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The Man with King Arthur’s Blood


Indie Statik is quickly becoming one of my favorite places on the internet. Excellent writers with excellent tastes and a hell of a lot of passion for what they do.

Chris Priestman of Indie Statik seems to have nabbed an interview with Michał Marcinkowski, perhaps better known as that guy with the weird accent who’s the mastermind behind King Arthur’s Gold. The end result is one of the better articles to come out of indie games journalism in a long while, methinks.

There’s not much else I want to tell you aside from do yourself a favor and read the article.

Oh, and check out KAG if you haven’t. I made a post about the game a while back, but the things I said about a class progression system and the state of KAG‘s development are now obsolete. You’re better off going straight to the source.

KAG‘s impending beta version has seen its share of delays, yeah, but that just means you’ve had more opportunities to join the king’s army for a discounted price. Loose arro—!… I mean… credit cards!

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Rain World

Been a while since I’ve posted. I’s busy, for lack of a better explanation. Bear with moi.

Behold Rain World (working title) — a little something user JLJac on TIGForums has been working on for a couple years or more. Probably more.

There isn’t a whole lot that’s been set in stone. So far all we know for certain is that the game has bleakly beautiful urban landscapes, platforming, sneaking, single-screen co-op, physics-based character movement, three distinct creature types arranged in a functional ecosystem (with a development focus on AI), and tenacious little white slug dudes. “The core of the game is the movement of the player character in the environment”, and this has my interest doubly piqued. Those curious few games in which the simple act of movement can keep you enthralled for hours on end are frequently among my favorite things ever.


JLJac has been fairly low-key with the project, such that it took the indie-obsessed fellows over at RPS until a couple of days ago to make the discovery. That takes some serious… low-key skills. Of course, me being myself, I knew about this little gem long beforeha-

Okay, so I’d be lying if I said Rain World wasn’t new to me — but I do make an effort to browse TIGForums frequently, and I’ve done so for quite some time. You could look at this post as me riding on RPS’s coattails, but I’d rather see it as innocent promulgation of an in-development indie title that, if what I’ve seen so far is any indicator, could do with a great deal more promulgating.


Naturally, if anything new and meaningful comes up regarding Rain World, chances are I’ll be talking about it here. If you feel like taking things into your own hands, keep up with the project’s thread on TIGForums, which JLJac seems to suggest will function as his development log.

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Art direction that invokes Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, what looks to be a sprinkling of real-time strategy, and Molotov cocktails by the dozens? Count me in.

Leonard Menchiari, formerly of Valve, wants to make a game about riots, or perhaps the act of rioting. It’s going to be serious (or at least semi-serious) fare — a “playable documentary,” Menchiari says. Players assume the role of either rioters or the men in blue, and then those batons, smoke grenade launchers, and assorted melee weapons get put to good political use.

From The Verge:

It’s a topic that obviously requires quite a bit of sensitivity from the creator’s standpoint, and that could potentially be difficult when you’re trying to create a game that people will want to play. Rioting isn’t exactly fun, but can a game based on the subject be? “Riot will be fun,” says Traverso, “with an extra amount of care that the fun will paradoxically reflect its not-fun-at-all theme.” That said, the interactive nature of games is a key factor, and part of the reason the team decided to make a game instead of a film. “A riot is an experience that needs to be lived,” says Traverso.

Riot has hit its funding goal of $15,000 on Indiegogo, and the dollars continue to pour in. Interestingly enough, beyond development of the game, the project’s funding will supposedly be used to send the developers to some of the world’s current hotbeds of civil unrest to “document and experience live riots”. I’ve used the word “bold” to describe certain indie developers before, but these guys might be in a league of their own.

No hard details on what the game really is as of yet, let alone a release window, but that hasn’t done anything to suppress (ho ho!) my excitement.

Riot will be released on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and the upcoming OUYA. If the game’s Greenlight page is any indicator, chances are we’ll be seeing a Steam release as well.

