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Winkin, blinkin, and warm reboot

Video Games | Thursday, August 28th, 2008 | 9 years, 0 months ago

I’ve been on an indie game kick these past few weeks.  I love indie games, regardless of graphics or sophistication, since they can take such sweeping liberties and diversions from the norm as compared to big AAA titles that are beholden to the whims of publishers and stockholders.

I’ll list some of my recent favourite indie games below, but first my rant:

Sometimes with free indie games you get what you pay for.  Occasionally you’ll find one that doesn’t quite work right.  A few games I’ve tried recently try to invoke a screen mode that either my video card or monitor are incompatible with, causing my monitor to go blank and making its power light blink persistently.  This leaves me with no recourse and no control.  If I’m lucky I can tap the power button on my PC case to shut down Windows gracefully, else I must press the reset button and hope my computer turns back on at all!

I found a pretty easy fix for this in Windows XP – without being able to see what I was doing I’d press alt-tab which would hopefully get me to the desktop, press Win-R to open a run box, type "cmd" and press enter to open a command prompt, and press ctrl-enter to make it fullscreen.  This would usually force the screen to change modes.  I’d then press ctrl-enter again to restore the command prompt to a window, at which point I’d usually be returned to my desktop where I could close the offending game.

I’ve tried this on Vista, but no dice.  I don’t know whether it’s impossible or just takes a lot of coaxing to get Vista to run a command prompt in full screen.  I don’t know where to go from here.  I just tap my power button and cross my fingers, waiting for the hard disk access LED to stop flickering and my optical mouse to stop glowing red, before I can turn my PC back on.

Anyone have a better solution for me?

And now, my list of favourite free indie games du jour! (these all work fine for me BTW!)

Gamma Bros is a 2D low-fi space shooter akin to Robotron or Smash TV.  It has a lot of personality and is very well realized.

Cave Story is a 2D NES-style platform with RPG elements.  The story and characters are endearing, the action and controls are solid, and the music is great.  I’m maybe 4 hours in with no end in sight yet!

Quest for Glory II by AGD Interactive is a remake of the game by same name, originally by Sierra OnLine.  This version is nearly a decade in the making with lovely updated graphics and the famous Sierra point-and-click interface.

Façade is an utterly unique experience.  You play yourself and are invited to the apartment of a couple whose marriage is failing.  This "game" is a marvellous merger of AI and psychology that will keep you playing and replaying for hours.

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2 Comments

  1. I just got Braid last night on XBox Live. It’s really good. A shame it’s only out on the XBox. 2d scroller with a ton of time based puzzles. Reversing time is only the default power you get. Really innovative, with a strange story, and beautiful.

    Comment by Mycroft — August 28, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

  2. I really enjoyed listening to the folks at the Games for Windows podcast talking about Braid. They had much to say about games as art, effective storytelling, and all kinds of intellectual hoo-haw that I had to take their word on since it went somewhat over my head. I would like to try this game, if only it were on PC.

    http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3?http://download.gamevideos.com/Podcasts/CGW/GFWR081308.mp3

    Can’t say that I see myself in the market for an Xbox any time soon. If anything I’d sooner get the PS3. I ain’t paying for multiplayer.

    Comment by brian — August 28, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

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