Patrick Lathan

Patrick Lathan

There's no trade-in program for your kids' candy, unfortunately, but there are still a few hardware sales through the weekend. EVGA's GTX 980 Ti Hybrid is marked down $50, the 850 EVO makes for a cheap SSD, and some budget-class storage and cases are also running low prices.

We've covered virtual reality headsets in the past -- notably, we sat down at length with engineers of the Valve/HTC Vive at PAX Prime -- but the folks at Razer have recently thrown their futuristic VR hats into the ring as well. The "Open-Source Virtual Reality ecosystem," or OSVR, has been nearing the end of its development cycle over the past few months. Razer's just announced the $300 "Hacker Development Kit," with which developers can program for VR technology in general. Although the idea of an OSVR "ecosystem" seems to promise that Razer will develop additional VR products, the dev kit (which includes a headset and software) is the only product being offered right now; it is not a dev kit for an existing Razer product, and it's not intended to develop software specifically for Razer products.

Kingdom is a 2013 flash game by developer Noio, greatly expanded and brought to PC/Mac/iOS/Android with the help of fellow developer Licorice. As we noted back in our August preview, despite being an indie game, Kingdom was, for once, not funded by Kickstarter --surprise! Let's see if the retail release keeps that overly-addictive-flash-game charm.

In the beginning, there is a King (or Queen) and a pile of money. Such is the way of life. The "tutorial" is short and sweet: ten coins are enough to light a campfire, build two walls, and hire/equip a builder and an archer--after that, there's not much else to learn. Coins are the only resource in the game, and are used to create buildings, upgrade the settlement, hire workers, and buy tools. At night, mischevious green creatures scurry in to tear-down buildings and run away with tools (or brutally devour innocent townsfolk, as the game progresses). If one snatches the crown, that's it--time to start a new kingdom. This is a permadeath game.

Epistory - Typing Chronicles is an “atmospheric action/adventure game” from developer Fishing Cactus, available on Steam Early Access since September 30th. The game mechanics focus on two of my favorite things: typing long words as fast as possible and riding a giant fox. What more do you really need?

The basic premise of Epistory is that you’re a girl who’s lost her memory, and—again—you’re riding a giant fox. The forest is in danger, and it's the player's job to clean house by ridding of various patches of bramble and giant snakes. That was about as far as the narrative got in the time that I played, and there was no indication that it would get more elaborate than that, but possibilities abound in a title so early in development. Additional “chapters” of the game will be released over the course of its time in early access, leaving plenty of room for expansion through its 1Q16 release target.

EVGA has announced a "Face Off" program (not to be confused with the 1997 John Woo movie) that will provide a free aluminum replacement -- not counting shipping costs -- for the original plastic shroud of their Hybrid graphics cards. To be eligible, you'll have to provide an invoice to prove you already own either a TITAN X, GTX 980, or a GTX 980 Ti Hybrid graphics card. For those who actually do, there's no reason not to apply right now.

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