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3 Point And Click Puzzle Games That Are Great For Kids – NPR

Growing up, I always saw playing video games as a natural extension of my interest in reading. To me, the fantastical worlds I explored in games mirrored those of my favorite children's books like Where the Wild Things Are and The Lorax. Many of the games I played and the stories I read shared a similar sense of whimsy and adventure, and piqued my interest with intriguing art styles.

And that makes sense, given that some video games evoke the feeling of reading a great piece of children's literature. This is especially true for the point-and-click genre (named after the way you play), which can make you feel like you're turning the pages in a book as you progress from scene to scene, moving your character across a static, 2D illustrated background. And just like a children's book, these games encourage you to stop and take in the scene as a whole.

With that in mind, here are three great games to play alongside the kids in your life. While none of them are specifically marketed towards children, they're each still compelling and appropriate for younger players and they don't require a fancy console or prior experience playing video games. Although some of the puzzles in these games will be too difficult for a kid to figure out alone, they make for a wonderful time that you can share together. Try them sitting side by side, and huddle over the screen together as you tinker through these worlds.


In an essay for the New York Times Book Review, editor Pamela Paul discussed the contributions of classic children's authors like Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Dr. Seuss, saying they "brought a shock of subversion to the genre defying the notion that children's books shouldn't be scary, silly or sophisticated." While all the games on this list speak to this sentiment to varying degrees, reading Paul's words made me particularly think of Rki.

Polygon Treehouse's phenomenal debut title brings to life a dark, Scandinavian-inspired fairy tale through a contemporary retelling. Rki follows Tove, a young girl, who is trying to save her family after they disappear. As she explores snow-covered Nordic forests, she encounters giant monsters and mystical talking trees with dozens of eyes and magical powers. It's up to her to see if she can contact the spirits she needs to find her family. The characters in the game remind me of creatures from Hayao Miyazaki films like Princess Mononoke or Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are.

Rki switches up the classic point-and-click formula; you'll move using arrow keys rather than the mouse. However, the gameplay mainly stays true to the genre by having you drag and drop items to solve puzzles. I will say, the changes made make the game more playable. I appreciated little features like a button that makes all items glow, because then it becomes pretty obvious what each next step is.

While I think Rki's story will interest kids and adults alike, it does start off on a dark note as Tove loses both her father and her brother. So maybe watch a gameplay video beforehand if you aren't sure it's a good fit for a child.

The vibrant, pastel-inspired art fits the story perfectly in Old Man's Journey. Broken Rules hide caption

The vibrant, pastel-inspired art fits the story perfectly in Old Man's Journey.

Old Man's Journey

Old Man's Journey by Broken Rules is a touching story about a father, his mistakes, and how love can stand the test of time and distance. It starts as the protagonist, an old man, receives a letter and sets off on a worldwide journey, and every piece of scenery he passes evokes a memory. A bell you click reminds him of his wedding, a wharf brings back a memory of sailing with his love, and so on. The pastel and gouache-inspired art is vibrant, colorful, and well suited to its various quaint European landscapes.

Point-and-clicks usually use the cursor to move the character through a puzzle. In Old Man's Journey, the landscape itself becomes a puzzle. You click and drag the hills in the background up and down to help the main character proceed from scene to scene. It's also a fitting way to play, given that our main character is an old man, and he moves like one Mario, he's not.

This game will likely appeal to kids since there is so much to play with in each scene. You can click any animal in the game and it will make some sort of sound. Much of the environment reacts when you simply move the cursor over it for example, if you move your cursor below waterfalls, the water will flow around it, and the cursor's pointer-finger shape makes you feel like you are poking and prodding at the world.

In the Samorost series, everyday objects are transformed into alien landscapes.

The Samorost series

Amanita Design the studio behind Samorost consistently demonstrates a knack for creating intriguing and whimsical worlds. In the Samorost series, their team designs dreamlike landscapes by combining 2D drawings and detailed close up photos of real-life objects. Their games take something familiar, like dandelions or the roots of a tree, and renders them strange by reworking them into an alien landscape.

In all three titles Samorost, Samorost 2, and Samorost 3 you play as a little gnome, and each game has its own story. Samorost tasks you with saving the planet and home of the protagonist. Samorost 2 sends you on a quest to save the gnome's dog after it gets kidnapped by aliens. And Samorost 3 follows the gnome as it investigates the origins of a magical flute that falls from the sky just outside its house.

