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World of Diving with Oculus Rift is a real treasure photo
World of Diving with Oculus Rift is a real treasure
by Alessandro Fillari

One thing about this year's GDC is that virtual reality made a huge splash. And that would be an understatement. With the news of Oculus Rift development kit 2 and the reveal of Sony's VR headset, it's looking like there will be an interesting future for these peripherals. Now, we've got another title looking to jump on the VR hype.

After an impressive debut on Steam Greenlight, the developers from Vertigo Games are taking their experience with simulation titles and applying it to new type of online game for the PC. And with the big push for VR happening now, they plan to have World of Diving take advantage of the Oculus Rift in surprising ways.

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Bound By Flame is richly detailed and dark photo
Bound By Flame is richly detailed and dark
by Alessandro Fillari

The fantasy genre has been a staple of the gaming scene for a long time. They go hand in hand, really. Because of this, it’s common to see titles that look to similar to each and don’t necessarily distinguish themselves from the pack.

Well, I was lucky enough to check out a new title within the genre that seeks to leave a big impression on fans. In Bound By Flame, players can walk the fine line between good and evil, and leave a very visible and lasting impression on their character and the world they inhabit.

At GDC, the developers at Spiders, creators of Mars: War Logs and their last fantasy title Of Orcs and Men, showed off a near-final build of their next action-RPG title. During this private showing, they displayed several sections of the game and went into detail about the choices and customization players can expect in their adventures.

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Sony's Project Morpheus: An impressive first showing photo
Sony's Project Morpheus: An impressive first showing
by Dale North

Sony choose GDC as its coming out party for its virtual reality platform, Project Morpheus. The goal was to build interest at a show where just about every developer in the industry is in attendance. And from the look of the lines at their GDC floor booth yesterday, every one of those developers had someone in line to try it out. 

We finally got our faces in the headset late last night to try out the new demos that Sony prepared for the show. We were surprised to find that Project Morpheus is already on a level playing field with Oculus Rift, and even shows it up in some places.  

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Musclecat Showdown is a game where you strike beefy cat poses photo
Musclecat Showdown is a game where you strike beefy cat poses
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Along with Push Me Pull You, I got to finally see what Musclecat Showdown was all about. And. It. Was. Glorious.

You and another muscle bound cat have to strike your owners requested poses, and the person that's able to do them the best wins. The only controls are with the analog sticks on a controller, with each stick representing your cats glorious arms. That's it, that's the entire concept. Super simple, and super fun. Essentially think Pokemon, but instead of fighting, you're posing.

The main draw here is the lovely visual style, which was created by Adventure Time and Bee and PuppyCat artist Natasha Allegri. Here's some snippets of gameplay for you to get a better sense of what the game is all about.

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Push Me Pull You is sumo wrestling meets soccer meets WTF photo
Push Me Pull You is sumo wrestling meets soccer meets WTF
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Last night I got to play a round of Push Me Pull You during the Venus Patrol party here in San Francisco. It was, without a doubt, the weirdest and best time I've had with a videogame in a long time. 

So here's the basic premise. You and a partner each control one end of the "sports-monster," a conjoined humanoid Catdog like person. You're going up against two other players in control of the same thing, and to win you need to keep control of a ball on your side of the court the longest for multiple rounds. You're able to shrink or increase the length of your body as needed, and you'll be adjusting sizes a lot as you vie for control. 

It's such a ridiculous concept, and it's a little bit disturbing too. It's essentially a f*cked up version of the Tron light cycle battles, expect here you're naked man monsters getting entangled as each team tries to wrap up their entire being around a ball. Videogames are just the greatest. 

I wasn't able to capture any video, but there are these animated gifs that can give you some insight to the gameplay over on Push Me Pull You's website

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Grave is an ever-changing surrealist nightmare with Oculus Rift photo
Grave is an ever-changing surrealist nightmare with Oculus Rift
by Steven Hansen

The sensory deprivation the Oculus Rift provides is great for immersion. And immersion is great for moody, atmospheric, scary games like Grave. Though there is a non Rift coming, so if you haven't sold your eye souls to virtual reality, don't stop reading yet.  

