February’s best video game bargains and values

Although the modern video game industry is perceived by mass markets as a platform exhibiting violence, destruction, drugs and suggestive themes – there remains something very special lurking beyond this popular perspective.

Spirited individuals have long struggled in finding a conduit for communicating their passions, dreams and emotions to others. In fact, this is a struggle some claim still exists in today’s world. In an attempt to bridge this distance existing between artist and viewer, a few poetic souls have shifted their attention away from many traditional forms of art, to the fledgling platform of video game development.

It is from this newfound connection that fresh examples of fellowship and understanding have been growing progressively over the last two decades. As the expense of technology and licenses necessary for software development have lessened, so too have the barriers keeping aspiring artists and consumers away from the medium – widening the veritably of experiences available to this platform considerably. Each month of the year, online marketplaces strive to take these ideas to heart, and introduce a bevy of highly discounted titles. It seems that as costs shrink, so too do the retail prices for these games!

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Okami 

Priding itself as a project faithful to reanimating early Japanese calligraphy and oil-based painting; this title brings the wonders of a rich culture back into the modern world. With visible brush strokes and fading tapestries, the detail of Okami gives the player control of what feels to be an authentic masterpiece.

This month, the prices for the downloadable version of this title on most online marketplaces are 50% off, bringing Okami’s price down to a tasty $6.99 price point.

Wikimedia Commons – Okami

 

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Limbo

Following the voyage of a young boy’s soul as it passes into the great beyond, players accompany the spirit of this child and his trek through a mysterious land that is both haunting and peaceful. This simple art direction of black silhouettes is especially striking in its ability to keep an atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding the player’s actions. This also gives practical context to the 2D nature of Limbo’s traditional platforming mechanics.

Due to Limbo’s identity as a download only title, the price of this gem can be picked up online for a killer $5.99 – making it a must buy for February’s deals.

Deviant Art – Limbo

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Cuphead

The days of hand drawn animation have faded away with the advent of powerful computerized animation programs. Try telling that to Studio MDHR, the developer responsible for constructing an entirely hand drawn interactive experience.

Despite the long hours of toiling over how to get something as simple as a walking animation to not look terrible, these ambitious folks are taking on a task that is as unique as it is challenging to create.

Development on this title is quickly wrapping up, with a likely release in the last week of this month for a $29.99 price point – easily one of February’s biggest contenders.

Studio MDHR – Flickr

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Neverending Nightmares

Sometimes when a perfect combination of style and genre pair with each other, they create something entirely separate than what either component would have done individually. Neverending Nightmares is a 2D side-scrolling horror game that takes advantage of what would otherwise be an elegant approach to illustration. Although similar to Limbo in that the title manages to make the most out of its small pool of  resources, the two differ in that this game manages to capture a visually disturbing feeling. This is likely accomplished in the way the game constructs these line based drawings to display familiar everyday objects to the viewer, then they are slightly tweaked in a way that feels out of the ordinary. This odd displacement method is extremely unique and effective in progressively breaking down the player’s psyche over time.

During the week of February 20-27, all registered platforms hosting this title have given full access to consumers for free, making this a must try for February. Although, you may as well purchase this beauty, as it is only a whopping $8.00.

Infinitap Games – Neverending Nightmares

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Journey

Journey is a game that reminds players of how beautiful the experience of first meeting someone can actually be. The player assumes the role of a cloaked wanderer traveling across a vast desert landscape in search of whatever the desert might have to offer them. Along your journey, players will come in contact with other anonymous players and establish non-verbal relationships that are formed around helping one another past obstacles and challenges. What makes Journey an especially gripping work is the inevitable goodbye that players will inevitably be forced to accept with their newfound friends, as anonymity is a hallmark of the experience. This means that establishing contact outside of the game isn’t possible. In other words, when you and your new friend finally part ways in Journey, chances are you will never interact with that person again, neither in game, nor in life.

For February, this title has a special promotional event for the Valentine’s Day holiday week. From February 14-21, a trial version of the game is bring offered to those who wish to test the waters as to whether or not this is the game for them. On a regular basis, Journey is often sold around $13.00 in most online marketplaces.

That Game Company – Creative Commons

Fans of Journey’s art direction love giving credence to the way in which the game has inspired them, exemplifying the emotional impact that this video game is capable of.

 

Katan! is a daily newsletter that reaches deeply within the video game industry, bringing attention toward works and subjects that deserve to be acknowledged. Follow Katan! now for more wholesome game development stories and editorials.