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Suddenly, unexpectedly, incredibly, gloriously, Jasper Byrne’s NEW GAME+ returns from the dead. An indie dungeon crawler being wrought by a man who goddamn knows how to make great indie experiences, this title has been dead in my sights since it was just a blip on the radar. Retro aesthetics in the form of some seriously alluring pixel art abound, and Byrne’s hinted at the gameplay resembling something like a cross between old-school Zelda and the Souls games.

Even if dungeon crawling and hack-and-slash sadomasochism aren’t your choice of poison, I think you’re either mad or a really boring person if you haven’t set aside an evening for making love to this beautiful piece of software.

You might say I’m jumping the gun, but it seems my fingers take on a life of their own whenever Demon’s Souls or the like is mentioned. The Souls games may be addictively soul-crushing for some, but us true veterans of Lordran’s depths know that they can also be genital-crushing.

Damned game ads.

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Kicking Radios

Huh. The hell is this? Hard to discern much from the trailer, but +1 for awesome pixel artwork.

“An unnamed protagonist whiles away aeons in deep, solitudinous sleep. She watches the tides in sunstruck dreams of an empty shore, patiently waiting for her life to end.

Alone in a skyless and desolate labyrinth-city , there isn’t much else to do.

But then…”

Okay… Right. Sounds… melancholy?

So… how’s all this going to pan ou-

  • Challenging gameplay. Hectic combinations of environmental hazards, platforming, and lethal enemies reward players who assess, strategize, and stay attentive. 
  • Mindful level design. The player’s experience is managed by a carefully-paced series of dangers and savepoints.
  • A somber and expansive open-world connecting many areas in a network of pathways and shortcuts. Hidden areas and optional content encourage exploration.
  • Hand drawn cut-scenes help illustrate the vast and desolate setting of the game.
  • A “module-based” character progression system. Players obtain and arrange upgrade pieces on a grid in configurations of their preference, with certain patterns granting additional abilities or bonuses.
  • Players who die in-game die in real life.

… Whoa. Alas, eccentric indie dev guy, you’re not giving me a whole lot to work with, here. I’m not ready to throw some of my precious green at your face just because you made what could potentially be empty promis-

“Players will feel aesthetic and gameplay influences from titles like Yume Nikki, Symphony of the Night, Hotline Miami, and Dark Souls, with a tinge of 2D JRPGs thrown into the mix.”



UPDATE: I didn’t notice it at first, but it seems Notch is backing the project, and I now have a pretty good idea who the single $999 pledge belongs to. This makes me feel a tad less worried about the Kickstarter not receiving the extra funding to hit its stretch goals. Enjoy your brazen shout-out in the game’s credits, Notch, you magnificent bastard.

UPDATE 2: Thanks foremost to Luke Plunkett’s Kotaku post, funding shot up from about $27k to $37k. It’s great to see Kotaku prove every once in a while that it’s more than just a hive of hopelessly pessimistic, pseudo-intellectual assholes. At this point, hitting the stretch goals is pretty much guaranteed; hell, 6e6e6e might even find it prudent to expand the stretch goals. Considering the modest base goal of $12,000, a response this positive for a project of this caliber of quirkiness was no doubt a pipe dream. I’m still all for it.

UPDATE 3: From $27k to $41k in the space of a day, for a game like this! Shows you what a little bit of attention in the right places is capable of.

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How Happiness Can Be

It’s not often you learn something about yourself when you read about video games, let alone get a meticulous explanation as to why you enjoy many of the things you enjoy.

A short while ago, as I was browsing Edge, I chanced upon “The first of five articles in which members of the Edge team discuss examples of inspirational game design“, and I’d wager to say it’s one of the more important video game-related discourses I’ve had the pleasure of reading. It may be old news to some, having been first published earlier this year, but it went right under my radar.

I’m glad I didn’t let it slip past me.

I frequently advertise myself as a fan of the field of ludology and other disciplines that frequently analyze video games and video gaming from a psychological platform. I always make sure to stress that I am a fan and not a member of those fields of research, as I am not half the intellectual I sometimes make myself out to be, and the aforementioned Edge piece has only served to reinforce my belief in this self-deprecatory claim.

