Mable & the Wood
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Pixel art exploration game gets its moral ambiguity from Studio Ghibli films

Mable & the Wood is a 2D exploration game about a young red-haired girl with the ability to transform into other creatures. The idea is to get her through the titular colorful woods. However, the more you use the girl’s powers, the more you take from the forest, slowly destroying it—regardless, it’s the only way to reach some areas, and it’s the only way to beat the enemies you meet. The idea behind the game was born in April 2015, as it was made for the Ludum Dare game jam that month, which carried the theme “An Unconventional Weapon,” hence the shape-shifting. Now…

Gebub's Adventure
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Upcoming game uses MS Paint-style art to evoke peacefulness

Gebub’s Adventure forces players to look past the origins of the creature they have been given control of, instead looking forward at the game’s world and secrets. Created by John Wallie, Gebub’s Adventure is a “peaceful adventure game” that will send the titular Gebub on an exploratory journey through a strange world, meeting its characters and creatures along the way. The game’s simple, minimalist art style is something Wallie referred to me as “MS Paint method,” inspired by the game Seiklus (2003), and a style he has iterated on heavily in the past. “Experimentation is what has led me to develop the…

Gunkatana
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Gunkatana introduces a lightning-fast bloodsport to cyberpunk

What should you do when mega-corporations control everything? If you look to movies, books and television for ideas, you should stand up and fight. Start a revolution or join an already existing one. But the citizens of upcoming top-down, multiplayer action game Gunkantana have lost hope. Instead of fighting back, they’ve set up death arenas in places like strip-clubs where they brutally kill each other for sport. It’s a cyberpunk future filled with bloody swords, laser guns, and rails on which to grind. “Two years ago, the Loading Bar, a videogame-infused pub, hosted the Multiclash event, dedicated exclusively to local…

Golem
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Halo composer is making a “musical prequel” to his next big game

“It needs to be ancient, epic, and mysterious.” These were Marty O’Donnell’s only instructions from Joseph Staten, who’d asked him to write the music that would accompany Halo’s (2001) unveiling at Macworld four days later on July 21, 1999. The melody that resulted from Staten’s minimalist direction, and O’Donnell’s clever use of Gregorian chant, has since become synonymous with the Halo franchise. Rolling Stone named the score for Halo: Combat Evolved the Best Original Soundtrack of 2001. Then, in May 2005, BusinessWeek reported that the first volume of the soundtrack for its sequel, Halo 2 (2004), had sold upwards of 90,000 copies and landed at number 162 on the…

losswordslead
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An upcoming puzzle game tasks you with decoding classic literature

In the world of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451, books have been outlawed and are burned en masse by the state, only kept in small collections by the occasional revolutionary. Instead of reading, the majority of people spend their free time in “entertainment parlors,” rooms lined with massive screens that constantly broadcast Dora the Explorer-style call-and-response programs meant to elicit the illusion of interactivity. It’s a pointed premise, conceived during the early years of the television’s rise to prominence in the American household. It also reflects a constant theme in Bradbury’s work: that with advances in technology, culture tends…

Posthuman: Sanctuary
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Posthuman: Sanctuary challenges how board games are adapted

When adapting a game from tabletop to computer, emphasis is often placed on reducing abstraction. Objects, characters, and events only representable by cards, markers, or dice in the physical world can instead be fully realized by digital artists in a videogame. But Gordon Calleja, game designer at Malta-based studio Mighty Box, isn’t sold on this approach. Calleja is currently heading a Kickstarter campaign for Posthuman: Sanctuary, a videogame that expands on the ideas of his board game Posthuman (2015), itself an unusual and technically complex mixture of tactics and narrative storytelling. “for games we need a radical reconceptualization of those…

Loving Vincent
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Animated Van Gogh film is made entirely with paintings

Vincent van Gogh occupies a special place in the Western psyche. His legacy mythologized the idea of the tragic artist who nevertheless makes beautiful art. The Starry Night (1889) is so iconic the painting was used to symbolize Cory and Topanga’s fraught relationship at the height of Boy Meets World’s popularity. It’s not surprising, then, that Van Gogh’s life is the subject of a new animated biopic called Loving Vincent. When Variety reviewed 1956’s Lust for Life, based on a novel by Irving Stone and starring Kurt Douglass as van Gogh, it called the film “a slow-moving picture whose only action is…

nulloperator1
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Null Operator is the videogame that refuses to die

One of the more common pieces of advice given to aspiring writers is to “kill your darlings.” It simply means that writers should be willing to remove passages or ideas from their work that they might personally enjoy in service of the reader. Over the course of developing his game Null Operator, Anton from game development studio Rust Ltd., has killed several darlings. When it was first announced to the internet as a whole in a blog post in October of 2014, Null Operator was pitched as a game where players fly a spaceship through a cramped, mechanical environment shooting…

Thank You For Playing
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That Dragon, Cancer documentary turns to crowdfunding for wider release

While last month’s That Dragon, Cancer is, itself, an artifact worth discussing on a number of levels, especially in terms of its handle on faith and loss, there is more to the story than what the videogame contains. Some of that story can be found in the documentary Thank You For Playing, which is primarily the work of filmmakers David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall. The pair followed Ryan and Amy Green over an 18-month period as they slowly pieced together a videogame about their dying infant son Joel, who was diagnosed with brain cancer, and fought it for a number of…