Ever wanted to make your own game? Check out Learn 2 Game-Jam!

L2GJLogo_CropNope, this isn’t your ordinary game jam! This game jam, organised and brought to my attention by Steve, the founder of games blog NJoystic has a different focus than most – this time it’s all about learning how to make games. I love game jams anyway, for the amount of community spirit and creativity they foster, but this one has community spirit coming out of its ears! Game jams, for those who don’t know, are when game devs get together to make a game from scratch within a short time frame – usually around 24-48 hours. They can be competitive or non-competitive. Learn 2 Game-Jam is of the non-competitive variety and will run from April 15-May 15, 2014. Best of all, it’s open to everyone – whether you’ve had years of experience making your own games or have zero experience. Check out Steve’s post here for the full details or read on for more info!

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The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episodes 1 and 2 review – Here we go again!

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the episodic The Walking Dead: Season One by Telltale Games. This actually came as a bit of a surprise to me. Interactive fiction just wasn’t my thing… or so I thought. Right from the first of the five episodes that make up Season One I was entranced. What’s not to love? It’s got it all – amazing stories, great writing, complex and realistic characters and a tense atmosphere that never abates. So of course, I had to play the two episodes of Season Two that are out so far, because I just have to know what happens dammit! Obviously since it’s not all out yet, I can’t judge the whole story arc or give a fair review of the season, but I still wanted to get my thoughts down about the first two episodes, in case there are people out there who haven’t played it yet and want to know how it stacks up so far against the incredible first season. Continue reading

Guest Post: Three top RPGs and why you should love them, too!

This week Gareth  of Fresh Tech Solutions has written a great post for CTVG on his top 3 RPGs complete with recommended system requirements. Remember to check out his blog for more fun PC games-related articles and if you’re in the market for a custom-built PC have a look at the services they offer too! Enjoy! 
What’s not to love about role-playing games? A game that allows you to control and build your own character, and take them on adventures, battles and quests? It’s like watching an epic movie, only you’re the protagonist, and you get to decide the outcome of the narrative. Whether you like to stick diligently to the main story quest, take your time exploring the world or compulsively complete every side quest you come across, RPGs have all the necessary ingredients for hours of high-quality entertainment without awful endings and ridiculous popcorn prices. So as you can imagine, choosing my favourite three role-playing games was no easy task.
Here, I give you three modern classic RPGs worthy of the ‘top three’ accolade, and the system requirements needed to play them. As someone who builds custom PCs for a living, I’d say that  in order to become fully immersed in (read: addicted to) a game, it almost goes without saying that you need a rig that’s up to the job.

Mass Effect 2 (2010)

The second instalment in the Mass Effect trilogy takes place in deep space during the 22nd century, so not the usual genre of fictional world I’d normally go for. It rates highly for me due to the fact that it isn’t really like any other game out there. As players who had completed the first Mass Effect could import their saved games to join Commander Shepard where they left off, I was one of the smug PC Gamers who played Mass Effect and mocked the console kids for their lack of knowledge on the series when ME2 came out. Naturally, since completing ME2 I have gone back and started from scratch, just to see what it was like. What can I say? I enjoy intense third-person combat too much. In comparison with Mass Effect, ME2 has increased intensity with precision shooter controls, location-based damage system that lets you target the weak points of your enemy and an entire galaxy to explore. It would be a waste to play it just once.

Recommended system requirements: ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT video card (or equivalent), 2.6+ GHz Core 2 Duo Intel (or equivalent), 2GB RAM.

I recommend: This fierce Rampage AMD FX Quad Core 4.2GHz gaming PC will more than fulfil your requirements- and let you enjoy Mass Effect 3 at its highest setting, too!

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

The fifth main title in the Elder Scrolls repertoire is set in Skyrim, the wintry homeland of the Nords – a fierce warrior people living on spectacular mountainous terrain in the bitter cold. Great to play if you’re British (or Scandinavian) as you’ll be comfortable in this climate. The truth is, you’ll need to make yourself at home because this is one mammoth adventure. A friend once wrote that playing Skyrim made him feel like his childhood dreams of discovering Narnia at the back of his wardrobe had finally come true. One of the less technical reviews I’ve heard, but I can see where he was coming from. You have the ability to mould your character into any hero you desire and to roam the vast, dangerous landscape at your leisure – the possibilities are endless. This fifth instalment of The Elder Scrolls wins a slot for freedom of choice, overwhelming quantity of content and irrepressible sense of adventure, as well as much-improved engine.

Recommended system requirements: Quad-core Intel/AMD CPU, 4GB RAM, 6GB of free hard drive space and an NVIDIA/AMD ATI graphics card with 1GB RAM.

What I recommend: The Neptune AMD Bulldozer 6800K 4.4GHz desktop PC – worth every penny! It’ll also cope with the downloadable HD textures that Bethesda have made available to download for free!

Bastion (2011)

Bastion’s perhaps my favourite RPG that’s been released in recent years. It’s an action RPG with an unremarkable combat system, it’s short in length and the graphics are rather basic. Despite all its distinctly average attributes, Bastion is an incredible game. The beautiful watercolour style graphics, heartwarming story, fantastic soundtrack and one of gaming’s most loved narrators combine perfectly to create a truly unique RPG experience. I couldn’t help but get sucked into the story – even with a cast of just a few characters, only one of whom gets more than a couple of lines of dialogue, I was completely emotionally invested in Bastion. RPGs don’t need the budget of Skyrim or Mass Effect to succeed – they just need heart.

Minimum system requirements: 1.7+ GHz Dual Core CPU, 2GB RAM, 512MB video card.

What I recommend: Bastion doesn’t rely on stunning graphics, but to ensure you’re ready for Supergiant Games’ next release – Transistor, you might want to think about upgrading your rig.

Whatever your RPG preferences, I think these three deserve to be on everyone’s must-play list. Disagree? What would your choices be?