I'm very glad I've put my face in several strange contraptions, including Rifts, this week and I still have my eyes. Someone is going to get their eyes stolen soon.

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Double Fine's Hack 'N' Slash is like Zelda, but you hack the game photo
Double Fine's Hack 'N' Slash is like Zelda, but you hack the game
by Steven Hansen

Borne out of Double Fine's yearly Amnesia Fortnight game jam, Hack 'N' Slash (as well as Spacebase DF-9) is getting a full release this summer. The top down action adventure game may look like a Legend of Zelda clone, but that's intentional, because the actual mechanics are different. And weird. 

You actually hack the game, rewriting bits of its code and changing values in real time to affect how you interact with these iconic mechanics. I feel a little dumb and intimidated, too, don't worry.

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Nero: First-person visual novel is part Journey, part Myst photo
Nero: First-person visual novel is part Journey, part Myst
by Dale North

Imagine the exploratory experience of Journey, the first-person puzzle solving of Myst, and the look of the world of Avatar, all mixed together in one new game. That's how Storm in a Teacup's Executive Producer, Alberto Belli, describes their upcoming title, Nero.

They call it a visual novel, though it's nothing like the Japanese text-based titles you might imagine from that label.

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Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 pre-orders open today, priced at $350 photo
Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 pre-orders open today, priced at $350
by Dale North

As of this morning at 8 a.m. PST, pre-orders are open for the Oculus Rift development kit 2 (DK2). They're priced at $350, and will ship beginning in July of this year. Oculus tells Destructoid that the kits will be shipped on a first come, first serve basis, so you'd better get that order in now if you're wanting to get yours in July. 

For that $350 you're getting the newest Rift, one that benefits from all the work they've put in since the Kickstarter days of the platform. This kit features OLED displays running at 960 x 1080 per eye, supported by internal tracking that runs at 1,000 Hz and positional tracking that has seen upgrades since the last time we've seen it, which wasn't even that long ago. Oh, and the camera that does the positional tracking -- that comes with the kit, too. 

Oculus were nice enough to give us a sneak peek of DK2 yesterday, so read on for our impressions of the new kit. 

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Hyper Light Drifter is gorgeous and punishing photo
Hyper Light Drifter is gorgeous and punishing
by Alessandro Fillari

In recent times it seems as though games in 'retro-style' are on the rise. Perhaps this is nostalgia at work for a bygone era of gaming, or maybe there's an endearing spirit and honesty from gaming's past that people still resonates with people. One such title that believes in the later is Hyper Light Drifter. After an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign, the developers have been keeping things pretty close to the vest since it was funded.

During GDC, IGN hosted their Media Indie Exchange event to show off new and upcoming titles from independent developers and on-hand were the developers of Hyper Light Drifter with a new build. After getting some much appreciated hands-on time, we spoke with Heart Machine's Alex Preston, got to learn how the development of Hyper Light Drifter has been going, and how you can incorporate retro games into modern game design.

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Sentai studio sim Chroma Squad could be my XCOM replacement photo
Sentai studio sim Chroma Squad could be my XCOM replacement
by Steven Hansen

I played a lot of XCOM last year, between running through Enemy Unknown late and Enemy Within. The blend of on the ground, turn-based combat and back home base management simulation hooked me.

Chroma Squad is basically that. Except you're directing a Sentai with actors in colorful spandex dancing around lots of explosions and turtle and plant monsters.

It's pretty great.

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Pig Eat Ball made my butt rumble photo
Pig Eat Ball made my butt rumble
by Brett Makedonski

"Have you guys played the butt rumble game yet?" That's what Dale North and I were asked by a conversational colleague at IGN's indie game mixer last night. The confused looks on our faces probably served as a blatant tell, as he followed his question with "Oh man, you guys gotta play the butt rumble game. Let's go!"

And we did. And our butts rumbled. And the night was exponentially better as a result.

