Free Games

  • Twitch

    • Strata

      • 2013
      • A simple, elegant puzzle game that has you weaving different coloured ribbons together to match the goal pattern
  • Epic Games

    • Halcyon 6

      • 2016
      • Retro space RPG with base building, tactical combat, crew management, and emergent storytelling

CD Projekt Red was targeted by a cyber attack this week, compromising their internal network and stealing information for ransom

  • According to a statement from the company on Twitter, the hackers gained access to their internal systems, collected unspecified information, and encrypted some of their systems
  • On the plus side, thanks to good backups they’ve already secured their infrastructure and have begun restoring data
  • They’ve also stated that they will not give in to demands or negotiate, and since this may lead to the release of the compromised data they’ll be taking steps to mitigate that by approaching anyone that may be affected
    • As far as they’re aware though, based on both their investigation and the ransom note, no personal player or user data was affected
  • They also posted the ransom note in the Twitter post and it’s a bit of a journey all on its own, kicking off with “Your have been EPICALLY pwned!!”, and going on to identify that along with internal documents like accounting and HR they also grabbed the source code for Gwent, CyberPunk 2077, and the Witcher 3, along with an “unreleased version” of Witcher 3
    • The source code for Gwent was published online a day after this announcement so it’s likely that this is legit, but CDPR remains adamant that they will not be negotiating.
    • But hey, maybe having the Cyberpunk 2077 code leaked will lead to a crowdsourced effort to fix all its bugs?

Terraria on Stadia has been cancelled after the developer’s Google account was locked for seemingly no reason

  • Terraria’s co-creator Andrew Spinks took to Twitter this week to say that his account had been disabled for over 3 weeks, removing access to all his paid apps on Google Play, data on Google Drive, and 15 years of emails on Gmail
  • It all started back in January when the studio Re-Logic had its YouTube channel taken down for completely unexplained reasons
    • They publicly reached out to YouTube over the alleged violations, since they hadn’t posted any new content for months, but it looked like they either had a very unhelpful person or a bot responding because nothing was really done about it, though Re-Logic says that they were assured via email that it was nothing to worry about at the time
  • From the looks of it Spinks had his personal email address associated with the YouTube channel, because shortly afterward he reported that he had lost everything
  • After being given the runaround for weeks he announced that doing business with a corporation that values their customers and partners so little is a liability, and he would not be involved with them going forward
  • This could be a blow against Stadia, with a popular game like Terraria (it sold over 30M copies as of April 2020) pulling out so soon after Google closed their own game studio to focus on third-party titles for the service

Google still hasn’t updated their iOS apps to include the new mandatory privacy nutrition labels on their App Store pages, while also warning users that their apps are out of date

  • At the beginning of 2021 Apple rolled out a new requirement that all apps need to list privacy information like what information they use to track you, what info they link to you, and what they’re using for advertising
    • They’re not pulling any apps down because of it, but it’s required before developers are allowed to post any updates to their apps
    • And keep in mind, this is purely informational and separate from the tracking transparency prompt coming in iOS 14.5
  • Well despite saying back on January 5th that they’d have it all in place within a couple of weeks, we’re into the second month of no updates for Google apps on Apple devices and no privacy labels either
  • This wouldn’t be so noteworthy were it not for the fact that Google started logging people out of apps like Gmail and informing them that the apps were out of date with messages like “The version you’re using doesn’t include the latest security features to keep you protected. Only continue if you understand the risks.”
    • They eventually did something on the server side to suppress these warnings, but if it’s a security issue then they really need to release these updates to people
  • At this point Google basically has two options- hurry up and strip all their information-mining out of their apps, or just go the Facebook route and have a massive privacy label owning up to all the info you’ve been gathering without explicit permission. If they don’t choose a lane then I’d expect to see people finding alternative apps that are actually getting updated regularly

Blizzard fans were disappointed this week when it was announced that both Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 are not expected to launch this year

  • Diablo 4 isn’t that big of a surprise, but for a games-as-a-service title like Overwatch, where they’ve said that there won’t be any new heroes after Echo’s April 2020 debut until the sequel, it’s a surprising move

This Week In Gaming History

February 6 – 1994 – Tomcat Alley – Sega CD

  • Tomcat Alley is one of the last of Sega’s TruVideo games for the SegaCD, featuring you and your F-14 Tomcat doing what you do best – dogfighting Russian Migs!
  • This time, a renegade Soviet commander is threatening the United States with chemical weapons from his base in the Mexican desert, and its up to you and your wingmen to fine-tune your air-to-air combat strategies to make the entire western hemisphere safe again!
  • Tomcat Alley was one of Sega’s last TruVideo games, featuring what is called “Active Matrix” software, which allows for many different outcomes to any given situation.
    • This means only one thing – much more interaction and variation than previous FMV (Full Motion Video) games!