Many of the scenes in these games look like they were ripped straight out of Alice in Wonderland and are just as strange. Almost immediately after starting the first game, you will encounter a slug with a human face that uses the photo of one of the developers. The scenes and characters you encounter are a true delight.

Growing up, I remember a family friend telling me I would outgrow video games one day. That day never came, but I think that sentiment represents this prevalent idea that video games are childish the same way that children's books were once seen as immature or simple. These games challenge the idea that playfulness makes video games a lower art form, and instead shows us that today, video games today can be both silly and sophisticated.

Ana Diaz is a freelance games writer and podcast host at MinnMax. She loves Pikachu and is based in Minneapolis, Minn. She tweets at @Pokachee

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3 Point And Click Puzzle Games That Are Great For Kids - NPR

What We Want to See in the New Indiana Jones Game | Game Rant – GameRant

The newly announced Indiana Jones game coming from MachineGames is gaining a lot of excitement. There have been a ton of Indiana Jones games released in the past, and while some have certainly been good, none of them have quite had the incredible popularity of the movies. There hasn't been an Indiana Jones game released in quite some time, either, meaning fans of the characters haven't seen him for a long time. Heck, there hasn't even been an Indiana Jones movie released since 2008, and even that was incredibly divisive,though Indiana Jones 5 is currently slated to release in 2022, directed by James Mangold.

That's not to say nobody has played a game that feels like an Indiana Jones game in a long time. Franchises like Tomb Raider and Uncharted have always captured some of the spirit of Indiana Jones without mimicking him entirely. Interestingly, an Indiana Jones game now could possibly feel like it's mimicking those game, since it's been so long since fans have seen Indy.

RELATED:Indiana Jones Prop Gets Crazy High Valuation

One thing this game is going to have that those games can't have is the man himself. Indiana Jones has always had a big personality; his charm and wit make the movies impossible to turn away from.The game shouldn't really have any problem replicating that, and it's arguably one of the most important things that the game needs to get right. If Indiana Jones just ends up seeming like a discount Nathan Drake, the rest of the game is going to fall flat.

While it's unlikely that the game is going to be able to snag Harrison Ford to voice act for Indy in the game, if the voice actor is close enough and is saying things that Indy would say, fans are going to be happy.

An Indiana Jones gamehas to have some classic globe-trotting. And yes, that includes the dotted line tracking across the map to show where Indy's headed. If the entire game takes place in one setting, the game could be fantastic, but would likely be a disappointment overall. Part of the charm of Indiana Jones is seeing the world through his eyes; not only is it interesting to see the insight that he has as a professor, but it creates opportunities for interesting scenes. As long as the game has at least three or four distinctly different locations, it should give enough variety to give each section of the game its own feel.

Part of the importance of globe-trotting is that it makes it easier to create a few different awesome set-pieces in different locations. Indiana Jones always has some nutty set-pieces that, whether they go too far or not, are unforgettable. Those kinds of set-pieces are crucial to this style of game; Tomb Raider and Uncharted are both masterclasses in creating this kind of set-piece, and the upcoming Indiana Jones game is going to have to at least match those in order to keep its footing.

MachineGames track record with cool set-pieces is pretty strong. The Wolfenstein games have plenty of moments unlike anything else. If it manages to translate that into some unforgettable moments with Indy, fans will be eternally grateful.

Almost everybody who goes into an Indiana Jones movie learns something on the way. That said, Indy doesn't know everything, and sometimes he's presented with information that he needs to make sense of in real-time. In a game, that's easy enough to do; there are billions of puzzle games or escape room games that do this beautifully.

RELATED:Bethesda Says Todd Howard's Indiana Jones 'Tease' Wasn't Intentional

Make the relevant information historical, and create a puzzle with it. Once again, the Uncharted series and the Tomb Raider series are full of these, and they mostly do a great job with it. Actually making players step into the shoes of Indy and having them figure something out themselves would be a really cool step towards immersing players in the fantasy of being Indiana Jones. After all, that's the point of making an Indiana Jones game instead of making an Indiana Jones movie.

