Pressure: The best game you’ll never play

PRESSURE is a first-person underwater disaster/survival horror simulation, slated for a Q3 ’09 release, that seeks to deliver a cinematic experience that is never played the same way twice.

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PRESSURE takes place in the deep-sea facility Belisarius, a secret zoological research lab over two miles beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The game begins with the player going about business as usual in Belisarius until, inevitably, disaster strikes. The world of PRESSURE is inhabited by gargantuan underwater monsters lurking in the dark and murky waters around the lab, many of them large enough to devour a man in a single gulp. From whale-sized sharks to Lovecraftian horrors to bioluminescent serpents hundreds of times your size, the game’s array of monsters is far more unsettling than most horror games can boast, and anyone with a fear of water and what lies beneath may have trouble playing this game in large sittings. After disaster hits the lab, the player must then utilize every resource at his disposal to stabilize or ward off the threat long enough to save the facility or make an escape, with any other survivors. Throughout the game, several fully-destructible areas will take realistic levels of damage and will increase the danger accordingly. The way in which the lab becomes damaged is not pre-determined, so depending on the circumstances you may have to deal with anything from small but dangerous leaks to explosive decompression and subsequent destruction of various chambers, blocking normal passage through the area. Your primary tools are simple weapons, ranging from deep-sea suits and harpoon guns to neutralizing chemical foams and shock grenades. Most of your weapons are ultimately useless against the bigger baddies, though, and in those situations your best bet is just to run, hide, or swim as fast as you possibly can.

One of the game’s two core design philosophies is change. The game is meant to be played multiple times, rather than most games which seek to deliver the majority of the content in a single playthrough. Some plays will be very short, some will take hours. And because the game is never quite the same on any two playthroughs, coming back for a second game is a much more appealing prospect. One of the most interesting differences is the way the game begins: the player has a choice of twelve different professions within the facility, including head of security, medic, electric engineer, and biological technician. These will affect not only your starting abilities (physical strength, stamina, weapon accuracy, capability with tools, etc), but also the tools and security clearance you start the game with, and where in the facility you’ll begin play. A technician will have repair tools to help restore certain areas of the lab to limited functionality, but his skill with any kind of defensive weapon will be almost nonexistent. On the other hand, a security officer makes a tempting choice, with his firearm skill and good physical strength for moving obstacles and using nearby objects as improvised weapons, but his lack of skill makes some tasks more tedious and even potentially hazardous, in one example where a rookie squad member blew himself up using a highly-pressurized underwater welding kit.

The disaster itself is also dynamic and randomized. In once example developers shared, the player, a diving and undersea demolitions expert, had just enough time to wake up from his bunk and step out the door to see a huge whale-sized creature crash headlong through a three-story glass window and flood the main area, resulting in a desperate dash for survival by not only the player but all the nearby staff, one of whom even shoved the player off a ladder in an attempt to scramble up past him. Yet developers also said that sometimes, the player might go about their daily routine for over fifteen minutes before any real danger arises. There are over 40 different tasks, some unique to the player’s profession, some general-purpose, and over 100 objective locations. This helps raise an atmosphere of suspense and unease as the player finds himself wondering when disaster will finally hit. It also helps put the player in a variety of situations: the same disaster of sudden decompression plays out very differently when you’re a scientist working with over lab specimens than when you’re a mechanical engineer tightening bolts in the guts of the facility, surrounded by spewing steam and rattling pipes, or a diver welding with a tiny, flickering torch, back to the open sea in the cloudy darkness around the lab.

Even the nature of the disaster is different each playthrough. Sometimes a gigantic sea monster will attack the facility directly, other times the danger is less immediate or obvious. Maybe a horrible beast is lurking in the darkness around the facility at night, devouring anyone who dares head into the water. Maybe the strange new aquatic lab specimens have broken free and are wreaking havoc from inside. On rare occasions, the developers said, the danger won’t even involve sea monsters at all. A systems failure or explosion could cause plenty of damage to the facility without the need of humongous creatures. Then again, disasters can also strike multiple times, so just because you’ve started to seal a potentially-catastrophic leak doesn’t mean you won’t have a tentacled horror the size of the Eiffel Tower bearing down on you a few minutes later. Developers say there are over 120 possible “catastrophe events” that are dynamically combined or linked, and this doesn’t even count the numerous dynamically-destructible areas, which can lead to flooding, gas leaks, oxygen depletion, explosive decompression, fires, lockdowns, electric hazards, and other life-threatening situations. You never know where you’re going to be when disaster strikes, or what that disaster’s going to be.

