Browsing posts from: January 2019

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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And if they weren’t regarded as such by most, why should you care?

Several decades of game development certainly hasn’t. A lack of mainstream artistic acceptance is yet to stop people from developing their artistic vision with discipline and integrity, applying it toward refining gameplay and turning it into exploratory pop-art pieces for their audience.

In 2010, Roger Ebert challenged the industry at large, standing his ground with his statement, “Video games can never be art,” and a shock subsequently cascaded forth. At the time, there was much debate over precisely what this meant. For him then, it seemed to be that the medium had failed to engage or move him as broadly as film could do, even for someone who had never seen a movie. Many seemed taken aback, viewing it as a personal attack. Their reading of Ebert’s statement culminated in the notion that game *creation* wasn’t an artform.

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