Unforgiving, sophisticated and vast: Three deaths in The Long Dark

Over the years I've spent, by conservative estimates, around 400 hours in the post apocalyptic world of DayZ. When I first heard about The Long Dark, a survival game set in the Canadian wilderness, I was doubtful that a single player game could be as gripping as one filled with dozens of crazed monsters out for blood, let alone one without zombies. But after just a little more than one hour with the game last night I'm singing a different tune. And my song is lost amid the howling winds of a massive, empty and utterly deadly world. These are my first three lives in The Long Dark. One The only thing I can see is the breath in front of my face and a half dozen tall pine trees around me. There must be a full moon, but the diffuse light is having trouble making it through the low...

Dwarf Fortress will crush your CPU because creating history is hard

Like much of the collection at New York's Museum of Modern Art, Dwarf Fortress is a baffling, inscrutable mess. But with proper interpretation, even the most intimidating forms can provide for moments of admiration. Polygon sat down with one of the creators of Dwarf Fortress, Tarn Adams, to talk about his work. We wanted to take just a piece of the whole — world creation — and unpack it. To make it digestible. And in the process we found a whole new respect for the game. The opening cinematic of Dwarf Fortress. I met a traveller Dwarf Fortress has been made over the last decade by Tarn and his brother Zach. Version .40 was just released a few weeks ago and the focus of the game is, as it has always been, enabling players to lead a small colony of dwarves in building a fortress. But...

Kickstarter suspends Ex-STALKER devs' Areal campaign, West Games turns to direct funding

Areal, the game pitched as a colorful, open-world post-apocalyptic adventure from "senior ex-S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developers," found success on Kickstarter, but now the project has been suspended and all pledges have been canceled. According to a message sent to Kickstarter backers today, "A review of the project uncovered evidence that it broke Kickstarter's rules." Now the developer has turned to direct funding through its own website in an effort to finance Areal. The suspension of Areal's Kickstarter hit with less than 48 hours to go in its fundraising campaign. The developer, West Games, had raised nearly $65,000, well beyond its original $50,000 fundraising goal. Kickstarter doesn't disclose why it suspends campaigns, but said it will take such action if campaigns misrepresent or...

Find out which experimental games excite Korean devs

Note: A few frames of the above video are not suitable for work. A group of Korean game developers were inspired by GDC's Experimental Gameplay Workshop to host their own curated games exhibition. The festival, called Out of Index, opened for submissions June 22nd and just a short month later the games were demonstrated at a small party in South Korea. "People say ‘There is nothing new under the sun,'" reads OOI's mission statement. "Does that mean there wouldn't be any new grammar [of gameplay] then? No! "We would like to inspire new energy to the Korean game industry through various experimentation [sic]." The showcase featured 14 games, including Western games like David OReilly's Mountain. Check out the video for the highlights. You can find information, including videos, about...

Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas Arachnid Quarter - Overview video

Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas single-player expansion has been a long time coming, but it's finally here! To celebrate the new content and the new cards, I invited fellow card game nerd Griffin McElroy to check out the freshly-launched Arachnid Quarter. We face down each of the new AI-controlled bosses on Normal mode, marvel at their crazy abilities and make all sorts of hilarious mistakes. Griffin and I will be back checking out each new wing of Curse of Naxxramas as they go live over the coming weeks.

Walking Dead's momentum leads to this violent, brutal, shocking moment

The video above contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4, as well as some very intense violence. If either of those things concern you, you'd best click out of this story right away and don't read further.Last chance before we get into spoiler country! All gone? Okay. Early into "Amid the Ruins," Clementine is forced to kill a zombie up close and personal. This isn't shocking in and of itself. Clem has murdered lots of zombies throughout the season. What makes this especially harsh is that she's essentially "putting down" the zombified form of Nick, one of the companions she's been traveling with for a couple of episodes now. It's worth noting that it's possible to never see this scene. If Nick has died earlier in your playthrough of Season 2, he won't show...

The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4 review: existential crisis

Everyone you know and love will one day die. It's true for all of us, but Telltale's Walking Dead series — now nearing the end of its second season — has always done an especially powerful job of putting mortality at the forefront. In "Amid the Ruins," Season 2's fourth episode, that tension at the heart of the series is as loud and clear as it's ever been. Every moment of hope is contrasted by a devastating setback. Longtime companions fall before the episode is done, and protagonist Clementine finds herself in increasingly dire situations. This formula has done Telltale well in the past, but something is off in "Amid the Ruins." The normally brilliant characterization and writing of the series is less consistent. The plodding arc of the episode feels as exhausted and hopeless as...

Extremely toxic League of Legends players threatened with instant and permanent bans

Riot Games is taking more severe measures in an effort to reduce "extreme" player toxicity in League of Legends, handing out instant 14-day or permanent bans to players who exhibit the worst behavior in its game. Starting today, Riot began testing a new approach that attempts to curb racist and homophobic language, death threats and unsportsmanlike conduct. Intentional feeding, the act of dying on purpose to give the opposing team an advantage, is specifically mentioned. Dr. Jeffrey Lin, aka "Professor Doctor Lyte," made the announcement on Twitter and explained Riot's plan in more detail in a comment on Reddit. "Today is start of tests where we'll be using a new machine learning approach [plus] Player Support manual reviews to target extreme cases of toxicity," Lin wrote. "Players...