The other core design philosophy is choice. The player always has a choice of action, and assuming the player’s character has clearance to the various areas of the lab, Belisarius can be roamed freely at any point in the game. Even when passages lose oxygen, erupt in flames, or become completely destroyed, there will always be a way to get through, and sometimes this is unavoidable. In one example, the player had to reach the remote mining area, connected to the main lab via a long glass tube and a mined shaft which runs under the ocean floor. The tube had been destroyed earlier when an explosion rocked the facility, and the tunnel was filled with fire and acidic smoke. Lacking protective gear that wouldn’t be eaten away by the caustic environment in the tunnel, the player instead chose to head through open waters to get to the airlock of the mining area. Swimming through murky waters with almost no visibility proved to be a bad decision: about halfway to the destination, an immense shadow passed just at the edge of the player’s vision. The scene ended with a frantic chase with the player scrambling in a panic towards the airlock as a nightmarish creature pursued him with its toothy maw gaping wide, threatening to swallow him whole. In the end, the monster was faster.

The player has a choice of action too, and this can affect many aspects of play and determine the overall time it takes to beat the game. You can choose to run like a coward, leaving everyone else stranded. In an example we saw, one player was near the deep-sea submersible when things really hit the fan, and, forsaking the rest of the lab and all the people in it, he killed a nearby supervisor with a computer tower, stole his access card, and took off towards the surface with the sub. Even though the sub was swallowed by an eyeless, beaked whale-monster, the developers assured us it was possible to win this way, resulting in a game that only lasts a few minutes. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you could have a very long game in which you attempt to save key survivors, recover valuable documents, and stabilize the facility long enough to attempt a safer escape. Of course, if the sub blows up early on or you’re on the opposite side of the facility when terror strikes, it’s going to be a longer game even if you just try to save yourself and escape. Perhaps the most nerve-wracking option is to simply horde air and supplies and wait for rescue, which is usually an option of last resort when most other actions would mean certain death.

You can meet up with other survivors, but if the nature of the disaster is severe enough, you’re far more likely to just find waterlogged corpses. Sometimes the other team members are more capable than yourself, and every profession has a purpose. There are times when you must escort unconscious or less-capable team members through hazardous areas or past potential monster attacks, but failure never means a game over. Even if every person you escort dies (heck, even if you kill them all yourselves), you can still finish the game. It’s up to you to determine what winning means in any given situation, and how to achieve that. Maybe you just want to be an agent of chaos and help destroy the base – that’s an option too. No matter what you choose to do or how good you are at it, if you’re alive, that means you can still win. And even if you do die, you can still avoid a bad game over if others survive because of your actions anyway. Whether drowning in the inky blackness of the open ocean or dragged under a broken glass floor by horrible, monstrous tentacles, your death does not have to be in vain.

Death is frequent, however. Because even the longest games will probably only last a few hours, expect to die and restart a lot. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to avoid. In the demonstration we saw, the player took the role of the Captain himself, and was killed right when the disaster started. He was walking to the main deck when he turned to look out the window into the murky blue and saw a huge fish with a knifelike grin charging at the window. He stood in frozen fear for a moment before the thing rammed the window, rupturing the compartment, flooding the area, and killing the captain instantly. When the first blowout, fire, or leak occurs, lots of people usually die, and sometimes you’re one of those people. It can be annoying, but it also adds that much more tension to the pre-disaster game, knowing that if you don’t stay on your toes and out of trouble, you could be dead before you even know what hit you.

In short, PRESSURE offers a unique and terrifying playthrough every time you start a new game, and the sheer amount of possibilities promises that each game will be an unpredictable experience, never knowing what terrors might be coming, or when, or from where. The game’s system links together a series of events which work together to provide a cinematic, dynamic experience of increasing danger, lulls of false safety, and explosions of pure catastrophe. The constantly-changing environments and randomized layout of the facility and its personnel, along with the unforseeable and nightmarish dangers which lurk in the dark waters beyond, make this game an adrenalie rush of horror the likes of we’ve never experienced before.

