Steam Treasures: Shatter

The Great Steam Treasure Hunt, a large-scale metagaming event organized by Valve this holiday season, has had Steam users complete objectives every two days in order to win games from the Steam store catalogue. Tasks have ranged from using various community features to completing specific in-game achievements in discounted games.

That moaning sound in the background? That’s just the good ladies and gentlemen from Impulse, GamersGate and Direct2Drive sighing audibly – the Treasure Hunt has been a devilishly good move from Valve to get more players introduced to Steam’s lesser-utilized features. It has also turned out to be an excellent opportunity for highlighting many smaller titles from developers that may not always have the marketing muscle to stand out from the admittedly crowded Steam storefront. Indeed, the Hunt has been a time to shine for games such as Bob Came in Pieces, Beat Hazard, Droplitz, The UnderGarden and Chime.

Another such game is the aptly titled Shatter from New Zealander niche developer Sidhe. Originally released on the PSN, Shatter is on the surface a high-definition rendition of the Breakout genre, perhaps resembling most closely the classic Arkanoid. Shatter’s claim to the throne, then, is its frustration-free flavour; where other games of the genre may have traditionally strained players with punishing difficulty, Sidhe have altogether subverted the problem by introducing a mischievous sucking/blowing mechanism for your bat, used not only for gathering shattered energy fragments that dissipate from broken bricks, but also allowing players to gently guide their ball’s trajectory curve both left and right.


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The End of a Decade

This year was a curious one, and I don’t mean to refer to the VG industry alone: 2009 was, after all, the first full year of The Slowdown for us three, and boy, it sure went past real fast. For various reasons, this year has also been a very trying one for each of us, yet we were still able to find the time and enthusiasm to write and post together. Taking up writing, I’m certain, has only worked to enhance our enthusiasm and interest in the medium. As if to commemorate the very end of the decade, though, my relatively recent motherboard had to be shipped over to Germany for replacement recently.

You’ve probably also noted how we’ve yet not engaged ourselves in the “best of” discourse, at all; we enjoy making lists just as much as the other guy, sure, but perhaps unsurprisingly also tend to get over-analytical and –intellectual with the concept.

Slowdown Boys

Therefore, as our final post of the year, the three of us have jotted down our personal lists of the decade. The simple rule was not to make it too difficult for ourselves. Therefore, I have sought to paint an impression of the zeitgeist, warts and all. Very subjective. Nabeel wanted to paint a portrait of himself as gamer, and Richard hoped to be accurate and inclusive. The games listed below have not been included based on their perceived merits or qualities; instead, we selected them with the aforementioned focuses in mind.

All three free-form lists after the jump. Here’s to a new gaming decade, everyone!


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