Lost Words

Emotional upcoming platformer turns words into architecture

A child is standing on a scrap of paper. “This diary belongs to Izzy,” she says. As you move her across these words and to the next page, another set of words appear: “I never knew my mum. It was mostly gran who brought me up.” This is Lost Words. It’s a story-driven platformer being created by UK-based studio Sketchbook Games. Led by Mark Backler, a veteran designer who previously worked at EA and Lionhead Studios, the game explores the story of a young girl as she copes with life’s struggles including the illness of her grandmother. In Lost Words, Izzy’s…


A spy thriller that you play by using your ears

The screen blinks. Instructions arrive. “Plug in your headphones, put away your device, and listen up…if you hear static, you’ve gone too far.” HATFinder (2015) is a mobile-based spy game that’s not played on the screen. The initial instruction screen is the one and only time you’ll see anything on your phone. The rest of the time it’s played with your ears. Under the backdrop of a missing agent, it’s your role as a spy to investigate what happened. In short, the game is a sound-based scavenger hunt. While navigating a physical space—the game is specifically designed to be played…


Touch & Go: Exploring Alternative Controllers

It’s Sunday afternoon. The exhibit space is in a frenzy. Robin Baumgarten, a London-based game maker, is in Toronto for an exhibit featuring his game, Line Wobbler. As we pass by workers busily preparing the exhibit space, Baumgarten shows me the deceivingly simple-looking controller at the core of his game: a door stopper spring. The inspiration for this unusual controller is a video of a cat playing with a door stopper, using its paw to flick it to and fro. As with that cat, the controller proves to be what fascinates the many exhibit and festival goers wherever the game…