5 college campuses that kinda look like Ohio University but are not actually Ohio University

The bobcats like to claim that their beautiful, rolling green landscape is a treasure that only their fellow neighbor can call home. The value placed in observing their beautiful environment is something that students and faculty try to keep in mind when walking their daily routes. However, their honor and prestige teeters a bit when they catch the attention of a photo and claim “Hey! That’s totally my school!” when, in actuality, its another brick campus with a lot of green. Here are 5 college campuses that share this strange power.

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Photo by Alan Henderson via Flickr
  1. Green Mountain College

This one literally has green in the name of the college. That’s something that Ohio University can’t even do. Nestled in the southern reaches of a distant land called Vermont, Green Mountain College is a small, private establishment that attempts to convince its patrons that the appearance of older looking brick buildings surrounded by a lot of green grass is something unique to their experience.

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Photo by Will Hampton via Flickr

2. Morehouse College

Morehouse College is a private. all-male, liberal arts, historically black college located in Atlanta, Georgia. This place is actually pretty cool, especially when you factor in that it is one of the very few men’s liberal arts colleges left in the United States, and also that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called this place his alma mater. Regardless of all these things, the place still definitely kinda looks like Ohio University.

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Photo via Google Images

3. Gnanatheeppam Community College

I promise I didn’t just take a picture of Ohio University’s campus and just make up a name like Gnanatheeppam to make all of this fit. Believe it or not, this is a picture of a community college all the way in Marthandam, India. That’s right, a college doesn’t even have to be in America to look a lot like Ohio University. Gnanatheeppam is one of the most populated community colleges within India, and it is very well respected throughout many of the country’s massive industrial success bubbles.

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Photo by Lisa Tonnel via Flickr

4. University of Maryland

This college carries the reputation of being one of the most successful public research colleges across the nation. Not only that, but they are also noted for having acquired success through their athletic department, as they are often identified for being a member of the Big Ten Conference. This place isn’t even really that far from Ohio University, i mean, they are sort of on the same coast. Clearly there is something about the east coast that produces brick houses with white detailing and tons of green grass.

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Photo by Alison Thompson via Flickr

5. Vanderbilt University

Those who have witnessed Vanderbilt University with their own eyes often claim that it is like “stepping into the 1700s”, a feeling that is apparently pretty common across all of these campuses. Much like Ohio University, Vanderbilt is an exceedingly historic campus, having been established in 1873. The fact that neither this place nor Ohio University has changed its looks over about 200 years makes you wonder if those responsible for decorating these places are trying to be historic, or just lazy. Either way, they kinda look the same.

 

The presence of a pencil

Pencils are the medium of creation and life. Great cities have been built under the prose of hungry minds, all eager to have their ideas and emotions transferred from the realm of thought, to the land of existence. Of course, powerful scribes realize the limitless potential of pencils, however the conflicts responsible for catalyzing the workmanship of pencil professionals are often focused more on the content coming from the pencil, rather than the pencil itself. It requires an exceedingly quizzical mind to stop in the moment of writing, and truly appreciate the majesty of a pencil – and maybe this thought’s value holds the direction writers needed in order to press on to a greater quality of writing. Reaching out across our life to the people and objects we cross paths with in life are due to the wild randomness of chance, but maybe there is a greater purpose to these interactions – a purpose larger than all that we think we know.

A nice traditional black mechanical pencil
   Being attentive to the myriad of items placed around us gives a deeper realization of what makes us who we are. So much so that we become blind to the tools largely responsible for orchestrating the very identify from which we are looking out. Humanity has long questioned the limit of where our souls end and foreign entities begin, and it is from this that we could very well call into question the value of a pencil, and it’s ability to extend our existence. A long trusted idiom claims “The pencil is mightier than the sword,” but to what extent is this really true? Grasping a breath of life through the cleave of a sword is in some ways equal to the swipe of a pen authenticating a death sentence, as each holds the capability to extinguish a life. It is from this that we can conclude human interaction as being the driving force behind utilities, and it could also be said that all things responsive to this interaction are also a substantial part of who we are. Our actions illustrate our identity.
An incredible blue mechanical pencil
   The perception of a pencil’s capability is different in each individual’s eyes. Some view the ultimate danger that a pencil could bring, while others may believe in the greatness that awaits to be transmitted by its use. Whatever shades we may see, it is irrelevant until someone fatefully picks up the pencil and begins to use it. I have realized in my personal use of the pencil that its contents can span beyond the power of only words. I have used 3 pencils over the last 5 years, and the creations each pencil has been responsible for delve deep into my mind, perhaps deeper than I have ever known. Regardless of existence, a bond has been established with these pencils. In a world that is ever changing, holding on to a relic of a consistent past that has aged alongside you is a beautiful relationship. There are very few things I can say share this bond with me, and their sheer lack of quantity make me cherish them even more.