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The Games of Extended Play 2012

Whether its music, films, TV Shows or games, I often find myself  getting bored and wanting new things to entertain me, but I never seem to have the time to do the research. I’ve recently found myself in a gaming rut, I like Call of Duty, Halo & Need for Speed as much as the next guy, and I’m also quite a big fan on RPG’s, but there’s got to be so much I haven’t had the time to find and experience. I was in the process of looking for something new to play when I just happened to find myself at ExPlay 2012.

Browser-based gaming:

Lets start of with this because let’s face it: school, university and work can get boring sometimes. In our previous post (which you can read here), we talked about The End and Axon, two excellent web-based educational games from indie games companies Preloaded & The Wellcome Trust.

The End

The End is a game of self-discovery for teens which integrates strategy, puzzles and philosophical questions into a world which explores death, philosophy and science. The game takes the player on a metaphysical journey, recording their interactions in the world to reveal their attitudes towards mortality.


Axon is a game set inside a foetal brain, modelling real biological phenomena found in neural development. The game challenges players to grow their neuron as long as possible.

Mobile Gaming:

I spend a lot of time on public transport, so I find myself trawling through the iOS App store trying to find things to fill the hour until I reach home, often then realising I’m almost home by the time I’ve managed to find something.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land

A turn-based strategy/role-playing video game based on the award winning Call of Cthulhu RPG. The game is set in the midst of World War One and pits a team of investigators and soldiers against an ancient evil, one older than humanity itself, who is using the carnage of the great war to build an undead army deep beneath the battlefields of Europe.

Half Inch Heist

Coming soon from MutantLabs in Plymouth; Steal back the Queen’s diamond and avoid the perils of Dr Puss’ security vault, using only your wits, your reflexes and your finger. Dodge fiendishly designed traps, survive swarms of enemies and defeat bosses to get her Majesty’s favourite gem back in time for tea.

Magic Tate Ball

So, this one isn’t so much an ‘on the bus’ type game, but it’s a great example of how games can be integrated into real life experiences and increase interaction between games and real life. Magic Tate Ball is a new location-based mobile app from Tate, inspired by the iconic Magic 8 Ball, in which players shake the ball in search of an answer to one of life’s mysteries.

I’ve arrived home, I’ve got a rare night off, time for fire up the PC for a night of Desktop Gaming:

Dear Esther

Starting life as a mod, Dear Esther is a ghost story, told using first-person gaming technologies. Rather than traditional game-play the focus here is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of the island, of who you are and why you are here. Fragments of story are randomly uncovered when exploring the various locations of the island, making each journey a unique experience.


As soon as you see the interface for this game, you immediately think ‘Portal‘. Set in a mysterious and abstract sterile environment, Q.U.B.E. (Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion) is a first-person puzzle game that challenges players to navigate each level by manipulating coloured cubes that surround them.

Physical gaming:

Sometimes called ‘Games for Audiences’, these are something I had never experienced before ExPlay 2012. Physical games are designed to take place without the need for a screen, JS Joust, for example uses Playstation Move controllers, it’s for 2-7 players but the appeal of the game gathers an audience and draws them in. Another great example is a game called Searchlight which uses a Kinect and a moving light which players must avoid whilst moving around to collect objects.

JS Joust

Johann Sebastian Joust is a no-graphics, digitally-enabled playground game for 2 to 7 players, designed for motion controllers such as the PlayStation Move. The goal is to be the last player remaining. When the music — selections from J.S. Bach’s ‌‌Brandenburg Concertos — plays in slow-motion, the controllers are extremely sensitive to movement.

So, once you’ve got over your first few Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 marathons, take a break and try out one of these!

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