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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

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Download Games Roundup

Big! Jump! Tower! Secrets! Witches!

It's probably just as well there's a Royal Wedding going on right now, if only to drown out the media hubbub surrounding Sony's monumental PSN security breach.

Whatever the ugly truth of the issue, one thing is certain: the credibility of the whole download sector has been incalculably damaged by such a high-profile and significant intrusion. Across the board, an already nervous public is going to be increasingly wary of surrendering personal information to third parties – just at the point where it seemed like digital services had gained the public's confidence.

We all assume that protecting customer data is the absolute number one priority. Witnessing the scale of the problems at Sony instantly makes everyone question all the other companies that we routinely entrust our precious information with. Are they just as vulnerable? How can we ever be sure?

If anything good is to come out of all this, it's that it acts as a massive wake-up call to the world of e-commerce. How it goes about restoring this loss of confidence is another matter.

Meanwhile, here are some games you can buy with your credit card.

The Next BIG Thing

  • PC & Mac, Steam - £29.99

Hands up who remembers Hollywood Monsters? Anyone? No, me neither. Unless you're a Spanish speaker who lives, breathes and sweats point-and-click adventures, the chances are that this obscure 1997 PC title slipped through your net.

Monster mash.

But for the committed souls who have spent the last 14 years praying for a follow-up, your time has come. Pendulo Studios once again focuses on what would happen if horror movies' monsters were played by real monsters, withhilarious consequences.

Well, sort of. Let's not kid ourselves that The Next BIG Thing is fit to lace the boots of the genre's finest, but it's a pleasant, feelgood romp that knows when to drop in the odd barbed quip or brainteaser.

As with the original, the game focuses on two warring journos who are sent to cover an event held at a big mansion. In true adventure game style, nothing quite goes to plan, and the game contrives to throw up a bunch of roadblocks that inevitably require you to talk to everyone, scan for hotspots, pick up everything that's not nailed down, and combine objects to fashion new ones. No surprises there, then.

But although the gameplay never reaches beyond the formulaic structure, Pendulo has gone further than anyone in trying to emulate the lavish hand-drawn style of an animated movie. The results are never less than hugely impressive, and the production values are certainly leagues ahead of most of Telltale's comparatively budget offerings. If only the quality of the writing matched up.

For the most part, you're left plodding and prodding around a series of mildly engaging scenarios, wishing that a spark of wry creative genius could just kick it up a notch. As it is, the adventure diehards will appreciate The Next BIG Thing, but we all know how good this genre can be. This is another that falls just short.


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