Indiana Jones has always had an interesting cast of characters in the background.Sometimes these characters are on Indy's side, sometimes they're not on Indy's side, and sometimes they're decidedly somewhere in between. Regardless, all of them add to the world Indiana Jones is in. These aren't nameless, faceless characters, these are characters that all have a lot of personality, and it's always a blast seeing that personality bounce off of Indy's own. In order for this game to land with the right feel, there's going to need to be a sizeable cast of characters that are fun to have on-screen.

Lastly, the one thing that unifies 90% of video games out there: combat. An Indiana Jones video game is going to include combat, and that combat is, likely, going to have to be a little bit over the top. Looking at the history of MachineGames in the Wolfenstein series, it's already well-versed in creating some over-the-top combat. (Heck, they might even be able to keep the Nazis. Indy loves punching Nazis.)

Indy's trusty bullwhip will undoubtedly have to make an appearance, considering how iconic it is. It's not confirmed whether or not the game will be from a first-person perspective or a third-person one, though considering the developers involved, first-person would make a lot of sense, even if it's against the norms for a game based on a movie franchise.

While some gun combat is likely, there's also a lot of fighting in the Indiana Jones movies that doesn't involve guns at all. There are a lot of fistfights or a lot of times that Indy is engaged with people who have him severely outgunned. Hand-to-hand combat in this game is going to have to be satisfying, and it would be preferable if it was just as relevant as gun combat; it would differentiate this game from others like it, and it would make it feel much more Indiana Jones.

All in all, fans seem incredibly excited to see Indy back in action. MachineGames seem like the perfect developers for an Indiana Jones game, and anticipation is going to be high up until release.

MachineGames' Indiana Jones game is currently in development.

MORE:The Elder Scrolls 6, Starfield Not Affected by Indiana Jones Development

Zelda: Breath of the Wild Player Pulls Off Incredible Arrow Trick Shot

Drew Ferguson has been obsessively discussing games and movies since he was old enough to talk. Being incapable of doing anything else, he decided to make a living at it. Alongside these cool articles, he also writes comic books, like Sam And His Talking Gun from Scout Comics.

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What We Want to See in the New Indiana Jones Game | Game Rant - GameRant

20 temporarily free and 26 on-sale apps and games for Wednesday – Android Police

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone. Even though the early months of the year tend to be slow, I still have a few standout sales to share with everyone today. First and foremost, you can pick up the fantastic adventure game Old Man's Journey for a buck, so don't miss out on this one if you've yet to play. Next, I have Twinfold, an enjoyable puzzle game from Kenny Sun. Last but not least is Heal: Pocket Edition, an atmospheric point and click adventure where obscurity drives the narrative. As always, I've highlighted all of the interesting titles in bold green text in order to make discovery easier. So without further ado, here are 20 temporarily free and 26 on-sale apps and games for the middle of the week.

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20 temporarily free and 26 on-sale apps and games for Wednesday - Android Police

Out Now: ‘Erica – Interactive Thriller’, ‘Neon Beats’, ‘Yankai’s Diamond’, ‘Picnic Penguin’, ‘Onmyoji: The Card Game’, ‘Basketball vs Zombies’, ‘The…

Each and every day new mobile games are hitting the App Store, and so each week we put together a big old list of all the best new releases of the past seven days. Back in the day the App Store would showcase the same games for a week, and then refresh those features each Thursday. Because of that developers got into the habit of releasing their games throughout Wednesday or very early Thursday in order to hopefully get one of those coveted features spots. Nowadays the App Store refreshes constantly, so the need for everyone to release all on the same day has diminished. Still, weve kept our weekly Wednesday night format as for years thats the time people knew to check TouchArcade for the list of new games. And so without further ado please check out the full list of this weeks new games below, and let us know in the comments section which games youll be picking up!

Basketball vs Zombies (Free)

iTunes Description

A peaceful little town? I dont think so! The zombie apocalypse is here and you must defend yourself by shooting hoops with their heads and your trusty baseball bat!

Pack some weapons and have some cruel fun in this apocalyptic basketball game to defend you and your friends!

Forum Thread: Basketball vs Zombies (by Laurent Bakowski)

Choppy Waters (Free)

iTunes Description

Swimming cats! Walrus with jetpacks! Sharks with lasers!

