers

Popular crowdfunding platform now available for UK-based projects

Kickstarter, the most popular vehicle for crowdfunding games development projects, is now available in the UK.

Whereas previously UK-based developers could only pledge, but not create projects, now they can seek funding on the platform. The move has be widely welcomed by UK studios of every size, who have until now had to sit and watch as their US counterparts secure funding from the platform, or navigate complicated loopholes in an attempt to position their projects as US creations.

“Kickstarter coming to the UK presents a great opportunity for developers to generate funds and produce games that are better and more expansive than originally intended,” said Richard Wilson, CEO of trade body Tiga. “We have seen some amazing projects already with Kickstarter and it is now UK developers’ turn to realise its benefits.”

A number of UK studios and individuals have already prepared projects for Kickstarter, and at the time of writing, numerous others are considering the crowdfunding vehicle for their games.

“Publisher finance and other sources of development funds are becoming scarce,” stated Simon Prytherch, CEO of Chromativity, which is considering submitting projects to Kickstarter now it welcomes UK studios. “We still have to finance game development in order to bring quality game experiences to the consumer. I think virtually every studio has either a great title in their back catalog, or one or more of their team were the driving forces behind a classic game. I think if you have these elements and you have the right dev team then it is great start for a Kickstarter project.” Meanwhile longstanding UK developer Rebellion is now ‘strongly considering’ using the platform, as Jason Kingsley, CEO, co-founder and owner told Develop:

“Up to now if you wanted to put a project onto Kickstarter there were some legal hoops to jump through re having a US entity involved. Now Kickstarter has arranged things so it can be done by a UK-owned entity in a straightforward way,” he said, before explaining his previous concerns. “We were also a bit worried about making ‘taxable supplies’ in the US and therefore falling into the US tax system, at least in a technical sense.” Kickstarter is, of course, not the only crowdfunding platform, and options already available to UK studios include the popular Indiegogo offering and the game-specific Gambitous alternative. However, Kickstarter’s status with both industry and consumers means it is proving very attractive to UK games makers.

“The main difference to me seems to be in terms of visibility,” said Steve Ince, freelance games writer and designer, on the contrast between Kickstarter and its rivals.“Kickstarter is clearly much more high profile even though, as I understand it, Indiegogo has been around for longer. Indiegogo offers more options on the money raising side but people may have to be cautious about what they go for. Kickstarter is much cleaner and simpler with lots of people already buying into its philosophy.”

Ince is looking to now use Kickstarter to fund his in-development adventure game project Caroline’s Secret. Other UK studios already committed to the UK iteration of the platform include SKN3 and its 2D games development tool Objeccty (creator Jonathan Pittock pictured), Kinaesthetic Games’ Kung Fu Superstar, and Raspberry Pi arcade cabinet kit Picade.

November’s print issue of Develop, coming to you in the next few days, features a detailed look at the launch of Kickstarter UK.

And if you have any questions about the finer details of how Kickstarter UK functions, from currencies issues to fees, check out our Kickstarter UK FAQ.

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‘The Slender Man’ is causing a stir online this Halloween

Halloween is a time for scaring yourself silly. While there are a number of video games that will do just that, it’s “The Slender Man” that is causing the biggest stir on the Internet.

”the-slender-man-is-causing-a-stir-online-this-halloween”The video game, “Slender” has players searching for pages in a dark forest, while being chased by “The Slender Man.” Photo: Parsec Productions

The Slender Man is a character born in urban mythology and who has a number of supposed beginnings. One such mythology about The Slender Man’s creation is that Victor Surge found this legend and made his own version of it. Another theory is that The Slender Man was created in an Internet forum.

The Slender Man is usually described as a supernatural creature appearing as a normal human. At 8 feet tall, faceless, with extending limbs and no face, dressed in a businessman’s suit with a red or black tie, this is not someone you’d want to bump into on a dark evening.

Rumours have circulated the Internet over the past few months of his existence, with a few images appearing online with The Slender Man in the background.

Naturally, with this horror figure appearing all over the web, a game was developed by Parsec Production to incorporate The Slender Man, called “Slender.” The game had a simple premise: You are walking through the woods, with a faint torch trying to find eight pieces of paper about The Slender Man, while being chased by the man himself.

The game has already created a stir all over YouTube with reactions popping up all over the web. One person who subjected himself to this game was third year Public Relations student, James Nichols, who said: “There were some rumours circulating in the pub about the game and I’d seen a few trending videos on YouTube with reactions and, naturally, I had to try it for myself.

“The sound scared me the most. I’ve got studio grade monitors, so even though it was minimal music it built up a palpable atmosphere. The Slender Man now looks an egg wearing stilts on his way through the forest to an FBI award ceremony. He wasn’t that scary.”

Third year student, Andrew Antill said: The piano sound in the background definitely scares me the most. I had seen people on it on YouTube and just had to try it out, it really scared me!”

Another student, Jess Mason said: “I heard about Slenderman through the Reddit network, but I only really found out what it was through friends that had either played it or were just spreading the word of how scary it was.

“I don’t really think there’s a particular bit that that scared me the most, more just the culmination of everything that’s going on. There’s something about that eerie, ominous tune throughout that is just completely terrifying, especially when paired with the ticking clock sounds that make you feel as if you’re part of the horrifying on screen experience.”

She continued: “The entire game, if you can call being left utterly defenceless and scared senseless a game, is just one giant death trap. I think that’s the worst bit. I genuinely felt trapped within the rooms with no hope whatsoever.”

With the success of the free online version of the game, there have been rumours of a more mainstream version of this horror game.

How to play Slender in Linux:



Nichols explained: “There was talk of a big games company making a console version, where players had to work together to collect creepy-looking teddy bears.

“There’s also a new game on Steam called ‘Anna’ that’s meant to play off the increase of people playing scary games, but the trailer looks so shockingly put together that I’m not interested.”

Slender can be downloaded and played for free from its official website.

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Commercial Wine App ‘CrossOver’ Free on October 31 CrossOverallows you to install many popular Windows applications and games on your Linux…View Postshared via WordPress.com

Commercial Wine App ‘CrossOver’ Free on October 31


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