The Sunday Gaming Club 1

Greetings and salutations! Your new friends here at have a lot of interesting things planned for the future, though for the moment we’re still working out the kinks, and introducing you to the whole staff. In that spirit, I would love to introduce you to one of the running features we’re setting up to chug along ad infinitum: The Sunday Gaming Club.

Have you ever gotten to Sunday, finished with all the cool, exclusive Sunday features (I’m particularly fond of Rock Paper Shotgun’s Sunday Papers) and wonder, yes, all this journalism is fine and dandy, but what about the games? And more importantly, why am I not playing them?

Fear not, gentle reader! For we have just the solution to your problem. The Sunday Gaming Club is an institution dedicated to three things: curing Sunday’s doldrums, providing you with some of the best names in free gaming, and being snappy dressers. If you’re interested in at least one of these categories, kick off your shoes and settle on down, because we’re about to show you some gaming love.

As a general rule here, we here at The Sunday Gaming Club intend to not highlight only the newest, most obscure free games, but rather dip back in time and highlight games you might have missed. We have three categories (for three games!): the Marquee, which is the big name game you’ve probably heard of, the Appetizer, which is a smaller game you can probably power through in a couple hours, and the Main Course, which is a big, exciting game, usually a newer one. Additionally, I intend that every week at least one of these games will be playable on operating systems other than Windows (for all our Mac and Linux based friends), for egalitarianism and such good times.

On to the games:

The Marquee: Spelunky Downloadable, Windows

As our first Marquee, I figured it would be wrong to highlight anything other than possibly the best free game of all time. No, not Cave Story, but rather Derek Yu’s brilliant, fantastic marriage of side scrolling exploration and a roguelike.

The idea here is that there’s a cave. And you can explore it. Of course, exploring it isn’t as easy as that, because it’s god knows how many floors, each filled with impossibly deadly traps and risk/reward scenarios, presenting you with a myriad of choices, most usually ending with you splattered all over the cave. Especially if you try to steal from shopkeepers.

Oh, you can steal from shops. That’s probably the biggest and best feature. There are shops, manned by unscrupulous men with shotguns, littered around the cave, and should you get greedy, you can engineer their demise and take all their supplies. Of course, if you do so, there are other, violent reprocussions, but that’s a tale for another time.

Did I mention everything is randomized, so there’s nothing to stop you from playing it a hundred times in a row? I didn’t? I thought I did. Oh well. Really, you’ve wasted at least one play of Spelunky reading this, you should go download it and play it if you haven’t. If you have, well, good. I’m proud of you.

The Appetizer: The Mirror Lied Downloadable, Windows

For the appetizer portion of today’s collection, we will highlight what is possibly my favorite little art game of all time: The Mirror Lied. It’s an experimental little yarn (it’s called a short in the introduction, so it’s a short!) about…well, it’s difficult to describe. A girl, living alone in a house. Maybe alone in a house. It’s very heavy on the atmosphere and less heavy on the actual game, which means it isn’t for everyone. But if you can appreciate more experimental forms of storytelling, it’s quite tense.

There’s very little twitch skill involved (none, I would say), so this is the perfect lazy Sunday game. Comparison wise, it’s got a lot of the same art charm of The Path, in that it’s slow and very atmospheric, so that’s a decent barometer. And it’s free. You can’t go wrong with free, unless you have to delete key operating system files to make the 20 megabytes it’ll take up.

The Main Course: Talesworth Adventure: Quest for the Dragon’s Hoard, Flash

It’s tough picking the right games for this. On one hand, you want to have something that might appeal to everyone. On the other, I have my own personal interest in game narrative, and…this makes it tough for me to pick things without strong storytelling aspects.

Talesworth Adventure: Quest for the Dragon’s Hoard is my game without a story. Instead, it’s a very competent puzzle game (really!) where you are tasked with running a very stupid little man through a dungeon, collecting all the treasure and not getting murdered by trolls, darts, and holes. It’s actually probably the shortest of these games, ironically, but it’s a neat take on puzzles, and presents you with a set of challenges different from your standard brick breaking puzzler.

You’ve got a completely varied time of gameplay here. Some people say it takes a fair bit of time, whereas this game was wired in the same way my brain was, making it about a fifteen minute distraction. But, for most of you, it will take longer. At the very least, it’ll be a pleasant diversion from whatever you’re intending to do this Sunday (homework? Cut the lawn? Kill a hooker and dump her in the East Ri h-h-h-hey!).

So that’s it. You stay classy, Sunday, and we’ll be back next week, with three different games for you to peruse and then promptly forget about.