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For the term "submerged".

Hey folks who came here looking for Submerged, grab Submerged: Hidden Depths free through Sept. 8th

I don’t normally make a habit of posting discounts or freebie alerts; no one will ever top Wario64 on that front. But considering that my posts about Submerged and its coded language remain some of the most popular on the site, I thought this might be worth sharing:

The unexpected follow-up to the 2015 original — Submerged: Hidden Depths — is free on the Epic Games Store right now until September 8th!

I hadn’t picked it up yet myself so I immediately jumped on the offer. Here’s hoping that maybe before the end of the year I actually fire it up. Thanks Epic, for the offer. I sure hope it works out in favor for Uppercut Games in the long run.

Done Playing: Submerged (PlayStation 4)

So I finished playing Submerged and then spent some more time decoding its language and story. This is usually when I’d write up a Done Playing post to sum up my thoughts and experience with it. Buuuuut, since the PlayStation 4 makes it pretty easy to plug in my good microphone and record right to YouTube I decided to try a video thing. I’m calling it a “GameLuv Recap” for YouTube because I can’t rightfully say I’m done playing when the video is of me playing, right? I also get way more views on YouTube than hits on the site here, so video it is!

It’s definitely not as poetic as my writing tends to be but it’ll give you a nice overview of the game, the mechanics and the world. I’ve got at least one more of these videos coming to give Styx: Master of Shadows some closure as well.

Decoding the Language and Story of Submerged

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When it comes to finding secrets in games I usually don’t last long before turning to a FAQ or forums. Chasing down tchotchkes is fun for a while but when it comes down to the last few I always prioritize my time over energy exerted. In contrast I seem to willingly hook myself on deciphering real and fictional languages in games. Dinosaur Hunting and Spelunker Z are both Japanese exclusives with small fan bases so understanding them required me to put in the work to climb the language barrier. Once the cipher was discovered in Fez I was right there with everyone else, jotting down symbols and translating the esoteric poetry.

For Submerged it was an excuse to stick with the game after finishing the main adventure. The story is easy enough to piece together as you slowly unlock new pictograms drawn by Miku. Her journal details the story of how she and her brother ended up in this strange city as well as the creatures and landmarks she discovers. The really interesting part is the “City’s Story”, a collection of 60 pictograms that are hidden throughout the game and tell the greater story of what happened to this world. Every pictogram is accompanied by four alphabetical characters and with the promise of more context I couldn’t help but have a go at decoding it.

So I did. I’m no master codebreaker or linguist though and I’m definitely not bragging. Ed Orman at Uppercut Games clearly did a lot of work to create the alphabet, but it wasn’t hard to decode. After he dropped a hint about the game’s logo I was off and crackin’. Since all the words are based on English it was easy to sound out and guess at the rest and after a couple mix ups I had my cipher.

If you’ve finished the game and want to know more, have a look at this gallery. But be aware: SPOILERS! Even seeing the pictograms gives away most of what you get out of the game. If the idea of a sunken metropolis and a game of exploration is at all interesting to you I recommend playing it yourself. Then come back and we can chat. If that doesn’t bother you then, by all means, click on in!

I’ve translated every bit of text I could find in the game including the achievement icons. My rough alphabet cipher is also included if you want to do some decoding (or encoding) of your own. Maybe use it for your fan fiction, I dunno.

Of 2016: The GameLuv Report

Of 2016: The GameLuv Report

GameLuv’s stats were a real surprise in 2016! I only managed to make 72 posts, an all time low, but we almost had a 4-year high with 10,149 views. Once again, lots of views (1,834) were to the homepage which makes me happy to think that at least a few hundred of you come directly to GameLuv.com. For that I apologize, I really should have more posts going up throughout the year. Between OSV and Delisted Games the site is suffering from some neglect.

Beyond the homepage our top views were again from years past but this time most were just from 2015. The KPop Dance Festival news saw another 1,625 views in 2016, the most for a single post on the site. As Submerged went on sale and was ported to iOS more people came looking for meaning behind the game’s made-up language. That brought another 830 views to my post Decoding the Language and Story of Submerged. I’m happy to see more posts from 2016 pop up in the top ten as well.

Of 2016: The GameLuv Report

When Miyamoto appeared on The Tonight Show the internet had a bit of a freak-out over his shirt featuring Mario dressed up as a samurai. It immediately reminded me of the last Club Nintendo calendar that features Mario and friends dressed up for various Japanese holidays. I scanned the calendar and it brought in 253 views just in the last few weeks of 2016. My post recounting some new tidbits on Metal Gear Survive garnered 224 views and my March Update on Spelunker World grabbed another 104 views.

In search we had the same results as usual. Of our 4,329 search referrals, 3,898 were from Google. The next highest referrer was Reddit where I’d shared some posts about the Nintendo Switch, Spelunker World and Earth Defense Force. The search terms that brought people to the site couldn’t have been much more varied from last year, though.