And it’s not real.

Pressure is a brainstormed game concept born on an anonymous imageboard, which has captured the imagination of everyone who has read it. So much so that an effort to make the game a reality, or at least bring it closer to that level has started with the creation of a collaborative wiki for all those whose imagination has been captured by the concept can add their grain of salt to the project.

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Let’s hope they’re successful, since the game sounds awesome! 🙂

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Another world

his classic game has been officially rerelased to the web in an updated and upgraded version, available for purchase via download from the creator’s website

A short demo is also available for download, although it doesn’t give a lot of gameplay.

Another World (aka Out of this World) is an action-adventure video game, developed by Delphine Software, released in 1991. Though not as famous as other games, it was groundbreaking for its time, achieved cult-status, and introduced a new style and feeling for computer games, making the experience resemble more that of watching a film. It spawned one direct sequel: Heart of the Alien (1994) for the Sega CD platform, which was very similar in concepts, but surprisingly, not a bit as successful as Another World; and two additional follow-ups: Flashback (1992), which was mistaken for a sequel because of similar gameplay and set in the same universe, but actually has a completely different storyline, and Fade to Black (1995), itself a direct sequel to Flashback.

It is worth mentioning that in (1997) OnEscapee was released for the Amiga, which while not directly connected to either Another World or Flashback, is so similar to both that it could be considered a third unofficial follow-up. OnEscapee won “Game of the year 1997 – Amiga Flame”, “Game of the year 1997 – Amiga Max” and “1997 CU Superstar – CU Amiga”, a testament to the greatness of the Another World experience.

Eric Chahi returned to the concept after leaving Delphine. In 1998 he and his new company Amazing Studio made Heart of Darkness, that is in many ways very faithful to the spirit of Another World.

Storyline

The player takes the role of Lester Knight Chaykin, a young physics professor who is transported to an alien world after lightning strikes his particle accelerator during a unique experiment. After getting captured and escaping, he must try to fight his way home against wild creatures, natural hazards, and the local race of humanoid aliens.

What makes the game unique

Mood

The game’s graphics, sound, surprising cutscenes and in-game events all come together to create a very rich and special atmosphere. Small background animations give the feeling of a real, living world. For example, in the jungle at the beginning of the game, birds fly in the distance, vines sway in the wind and a lion-like creature lurks in the background, silently stalking the player. At any given moment the player can expect a sudden death (usually with a short close-up cut-scene). This is not typically recommended in game design, but in Another World this is used to great effect. Fortunately, the player is provided with an unlimited number of chances to continue from the beginning of the current section of the game upon dying.

Although no words are spoken aloud in the game, the characters communicate and emote through their facial features, gestures and actions. The game successfully conveys the casual brutality and inhuman cruelty of the alien guards; the fear of the defenseless alien prisoners who are threatened by both the guards and the player; and the feeling of panic and impending doom, and ultimately of liberation, felt by the player and his alien companion as they attempt to escape from their captors.

Gameplay

The game frequently breaks the limits set by its own game interface. For example, at one point in the game, an alien guard knocks the player down and kicks away his weapon. He then picks the player up by the throat, holding him aloft in the air. The player, having no idea how to handle the situation without the weapon, may instinctively press the fire button, causing Lester to kick the guard in the crotch. Now free, he can run for his gun and pick it up while rolling on the foor. The game often puts the player in an entirely new situation, wherein the player’s only choice may be to button mash their way out.

Technical aspects

The game took two years to develop and, unusually, was developed by a single person, Eric Chahi. Chahi designed, programmed, and did the artwork for the entire game (the sound was done by Jean-Francois Freitas).

The game is the first to use 2D polygons for all of its graphics. As a result, the game has a unique visual look. Furthermore, it was possible for hardware at that time (notably 286s) to display the full-screen animation, which adds to the ‘film-feel’ of the game. The extensive use of sound and animation made the game feel like the early CD-ROM games becoming available at the time, yet the whole game fit on a single 1.2-megabyte floppy disk.

The idea and technology of using 2D polygons for games were done by Chahi six years before Macromedia Flash.

