Every video game lover has their favorite sites for scouting out new and upcoming games and reviews (and for walkthroughs when they get stuck) like IGN, Gamespot, and the ever-growing Steam. What I’m going to tell you about today are some gaming sites and pages you may not know about that will make your internet browsing that much more fun.
Yes, yes, all right, you’ve probably heard of Steam, the online game shop/forum/chatroom that is single-handedly making it pointless for PC gamers to go to shops for their games (or even leave their homes). But have you checked out Greenlight yet? It’s under the Community menu. Beta and even Alpha versions of games in development are now turning to Steam’s vast audience to test run their works-in-progress. They’re good at making you feel like you’re at the cutting edge, and that your opinion matters. Big budget and low budget, they’re all there, and sometimes you’re “helping to crowd-fund” by paying for an unfinished product, but it’s a great way to scout out what’s coming.
Or Good Old Games. It’s an excellent spot for hunting down PC gaming classics from your younger days (and hey, even if you’re 12, there are always younger days). All the games are modified to run on modern computers and sold at reasonable prices. Even more reasonable are the discounts and special offers – my advice is that you scout out the games you want the most, add them to your wish-list, and wait for the (frequent) sales. GOG has also started getting some new releases at the same price as Steam – they tend to go for the big sequels to the classics. It’s fun to browse, and you’ll find some real gems in there.
Last of my shopping sites, Humble Bundle is the youngest and offers the biggest sales. You pay what you want (yes, you choose) to get a bunch of up to 12 games at once, some good, some average, and some pretty basic. The trick to it is, if you pay above the average donation, you “unlock” a whole bunch more games, often the more famous/better ones. As each sale goes on, that average will, by the nature of the sales, slowly rise, so the sooner you find the promotion, the cheaper the games will be. The bargains can be huge, and on top of that, you choose how much of the sales go to charity. Not bad. See also the new Humble Store, with single game purchases pretty big daily discounts.
Quick gaming fix without being flooded by ads, easy to search for the kind of game you want to play, achievements and badges to unlock, and a wide selection to go for. There’s a ton of mini-game sites out there, but I’ve never felt the need to scout out the competition since I signed up to Kongregate, which is surely a good sign.
Video game reviews delivered at high speed (hence the name) with smart and simple animations to watch as they go. For me, it’s the centerpiece of Escapist Magazine, which in itself is a good place to go for your gaming news. It’s the fast-paced wit of Yahtzee, the reviewer, that draws the audience. Best when he’s scathing, his dry acerbic put-downs come laced with hilarious and crude metaphors somehow manages to be more charming than offensive. I also love his half-British, half-Aussie accent.
Yes, this one is 3 for the price of 1, and they’re all YouTube videos sites they’re grouped together because the makers cross-collaborate all the time. Freddie Wong and friends make some damned funny video-game related videos, most of them with some pretty eye-dropping visual effects, especially since they’re mostly pretty low-budget. Node releases their LAN party videos, where 4 or 5 chatty nerds sit around and game together… which sounds much less fun than it is. They’re pretty absorbing, and I always find myself rooting for one player or the other – they’re genuinely funny people too.
Last but not least, VGHS is an excellent web series that frankly could be (and should be) on TV. In a world where the economy, job market and international sports are all based around gaming expertise, lucky gamer BrianD gets to go to the prestigious Video Game High School, where all sorts of wacky stuff happens to him. They’re making the 3rd Season now, go watch it!