While “luv game” and “just dance kpop” prevailed we had more people come our way thanks to Spelunker World and Metal Gear Survive than anything else. I’m also especially proud that someone’s search for “goat farting in zoo” landed them on this post, even though it wasn’t what they were looking for. Finally, I’m not sure what “kyar game” is but I don’t think it was someone looking for an early augmented reality experience at Disney World, which is what I posted about in 2007.

Visits from every country: Gotta Catch 'em All

Globally, we had the same kind of split as usual. 5,467 visitors from North America, 458 from Canada, 433 from the UK and a few hundred each from the remaining European countries. Pretty much all of the numbers were increases as well, although that includes the Eastern European ones where the spammers and scammers come from.

It was a surprisingly good year for the site and I think the only thing I can honestly attribute it to is something changing with Google’s algorithm. I did add an SEO plugin to the site but I’ve only made the metadata changes on the most recent posts. Unless it’s doing some real magic I think it’s really to do with search rank and all that Google stuff. I’m no SEO expert, not even a novice really, so I’m happy enough to see the numbers go up on the graphs.

Looking ahead, I’ll probably end up doing the Top Twenty of the IGF again, although I may take more time with it this year instead of rushing to put a bow on it. I hope to do some more cross-posting from my YouTube channel to the site and at least do a recap of my work on OSV. And of course, I’ll be throwing all kinds of random thoughts, pick-ups and links as they pop up. I’ll be updating the Play-Asia sidebar for a new look in 2017 instead of cluttering up the joint with their random product images. I’ve also begun doing some A/B testing with the few ad banners on the site so you may not see the same 3 ads for mobile games that I feel have been running forever. Also, I might as well ask if you’d turn off your ad blocker for us? It really does help and I promise I don’t have any pop-ups or pop-overs waiting to annoy you.

 

Thanks for all the visits, 2016!

Finally, my heartfelt thanks goes to everyone who stopped by GameLuv in 2016. I hope you found something entertaining, informative or completely new! Cheers to the best in 2017!

IGF 2016 Spotlight on: Those Good Ol’ Games

As I continue wading through the 775 entrants in this year’s Independent Games Festival, whittling my way to a highly polished list of the Top Twenty, I thought I’d highlight some of the categories I’ve been filing games into. Today’s post features those repeat offenders, the games I’ve pinned my heart on year after year and maybe still haven’t bought.

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Affordable Space Adventures by KnapNok Games and Nifflas’ Games
Along with past IGF favorite, Hex Heroes, Affordable Space Adventures is one of the very, very few Wii U games I’m interested in. It combines 2D, physics based puzzle solving with FTL-style system management. And it’s got that asynchronous design where one person is on the Gamepad while the other is playing on the TV. I’m up for playing either role and I love the combination (and separation) of the various mechanics.

Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space  by Cosmic Picnic
Also known as A.D.I.O.S., this one was just a mysterious demo in the IGF 2015, promising a 2D universe with realistic outer space physics. It launched just last month in February but I haven’t yet picked it up.

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C-Wars/Crystalides by Onipunks Studio
This one’s been an IGF favorite every year since I started this thing in 2012! It’s been kicking around so long that it’s changed almost entirely and was originally in the works for Java based cellphones. I’m still not sure if C-Wars’ final mix of 2D, grid-based strategy will be as appealing as Crystalides’ original promises but I remain hopeful and excited even four years later.

Captain Forever Remix by Pixelsaurus Games & Future Crayon
Originally entered into the IGF 2012 as Captain Jameson (as an expansion of the already addictive web game), Captain Forever Remix has kept me on the line for almost the entire duration of my IGF series. I finally pre-ordered it in 2015 and poked at it a little in Early Access but I’m still holding out for the final build.

Distance by Refract
Distance started life as Nitronic Rush and was one of my favorite, oldest IGF entries all the way back in 2012. The DigiPen student project has gone on to become the much more gorgeous looking Distance but I’ve always felt it was missing the San Francisco Rush inspiration that I loved so much in Nitronic Rush. Nevertheless, one of these days I’m going to pick up Distance and give it a fair and complete shake.

Mini Metro by Dinosaur Polo Club
Two years running, Mini Metro continues to captivate me with its super simple style and its abstract gameplay based on plotting ever more complex subway routes. It’s like a living subway map and even when I’m failing miserably it looks great.

Prison Architect by Introversion
For the longest time I was sold on Prison Architect by its logo alone which was the only thing submitted in the IGF 2012. I eventually bought into it on Early Access and have spent close to 50 hours building miserable prisons and watching my grand architectural designs be foiled by bathroom knife fights and cafeteria outrage.

Submerged by Uppercut Games
Another 2-year contender, Submerged instantly won me over with its promise of non-combat exploration based around a drowned world. It was a little clunky but it packed enough mystery and intrigue to elevate me over any shortcomings. I even translated the made-up language in the game!

SUPERHOT by Superhot Team (in 2014, then 2016)
Superhot hit the IGF in 2014 when it was still in its basic web demo version and it still floored me. The concept that “time only moves when you do” puts an astounding spin on bullet time making it a true mechanic and not just a cheat in a typical shooter. It’s back again in the IGF this year and out now in a full, expanded and totally crazy release which I’m waiting to pick up soon… ish.