Choppy Waters is a fresh take on an arcade classic. Swim as far as you can while dodging rocks and anchors in this extremely CHALLENGING, free to play, endless runner. How far can you make it?

Forum Thread: Choppy Waters (by Derek Briggs)

Erica Interactive Thriller (Free)

iTunes Description

Become Erica, a young woman plagued with nightmares, driven by grisly new clues to face past traumatic events. Its up to you to unearth the shocking truth.

Guide Erica through the story by using your touch to physically interact with her surroundings.

Forum Thread: Erica Interactive Thriller (by Flavourworks Ltd.)

The Forbidden Arts (Free)

iTunes Description

The Forbidden Arts is an action adventure platformer with a focus on discovery and exploration. When the hero of the game, Phoenix, seeks the counsel of a druid to make sense of his visions, she awakens the latent pyromancy within him. This begins an epic journey from Phoenixs humble beginnings as he seeks to master the element of fire.

Forum Thread: The Forbidden Arts (by Selosoft and Stingbot Games)

Gravity Song (Free)

iTunes Description

You will be able to move a ball to any direction just touching the screen. Using this ability, you need to find and pass a portal to escape from a room.

We dont want to bore you so we have added a lot of lasers, magnets and more interesting things to make a challenging game.

Forum Thread: Gravity Song (by Marc Borras Conte)

Monster-Land ($1.99)

iTunes Description

Forum Thread: Monster-Land (by BSD)

Neon Beats ($2.99)

iTunes Description

Beat your best scores in Neon Beats, a 2D platformer game with rhythm based levels!You just entered an abstract world and embody a cube moving on a white line.A relaxing and catchy music starts to play along with colourful shining neon lights all around.Your first jump, not so difficult, is followed by a swing above sharp spikes and a slide down to the depth.Deeper you progress in the levels, harder the challenges become.

Forum Thread: Neon Beats (by Plug-In Digital)

Onmyoji: The Card Game (Free)

iTunes Description

Onmyoji: The Card Game, a spinoff of Onmyoji, is a duel card mobile game. Hundreds of top painters and voice actors joined forces with the development team to create a paradise of Yokai.

Step into Shinkiro, the mysterious tower ship city, and explore the promised land of Yokai. Here you will have a taste of the Hyakubuna card game that got the Yokai into a frenzy.

Forum Thread: Onmyoji: The Card Game (by NetEase)

Picnic Penguin (Free)

iTunes Description

In Picnic Penguin you can push multiple blocks at a time and rearrange them to open the path and complete the levels. Picnic Penguin is a real treat to enjoy in your spare time! Picnic Penguin features several worlds to unlock with a huge variation of puzzles to solve while finding coins to collect all the skins on the gashapon machine.

Forum Thread: Picnic Penguin (by Neutronized)

The Pillar ($4.99)

iTunes Description

Cleverly mixing mystery an puzzle solving, the Pillar takes you deep into an faraway unknown world where you must pay attention to your surroundings in order to find the way to freedom. Exploration goes hand in hand with an open and clear mind as you try to break free from a mythical birdcage and escape.

Forum Thread: The Pillar (by Paper Bunker)

SchoolX ($4.99)

iTunes Description

*The only action RPG that that touches you!*Full 3D Real Action!*Pads Available!

Forum Thread: SchoolX (by Heehyeok Chae)

Yankais Diamond ($2.99)

iTunes Description

Yankais Diamond is a love letter to diamonds. A puzzle game with a handcrafted infinity of beautiful levels.

Forum Thread: YANKAIS DIAMOND (by Kenny Sun)

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Out Now: 'Erica - Interactive Thriller', 'Neon Beats', 'Yankai's Diamond', 'Picnic Penguin', 'Onmyoji: The Card Game', 'Basketball vs Zombies', 'The...

Review: The Pillar: Puzzle escape – Movies Games and Tech

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If you have read any of my other reviews, youll be aware that Im a great lover of most genres of games. Like all gamers the world over, I have my favourites, but Im happy to chance my hand at anything that comes my way. With limited gaming time available to me, Im always keen on anything with the tag Casual, so when my latest review title dropped in my in tray, it instantly piqued my interest.

The Pillar: Puzzle escapeby developers,Paper BunkerandEastasiasoft, and published by the latter is a casual exploration adventure puzzle game that takes place in a magical and colourful land. You must control an individual who is lost within this maze of ever growing intricate problems, where your only escape is found by solving every puzzle linked to the mysterious pillars that appear during each stage.