Trivia

  • The game is rated as the #1 DOS game of all times on MobyGames.
  • The game was released in the United States under the title Out of this World to avoid confusion with the popular, and totally unrelated, soap opera called Another World. Another World, however, is the game’s original title. Ironically, a science fiction sitcom called Out of This World aired at the same time of the game’s US release.
  • There is a cutscene in the second area which many people miss, because it is not required to see it to finish the game: In the prison, when you and your alien companion reach the elevator, take the elevator up instead of down. You’ll arrive at a room. Look out the window by walking to the right.
  • Another game by Eric Chahi which resembles Another World in many ways, is Heart of Darkness.
  • Recently, this game was released to the public domain for play in the Game Boy Advance and via emulation with raw (Rewritten engine for Another World).
  • It has also been released for the GP32 in the GBAX2005 Handheld Coding Competition.

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The most classic game of all – Space invaders

Space invaders, the absolute grandaddy of all video games, can now be played online, courtesy of spaceinvaders.de

Some history:

Space Invaders was designed and programmed by Toshihiro Nishikado for Taito, Japan in 1978 and remains one of the most popular arcade games ever made.

Space Invaders was originally going to be called something completely different as the aliens were originally soldiers which you had to shoot down. They decided that it was politically unwise to encourage killing humans so changed the people into aliens.

The game was licensed from Taito by Midway for production in the US. In 1980, the game was licensed by Atari for the 2600 game system and was the first arcade game ever adapted for Atari’s home system. The Space Invaders franchise has flourished for more than 20 years and according to Taito, the game has generated more than $500 million in revenues over multiple platforms including coin-op, the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo. It was based on a 8080 CPU, had muffled analog audio, and simulated color by putting a transparent overlay on top of a monochrome display.

Space Invaders was the first arcade game before Pinball Machines and Slots came along to work its way out of seedy conservative adults who were certain the games soured the minds of their youngsters. Residents of Mesquite, Texas pushed the issue all the way to the Supreme Court in their efforts to ban the illicit machines from their Bible-belt community. The game was so amazingly popular in Japan that it caused a coin shortage until the country’s Yen supply was quadrupled. Entire arcades were opened in Japan specifically for this game. Space Inavders was released in Japan for the Super Famicom, to my knowledge its the same thing as Space Invaders for Super Gameboy. Many incidents of juvenile crime surrounded the release of this game. A girl was caught stealing $5000 from her parents and gangs of youths were reported to have robbed grocery stores just so they would have money to play the game.

Space Invaders was followed by several sequels as Space Invaders – Part II, Space Invaders Deluxe, Super Space Invaders 91 (Super Space Invaders has also another name… Majestic Twelve Space Invaders Part IV. Everything is the same as in SSI ’91 except for the title screen. It was released in the US and Japan under this name, and SSI ’91 was only released in Japan under as SSI ’91), Space Invaders DX followed up in 1993 (a modern and 100 percent faithful JAMMA version of Taito’s classic Space Invaders, but with a twist. There are several different games available to choose from: the upright and cocktail versions of the original plus the “colour overlay” versions) and in 1999 Space Invaders attacked once again from Activision.

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Gunroar – 360º gun boat shooter

Gunroar is a fast paced forward scrolling arcade game where you control a speedboat with a machine gun and special ray gun weapon fighting hordes of enemies unleashing a true bullet hell against you. The firing mechanism locks the attitude of the boat so you have to remain in the same angle (Though you can move around) while firing, and depressing the fire button allows you to pick up a new heading.

Fast paced, colourful, fun and free! Try it out

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Cool spore creatures

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We’ve all seen the penis monsters, but I bet you didn’t know the Spore creature creator was capable of creating such awesome monsters as these. Check out Momo289’s creations in the Spore engine, and be impressed! This fellow really pushes the options beyond what most other users are doing, creating biomechanical mecha reminiscent of classic Japanese manga and anime. the Guyver is a clear influence.

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Sepiroth swordfight video


In this video Sepiroth from final fantasy VII (Originally at least) fights two other dudes I don’t know. I’ve lost track of new characters in FF games, they add so many every time…

The 3d quality certainly has improved a ton from the bobbleheads of the original game.

This is a trailer to some new game or maybe movie… the distinction between the two has drawn rather thin in the last few years

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Joker fatality

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Just a quick post to show what Joker’s fatality is going to look like in the new Mortal Kombat vs. DC game. Bang!

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