You've Seen the Movies, Now Play a Game
Halloween needs way more shopping. So, here are some killer deals.
Rather fortunately, today, Halloween, has turned into one of the better days of the year for video game sales. Rather unfortunately, and rather predictably, I've played most of the more interesting software on discount. Lucky for you, that means I'm eminently qualified to suggest which to spring (out of a cobwebby closet) for.
··· Penumbra Collector Pack $2.49 ···
These are fantastically atmospheric and scarier, in my humble opinion, than Frictional's followup Amnesia games. The developer originally intended the first Penumbra as a tech demo, but it took on a life of its own. If you can't take any more Lovecraft and haven't played these yet, waste no time. The puzzling is more adventure-like than either of the Amnesia's, and the tactile, push/pull interface was mildly innovative for its time, and mostly satisfying.
··· Scratches $2.49 ···
Scratches! A terrific haunted house game in which you play a writer holed up in a friend's rather nice country home, and the car breaks down, etc. The adventuring is clever, and the drama has a tension-filled ebb and flow that will elevate your pulse. AND THEN IN THE END YOU FIND OUT THAT ALL ALONG THERE WAS ...
··· Painkiller: Black Edition $1.99 ···
The original and still best. An FPS in the old style, when crowd control was more important than cover. None of the followups have ever hooked me, but the starter was the game that everyone seems to pretend Serious Sam is. There are checkpoint-saves, but it's almost more fun that way.
··· Home $0.74 ···
Not the most engaging, but does some interesting things with choices and telling you the outcomes of your choices later in the game. I was a bit confused, but I believe there is funky stuff going on in which your beliefs, as demonstrated by your choices, start to shape the reality around you in a Michael Chrichton-meets-John Carpenter sort of way.
··· Outlast $13.32 ···
Good price on a newer attempt at making the scariest game ever. That race seems to have fallen apart, not because of any clear winner (hands down, Amnesia fans) but because it's just so hard to sustain one-upmanship in this way. We are becoming more jaded all the time.
··· The Secret World: Massive Edition $29.99 ···
If you've considered jumping into this MMO that is indeed massive, and now lacks a subscription fee, you could do worse. This comes with some DLC bundled, styled as neato "issues." You know, like a comic book!
··· Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines $4.99 ···
Famously broken vampire RPG that has since been patched over well by an eager online community. Ends up playing more like an immersive sim, in the best possible way, and the characters in the game are often cited as some of the more believably modeled, ever. A slippery rope bridge over the uncanny valley.
··· The Void $1.99 ···
First-person purgatory simulator from the weirdo geniuses at Ice-Pick Lodge. Will you be drained of all color and eventually sucked into Hell, aka nothingness? A menagerie of some of the most memorable boss enemies ever stand in your way to color-salvation. Hang on because we're going to plug Pathologic below. Not that you're actually going to play it, but we're going to plug it anyway.
/// Gog.com, No Trick, All Treat
They also have Penumbra for a pittance, if you'd rather have a no-DRM, no Steam client, no-nothing install.
··· Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father $2.39 ···
If playing as a mop-headed, book-store-owning amateur New Orleans homicide investigator is your kind of thing, you can do no better. Some will say this is the pinnacle of classic point 'n' click adventures, but I'm not so sure. It's certainly a darn good one.
··· Pathologic $2.49 ···
HERE IT IS. This is the easiest way to buy Pathologic that I've ever seen. The translation from Russian is dodgy, but if you stick with it, you'll feel slowly, weirdly dragged into this desperate, semi-magical town on the edge of a horrible (somehow Slavic) desert place, where the leading industry is the brutal slaughtering of cattle. This game pulls no punches and totally allows you to go down with the ship, with the town spinning madly around you. Most players start out as a young doctor investigating the death of a supposedly immortal man (there are other characters to star as), and a crow's nest of disease and magical realism unfolds from there.
/// And a bundle of electronic entertainment, fiction, music and documentary film curated by a former Wiki-leaks insider, all concerned with the rise of government surveillance. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is the game included herein, with writing by Harlan Ellison. Said software is also available on the Steam and Gog.com sales, but this way is so much cooler.