The gameplay takes place over 7 levels and opens with anintroquest that acts as a tutorial. Here you will learn the fundamentals of the 4 different colour-based puzzles that you will face. As you venture onwards, you will encounter more elaborate problems, and though the solutions will stare you in the face, the intricate design will test the logical part of your brain.

Ive played a lot of this genre over my long gaming career, from;RivenandMysttoCall of the Sea, and manyArtifex Mundigames. Though Im not an expert, Im comfortable enough to say that though you will be tested throughout your time with this title, the puzzles arent particularly hard to solve. You must connect a set number of coloured squares together in one continuous path. Whilst doing this you must also fill all the empty blocks. If you cannot connect the right colours, or leave a space empty, then the problem remains unsolved, and you must try again. There are 4 varieties to enjoy and solve, each getting progressively more difficult as you progress.

It wouldnt be part of the puzzle genre, if this wasnt the main concept, however, there is more to this than just the colour trials. Exploration and observing the finer details of the world you currently call home is a must. Clues are etched into the walls, and float above you in the surrounding air. Each level contains jigsaw pieces that make up a picture when completed. They are hidden around each stage, and must be found hidden between rocks and within the vegetation. Failuretocollect all the parts wont prevent you from progressing, youll simply miss out on a high score, and most of the achievements.

This genre is renowned for its beauty, and the other games that I have already mentioned look fantastic, with a great atmosphere that is created from a combination of; beautiful music, deep lore, stunning scenery and excellent audio. DoesThe Pillar: Puzzle escapematch up to its peers? In places, yes, though some elements let it down. Graphically, it is reminiscent of the vivid world ofSeaof Thieves, combined with the mysterious approach taken inMystandRiven. That is a big compliment, and a massive thumbs up for this developer, but when you closely inspect the environment, it doesnt look great, and shows signs of being dated. Now, it would be fair to argue that this genre doesnt need AAA level design, but when the developers want you to immerse yourself in the world they have created, I expect the imagery to be better polished than the final product produced here. It isnt terrible, and the bright and vivid tones match the mystical theme, I just wanted more!

The audio is very good. The sound of echoed footsteps can be heard throughout, which only serves to emphasise the sense of isolation. The piano music adds a sombre and calming atmosphere that then changes dynamic and pace as you edge close to the final obstacle of each stage. IfPaper Bunkerhad captured the brilliance of the audio within their graphics, they would have been onto something special.

There are certain games that consoles do better, and ones that the PC excels in, so would this be better played on a PC? No! The control system is smooth, accurate and works well with a controller. I had no issues with solving theproblemsand selecting objects was asimple task to achieve. The developers have done well to create a straightforward title to master, which helps to create a relaxing andlaid backgaming environment.

When a game has a small variety of puzzles to crack, and 7 levels to explore, it impacts the replay value. An easy achievement list can be unlocked in approximately 6 hours, and a full completion is achieved in around 8 to 10 hours. So, you get a fair bit of game time for your money. At $14.99 it is good value, but its lack of new puzzles once its finished, and no NG+ mode reduces the desire to return and play.

The Pillars: Puzzle escapeis attempting to stand out in a crowded and niche market, where the leaders of the pack are extremely strong titles. A much simpler approach makes this an accessible game compare to the others, but I cant ignore its graphical short comings. Had this element been spot on, it would have scored 7.5 out of 10, but it has to be marked down slightly for these issues. With this being said, do I recommend you try it? Yes. A great entry level title that can be played casually, with an excellent audio and nice graphics (if you dont look closely at the details.)Can you unlock the mysteries of the pillars and escape this magical world?

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Review: The Pillar: Puzzle escape - Movies Games and Tech

Review: Professor Lupo: Ocean – Movies Games and Tech

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Imagine waking up dazed and confused after your spaceship has crumbled around you, but also youre underwater. There are no other people around to provide any sort of reassurance. With only the cynical personality of the AI computer system and the conspicuous voice from your collar, it becomes your mission to regain the memory of who you are.

Professor Lupo: Ocean is a 2D grid-based puzzle adventure from BeautiFun. Featuring 40 challenging levels aided by an engaging story line, this game does not fall short of joyfully frustrating content.

