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Good morning!

For those of you unaware, our new digs at are up and running. We've got our own custom forum that +Mark Whiting and others are working hard on tweaking and refining, and discussion is already underway.

If you signed up for our free forum recently, unfortunately you'll have to sign up again, but it's a quick process and we promise we won't move again after that. The forum solution seems to be working out nicely for us, so it'd be good to see more people over there.

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Had an interesting interview with Hannah Bunce about videogame tutorials, which is featured in this week's +Nerds Assemble. Starts around 67 minutes in.
Episode 90 has landed! This week: we puzzle over Dawn of Justice, admire PS+, chat about the return of Doctor Who, puzzle over Ubisoft and... We chat about tutorials and game design with Hannah Bunce.

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+Mark Whiting +Christopher Bowley +Mat Krepicz Hell, even if it wasn't the classic 80s sci-fi aesthetic going on, that music!

Saw +Ricardo Madeira pick it up and would love some impressions. Ric? 

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For those who haven't seen yet, I launched a new site. Since USgamer decided to let me go I was concerned I might not have a good place to wax lyrical about Japanese games any more. So I set up a site where I can do just that.

I know quite a few of you are not into the "moe" side of Japanese entertainment, visual novels and the like, but I'd encourage you to have a read of some of the things I've posted there so far. Even if you have no intention of playing the games under discussion, there's a lot of interesting stuff to talk about -- much as we find here in the Squad.

So far articles have covered Katawa Shoujo, My Girlfriend is the President, Demon Gaze, Steins;Gate and more. I'm going to try and keep it updated fairly regularly; I hope you enjoy it.

So +Mark Whiting and I were talking the other day about resurrecting the SquadCast, since it's been too long. (Also, I attracted a few new listeners from my FFXIV guild the other night; they really enjoyed our Katawa Shoujo and Spec Ops episodes)

It's been a very long time since we proposed the Alpha Protocol mission so I'm proposing that we shelve that for the minute and come back to it later. If we made our first show back a "pitch show" where we each explain something interesting we've been playing recently rather than focused on a single game, would you listen? If you like the sound of this, there's scope for community participation, too; I could just throw up a sticky "mission thread" in which you (yes YOU!) could give the hard sell on a Shameworthy title you've seen or played recently.

+Calin Kim +Alex Fisher, assemble!

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Seems like Red Orchestra 2 is free on Steam for today only? So, if you want to merely click and find your stockpile one multiplayer game larger, go forth. For the Motherland. Or, alternatively, for the Fatherland. 

Thanks to +Ricardo Madeira for the heads-up. 

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Fight The Dragon

I'm not sure how keen my fellow Squaddies are to support Early Access games on Steam, but I put my money where my mouth was and dropped some Steambux on a great little click-mageddon dungeon crawler called Fight The Dragon. It's a strange little mash-up of Bastion, Miis, Diablo, Torchlight, Zelda, etc. (I really could go on... but I won't!)

The core game is a click-fest that rewards digital dexterity with expee, allowing you to level up and use better loot, in addition to some magicks of various ilks. Attributes are fairly basic, and all start at 1, so you level them sequentially based on what kind of character you wish to build. You also have access to potions (both health and rage, which powers your spells), weapons, armour and the like, all of which can provide various and sundry benefits to your character. All standard stuff, right?

Two things really set FtD apart: a comprehensive adventure building tool, and the actual dragon fight. FtD allows you to build your own adventures, including but not limited to puzzles, patrolling foes, platforming elements and key hunts. You can build your own adventure, and then share it online where other players can get access, play and rate the adventure you've devised. And since each successful adventure gets you a dragon scroll (think of it as a box top from your breakfast cereal), once you've collected three of them you get to Fight The Dragon.

It's a fearsome beast with a gojillion hit points that likes nothing more than to turn you into flame-broiled hero over and over again. The bonus, however, is that damage wrought on the dragon is persistent and cumulative. Each time you visit Mr. Crispy, he's a little less healthy, assuming you did any damage during your last visit.

I've owned the game for a few days now, but only played for about two or three hours. It's definitely got that one more level hook to it, and I plan on sinking way more time (than is healthy) into the game going forward. I also plan on building my own mini adventure in the days to come. I'll definitely report back on how well the game plays over the next few weeks.

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I thought this was an absolutely fascinating interview and one of those crazy labours of love deserving of a greater spotlight. And SAM Simulator? You know you're in for it when the collected documentation zip file is almost as large as the game itself. 

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Ten of the best adventure games. Jane Jensen liked this article! Perhaps understandably, given that I gave some love to four games she worked on throughout.

(And yes, I know there's plenty of others I could have picked. But these are the ones I chose to highlight.)

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If anyone hasn't gotten their CCG fill of Hearthstone, I'd be up for more cross-platform asynchronous fun (read: be easy pickings) if you're interested in SolForge. Like Blizzard's effort, it's a smooth and well-designed bit of F2P card fun. Daily log-in awards in the form of booster packs, single cards, silver etc., plus the usual accoutrements for winning. Planned updates include co-op raiding, which is cool!

Can really only get away with mobile gaming at the moment, so knowing there's a cross-platform Steam client to bolster the friendly matches makes it a safer bet. Android version currently in beta. (iOS version here:

By Magic the Gathering and Ascension dudes. Profile name is 'Alechz' if you need a punching bag and easy shekels.
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