The Edge article, penned by Jason Killingsworth, seeks to answer the question of why people enjoyed indie developer thatgamecompany’s Journey to the extent they did. I was skeptical — most reviews of the game I’ve read attempted the same, and almost all of them lazily waxed philosophical and vomited synonyms for “beautiful” and “creative” and what have you. Killingsworth takes a different approach, contemplating as abstract a question as how we discover or create happiness, and the answer he finds — if ethnocentric to the extent that it is grounded entirely in Western cultural practices — is profound and, more importantly, tangible. Only one aspect of Journey’s minimalist presentation and mechanics is considered: the ability to jump into the air, and the resulting sensation of floating and gliding; gravity, or the illusion of its absence.

I dare not continue discussing this excellent piece of writing at this time lest I risk humiliating myself with my inability to put into words the majesty of the monument to humanity that is Journey, and the idea that a relatively simple essay from a games journalism publication has impacted me so strongly strikes me as more than a little embarrassing.

Killingsworth tells me that the same rapture that that excellent PSN title boasts can be found in a strictly aural format within the music of Sigur Rós. It’s been a long time since I’ve agreed with anyone more about anything.

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Grayscale Anomalies

The player assuming the role of the maestro hacker or tech-savvy infiltrator is nothing new to gamers. “Hacking” minigames bolted onto every sort of sci-fi adventure are a dime a dozen nowadays. Very few titles in recent memory, however, have dared to tell a tale of intrigue mostly or entirely from the pale light of a digital digital interface, and those that have were decidedly indie experiences — Introversion’s high-stakes hacker sim Uplink, for one, and Christine Love’s deceptively pensive Analogue: A Hate Story also springs to mind.

Although I’m no code monkey, and computer science kind of terrifies me, the prospect of pretending my not-so-dextrous fingers belong to a black ops systems wizard makes me as giddy as anyone. Now, take that faux hacker experience, pour in a few buckets of gloomy, video-distorted, abstract landscapes and a powerful dark ambient soundtrack, stir, and you can be goddamn sure you’ve grabbed my attention.

Memory of a Broken Dimension, a project by indie developer Ezra “Xra” Hanson-White, recently debuted at Tokyo Games Show and boasts mysterious command interfaces and a fractured, monochromatic, doubly mysterious virtual reality. According to Eurogamer, there’s “a computer terminal where players must input codes into an esoteric programming language to launch files sent from the future, and a first-person part – the bulk of the game – where you explore a surreal, shattered virtual reality. Here you must view things from the right perspective to get various fragments to align and form an image.”

What appears to be the game’s interactive teaser site (which is, according to Xra, “just the console from when I was doing some network tests and is placeholder for now”) sheds a pocket flashlight worth of opaque light on how the game may look and feel. We’re presented with a minimalist command interface, distorted by video glitches. Text constantly flashes back and forth from its original state to technobabble and all manner of cryptic terms: “DNA”, “GENEDUB”, “QUANTUM”, “MUTATIONS”, “RADIATION”, “ELECTROMAGNETIC”, “BYTECODE”, “HARDWEB”, “EXPLORATION”, “DISCOVERY”, “RELICS”… Eerie electronic tones and static perfectly complement the overload of subtle visual effects.

Just a little ominous.

Real-life code monkeys from the RPS community and elsewhere have plied the interface with few results. The only commands that seem to do anything of note are “REMOTE” and “VOIDSCAN”, each of which initiate a flurry of scrolling code (“SATELLITE”?) and a background chatter of increasing pitch, the combination of which made my hair stand on end. The whole thing, despite its apparent simplicity and incompleteness, is incredibly eerie, beautifully eerie, perhaps moreso than any interactive thing I’ve encountered in my time as a denizen of the internet.

If the project’s web site and trailer are any indicator, all of this glorious weirdness looks only to be amplified by the game’s mechanics — if I had to pin them down: a bizarre blend of text adventure and abstract, 3D puzzle platforming.

Alas, we still don’t have many concrete ideas about what the hell any of this is. I have a theory, though:

Xra is making something fucking awesome.


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