February 7 – 2006 – The Rub Rabbits! – Nintendo DS

  • The Rub Rabbits! is the sequel to the DS launch title Feel the Magic XY/XX.
    • As with the first title, your aim is to guide your lovestruck hero through a number of challenges and puzzles to gain the heart of his true love.
    • However, on this occasion, not only do you have to win her heart, you have to keep a hold of it.
    • Others will attempt to attract her attention, spawning the possibility of love triangles.
  • Only your stylus skills will protect your heart and love from the possibility of losing her forever across 35 episodes, where you’ll rub, sing, shoot down and battle against the opposition.
    • Once you’ve got the girl, you can also take on your friends in multiplayer modes that range from the straightforward high score mini games to more unorthodox ones, such as making babies.
  • The Japanese title for this game, “Akachan wa doko kara kuru no?”, translates to “Where do babies come from?”.
  • And this title is made by the reputable game devs from Sonic Team.
  • This game does not appear in 1001 Games To Play Before You Die

February 8 – 1999 – Mario Party – Nintendo 64 (North America)

  • Mario Party is a party game for 1 to 4 players.
    • The festivities are based on a board game format, right down to the fact that players must roll a die to determine how many spaces to move.
    • Players land on different squares, each space holding one of more than fifty different mini-games.
    • These quick competitions determine who will earn coins and stars, and who will go home empty handed.
  • The mini-games are spread over eight different game boards, all of which are not immediately available.
    • Some of the games pit every man or princess against the others, some are two-on-two, and others are even three against one.
    • One challenge is loosely based on “Simon Says”, another involves a two-on-two bobsled race, and one game makes one player attempt to cross a rope while the other three do their best to shake the player off.
    • There are skill games, racing games, puzzle games, and other types.
  • A good portion of the actual game boards are animated, with hidden dangers and special challenges scattered everywhere.
    • Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Yoshi, and Wario are all invited to the party, and each character has his or her own game board.
  • In a couple of the minigames, the player was required too spin the analog stick in a circle rapidly: since the most effective way of doing this was to place your palm on the controller and spin it, many players developed visible callouses.
    • Eventually a lawsuit was filed and Nintendo opted too send out free gloves to all Mario Party owners instead of getting sued.

February 9 – 2010 – BioShock 2 – PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

  • Plot:
    • Ten years have passed since the events in BioShock.
      • The underwater-city Rapture has further deteriorated, with water breaking in everywhere and whole sections flooded by water.
      • But as bad as the situation is, the city still isn’t empty.
      • After Andrew Ryan’s death, his long adversary, the psychiatrist Dr. Sophia Lamb took over the helm – embracing her own cult, making the mutated splicers that roam the city her worshippers.
      • In the middle is Delta, the first of the protectors of the Little Sisters better known as Big Daddies.
      • Eternally bonded to one and only one Little Sister called Eleanor, daughter of Sophia Lamb, he’s damned to search the city and find her or die trying.
    • The player slips into the mighty boots of Delta, making his way in a typical first-person-shooter-style through the city of Rapture to find and confront Dr. Sophia Lamb, who holds Eleanor against her will.
      • The switch of perspective, in the first game the player was a normal human, also brings with it a few changes in gameplay.
      • The most important being, that the player can now use both one of the eleven available plasmids and one of the several different weapons at the same time, allowing him to burn enemies while pumping them full of bullets.
      • Other plasmids include “Winter Blast” which freezes an enemy or “Scout” which allows the player to leave his body and look around unnoticed.
      • The weapons on the hand range from the famous Big-Daddy-Drill over a powerful double-barrel-shotgun to a grenade launcher.
  • As in the first game, both weapons and plasmids are upgradeable.
    • While the weapons just require the player to find a special workstation, upgrades for plasmids and tonics (granting passive effects) are bought at special vending machines called “Gatherer’s Garden” with the rare substance called “Adam”.
    • As in the first game, the Little Sisters roaming the levels are the key to getting access to Adam.
    • But since the player himself is a Big Daddy, the process is a bit different this time around.
    • While the player still needs to kill the accompanying Big Daddy to get access to the Little Sister, he can choose to adopt it afterwards instead of just harvesting it.
    • The Little Sister will then sit on his shoulder and look for Adam-infused bodies in the level to harvest them.
  • Setting down a Little Sister to harvest a body will unleash hell as every splicer in the level will try to kill her, requiring the player to protect the little girl from harm until its finished collecting.
    • Once a Little Sister has harvested two bodies, the player can again either harvest her himself, or free her.
    • Either action grants him more or less Adam and at the same time may alert a Big Sister.
    • As opposed to the Big Daddies, they are nimble, fast and very deadly.
  • Another important change is the new hacking-mini-game which is the same in all versions now and requires the player to hit the green or blue spaces on a gauge with a constantly spinning needle.
    • If he doesn’t hit the right field, he either gets a electro-shock or will sound the alarm.
    • A successful hack on the other will lower the prices at vending machines or turn turrets over to the player’s side.
    • The new mini-game also allows the player to fight and walk around while hacking as well as hacking from a distance thanks to the arrows shot by the hacking-tool.
  • BioShock 2 features multiplayer for up to 10 players which was developed independently from the single player by a different developer and tells the story before the first game.
    • By gaining ranks for kills and winning matches, the player unlocks access to additional radio messages advancing the story behind the civil war that raged in the city between the Splicers and Andrew Ryan’s security force.
    • The available multiplayer-mode include Deathmatch, Team-Deathmatch, Capture and Hold, Capture the Sister and Adam Grab.
    • The latter requires the players to collect and protect the sole Little Sister in the level in order to gain points. Capture the Sister on the other hand puts two teams against each other with one team trying to bring the Little Sister to a vent and the other trying to prevent that. Each mode also features the possibility of one player slipping into the role of a Big Daddy.

