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Fear Inc – Ctrl+Alt+Defeat dives into the world of horror in its 3rd Issue

Hallowe'en Pumpkins by *Spider-Shadowz on deviantART

Our autumn issue is coming in time for Halloween and accordingly its theme is horror. We delve deep into the dark world of fear & phobia and meet some impressive people during our journey. The creator of Deadly Premonition, SWERY, was kind enough to answer our questions about the game and share some information about his future projects. We were very happy to be able to ask the master himself what was his masterpiece meant to be and were very pleased with the answer. Anyone who is a die-hard Deadly Premonition fan like us would appreciate the opportunity to read SWERY’s take on the game.

Another great interview we did for this issue was with game developer Chris Pruett, who I think is fair to be called a specialist when it comes to horror games. Chris is on a mission to play every horror game ever and has been blogging about his progress for years. In issue Three he shares his experience and tells us what he thinks is the creme de la creme of the genre.

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Heroes bring games closer to art – Ctrl+Alt+Defeat 2nd Issue

Me and Dilyan are very happy today, because we published the second issue of our magazine for games and gamers, called Ctrl+Alt+Defeat.

We try to centre each issue around one main theme — for the first it was war and for the second we chose heroes. We got in touch with a number of game critics, journalists and developers and asked them about their favourite game heroes. We got a lot of great opinions and inputs from Gameranx.com news editor Ian Miles Cheong, Jeff Vogel from Spiderweb Software, Leigh Alexander from Gamasutra, Brad Gallaway from GameCritics.com & PNWJournos.com, Mathew Kumar, publisher of  exp. Magazine, Kirk Hamilton, San Francisco features editor at Kotaku, Chris Dahlen, Editor-in-chief of Kill Screen Magazine, Game designer Nels Anderson and Denis Farr, Editor of GayGamer.

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Uncharted fails to impress after Heavy Rain enamourment

I got around to playing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. I started it yesterday and only played a short while (I never even got to the first real shoot-out, after the one on the boat). However, I already have stuff to opine about.

Although I expected to like the game, I really struggled to keep playing it even as long as I did. Frankly, if so many people haven’t said so many nice things about it, I’m not sure I would be continuing to play Uncharted.

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Something new – quick rant about BioWare games

Commander Sheppard by ~Hunter198 on deviantArt

I am currently addicted to BioWare games (Mass Effect 1, 2; Dragon Age) and almost every time I mention how much do I like them, Dilyan says they are using the same engine and it is basically like playing the same game over and over again. His argument — a little has changed since Neverwinter Nights in terms of gameplay. My question – how much does that matter? Is a game less appealing just because the gameplay is the same as in another game before it?

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Is Braid great art?

After much delay, I finally did myself the favour of playing Braid. I’m always skeptical when people lavish too much praise on a game, because such titles tend to disappoint by not living up to the hype; but Braid isn’t really like that. It’s beautiful, it’s clever, it’s heart-wrenching at times. I loved it.

Yet, it is over-hyped. It was impossible to go on all these years after its release without constantly coming across Braid in the critical blogosphere. Together with Flower and Ico, it has become one of the favourite pieces of evidence for the “games are art” bunch. And in that respect I found it lacking.

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War never changes

war never changes

Word cloud of 5 Fallout intros. Click for larger view.

War, war never changes. It is one of gaming’s best-loved catch-phrases. But what does it mean? In what sense does war never change? Certainly, warfare — the ways in which a war is fought — has changed dramatically in the millennia leading up to Fallout’s fictional 2050s. Weapons, tactics, scale: every aspect of conflict has undergone transformation. Fallout’s world is not that dissimilar to our own and we can safely know as much.

Death and destruction are a staple of war but their scale differs vastly from conflict to conflict. Even the most advanced of energy weapons found in the wasteland is a relic from a past that is being forgotten and a far cry from the nuclear war that caused all the desolation. The game’s primitive, back-to-basics setting also suggests that the presumably constant factor may lie much deeper and closer to the roots of conflict than something as superficial as tools and means.

Why do people go to war? Perhaps there is a single fundamental reason underlining all conflicts.

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War games can’t be hazardous to your health

The Hands of Mother by Alex E. Proimos on Flickr
The world today is a strange one when it comes to protection, safety and security. We are constantly reminded of the terrors of the modern age — extremists, bombs in the underground, weapons of mass destruction, pandemics, credit crunches, overindebtness, identity theft over the Internet.
Seems like every step we take out of the door is a step towards a hostile, predatory world of uncertainty and instability. We feel under threat going to work, going online or even taking a walk in the park. If we let it go to our heads we could become completely paranoid.
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It’s all fun and games until someone plays it for real

Soldiers by ~dariozo on deviantART

Our world is divided by wars, our destiny depends on their outcome. Millions of lives are lost in an effort to save billions of others. Wars unite nations and divide with equal strength. Wars are fought to keep people save, to deliver them from evil, to give the oppressed a chance to be free. Wars need strong, good and just men and women to wage them and complete them, to bring peace and happiness in lands where those things have long been forgotten, buried under the dust of bones and overflown by rivers of tears.

Wars are won by patriots, people who love their countries and trust their leadership, people who believe the world should be purged from evil.

Sounds wonderful, and I get a really warm feeling writing those words. I’d like to believe they are true but I can’t. The reason: recent history.

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A little less conversation, a little more action

Elvis Presley by ~dancingonthemoon on deviantART

I feel compelled to quote that verse from an Elvis Presley song when it comes to Japanese games.

I am currently playing Last Window: The Secret of Cape West and am once again amazed by the slow pace of the action and the endless dialogues. The characters say something, which could fit in two sentences, in ten. The explanation of very simple actions or emotions is discussed and analyzed in lengthy conversations that are truthfully boring.

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Why do we think it could work online if it doesn’t in reality?

Massively Multiplayer Epic by *Kirbopher15 on deviantART

I am wondering why people think it is easier to build teams in a few minutes online when it cannot happen in real life.

My husband Dilyan has become a World of Warcraft player and is a Hunter nearing level 79 now. Every evening when I grab the Xbox 360 controller to start up yet another Mass Effect 2 session, he sits on the PC for yet another WoW game . What I most often hear him say while playing is : “Why is nobody doing what they should do?” or “Why is that guy just standing there, not defending himself?” or “Why is there no order in this raid? Everyone is doing just what they want, nobody is in charge!” ect.