Mostly Everything

(More than) a week of PC game launches

Hey it’s me Jayvee. I’m still here. It’s been more than a week since my last update. Blame it on the handful of new game launches the past few days. If you’re on the PC and looking for new titles to play, here’s a compilation of some of the free (and not so free) games that are worth dipping your mouse and keyboard into. I actually won’t include Borderlands 2, Guild Wars 2 and the new WoW expansion as these are already no-brainer titles that you must pick up if you enjoy the genre — Borderlands 2 is an RPG-action first person shooter that is already claiming the title for biggest game sold this 2012. It outsold its precursor. You can pick up a copy in Datablitz. Guild Wars 2 is of similar interest, being a skill-oriented MMO that appeals to gamers who have absolutely no time to play World of Warcraft. Two good things about it — no monthly fees and the game doesn’t penalize you for not playing often. Then of course there’s Mists of Pandaria which comes out today!

See, that whole paragraph was dedicated to games I haven’t recommended. Let’s do this!

Planetside 2
Screenshot above. If you’re into stuff like Battlefield 2, meet the original title that started massive scale combat. Planetside 2’s title is such because it really makes you feel like you’re in a huge planet where several mini-battles are happening in different areas of the map. Although still in beta, you can try requesting for an invite. The game will be free to play online when it launches.

Mechwarrior Online
It’s been a long time waiting, but you can now check out Mechwarrior Online in its beta form. If you were a fan of the original Mechwarrior series of games from way way back, the franchise continues in a free-to-play online skirmish. You can reserve your pilot name and get into the beta here.

FTL is finally out of invite-only and for USD $9.99 on Steam you can get what I dub as the “darling indie game of the year.” If you like the grit space opera feel of Joss Whedon’s Firefly and absolutely love Star Trek, FTL brings the desire to command your own rickety starship to life. To me, FTL is the Left 4 Dead of the space simulator genre, where you always barely make it alive to the next jump point. Rerouting power, killing fires, dealing with boarding parties … all in a day’s work for an alliance space captain. And yes, you will die. A lot.

Torchlight II
It’s finally out — if you enjoyed Diablo III but after a while suffered from attrition of repetitive grinding, well guess what? Torchlight II absolutely delivers a better experience in bringing in end-game content even just early on. Rares and uniques at level 3? Most definitely! I classify Torchlight II as somewhat similar to Guild Wars II in the sense that the game doesn’t make you work too hard to feel like you’re doing end-game content as the item drops are insane and the spells all look rather powerful even during the early levels of play. There is a bit of a hardcore element to it since Runic decided to not allow you to completely re-roll your skills (you can only re-roll the last 3 skill points you bought). Runic also opened the game up to support 3rd party modding tools so expect the shelf life of Torchlight II to go on for a couple of years. Also, 6 player multiplayer and LAN support. Yes folks, this game supports offline LAN play, just like the good ‘ol days. It’s USD $19.99 on Steam.

Black Mesa
The original Half Life re-invented for the modern day computer. This game is an absolute must acquire. It’s fan made, endorsed by Valve and enhances on the original Half Life experience from the 90’s. Best of all, it’s free.

Half Life was an important landmark in the gaming industry because it took first person story-telling to a new level with scripted events, making your typical shooter more than just about blowing things up. The new and re-imagined Half Life runs on the Source engine which Valve uses for its games such as Left 4 Dead and Counterstrike.


Steam announces Big Picture, turns your TV into a gaming hub, web browser

The living room has always been a no-brainer venue for tech companies to expand their entertainment platforms, especially for the big three. Microsoft has the XBOX 360 which is also being marketed as a media center. Sony has its PS3 that shipped with Blu-ray capabilities. Of course Apple has the Apple TV. But then there’s Steam, that darling gaming platform founded by Gabe Newell of Valve that changed gaming paradigm permanently — more affordable games made available without the need of physical disks.

Now Steam is invading the living room with Big Picture, a hybrid version of the Steam app that allows you to amplify your gaming experience with your computer + a HDMI cable. ‘Big Picture’ mode gives you full access to Steam, a new web browser (quote: “a web browser on your TV that doesn’t suck), your mouse + keyboard and your gaming controller. No need to buy additional harware. It basically converts your flat screen LED TV into a Smart TV.

