• Classic adventure game hero Gabriel Knight returns for remake

    The original Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is held in high regard. Taking a more serious tone than previous in-house Sierra On-Line adventures, the player takes the role of the titular Gabriel Knight, a down on his luck New Orleans horror novelist researching a recent rash of voodoo murders for his latest book.

    When it was released, roughly twenty years ago, it met with critical acclaim. With a recent resurgence in the adventure game genre and the occasion of the anniversary a remake only makes sense.

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    And that's the appropriate word for what results. Everything from the original release has been re-done, with the most obviously apparent change being the graphics. The new game looks the way you remember it looking, retaining all of the visual style of the original 256-color palette, but with modern fidelity and high-resolution. Most scenes are largely identical to the 1993 release; a few were updated to be more accurate to the setting.

    The remastered soundtrack provides a nice compliment to the graphical changes, even if it does wander too close to the bad old days of midi. The game also has an all new voice cast which, while generally disappointing, will at least please those who cringed at Tim Curry's trainwreck of a southern accent.

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    While some puzzles and sequencing have changed, the core of the game and its story remain the same. It's still a point-and-click adventure, and with that genre come the classic pitfalls that have leave many modern gamers frustrated and disinterested.

    Thankfully there's a new built-in help system that does its best to replicate the feel of old school hint books, nudging you in the right direction. There are some other modern improvements like the ability to highlight objects of interest, and no longer having to cycle the cursor between actions. More in line with modern adventure games, clicking an object now brings up the icons for possible interactions.

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    The fusion of old and new creates an easily accessible game that rarely pulls its punches. For fans of the series and newcomers alike Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition is the definitive version of the already classic game. And with any hope this is just the vanguard for new adventures.

    Gabriel Knight: Sinds of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition is available from Steam.

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  • With 10 consoles in one, does the Retron 5 have what it takes?

    Look at your old game console. Now look at the back of your fancy flat screen TV. How do you connect the composite connector to a modern HDMI input? The retrogaming traditionalist's choice was either to get a old CRT set or shell out for pricy upscalers. Hyperkin's Retron 5 solves the problem a different way: by containing the hardware to play real cartridges from various 8- and 16-bit platforms, upscaling the output for moderns TVs, and including all the options and filters you'd find in software emulators to boot.

    While on the outside the Retron 5 has five cartridge slots, on the inside there's very little in the way of specialized chips for the NES/Famicom, Super NES/Super Famicom, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, and Genesis/Mega Drive systems that the console supports. Under the hood, Retron 5 uses Android to emulate the hardware of those nine systems.

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    Those cartridge slots, though, make the Retron 5 unique in a world where even smartphones are capable of running classic console emulators. When you insert a cartridge its rom is dumped into memory, and when the cartridge is removed that memory is erased. You have to own the original games in order to emulate them on the Retron 5—a physically enforced version of the "only download roms for games you own" messages on romsites.

    For consumers, the real advantage is the living-room convenience, the ability to increase the resolution and apply post-processing effects to the video without any expensive hardware or fooling around with software. The video coming out of the Retron 5 is almost too crisp; scanlines and other filters can be applied to more closely replicate the appearance of playing on a CRT monitor.

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  • Review: Pebble e-paper watch

    With 68,929 backers pledging more than $10m, the Pebble E-paper watch is the highest-grossing Kickstarter project to date. The pitch, to fund an Android- and iOS-compatible smartwatch, was so successful that the campaign had to be cut short. With a 144 x 168 e-paper display, vibrating motor, 3-axis accelerometer and Bluetooth connectivity, the Pebble promises to let you use your smartphone without it ever leaving your pocket. (more…)

  • Gunpoint: sneak around and rewire world to trick foes

    Gunpoint puts you in the role of a freelance spy, performing jobs for the highest bidder. Joining elements of Taito classic Elevator Action and puzzle-based hacking sims, it's a one-man heist experience complete with guns, gadgets, and carefully-laid plans. Everything can fall apart at any moment.

    Since an early alpha-stage walkthrough, described by developer Tom Francis as "an ugly, awkwardly voiced video", I've desperately wanted to play. Francis, a writer for PC
    Gamer UK
    , isn't a programmer by trade. Looking at Gunpoint, you wouldn't know it: the user-friendly GameMaker development environment and a call for artists and musicians helped bring it from idea to reality within months. (more…)