Following the story of Professor Lupo and his horrible pets, it is a great play for any fans of the original. Combining use of the touchscreen and joystick its as if the game mimics the essence of space travel. You are granted an exciting hands on approach to puzzles which allows you to feel completely in control.

Each character you come into contact with is fully voiced and well acted, and dialogue between them is often amusing. The AI computer system (Plato) is set to help you and ensures that you learn to utilize the destruction in order to progress. The interactions between characters is charming and I definitely found myself laughing at the witty exchange from time to time.

As you progress through levels the difficulty steadily increases. Instead of just controlling water flow to avoid fatality, you have to avoid alien lifeforms and eventually complete a variety of puzzles under time constraint. After the simplicity of the first few puzzles, these more challenging tasks provided a refreshing new test. They often left me feeling as if I needed to put my switch down for a second to breathe.

Additionally, there is extensive research available to read about the alien lifeforms you come across. I found this to be one of the most engaging elements since you learn about all their strengths and weaknesses. Most of the time this information came in handy when trying to complete a particularly challenging puzzle. I was constantly going back to these documents to complete puzzles and found it hugely useful to have them on hand.

On several occasions I caught myself holding my breath whilst being chased down by unknown creatures, vigorously tapping my screen trying to unlock the next area.The fear of getting caught and killed was thrilling, yet terrifying. I did appreciate the consistent reference to the protagonist as clone so rather than feeling the guilty when dying, I felt as if another clone was reproduced as soon as one ahem Malfunctioned.

Regarding how the game actually feels whilst playing I cant help but think the controls were a little bit clunky. Since it is a grid based puzzle game, your character can only move in one of four ways. The lagging controls ended up letting the game down to a certain extent. Especially since you move at an extremely slow pace.

Upon receiving the news that your ship is flooding and you must run. The music increases to a heavy, fast beat yet clone still moves so slowly. Rather than enhancing the gameplay it just encourages frustration. You want to get tasks done and you just feel held back. More often than not, youll end up taking an extra step forward or two and end up face to face with an enemy.

As a whole Professor Lupo: Ocean is easy to pick up and can be enjoyed without prior experience with the first game. The game is well designed and the concept is engaging, however the slow movement and heavy controls let it down. I can see myself picking it up and completing a few levels at a time, but Ill admit there wasnt enough to keep me invested in the story to play for hours. Its a short game, so it is definitely one worth playing to pass the time. Id definitely recommend it for that.

Available on Steam and Nintendo Switch via eStore.

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Review: Professor Lupo: Ocean - Movies Games and Tech

Save on big games in the latest Nintendo eShop sale – Thumbsticks

Save up to 30% on top Switch games in the latest Nintendo eShop sale.

Were already a little tired of 2021, but Nintendo isnt done with ringing in the new year. A brand new Nintendo eShop sale in North America celebrates the flip of the calendar with savings on some top Switch titles.

Among the first-party gems are Super Mario Maker 2, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Arms, and Splatoon 2.

Third-party hits to check out include Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Immortals: Fenyx Rising. The enjoyable Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 which just received a free Sonic the Hedgehog update is also recommended for fans of puzzle games and really bright colours.

Deeper cuts include Capcoms overlooked exploratory platformer, Shinsekai Into the Depths, and The Last Campfire, an exquisite puzzle adventure from Hello Games.

The sale also features an excellent selection of indies. Our favourites are Gris, A Short Hike, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

The New Year Sale runs through to midnight on January 21, 2021. Heres the full lineup of discounted games.

Follow Thumbsticks onFlipboard, Facebook, Google News, and YouTubefor more video game sales and freebies.

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Save on big games in the latest Nintendo eShop sale - Thumbsticks

Ford has been inside player Panthers have needed – Arkansas Online

SILOAM SPRINGS -- Jackson Ford is turning potential into production his senior basketball season at Siloam Springs.

Ford -- a 6-foot-6 senior post for the Panthers -- is among the team leaders on offense, scoring 11.2 points per game, shooting 58 percent from the field, and averaging 5.7 rebounds through 13 games.

It's a much needed production in the paint for Siloam Springs, which has lacked size the last several years after enjoying all-state performers in forwards Payton Henson (2009-2013) and Kyle Snavely (2014-16).

