This is a new series in similar vein to my “Bandcamp find” posts. There are a LOT of great games (free and paid) on itch.io, and I’ll be highlighting my finds as time goes on.
One of the most popular free games available on the site is Doki Doki Literature Club. Created with the free Ren’Py visual novel engine, this game is FAR different than what it appears to be on the surface. It’s pretty hard to describe much more without spoilers, so I’ll simply leave it there. Note that this game does tackle some potentially sensitive and emotional issues.
At work I prefer to listen to soundtracks and ambient music. For the latter, I’ve been leaning toward the dark ambient sub-genre. On Bandcamp there is of course a wide variety of work in this field, involving any amount of synthesizers, samples, field recordings, etc. I’ve only just begun to familiarize myself with this music, and I wanted to highlight an early discovery that has really impressed me: Josh Sager. Of course while I always listen to the full album, from the front Bandcamp page it linked the 6th track on his latest album “interlopers”: auger spires. Turning up the speakers and enlarging the album artwork, this does the job any ambient work (dark or not) should do: envelope and allow the listener to truly immerse in the atmosphere! It will take me awhile to really get acquainted with this album and the others he has online. Along with that, he also has a few other great recommendations I’ve already added to my to-listen list: loscil and BLAKMOTH.
If you’ve been looking for something to read, or you’re frustrated by the terrible layout, mis-spellings, etc. of free and public ebooks, well then Standard Ebooks is the site for you! Free and open-source, each ebook is available to download in multiple formats, including epub (for most eReaders, Calibre, Books on Apple devices, etc.), azw3 for Kindle (you’ll need to download the cover thumbnail seperately), kepub for Kobo, and advanced epub if desired. As mentioned, each ebook also has a nice illustrated cover and a clear and consistent (if somewhat simple) cover title so you can easily recognize each ebook.
Being open-source, anyone is welcome to contribute to the project, whether to improve existing titles or help bring new titles up to their standards. If you aren’t technically inclined or don’t have the time to contribute, you are still welcome to donate to the project, to help those working on the project along with the costs of website hosting, etc. One-time and monthly options are available.
As noted on each ebook page, the titles are made available freely as they are presumably free of copyright in the United States; each book’s copyright status may not be the same in other countries, and you will need to check your local laws prior to downloading outside of the United States.
While working on my review of the Kids On Bikes RPG, I was immediately struck by the unique artwork in it, all done by Heather Vaughn. It is an absolutely perfect match: it’s mysterious, dark, an undertone of sinister, and simply the wonderful colors and shading!
Recently I had a renewed interest to learn how to play CATAN, a board game my wife gifted to me a couple Christmases ago. While there is a newer Assistant app to learn from, I decided to just search YouTube and sift through the results. Among those was a really well-done video from the Watch It Played channel. The host, Rodney Smith, is very articulate and engaging. Thanks to that, along with the video’s nice editing and production, my wife and I have continued to watch other How to Play videos. If you’re looking for a channel to help learn some board games, and at the same time possibly get encouragement to get back into gaming in general, I highly recommend this channel!