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Produced by: Derek Yu

Price: Free

Format: PC

Genre: Platformer

Source: Spelunky World

I'm starting off my newest blog with a personal favourite. I discovered this game a few months back and I'm pleased to say it has provided me with entertainment on a regular basis. Best of all, it's free, so there's no reason not to try it.

Spelunky is best described as a 2D platformer possessing roguelike qualities, in that the levels are randomised and death is permanent. The game incorporates the simplicity of the former with the brutality of the latter, but the tight controls mean it's hard to blame the game when you die. You take on the role of the titular Spelunky. He can run, jump, crouch and throw stuff, as well as use a variety of tools and weapons. Believe me when I say there is a lot to see in this game (especially for a free title). You start each level with rope and bombs, but as you progress you'll acquire tools ranging from the mundane, pickaxes and handguns, to the obscure, teleporters and magic staffs. Enemies are equally as varied, from snakes to yetis, and even UFOs.

Needless to say there is a lot of replayability here, especially because every time you play the levels are procedurally generated. Starting a new game you might find a snake pit, a Golden Idol, or simply an underground store where you can buy items, or attempt to rob the shotgun-wielding shopkeeper (and thereby earn the wrath of every other shopkeeper you meet thereafter). The best thing about Spelunky is that every experience with the game will be unique, and you'll still find it surprising you, even after months of playing it.

The informative tutorial helps you learn the basics, but it's your own experiences that will help you master Spelunky. Progression will be slow to start, but eventually you'll advance far enough to buy tunnels which allow you to skip ahead a few levels. You'll soon learn that this is a feature to be thankful for. Completing the game from start to finish without dying is a daunting task, and one I still seek to achieve myself.

Spelunky is a game to approach with a sense of adventure. In fact, I believe the creator summarises it the best:

"Don't be afraid to die! But also don't be afraid to live! Happy Spelunky-ing" Derek Yu

For more cheap game ideas, visit my blog here :D


I'll start by saying I would have posted a blog with my thoughts on Spore sooner, had it not consumed so much of my time.

I had Galactic Edition preordered at GAME, which turned up a day early, Thursday 4th. After installing and getting past a few issues with it not detecting my 32-Bit settings, I dove into my first game. Several hours later I realised I had to put on a shirt and go out for a night.

Universities sure did pick an inconsiderate time to start. Luckily I have to wait till October 13th, so another month of gaming yet.

My thoughts on Spore, being one who followed the game since 2005, are mainly positive. I realise the gameplay has been cutdown to allow "casual" gamers a chance, but despite all the things missing it's still addictive. Furthermore, the power behind the creation tools is revolutionary. I'm confident that expansions will remedy the lost content, and maybe even give us some new stuff we never considered.

Really they want to capitalize on each Phase. If they release a couple of general improvement expansions, with new creator parts, and a few new features across the board, as well as a couple of specific expansions for each phase then I see it being my top game to waste hours in for some time.

I'd also like to note that the Galactic Edition was a really nice package. The DVDs arn't great, but the art book and expaned manual make up for it. Well presented overall.

I discovered Mount&Blade is being released in a week or so. For a game that's beta gave me so much enterainment, I chose to preorder it. The many mods look to improve on a game that already tops many big budget projects. Furthermore, there is an ASoIaF mod in progress, so I'm sold ;)

Finally I purchased The Witcher. It crossed my mind with it's initla release, but I never got round to playing it, despite my friend's ramblings. Despite Yahtzee Croshaw's rather hateful review, I decided the release if the "Enhanced Edition" was a sign to make up for past mistakes, so to speak. Furthermore, Yahtzee's reviews seem to be slipping lately. The man doesn't play RTS games; how can I trust a person who doesn't sample all the varieties on the pallette of gaming?

My book list came through for uni yesterday. Apparently I don't need many to begin with. Hopefully that means a cheap start. Hopefully.

University Beckons

So I've successively ganed a place at York University. I'm still unsure whether it's the course I want, but I'm sure I'll work it out. I was slightly annoyed to find that an essay I wrote on William Wallace as part of my History A-level; a piece heralded as "a legendary piece of coursework", received a U from the exam board. Needless to say I was rather shocked, after being given the impression it was of A standard. But overall I had a good week for my educational prospects...

I've been following Spore closely for 3 years now. I'm entering that surreal period just before a highly anticipated release. I have my new laptop on order (Alienware m9750) and I've just purchased a dongle so I have access to the Sporepedia (and of course university material) wherever I am. I feel that on the day I have the laptop set up, with internet, the printer and speaker, I will be at peace for a moment, before finally plunging into the Creature Creator. I have a few months of creation to make up for after all.

I am also excited for the new Overlord titles. The DS version has a really unique style from the screenshots, so I'm rather excited for more. Further, it has re-awakened my love for Dungeon Keeper. I may invest in a copy, as my old one is nowhere to be found.

I wonder where I put that...

The Last of the Dungeon Masters

This is my first blog, and something of a farewell.

Near to every person who has played an RPG, hell, a fantasy game has been influenced directly or indirectly by this man. I speak of course of Gary Gygax. Renowned creator of the Dungeons and Dragons game system, as well as AD&D and countless other games and sourcebooks. Without this man countless thousands would have had far less enjoyment in their lives. He died yesterday, May 4th 2008.

I'm only young, but for the past five years I have lived the fantasy that is D&D. I've played the videogames; Baldurs Gate, Dragonshard, Temple of Elemental Evil and I've rolled countless characters. I've been an Elven Ranger, blessed by the Gods. A Spellsword, scarred in an inferno and seeking vengeance. I've even played a troll fighter, just for laughs. Gygax has enriched my life, that of my friends and so many others worldwide. So a great a following is a testament to his work, and he shall be remembered and loved by millions.

Thank you, for me and all the others who ever wanted to live and play their fantasies. You made it a possibility.

"I would like the world to remember me as the guy who really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge and his fun pastimes with everybody else"

Gary Gygax 1938-2008