"(Ford) was a guy his sophomore year and his freshman year we knew there was potential," said Siloam Springs assistant coach Chris Cameron. "We told Jackson that quite often. "We don't have many kids your size, with your wingspan that have your touch around the basket,' so there was potential there. "

Cameron -- who's coached the Panthers in their last five games with coach Tim Stewart out because of covid-19 protocols -- said the coaching staff challenged Ford to get his body in better condition and to improve his skill set around the basket.

"To his credit, he's worked to improve in those areas," Cameron said. "He went from a potential project to a pretty good post guy. We're proud of him."

But there have been some obstacles along the way.

After contributing as a junior last season, averaging 3.4 points, Ford figured to be a bigger piece of the Panthers' puzzle in 2020-21.

Then the covid-19 pandemic hit and it wasn't especially kind to Ford, who wasn't able to go to a gym for several months.

He put on some weight during the break and has worked since then to get the extra pounds off.

"I had to put in a lot of work to get where I am now," said Ford. "Coming in I was totally out of shape and just had to keep working and working."

Ford said he weighed as much as 260 but would like to get down to a playing weight of about 240.

"So Jackson came back from the corona break with some challenges," Cameron said. "We talked about those early on. For a big guy those can be a little more challenging than a guard. But to his credit he's worked super hard. He's carried out everything we've asked of him on the court and in the weight room. We challenged Jackson on some dietary stuff and he's done a great job. He's slowly getting his body back. I still think the best is yet to come."

So far, Ford has held up physically, averaging nearly 23 minutes a game.

He's active on both ends of the floor and has even thrown down several dunks, including an alley-oop against Bentonville West on Dec. 30.

"It's a great feeling," Ford said. "Last year I didn't get many opportunities to do that. Now I get opportunities and I try to take them a lot."

Cameron said Ford has all kinds of tools at his disposal on the court.

"Jackson would probably shock a lot of people, he's an outstanding jumper," Cameron said. "So along with having touch and having a big frame, Jackson can jump really well. It's a credit to him and we've talked about this in the past, I think Jackson trap bar dead lifts 600 pounds. So he's a strong kid. He's gotten stronger over the years and that's correlated well. A guy that jumps that good with a big frame -- you don't see that very often."

Stewart, who was scheduled to return to the bench for Tuesday's game against Alma, said Ford's hands, long arms and athleticism enables him to be a dominant player in the 5A-West Conference.

"We look for him to be a vital piece of our success this season," Stewart said. "He has continued to improve and mature on and off the court. His maturity has led to him being able to handle the ups and downs that come with competitive athletics. Jackson is an emotional player, highly competitive and this year he is able to control that emotion, which has led to him being a more consistent player for us. He continues to work hard and improve and we know he is going to finish his senior campaign strong."

Ford hopes to get an opportunity to play in college somewhere. Being labeled as a big guy often feels like he has a target on his back, but he tries to use a simple approach.

"I just think about playing hard all the time," he said. "That's what I think about -- just move on to the next play and try and get a stop."

5A-West Conference basketball standings






Mountain Home^5-6^1-1

Siloam Springs^6-7^1-1

Van Buren^7-3^1-1



Jan. 5

Siloam Springs 47, Vilonia 41

Alma 68, Mountain Home 60

Greenbrier 36, Greenwood 29

Russellville 52, Van Buren 45

Jan. 8

Mountain Home 53, Siloam Springs 47 (OT)

Vilonia 70, Alma 41

Russellville 67, Greenwood 55

Van Buren 66, Greenbrier 48

Jan. 12

Alma at Siloam Springs

Greenbrier at Russellville

Greenwood at Van Buren

Mountain Home at Vilonia

Jan. 15

Siloam Springs at Greenbrier

Russellville at Alma

Van Buren at Mountain Home

Vilonia at Greenwood

Graham Thomas may be reached by email at

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Ford has been inside player Panthers have needed - Arkansas Online

Actually Chat To Your Own Digital Assistant In Acolyte, The Narrative/Puzzle Game About AI – TheGamer

Acolyte combines augmented reality and advanced language processing to create an adventure game unlike anything weve ever seen.

You talk to more robots than you probably realize. If youve ever gone to a corporate website and asked for help via text message, the first thing youll talk to is an artificial intelligence that will try to assist you. It wont, but itll try, and thats the important part.

