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Link Roundup for Aug. 20th: Xbox One bringing it with the indie and AAA releases, Dragon Age 3 looking bloody sweet, Hip hop and games, and more…

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Link Roundup is a collection of links from gaming (and non-gaming) sites all over the internet we hope will spark discussion, keep you informed and up-to-date, and broaden your gaming horizons. It will publish each Tuesday and Friday. Readers are encouraged to send link suggestions to jtmgames@gmail.com.

Read all about ID@Xbox, Microsoft’s Xbox One self-publishing program. All signs point to the next generation coming down to a battle of the indies.

Additionally, Microsoft seems to have made some kind of backroom deal to bundle FIFA 14 with European pre-orders. (Somebody mighta just won that market.) They’ve also revealed a Call of Duty: Ghosts bundle.

Go behind the scenes of Dragon Age: Inquisition with BioWare.

2K Games’ much hyped The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is opening up to shoulder shrugs.

Meanwhile Gone Home, a completely un-hyped indie, is opening to some of the best reviews of the year.

XXL compiles a list of 8 memorable hip hop games.

Australia’s best indie games.

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Thomas Was Alone Review – A Modern Velveteen Rabbit

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Thomas Was Alone is an indie puzzle platformer created by one-man development team, Mike Bithell  (with music by David Housden). In the game, the player controls a cast of colourful quadrilaterals as they venture through the computer program they were created for, seeking an escape, or at the very least, the definition of what “escape” means. As unassuming as their names – Thomas, Claire, and John for example – their simple character designs and innocent curiosity belie the fact these rectangles are in fact the first AI’s to gain consciousness, and whether they can realise it or not, their existence has forever changed the world.

Read our full Thomas Was Alone review after the break. Read the rest of this entry

The Night of the Rabbit Review

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The Night of the Rabbit is the latest release from Daedalic Entertainment, and is well worth looking into. Daedalic is a studio best known for their humour adventure series Deponia and also helps publish a variety of other titles for other small studios.

In The Night of the Rabbit, twelve year old Jerry wants more than anything to become a magician. As his final days of summer vacation come to a close, he receives a strange message that appears containing an incantation. As boys do (and who hasn’t dabbled in a bit of dark magic) Jerry’s ritual summons a tall, elegantly dressed rabbit, who claims he is the Marquis de Hoto, a magician in search of an apprentice.The Marquis brings Jerry to the world of Mousewood, a forest town that’s a little Redwall and a lot Wind in the Willows, where he’ll teach the boy to cast spells. Before his training can begin, Jerry will have to help some of the townsfolk with their problems.

Hit the jump for our full Night of the Rabbit review.

Read the rest of this entry

Lessons in Prehistoric Love & Game Jams

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I’ll start off this article by pre-empting your question with an answer – “Game Jam”. Usually comprised of several teams of 2 or 3 people, the Game Jam typically occurs over an intense weekend where programmers, artists, designers and coffee collaborate to build a game from scratch.

The purpose of Game Jams varies. Some are organized by big-name studios to foster the design process of their creative teams, allowing members a chance to develop their own ideas while still having access to top-of-the-line equipment. Others function on a local level, fostering the game development community, providing indie developers, students and artists alike a chance to network (provided they can bring their own computer). Read the rest of this entry

Evoland Review – A Love Song To Zelda And Friends

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The magic of discovery is an extremely hard thing to capture, and an even harder thing to write about. If the whole charisma of a game is wrapped up in the discovery of the game itself, how do you write a review about said game without spoiling it? Such is my dilemma with the excellent Evoland, by indie studio Shiro Games.

Find out if I figure out how to do so after the break. Read the rest of this entry

Paranormal’s First FREE Expansion – The Town Hits Kickstarter

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You might remember a few months ago I wrote an Indie Spotlight on this first-person haunted house simulator called Paranormal; a truly scary game that cast you as an unassuming guy with a camera who decides to document the hauntings in his house. The game featured random frights and and a pervasive atmosphere that kept you on the edge throughout your stay. I love it because it’s genuinely scary and even got me screaming like a little kid (or like Pewdiepie); but I love it more because it got horror right.

Where big budget horror titles empowered you through powerful weaponry, Paranormal keeps you helpless throughout the entire game. There’s no gun that will save you, it’s up to you to survive long enough and solve the house’s mystery. Isn’t that what true horror is all about out? Check out my interview with the developer here for more info on the game.

Anyway, great news for Paranormal fans; developer Matt Cohen has just begun his Kickstarter to help back development for Paranormal’s first FREE expansion. Titled Paranormal: The Town, the expansion will act as a kind full-on new adventure (with a bigger play space) featuring a brand-new storyline, improved gameplay, and even new mechanics to spice up the scares.  More info on Paranormal: The Town and its Kickstarter after the break. Read the rest of this entry

Vancouver Developers Collaborate For ‘Full Indie Summit’ Later This Month

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A few years ago, Vancouver played host to GDC Canada; it had a lot of potential, but didn’t attain the success it needed to continue every year. Thankfully the indie gaming community, including Vancouver developers will collaborate for ‘Full Indie Summit’ later this month. Organized by VBlank Entertainment’s Brian Provinciano (Retro City Rampage), Full Indie Summit is a not-for-profit event that will host a number of talks from game developers around the country.

Hit the jump for more info on Full Indie Summit. Read the rest of this entry

The Bridge Review – Turn The World Upsidedown

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The Bridge, developed by Ty Taylor and Mario Castañeda, is an award winning 2D logic puzzle game that started life as a university project and has since become an Indie favorite.

If M.C. Escher was a game designer, The Bridge would have been his darling project. If you’re a fan of twisted images and perspective puzzles, this is a game for you. Read on for more.

Read the rest of this entry

Vote For Your Game of the Year at the Canadian Videogame Awards

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Hey folks, don’t forget to vote for your game of the year at the Canadian Videogame Awards. While all of the other categories are voted upon by a panel of game industry veterans, our friends at Future Shop wants to give the Canadian gaming community a voice at the upcoming award show taking place on April 20, 2013 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The Future Shop Fans’ Choice Award allows everyone to vote (once per day) for their favourite game developed in Canada. hit the jump for the full list. Read the rest of this entry

Award Winning Papo & Yo Coming to Steam This April

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Montreal-based Minority Media announced this week that their award-winning Papo & Yo is coming to Steam this April. Originally a PlayStation 3 exclusive, the Steam version of Papo & Yo is reported to include a number of updates, improvements, and additions for its PC release.

If you’ve been following JTM over the last year or so, you’ll notice that I’ve covered the game extensively, as Papo & Yo has (in my opinion) one of the most personal and socially relevant stories in the last few years. The game is a semi-biographical/metaphorical story of Creative Director Vander Caballero as he dealt with issues such as his father’s alcoholism and abuse. As the title alludes to, Papo & Yo deals with a not-so-good father and son relationship. Its world is a fantasy world in which Quico creates in order to escape from his traumatic past.

See what Vander had to say about Papo & Yo’s upcoming Steam release (plus screenshots of the game) after the break. Read the rest of this entry

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