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Browsing category: Indienoculars

ZAMBONI SIMULATOR 2019: An Examination of Existential Nihilism as it Pertains to Ice Resurfacing (By Marmot.Games)
(Content Warning: Discussions of Divorce, Suicide, Self-harm, Substance abuse, assault, domestic abuse, Depression)

Zamboni Simulator was a particularly memorable entry in the Philosophy Game Jam that took place earlier this month. It’s a fascinating portrayal of a man’s psyche threatening to swerve off course as he slowly pieces his life back together, and a reflection on resisting temptation and impulsive behavior.

After writing about the piece in our round-up, we reached out to the creators Scott Thunelius & Aaron Hecht for the following interview

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Intruder doesn’t really strike me as well-known despite the warm reception it has gotten from developers. It’s not often you ever see it mentioned or cropping up on twitter, which is a shame considering how forward thinking it is from a design perspective.

We’re a big fan of Immersive Sims at Rebind (I can’t think of many critical analysis sites for games that aren’t) but the genre is very under-represented in the multiplayer department. Because of this, it’s easy to think of Intruder as a Counter-Strike or SWAT variant.

SuperBoss has put in a lot fore-thought into the balance of their game through unconventional gadgets and mechanics like security cameras, mirrors, and the ability to be knocked off balance. If anything, the game has a lineage more in line with early rainbow six entries’ emphasis on finite tactical considerations, or games like Due Process and Project Reality spin-off SQUAD.

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(Content Warning: Themes and Implications of suicide, death, depression, traumatic events)

I can say so many things about this heart-wrenching, mournful title. It is a truly touching narrative of nostalgia and the way in which interpersonal resolution is put off until it’s too late.

The first thing to catch the eye is the outstanding visuals and the immense level of overproduction at play. YangBieng’s (@YangBieng) Nimaruroku (English title: “206”) is exceptionally well made, doubly so for being a simple but compelling bottle game.

The protagonist is established on the familiar foundation of a student living on her own and struggling with a relationship on the rocks. As you progress throughout her preparations for the school day, you get to take a moment to reflect on how every detail of her morning routine is a standing reminder of unfinished business.

(Mild spoilers past the next image.)

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Franz Ferdinand got a little Avante Garde in their later years..

A few years ago, I fell in love with the new wave of absurdist visual novels and playful experimental indies that threw you into a mineshaft of underground internet culture, littered with call-backs to unfamiliar cinema, and obscure jokes sourced from message boards or video services outside of the west like NicoNico.

Remix culture titles introduced their audience to a new cultural pantheon gilded with drama that often managed to pull at your heartstrings and immersing you in a narrative deeper than the comedic tone. Sonoshee’s (@sonoshit) Critters For Sale left me reflecting on the framework established by earlier visual novels Dog Of Dracula and its sequel that heavily leveraged the same style of satirical commentary.

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  • SeattleIndies interviewed Ty Taylor of The Bridge fame as part of a new video series where they spotlight local indies. It’s worth a watch on this lovely lazy Sunday.
  • Masahiro Ito (known for his work on Silent Hill) has created an incredibly delightful macabre wasteland setting, called Acid Buffer Zone, realized in models and paint, absolutely deserves a presence in video games.
  • If that isn’t enough artistic inspiration for you this weekend, take a look at the works of painters Boris Groh, and Keith Thompson
  • The Global Game Jam for 2019 is happening next week, find a local event in your area and participate!
  • At a glance, Noir mystery stealth title Dollhouse gives the impression of having overlap with The Ship but with a procedurally generated single-player twist. Multiplayer seems to revolve around the player being assigned targets with an interesting perspective-switching mechanic involved. Certainly worth a look closer to launch to see how the unique gameplay unfolds.
  • Retro-esque Rogue-Like Haque is on sale and seems like a fun time if you enjoy ASCII-Flavored tactics games.

We hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

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In our previous Weekend Roundup, we mentioned that @tall_shrimp‘s Philosophy Game Jam had just finalized entrants for the voting round. As promised, we ponder the most troubling dilemmas this side of the trolley problem:

(Content Warning: Given the heavy themes of self-harm, nihilism, and death in some of these titles, please proceed with caution if you don’t have an appetite for such themes. We will provide individual content warnings per title, as some are not as heavy.)

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Pow.

Writing about games is particularly pleasant because it forces you to discover little-known gems. Games previously overlooked now become the focal point of an in-depth analysis which adds to the appreciation of the task at hand.

SYSCRUSHER is one of those gems, punctuated by lo-fi cyberpunk visuals without any reservations or ego, a style complemented by primitive synths, artificial voices, and diode-lined hallways. It comes from the mind of Maine Indie Developer Dirigo Games (@Dirigo_Games), A developer previously known for Minotaur-’em-up Depths of Fear :: Knossos.

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Opening line of a traditional Karelian folk-tale.

Finnland, famous for inventing the Finish line, Remedy Entertainment, Mämmi, mosquitos, lakes, and most likely coming up with the original implementation of the Moose. But what you might not know them for is civil engineering safety first-person-puzzler INFRA. It’s a lovely little source-engine-intro-sequence turned conspiracy inspection simulator game by developers Loiste Interactive.

And if you’re a fan of INFRA’s frigid concrete corridors, you might just be aware of a self-described “Concretepunk” immersive sim set in the same locale as their first game, the Baltic city of Stalburg: Open Sewer

Faced with an epidemic of green fungus, the local governing bodies decide to quarantine a variety of individuals in Stalburg’s slum district, Obenseur. Complete with it’s own currency, OC (do not steal), and housing crisis, Open Sewer places you in the role of being a refugee of sorts against your own will and it’s up to you to survive the excessive troubles of daily life.

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A Piece Of The Universe is a cute VR diorama which @_naam uses as a platform for experiments in VR interactivity.

What’s striking about APOTU is how fearlessly it pursues new norms in VR interface verbage. Naam isn’t afraid to try out oddball movement mechanics like throwing oneself by the neck or even loading screen style segments evocative of old school PS2 games.

Part of what makes VR such an exciting platform is how it hasn’t fully been worked out yet, and those that attempt to do so tend to forge the paths for how things will be established in the future. Horseshoes, Hotdogs and Handgrenades set such a precedent in VR FPS that has become defacto standard thanks to its adoption by titles like Pavlov VR.

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