Were still trying to make a better chat robot--one that cant be distinguished from another human being. Were not quite there yet, but we are very close, and you can find out just how disturbingly close we are to conversing with robots by playing a new game from Superstring Studios.

Superstring likes to think outside the box for their games. Headspun, Superstrings first offering, combined full-motion-video with an interesting narrative about a man recovering from a traumatic head injury, and now Acolyte does the same thing by combining advanced language processing AI with an augmented reality adventure.

In Acolyte, you play as a recently hired remote QA tester for Nanomax, a fictional company thats recently produced a new digital assistant called Acolyte. Acolyte uses a very real AI developed by the real-life company Spirit AI to talk to players using conversational language--its like talking to a person rather than a robot.

There are no predefined conversation options. What you write to Acolyte determines what it says back and where you go in the games narrative.

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Of course, this is a game, so there's going to be a plot twist. Something strange is going on at Nanomax where there have been "unexplained firings, missing employees and a strange, highly-classified bug in the Acolyte code-base," all of which point to a corporate conspiracy that you'll have to uncover.

Or not. You could just play dress-up with Acolyte's many cosmetic options if you prefer.

Acolyte: Prologue is available now on and Steam for free. Consider it the demo for a larger game that will release in Q1 2021. It's roughly the first third of the game, according to Superstring, although there's no mention on whether or not you'll be able to transfer over your save file once the full game comes out. Or if there even is a save file.

Currently, Acolyte: Prologue is only available for PC, but an Android and iOS release is planned for later. The game itself seems tailor-made for mobile, which explains the portrait resolutions. Since youll need to use your web browser to play the game, the PC version maintains this resolution to make it easy to alt-tab.

Source: Superstring Studio

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Actually a collective of 6 hamsters piloting a human-shaped robot, Sean hails from Toronto, Canada. Passionate about gaming from a young age, those hamsters would probably have taken over the world by now if they didn't vastly prefer playing and writing about video games instead.The hamsters are so far into their long-con that they've managed to acquire a bachelor's degree from the University of Waterloo and used that to convince the fine editors at TheGamer that they can write "gud werds," when in reality they just have a very sophisticated spellchecker program installed in the robot's central processing unit.

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Actually Chat To Your Own Digital Assistant In Acolyte, The Narrative/Puzzle Game About AI - TheGamer

The Best Escape Room Game Is Coming To Steam | TheGamer – TheGamer

The Room 4: Old Sins is finally coming to Steam next month.

The Room 4: Old Sins is finally coming to Steam next month.

Fireproof Games made the announcement today on Twitter. The Steam page for The Room 4 is available here with a link to add the game to your wishlist. When the game launches on February 11, all five The Room games will finally be available.

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The Room is a series of 3D puzzle adventure games made for Android and iOS. Each installment in the series introduced dozens of unique puzzle boxes and logic puzzles to solve as you explore dark fantasy environments. Light on story but packed with mind-bending puzzles,the series has remained one of the most successful paid mobile games since the first The Room released on iOS in 2012.

As each of the four mobile The Room games has made its way to Steam, small adjustments and updates have been made to the game in order to adapt the touch screen controls for mouse and keyboard. For example, some puzzles require you to pinch an object with two fingers, while others require you to engage the gyro sensor on your phone by turning it around in your hands.

The Room 4: Old Sins originally launched on mobile in 2018. Since then, Fireproof games released a VR game titled The Room VR: A Dark Matter. The VR game managed to capture the essence of the mobile games masterfully. Inmy review, I noted that A Dark Matter feels like the game The Room was always meant to be.

Old Sins is a bit different than the original The Room trilogy in the way that it presents its puzzles.Instead of exploring interconnected rooms in a labyrinthine castle or across different dimensions, all of the rooms in Old Sins are located inside of a dollhouse. The player character can shrink down to explore individual rooms of the house and solve puzzles that cause things to change in other parts of the house. Each room is a puzzle, but the entire dollhouse is a puzzle in itself.

Old Sins does not yet have a price listed on Steam, but the other non-VR The Room games are all around $5 USD.

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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri - Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey...but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokmon is Umbreon.

The Best Escape Room Game Is Coming To Steam | TheGamer - TheGamer

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