Here's a first-person shooter with a difference

Lovely Planet doesn't look or sound like your average first-person shooter. Gone are the agonized groans of mechanized death, the gore-splattered cobbles, the clanking rattle of chainsaw-against-bone. In their stead, a bouncy, pastel world of psychedelic loon where you jump and float, letting loose with a gun that is more cupid's arrow than autocannon. Developed by QuickTequila, it's due out on Steam on July 31. "Lovely Planet hopes to translate the old formula into a version of its own," according to a QuickTequila statement. "It's the most authentic first person shooter experience; a game of jumping and shooting."

The International Dota 2 championship Grand Finals begin today - here's how to watch

After months of qualifiers, single-match play, and multiple brackets, Valve's The International 4 world championship of Dota 2 ends today with the Grand Finals between Chinese teams ViCi Gaming and Newbee. Unlike the rest of this weekend's main event, the finals are a best of five series — the first team to take three wins takes home first place, and a more than $5 million USD purse. Luckily, there are a number of ways to watch today's match. The TI4 Grand Finals are being broadcast live on ESPN3 — this is available through ESPN's web player if you have a valid cable television subscription, and is also live on any of their many live apps, including the ones on Xbox One and Xbox 360. You can also watch all Dota 2 finals coverage on Twitch, at Even better, if...

Nostalgia is a powerful drug: How is growing beyond a back catalog

Let’s say that you’re trying to play Dungeon Keeper, a game that came out in 1997. That piece of software was designed to work with a version of Windows that is seven generations old. There’s no earthly reason it should play on a modern computer. And yet there are people out there who can make it work. Scattered across the internet, devoted fan bases secret that kind of information away. One team in Poland is constantly reaching out to these communities and soliciting their rarified knowledge, collecting and digesting their expertise so that other gamers don’t have to. All in the quest to automate the process, so that older games can be played just like new ones; with a single click. "If someone is in the community for a game that was released 15 years ago," says Magda Oracz-Chomiuk,...

Goblin Techies return to Dota at The International

The Goblin Techies hero — a mainstay of the original Dota — made its return to Dota 2 at The International 2014, yesterday a surprise selection of Evil Geniuses player Arteezy. Here's a look at the Techie in the selection screen. A special taunt for the Techies was a stretch goal for The International's fund raising campaign, one easily surpassed by record sales of The Compendium, the tournament's virtual playbook. That taunt tipped players off to the idea Techies might return, but they didn't expect to see them revealed in this way. For more on The International, see Polygon's ongoing coverage, tune in on Twitch or ESPN's WatchESPN app, and see our breakdown of how The International's prize pool compares to other payouts in major athletics.

Artist got $35K for two weeks of no work, says developer of failed Kickstarter game

The developer of a video game project that raised half a million dollars over Kickstarter and collapsed without delivering it has provided a rough accounting of where the money went. Winterkewl Games llc, said it had $415,000 to use following the 2012 Kickstarter to build Yogventures!, a game based on the popular Yogscast YouTube channel and its personalities. Roughly three-fourths of that, or $300,000 was marked for salaries for developers and artists, one of whom was paid $35,000 for two weeks that produced no work. Kris Vale, of Winterkewl Games, said the unnamed artist accepted a $35,000 contract, then two weeks into it also accepted full-time employment with LucasArts, which was unwilling to let him moonlight for Yogventures! "Because we had worked out a contract that guaranteed...

Quakecon panel: Justice will be served in The Elder Scrolls Online

A Quakecon panel showed off video of new zones coming to The Elder Scrolls Online, and discussed what players may do in them (and to one another), particularly with regard to a "justice system" coming to the game. When that arrives, players will be able to commit crimes — and suffer the consequences for them, of course. This introduces things like stealing and bounties, which have been features of the standard Elder Scrolls RPGs for some time. Additionally, players may now murder NPCs, and when guards arrive to collect the bounty or haul you in, you may find that human players are leading them, adding active world PvP to the mix. This is the video explaining justice to panel-goers at Quakecon 2014: As for new areas, a new Imperial City will be added to the game, unlocked once the...

Dota 2 champs will be paid way more than Super Bowl, World Series winners

There are a number of ways to frame the size of the prize pool for The International — the world championships for Dota 2, taking place this weekend. Perhaps the best is this: The oldest major golf championship is being contested at the same time, for less money. Dota 2's combined prize pool, funded by the sale of a virtual program to fans, is $10,887,235, awarded to 14 teams comprising 5 players each. The winning team at The International 2014 will get $5,008,128. With five players to a side, that's $1,001,625.60 each. The Open Championship (known in the U.S. as the British Open) will divide $9.2 million among 156 entrants. The winner of The British Open — Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is the leader, by six strokes, after three rounds — will claim $1,196,055 for himself. Also...

Civilization 5 mod lets you exploit migrant workers in the 'first true' FIFA World Cup sim

The first "true" FIFA simulation is here, and it's a mod on Steam for Sid Meier's Civilization 5 that allows players to exploit migrant workers in order to host the future FIFA World Cup. "FIFA World Cup Host Resolution" was created by Steam user and artist Steph Caskenette, who built the satirical mod after feeling disappointment about the lack of coverage on the "true excitement" that happened before the tournament: the scandals, the money and the controversies. "There have been dozens of FIFA branded video games," the description reads. "Dozens. Yet every one of these titles ignore the all-powerful FIFA in their gameplay. They don't showcase the scandal, the copious wealth, the controversial remarks. They're just about soccer. And that's not enough. That's not FIFA." In "FIFA...
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