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Browsing posts from: February 2019

Deep within the ancient stone walls of Castle Örebro in Närke Sweden, Philip Johannson‘s (@thatsnillet on twitter) forged “Wake Up” in the flames of creativity, a surrealist Hitchcockian thriller experience inspired by the works of David Lynch and classic survival horror fare.

The game is an experience that feels like getting splashed in the face with ice cold seltzer water, shocking but oddly refreshing. Every aspect of the experience permeates your senses, taking you down a stark maze of riddles and impossible architecture that evokes 90s experimental CGI adventure titles and liminal spaces found in custom maps from obscure half-life mods.

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You open your eyes and the first thing that fades into view is a small white fox. Before you can react to this fluffy sight it spots you, fleeing in fear. You now find yourself alone in a pale landscape dotted with abandoned structures with no sense of direction or memory of how you got here, so you turn to the oldest navigation aid known to man, The Sun. When you look up for it, an alarming realization sets in as you finally notice the impossible… the life-giving Sun slowly orbiting a small pillar right next to you, smaller than ever.

You look down to where the fox was and find a note with an introduction and your first clue. It seems you and the elusive critter share a goal: Finding a way to escape.

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Long ago, Nvidia’s new GPU brought us physics engine acceleration and with it we were promised a golden era of new exciting titles that would feature destructibility, fluid simulation, and heavy usage of particles that reacted to their environments. Few, if any, of these came to pass, but one game prominently featured in a popular tech demo was an indie title called Cryostasis: Sleep Of Reason by the small Ukranian Studio, Action Forms.

There was so much more to Cryostasis than water physics, but unfortunately, despite the positive PR brought on by the tech demo video it suffocated by the high expectations it had set. With high technical requirements that had befallen other games of note, like Crysis, combined with poor optimization, it was another release from a small publisher that became lost in the noise of the industry, falling into relative obscurity to the point that it is no longer even available on steam due to lapsed licensing agreements.

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do deer have this many…. sets of eyes, normally??

It’s late, you’re at your creaky cabin on a cold night, but what strikes a chill down your spine isn’t the weather, but the sudden realization that you’ve dropped your keys somewhere.

Woodsy is a game about relying on neighbors to help you get home, except your neighbors are often on the decomposing, ethereal side of things.

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Where are my heavy metal MIDIs?

Okaeri Studios is a little microindie creating a lovely rogue-like called DOOMGeon, it’s a fun and visually engaging jaunt through some bitter overlord’s maze full of skeletons cured in jelly and extremely angry treasure chests. Lovingly inspired by the shooters and ARPGs of yore, Okaeri Studios is setting out on a kickstarter campaign to raise funds to hire a few artists to help polish up the concept over the course of development.

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I’ve heard of redstone in minecraft, but this is ridiculous.

I like RUST and I think it’s one of the most innovative and exciting multiplayer survival games out there. Simple game design gives way to a relatively robust desert isle experience, this combined with the intersection of systems helps lend RUST its compelling campfire story qualities. If you haven’t played it in years it really is a vastly different game now and worth another go, but the game still has.. problems, a lot of them.

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GOOD AFTERNOON, FRIENDS

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:

The Golden Tulip by Daniel Draper & Nicholas McDonnell

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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.

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What most 90s shooters actually looked like (Blood II: The Chosen)

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.

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With our web developer in a game jam, our friday article’s image is only.. tangentially related.

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

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