February 10 – 2015 – Evolve – PS4, Xbox One, Windows

  • Evolve is an asymmetrical multiplayer game for five players.
    • It is played with a team of four humans against a single monster, all controlled by human players.
    • It does not contain a separate single-player mode, but the game can be played by a single player with up to four bots controlling the remaining spots.
    • The game is set in the future and takes place at Shear, a planet far away that has been colonized. The valuable colonies are soon attacked by different kinds of monsters. To deal with the threat, war veteran William Chabot is brought out of retirement and he assembles a team of hunters to eliminate the monsters.
  • The human side consists of four classes.
    • There are Assaults (damage), Medics (health), Supports (tools) and Trappers (Tracking).
    • Players assemble a team with any combination of the classes to hunt down the monster.
    • There are multiple characters per class with different secondary skills and abilities and each class has different general abilities.
    • Assaults use a personal shield for temporary invulnerability, Medics use health burst to provide health in a radius, Supports can activate a radius of cloaking, and Trappers use a Mobile Arena energy dome shield to narrow down the area where the monster can be found.
    • Secondary skills are different for each character.
      • Hunter Abe for instance has a track dart gun to track monsters or tag food (which marks the monster when it is consumed).
      • The other Hunter Griffin can deploy spikes to detect and movement and the Hunter Maggie releases a pet trapjaw to chase after the monster’s trail.
      • Next to the permanent perk and the basic customization system, the full roster of characters is unlocked by reaching the mastery level for the skills.
      • This can also be done in solo matches and it applies to the monsters as well.
  • There are three types of monsters to choose from.
    • Goliath is a durable melee monster. It can charge, use its fire breath, and perform a leap smash or a rock throw.
    • Kraken is a flying monster that attacks from long range using electricity.
      • It has access to aftershock (energy burst), banshee mines, lightning strike and vortex.
    • Wraith is a stealth monster. It uses abduction to get a character away from the team, can create a decoy version of itself, create a supernova (radial destruction along with damage and attack speed buff), and perform a warp blast to teleport and do damage at the same time.
    • Additional characters and monsters are included in special editions of the game or can be bought as DLC.
    • They do no split the community as players who do not own the DLC can still fight the additional characters and monsters, but cannot play them.
    • Additional maps are released for free for all players.
  • Monsters can feed on wildlife and dead humans to fill an energy meter and evolve.
    • This is used to become stronger, but to evolve they have to enter a cocoon stage for a while that leaves them very vulnerable.
    • Wildlife can attack both sides, influencing the events, and can reveal locations.
    • Both sides can use different types of power-ups and need to use a strategic approach to overcome the opposition.
  • The game modes are Defend, Hunt, Nest and Rescue.
    • In Defend the humans need to defend a starship’s refueling station by protecting power generators until the ship is fully refueled.
    • The opposition controls a single, fully evolved monster, along with various Goliath minions.
    • The monster must destroy the two generators to reach the ship’s power source before it is refueled.
    • In Hunt the monster wins by killing all humans or by evolving to stage three to destroy a power relay, while the humans merely need to destroy the monster.
    • The monster receives a head start to get away before the humans are dropped.
    • When the monster dies the game is over immediately.
    • When a hunter is killed there is a wait time of three minutes before respawning.
    • In Nest the monster needs to defend six monster eggs somewhere in the environment for ten minutes.
    • The eggs can be hatched to receive help from minions.
    • Humans have ten minutes to destroy all eggs.
    • In Rescue both the humans and the monster go after injured colonists spread over the map.
    • The first to rescue or kill five respectively, wins the session.
  • Games can be played as Quick Play sessions or in the Evacuation story mode.
    • In the second type each won match in a cycle of five brings an advantage to the next map for that side and it ends with a Defend match.
    • There are different types of maps with distinct themes such as a jungle or using industrial elements.

