It’s that time of year when Tokyo based game culture shop METEOR hosts their annual My Famiscase Exhibition, an art show unlike any other, featuring custom Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge designs. Entrants not only design original artwork, but also the creative concept behind the imagined video game. This year’s show marks the exhibitions 10th year and features talent from across the globe. It’s an interesting mishmash of video game culture and design with a unique twist on the traditional gallery experience.
Last week Bobby covered Firewatch, an upcoming indie game backed by a ‘holy trinity’ of game development. It’s sure-to-be-gorgeous-design reminded me of another beautiful up & coming game that I’ve had on my radar: Hyper Light Drifter. Video games are a huge passion of mine, and I’m not quick to gush over a title (especially one that I haven’t had the opportunity to play). Yet, here I am, gushing. In a world of increasingly creative and imaginative indie games, Heart Machine’s Hyper Light Drifter already stands out as one of the shining pillars of gameplay, art direction, and design.
Indie gamers rejoice, the holy trinity (in game form of course) has formed, and it’s going to be amazing. Campo Santo is a new game studio comprised of artist/designer Olly Moss, ex-Telltale Games designer Jake Rodkin, Walking Dead (the game) writer Sean Vanaman, Mark of the Ninja designer Nels Anderson, The Cave lead artist Jane Ng, and Gone Home music composer Chris Remo. Together they’re making Firewatch an upcoming game that sounds amazing.
In Firewatch you play as a man named Henry who has retreated from his messy life to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Perched high atop a mountain, it’s your job to look for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. An especially hot and dry summer has everyone on edge. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you at all times over a small, handheld radio—and is your only contact with the world you’ve left behind.
But when something strange draws you out of your lookout tower and into the world, you’ll explore a wild and unknown environment, facing questions and making interpersonal choices that can build or destroy the only meaningful relationship you have.
I ran into Olly a few weeks back and he showed me some of the initial screens and I promise you this game is going to be gorgeous. Who doesn’t want to wander around in an Olly Moss designed world? Plus with the track record of all involved I’m certain the story, music, and gameplay will be equally as captivating.
P.S. You can grab a giant size wallpaper version of the image above by clicking here.
“Who hasn’t dreamt, at some point, of filling a pool full of jello and swimming in it?” the description for the game The Floor Is Jelly asks. While I’ve never had that thought, it does seem interesting: what if the world was made out of a more malleable or differently consistent material, something that was softer or bouncier or slippery or some other property? The Floor Is Jelly is a game that plays with this idea providing an entire mini-universe for you to jump around and explore as you solve various puzzles.
You’ve played Portal, right? It’s a unique gaming experience that revolves around figuring puzzles using teleportation between two spots. How many times have you wished that existed in real life? A lot!
Nothing has come close to the game conceptually. There isn’t quite a way to knock off the game because you would literally be making the same game. Is there a way to play with the Portal concept but make something new? Yes, there is—and of course the people who figured this out were persons in Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center.
You could pretty much add typography to any game and I’d be sold. The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog (a type memory game with an obnoxiously long title) is one of my favorites, and I make any of my poor friends with a slight interest in type play me to keep my undefeated streak alive. But this month, Cosmigrafik released Type:Rider, a simple platform game available for iOS and Android.
Puzzle games, for me, always seem to be on the forefront of game design. Like Bobby wrote a couple of weeks ago, sometimes game design can feel turgid, rote, and, frankly, uninspired. So many stories lack, emotional depth or attempt to put a real feeling inside you. I mean how many different times do I need to run around with a gun or hack and slash through a dungeon to get loot or save a princess?
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons feels different right off the bat. This new release on Xbox and PS3 is about two brothers looking for a lifesaving ingredient in a beautiful fairy tale world. Josef Fares, a Swedish film director, linked with Starbreeze Studios to give the game a cinematic sweep.
I’ve been geeking out in PC gaming for the past few weeks, but one thing has me really excited. Uber’s new game Planetary Annihilation mixes strategy and world building under a cool premise. Built for OS/X and Windows, there is a general push to letting the player customize the game however they see fit. Be it small skirmishes to control a piece of land or several planets pitted against each other, the scale of battle is as large as you want. You could kick back, play offline, and destroy some planets. Or log online to join someone else’s attempt to conquer the galaxy.
Smorgasboard is a fantastic new board game for foodies. The aim of the game is to be the first team of chefs to graduate from Rick’s Culinary Academy and achieve gastronomic success! To do this, teams of 2 or more are set a series of challenges which involve tasks like drawing food-related words without letting the pencil leave the paper or spotting the ‘missing ingredient’ in a classic recipe. The game has a great selection of tasks on offer and if you’re a fan of team-based board games then this is certaintly one which is well worth adding to your games cabinet.
What I like most of all about it is how it looks. Illustrated and designed by the Irish-based illustrator Steve Simpson, Smorgasboard is the type of game that really catches your eye. Filled with rich colors, great looking characters and fantastic details, it’s the sort of game which is just perfect for playing with friends that you’ve invited around for dinner. You can find out more about the game (and buy a copy) online here. And also make sure to take a look at Steve’s Behance page where he gives a great insight into the project and shows off the game in all its wonderful detail.
I’m not one to play a lot of games on my iPhone, but every now and then I’ll randomly get hooked on something. Earlier today I saw mention that Loren Brichter, creator of the third party Twitter app Tweetie and all around smart guy, had created a new app called Letterpress. The best way i can describe the app is a word search crossed with a Command & Conquer style game. As you make words you being to take over the game board, which means you have to strategize against your opponent who wants to control the game board as well. I’ll admit this isn’t the best description, and the game has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the mechanics it’s easy AND fun to play.
What’s really impressive to me is the amount of detail and polish that Mr. Brichter put into this app. When you swipe between games the animations are fluid and stunning. When you pull up the Played Words list you can swipe it downward and it falls off the screen (always in a random direction). The sound design is flawless. Everything you touch and interact with has a reactive sound that fits the action. Basically everything you interact with has been thought about, carefully considered, and exquisitely refined. It may look like a simple spelling game, but it’s infinitely more complex.
It’s also been the first time ever that I’ve given a shit about Apple’s Game Center. The only way you can play Letterpress is by adding friends in Game Center, otherwise you can’t do squat. In the last 12 hours I’ve added about 7 friends, which is about 7 times more than I had before. For that act alone Mr. Brichter should be applauded. He’s also perfected the idea of the paid upgrade. You can unlock the “full version” for 99 cents which gives you the ability to play with multiple friends (something you’ll want) as well as giving you some new themes for the game (which helps to personalize your game). It’s such a common sense upgrade (that also takes no time at all) that makes you wonder if everyone out there will upgrade immediately.
To give you an idea of how much I love this game, I’ll admit that I’ve been playing this game for about the last 10 hours, non-stop. I’m telling you now, download this app, pay for the upgrade (and support an indie developer), and have fun with your friends, you won’t regret it.