The butt rumble game, or Pig Eat Ball as I'm sure the developers would be more keen on it being called, acted as an experimental competitive multiplayer experience last night. Four players sat down on vibrating pads and partook in round after round of party games. There were plenty of objectives -- from eating tennis balls to making "sammiches" -- but the intention of everyone seemed to be attacking another player causing them to lose progress, and more importantly, causing their butt to rumble.

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Airscape: The Fall of Gravity is an insanely cute platformer photo
Airscape: The Fall of Gravity is an insanely cute platformer
by Brett Makedonski

No, Steven, it's not an octopus kitten; it's just an octopus. But, it's a super adorable octopus that may have some kitten-like properties, and more importantly, it's the protagonist of Airscape: The Fall of Gravity.

Airscape is an action platformer that, as the name implies, has a lot to do with gravity. It's the central theme of the game, as each level rotates and pulls the octopus in such a way as to add a bit of uncertainty to the standard platforming mechanics. It takes some getting used to in order to figure out exactly what Airscape will and won't let you do, but once acclimated, it feels mostly natural.

What doesn't necessarily feel natural is the way that the camera swings around with the pull of gravity. It's somewhat disorienting at times to keep track of what direction you were heading. This is especially true in the levels that seem more non-linear, as Airscape looks as if it'll feature a combination of straight-forward and open-ended levels.

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The devs of Glitchspace want to make programming fun and cool photo
The devs of Glitchspace want to make programming fun and cool
by Alessandro Fillari



One of the benefits of being at the Game Developers Conference is being able to meet the talent behind such inventive and quirky games. While many of the heavy hitters get most of the attention, there's plenty of other titles that will make you look twice. Many of which offer something a bit different and bizarre, such as Glitchspace.

Glitchspace is an action/adventure platformer focusing on emergent gameplay within a digital world. Currently released in paid Alpha form, players must trek through a series of devious and mind-bending puzzles that take advantage of the environment, while using your programming skills to traverse the ever changing landscape of cyberspace.

Yes, programming is a major part of the game, and it's actually fairly simple to use. Now before you freak out, you're not asked to type out lines of code on the spot, it's much more interesting than that. In Glitchspace, your character in the digital world possesses a gun that allows them to manipulate special glitched platforms and other objects in the world. You can assign special programmed 'objects' to these glitches, which can manipulate the properties of the environment.

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Barkley 2 developers hope to release in late 2014 photo
Barkley 2 developers hope to release in late 2014
by Alessandro Fillari

It's not often that you see fan games actually go anywhere beyond the initial gimmick. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the developers at Tales of Games spent the last year and a half hard at work creating the sequel to their cult hit, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden. The announcement of Barkley 2 took many by surprise, especially coming from such humble beginnings. Speaking with Liam Raum, President of Tales of Games, he spoke honestly about how the development has progressed, and why they chose to switch things up for more action oriented gameplay.

At GDC's Indie Mega Booth, Tales of Games, along with several other developers, showed off a playable build of their title. While Barkley 2 is a sequel, this title also works as a stand alone game. Because of this, the developers wanted to make something that set itself apart from the original. "The concept of Barkley 2 actually predated the original game. We always wanted to make a game in this fashion," Liam Raum said. This time around, players take on the role of an amnesiac Cyborg by the name of X114JAM9, who must explore the Cyberpocalyptic Wasteland in search of answers about his past.

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The best stuff on Destructoid this week [3/15] photo
The best stuff on Destructoid this week [3/15]
by Steven Hansen

[We post a lot of articles here at Destructoid. The endless, ouroboros news cycle has us burning the snake at both ends, which will ultimately push big news, thoughtful original pieces, and all sorts of other great content off of the front page. Check here every Saturday for my attempt to rectify that.]

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. Sometimes I am really tired and GDC is next week and oh my goodness, I don't know.

What's with people who refer to salad and/or vegetables as "rabbit food?" It's always malevolent. "I don't eat that rabbit food," they seem to hiss. Why are they so god damn pissed off at rabbits? Does one species of animal enjoying a food preclude them from doing so? Why rabbits? Why not, "I don't eat that zebra food?" I blame Reagan.  

Here's last week's post. Let's begin anew.

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