February 11 – 2003 – Command And Conquer: Generals – Windows

  • A new chapter in the Command & Conquer universe, set somewhere in the 2020s, pits three sides for global domination: the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China and the Global Liberation Army (GLA).
  • Generals features real world (renamed or slightly altered) weapons combined with quasi-high-tech ones, new control schemes and a fast-paced multiplayer.
    • Generals is the first game in the Command & Conquer series not to include FMV or pre-rendered cutscenes between missions, and was also the first C&C game without the Westwood Studios label (although the development studio was initially called Westwood Pacific before being merged into EA Pacific).
    • It uses a full 3D environment powered by the SAGE engine, a modified version of the W3D engine previously seen in C&C: Renegade.
  • The core gameplay differs somewhat from other games in the series, a move done in order to modernize the formula.
    • First off, construction yards are absent, as structures are built by dozers for the USA and China, and workers for the GLA.
    • The sidebar is replaced with the bottom bar, and support powers are “purchased” with leveling up as a general, which is done through participating in combat.
    • For the first time in the series, each factory-type structure (barracks, war factory, airfield…) has its own build queue, in the same fashion as in Blizzard’s RTS titles before it, instead of having a shared one like in the previous C&C games.
    • Upgrades are available for the first time in the series as well, bringing improvements to units and structures.
    • Everything is paid for in advance instead of having credits slowly drain as the object is constructed.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals was first temporarily (February 28, 2003) and later definitely (March 06, 2003) put on the German index.
    • This means that it is forbidden to sell the game to minors or to advertise it in any form. The BPjM, Germany’s banning office, said that C&C: Generals is too close to real-world events (i.e. the threat of an Iraq war) and to cynical – for example sending out suicide attackers, carpet bombing and raiding UN convoys.
  • Later it has been re-released in a heavily censored version:
    • Many units and places were renamed. For example, the USA faction was called WA (Western Alliance) and China was AP (Asian Pact). Terrorists were renamed to Activists.
    • All civilians were removed, and all soldiers were replaced by cyborgs, like in previous German C&C releases. Therefore some quotes of the GLA Worker like “I’m hungry” or “My hammer is too heavy” were removed completely.
    • Suicide bombers were replaced by telecommunication units.

February 12 – 1990 – Super Mario Bros. 3 – NES (North America)

  • Bowser is back, and along with the Bowser kids, he’s out to spoil Mario’s day once again.
  • This time, along with nabbing the Princess, the Bowser crew have also taken the magic wands from the Kings of each land and turned them into creatures.
    • It’s up to Mario and Luigi to get back the magic wands, defeat Bowser, and save the Princess all before the day is done.
  • Old and new power-ups abound in each level for the Mario Brothers, including the return of the Super Mushroom and Fire Flower, plus the new power-ups including the frog suit, the warp flute, and the most important of all, the leaf, which allows the player to fly and attack enemies with your tail.
  • Fun Facts:
    • The Koopa Kids were only named in the North American and European versions.
      • The Japanese version completely omits giving them names.
    • As of 2010, the fastest run through the the game is under eleven minutes (0:10:48 as conventional speedrun and 0:10:25 tool-assisted).
    • The NES version of Super Mario Bros. 3 appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


  • Destruction AllStars has released a hotfix disabling the multiplayer lobby voice chat by default, closing the hellportal introduced in our living rooms
  • PS5 controllers have other problems though, with many people reporting online that their Dualsense controllers are experiencing some bad drift issues pretty quickly in their lifecycle
    • The problems are covered under warranty if you contact Sony, but you do have to pay one-way shipping out of pocket
  • Kingdom Hearts will soon no longer be a console exclusive, and will the hitting the Epic Games Store next month in all its JRPG lore-addled fury
  • Borderlands is apparently becoming a movie, and it’s got big names like Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, and Jamie Lee Curtis attached already
    • Oh, and Claptrap will be played by Jack Black?!


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