Several generations of games spanning System Shock 2, Uplink, the Deus Ex franchise, and now Watch_Dogs have implemented hacking as a gameplay element for a greater cyberpunk-themed adventure. E. McNeil’s Darknet, initially a prototype called 'Ciess,' takes place entirely within a hacking GUI -- it's no after-thought here. McNeil is also bringing this world (and interface) to life on Oculus Rift. I spoke with McNeil at PAX East and got a brief hands-on preview with his cyberpunk project, Darknet.

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Active game-buyers of the 2006-2007 era would likely recognize Dreamfall’s box art immediately, whether or not they played it; Zoë’s pink tank-top and contrasting dark hair made for perhaps one of the only game boxes of the period to present a female character in, y’know, clothes. The game received critical acclaim for its narrative-driven approach to play, and although it did have some scrutinized combat and stealth mechanics, it was always about the story. Players were left hanging at the end of the game, eagerly awaiting the continuation of the story in what would become Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey.

But then all went silent.

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Programming meets puzzle game in Glitchspace. Developed by Space Budgie, this first-person platformer presents a simple environment where a node-based programming system is used to move through levels.

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Set in a cyberspace world, you're trying to find a place known as “Glitchspace” -- a by-product of cyberspace and its various glitches or inconsistencies. Access can be gained across all systems in cyberspace through careful, programmatic exploitation, but the game isn't inaccessible to non-coders, either. Story mode is used to help introduce players to programming concepts, but a Sandbox mode is used for experienced players and programmers who'd like the full tool-set immediately available.

I'm not much for hyperbole and sensationalism when it comes to games journalism, but I'm fairly confident in my titling here. The original Nintendo NES Shaq-Fu game is critically-acclaimed for being the worst game ever made, almost unanimously so. In fact, we even published an April Fools piece on it a couple of years ago. It's sort of become part of the fun to take jabs at Shaq-Fu -- the game has a, let's face it, fairly charismatic and talented protagonist and some of the worst gameplay ever. Actually, Shaq's even laughing with us.

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In the new trailer announcing Shaq's indiegogo campaign for the sequel, "Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn," the athletic legend states:

Necrophone Games has announced that its upcoming first-person adventure-comedy game Jazzpunk will be available for purchase through Steam and other sites on February 7.

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Jazzpunk is set an alternative Cold War universe that integrates cyberpunk themes and gameplay. Players assume the role of Agent Polyblank and are tasked with a variety of missions, puzzle solving, and mini-games.

Every indie game or developer has a fascinating story behind its upbringing. Some developers move from large studios to have more control over their work, and sometimes a pair of college roommates team up to do something constructive with the time they spent cutting class.

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For Alix Stolzer and Calvin Goble, games were clearly a part of their lives, and they decided to do whatever it took to turn their passion into a product -- even if it meant living in a treehouse.

That’s right.

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