Nobody likes Mondays, so posits orange cat theory. I however am personally very fond of Wednesdays, the perfect mid-week point to take a brief moment of respite and engage in some healthy distractions. Without further ado, here’s some lovely distractions looking at while we cook up more delightful interviews:
Browsing posts from: Emily Rose
Growing up my family didn’t have a lot of spare money to throw at the newest releases, so a pass-time favorite of myself and my father was rummaging through a diverse range of demo discs picked up on various expeditions into town. These discs often contained standalone shareware experiences, or delightful samplers from an entire publisher’s catalog.
One of these offerings I found myself enamored with was one of Microsoft’s Motocross Madness titles, a dirt bike rally game that offered (for the time) satisfying and compelling physics. It was two pieces of forbidden fruit in one- the hardware intensive simulation qualities of a racing game, and the mystique of dangerous rally motorbikes. My family was incredibly dubious of the concept of motorcycles, fearing the many urban myths and folklore surrounding them as inevitable bringers of death, but to me they were a fascinating invitation to dance with joy and mortality.
Deformed polygons, wiggly texture maps! Blurry mipmapping, chunky geometry! Why yes, it’s RETRO 90s GRAPHICS.
How come we find these crunchy, glitchy outdated artistic modes so endearing? I’m no ontologist, and as much as I would love to write out a treatise on hauntology to explain this fascination, instead we’ll focus on how we got stuck in this creative mobius strip and how to get out of it.
In the current era of design trends we often forget how compelling gameplay, in the same vein as a story, relies on the framework built by context, the cumulative effect of our efforts throughout a campaign, or a cleverly addictive loop of mechanics.
It’s the idea that being skilled at the gameplay isn’t enough, a player must interlace their quick-witted maneuvers with an overall vision for masterful execution of the gameplay: The Metagame
Due to some technical issues with our backend today, we’ll be featuring a round-up of some of our past articles you may have missed along with a few things that caught our eye throughout the week:
- Modus Interactive has been working hard on a delightfully experimental abstract hellscape, keen to see the world he has in store.
- Our editor, Medea put together a delightful retrospective on Knytt, a classic indie platformer. It’s a fantastic look at thoughtful exploration based platformer design.
- Avant Garde extraordinaire Sos Sosowski finally released his Mosh Pit Simulator. A delightfully absurd satire riffing on the infamous joke genre.
(CONTENT WARNING: Graphic depictions of suicide, discussion of suicide, strong themes of self-loathing and depression.)
Down was a hard game to play despite its easy, enticing presentation. There’s no jump scares, no monsters to fight or even any puzzles to contend with. But there is a visceral reflection on one’s baggage and traumatic history, something that Warden admits is inspired by her own struggles with anxiety.
There are themes and locales that will likely read similar to environments in Silent Hill 2, namely the narrow graveyard with foggy autumn weather. Warden successfully executes on the oppressively isolating macabre atmosphere which serves as a backdrop for the narrative’s exploration of self-harm.
It is astoundingly rare that I find a gameplay loop this compelling in any title, commercial or otherwise, yet Dan Mullins has managed to deliver something so mouth-wateringly enticing that it’s impossible to resist.
Known for Pony Island, Mullins is an experimental game designer that produces juicy Ludum Dare entries that push the boundaries of presentation and remind us what Game Jams should strive to accomplish.
A Knight’s Fee by Anders G. Jensen is one of the more compelling entries I’ve seen emerge from the Global Game Jam. What’s fascinating is that a talented character artist has chosen to make not one, but two games where they intentionally obfuscate the vision of the character as both a mechanic and a service to the atmosphere.
Compared to Blind Samurai, A Knight’s Fee is arguably the more playable of these two titles. Blind Samurai helps to establish the initial concept of having to rely on audio cues in the face of reduced stimuli which cause the game to feel quite spartan. This approach, however, pays off in how A Knight’s Fee manages to immediately establish a thick visual ambiance with adrenaline bleeding into the scenery in every direction.
- GropeTheElephant wrote a lovely BOOK (!!) on Nova Prospekt’s fascinating level design. The perfect weekend read, take a look!
- Oi, Bird Of Passage just came out and you really, REALLY owe it to yourself to give it a go.
- Memories Retold got released not too long ago, a fascinating gorgeous game about the end of WW1.
That’s it for this week!
Simulations and immersion are like peanut butter and chocolate, or hazelnuts and ganache if you prefer. They’re lovely things when separate and go shockingly well together in a classic genre born out of experimental titles in the 90s.
We sat down for a chat about his London-fog flavored stealth shooter Gloomwood: