Fourteen new video games have risen through the ranks of the Steam Greenlight program to achieve wide-scale distribution on the popular gaming platform.
Steam is a computer gaming platform that offers a huge array of games, from triple-A titles such as "BioShock Infinite" and "Skyrim" to indies like "To The Moon" and "Faster Than Light."
In August 2012, Steam started Greenlight, a program that lets small-scale game developers pitch their game ideas to the Steam community at large. The community can "upvote" their favorite pitches, and the most popular games receive support from Steam and are eventually published on the platform.
It's Steam's way of partially crowdsourcing its approval process, and is also a great way for no-name or beginner game developers to get free publicity and feedback.
So far, 42 games have been published via Steam Greenlight, and these 14 will soon bring the number to 56:
- "A Hat in Time": an episodic adventure game geared toward children.
- "Among the Sleep": a first-person horror adventure that stars a child but is probably not for children.
- "BROFORCE": an over-the-top, ultra-violent side-scrolling platformer chock- full of explosions and "bro" puns.
- "Centration": which describes itself as a survival horror multiplayer sandbox game.
- "Chasm": a 2D action role-playing game that many have compared to the classic "Metroidvania."
- "Darkwood": a survival horror game with a top-down perspective and a procedurally generated world.
- "Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut": an expansion of the 2010 cult hit "Deadly Premonition" for Xbox 360 and PS3.
- "Divekick": a quirky two-player fighting game that's received considerable hype both on and off Steam.
- "Operation Black Mesa": This game started as a fan project in the world of "Half-Life," considered one of the best games of all time.
- "Project Awakened": an action game that encourages players to add their own "mods," or enhancements.
- "Recruits": a chaotic top-down shooter with a multiplayer feature.
- "Rekoil": a first-person shooter with an original story and competitive multiplayer.
- "Shelter": In this third-person adventure game you play as a mother badger who must brave the wilds and take care of her cubs.
- "Starmade": a dizzying first-person shooter set in space and with "Minecraft"-like graphics.
The games have yet to be published; they'll be available over the next few weeks and months. Pricing information on most of the games is not yet available. You can read more about each game, including development updates and feedback, at Steam's site.
One of the most-hyped of the 14 games is "Divekick," a riff on the two-person fighting genre. "Divekick" tries to capture the essence of fighting games, from "Street Fighter" to old-school arcade games, by distilling it down to two buttons: dive, and kick.
Add a healthy dose of self-referential humor and some hilarious appearances at conventions such as PAX East and the Game Developers' Conference by lead developer Adam "Keits" Heart, and "Divekick" has managed to win hearts even before its release. [See also: 'Divekick' Fighting Game is Refreshingly Simple]
The other highly anticipated title from this batch is "Operation Black Mesa," a remake of "Half-Life: Opposing Force," an expansion pack for the enormously popular "Half-Life" video game that was first released in 1999.
"Operation Black Mesa," its title a reference to the shadowy secret research base that forms the setting for "Half Life," was made by third-party developers not associated with the original game, and so will be available for free on Steam because copyright laws disallow people to make money off of intellectual property they don't own.
Quite a few horror titles are also among the new Greenlight games, including indie games "Among the Sleep," "Centration" and "Darkwood," and a director's cut edition of "Deadly Premonition," a murder mystery game that originally came out for the Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2010.
Steam is also a platform for other types of software, and two apps were also approved: "Dexster Audio Editor" and "GraphicEditor openCanvas," a painting and drawing tool.
You can download the Steam software for free at its website, which allows you to play games purchased through the Steam store. Steam also just concluded its famous "Summer Steam Sale," where dozens of games were available for a fraction of their original cost.
Steam also has daily and weekly sales: at the time of writing the current deals include "Trine 2," a fantasy-themed indie platformer, currently available for $2.99 instead of the regular $19.99; and "Darksiders II," an apocalyptic triple-A game available for $9.99 instead of $49.99.