January 6th, 2010

I bought these.$119.01USD — that’s what I spent during Steam’s holiday sale. For less than the price of two new console games, I bought nineteen PC games, all from Steam. Although I was aware of sales at other stores, I bought nothing from them. Steam demanded my undivided attention; its two week store-wide sale grabbed me, and its daily sales held me tightly. Just as a clumsy analogy reinforcing a simple point, Steam’s sale refused to go unnoticed, and it refused to be forgotten. No other digital distributor’s sales accomplished this; apart from some festively redesigned websites, they were unremarkable.
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July 9th, 2009

Level 2: The GateChains is a puzzle game created by independent developer 2DEngine.com, and published by Meridian4. Released in November of 2008, Chains is the first game to be built on 2DEngine.com’s proprietary cross-platform game engine AGen, which they make freely available for non-commercial development.

There is only one direct action to make in Chains: link three or more circles together. Though the means may be simple, the scope of Chains’ gameplay is anything but narrow; this is not a run-of-the-mill “match 3” game. Never mind the smooth, minimalist art style facilitated by vector graphics, or the haunting electro soundtrack; simply consider that each of Chains’ twenty levels presents for players a different objective and a different obstacle. Take, for example, stage 2, “The Gate” (pictured right), wherein the objective is to clear 200 bubbles before their collective weight becomes greater than the counter-weight keeping the gate below them closed. Compare that time-based level with something more relaxed like stage 7, “Gulliver”, where the objective is to clear 100 bubbles by creating 10 chains or less, and it becomes apparent that Chains offers something uniquely challenging from level to level.
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