Big Picture comes as a welcome surprise as the rumor mill was churning out information that Gabe was in the process of developing a gaming box (aka ‘Steam Box’) which was basically a computer dedicated to gaming which you could hook up to your TV. Big Picture is probably the precursor to this. SIGN UP NOW.

To opt into the beta, go to the Steam menu and select settings. From this screen, you can click the change button under the Beta participation heading and select the “Steam Beta Update.” Once you’ve committed your selection, Steam will prompt you to restart the application. Once it’s back up and running, you’ll find a BIG PICTURE button near the upper right-hand corner of Steam’s main window. Click this, or if you have a game controller up and running, press its center button to enter Big Picture mode.

Exciting times!

Big Picture System Requirements

OS Windows Vista, 7, or 8. OS X support coming soon.

Memory 1 GB RAM

Processor 3.0 Ghz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)

Video card Required / at least 256MB memory and DirectX 9-compatible with support for Pixel Shader 2.0b, Recommended / 512MB+ memory and DirectX 10-compatible

Disk space 1 GB recommended

Internet connection Broadband recommended

Controller Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows, Xbox 360 Wired Controller, or Logitech Wireless Gamepad F710 recommended. Keyboard and mouse also supported.

Coming soon for Mac


Trailer: Summoner Wars for iOS

I can’t stress it any more: iOS is the platform of choice if you’re a fan of modern (and classic) board games.

Summoner Wars is a fast-playing, action-packed 2-4 player card game. Players take on the role of Summoners: powerful beings who harness the power of mysterious Summoning Stones to lead their race to conquest on the war-torn planet of Itharia. These Summoners wield terrible magic on the battlefield, freezing their foes in place, draining their enemies of power, and even bringing rains of fire down from the heavens. But most notoriously, they summon their great race’s hordes of warriors to the battlefield, to clash in the never-ending struggle for supremacy. A Summoner is both mage and general, and must combine their wizardly might with clever tactics to defeat the enemy Summoner on the opposite side of the battle. [BoardGameGeek]

Mostly Everything

Be the first in line for Instagram for Android

Finally, after months of waiting Android users will ***soon*** be able to become part of the Instagram community. For the longest time, iOS users enjoyed the exclusivity of the most popular photo sharing app for the smartphone. Perhaps the reason why Instagram took this long, I surmise, has to do with the fact that there are just so many different types of camera hardware on Android, making it harder to scale as compared to iOS where you only have to develop for the iPad and iPhone. But then again, that didn’t stop other app developers to create their own Instagam-like apps for Android.

Anyway, be first in line. Sign up here.

Mostly Everything

Geeky things you can buy for P50.00

When Apple revamped the music industry with single track purchases for less than P50.00 per track, that changed the way people sold applications and in-app purchases. It’s essentially the “tingi” method turned into a digital business. Now there’s a huge product launch tomorrow but all we can say is that it has something to do with the power of P50.00.

In the digital age, there are surprisingly a lot of things you can buy with fifty pesos. Here are some examples:

2,500 Coins in Temple Run

A definite chart topper on iOS devices, I still have no idea how people can score over 3,000,000 points in a single run. But I do know this — if you’re really frustrated and want to earn those coins without any effort, you can always drop $0.99 for 2,500 coins to help you buy upgrades for your brave explorer.


Streets of Rage 2

Streets of Rage 2 has my childhood written all over it. It’s become one of the defining games of its genre, released way back in the 90’s for the SEGA Genesis. And guess what? It’s here for iOS for less than fifty pesos. That’s totally awesome. I’m reliving an epic two-player side scrolling beat ’em up experience with Axel, Blaze, Skate and Max as they take on Shiva and Mr. X. Streets of Rage 2 is a complete port to iOS. It even includes multiplayer support via wireless connectivity.

Two Games of Half Life 2: Survivor

I now have a new reason to head over to Resorts World and it has nothing to do with the casino. The new “Gamezoo” arcade is a two-storey haven for a lot of coin-op arcade machines that are practically hard to find. Case in point: Half Life 2: Survivor. This arcade series was never released in the USA and quite frankly I’m baffled as to how Gamezoo even knew that this game existed. It’s out and it’s in Resort’s World. A single game costs P20.00. Half Life 2: Survivor is a marriage between Team Fortress 2 and the Half Life franchise allowing up to 8 players to battle simultaneously in a single arena.


These are just three cheap (and geeky) thrills you can get with PHP 50.00. What about you? What are your most favorite apps that retail for less than a dollar?