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A Short Hike is one part Animal Crossing and one part Breath of the Wild - The Verge
"It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.

Claire is on a camping trip with her Aunt May, but she’s also waiting for an important call. Unfortunately, the only reception in the park is at the top of the island’s giant mountain. Claire’s trek up the mountain is the core of the game A Short Hike, and how you get her to the top is pretty open ended. You could go straight up the path to the top of the mountain — but then you’d be missing out on the point of the game.

A Short Hike feels like what you would get if you turned Animal Crossing into an adventure game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Yes, it’s an experience full of cute cartoon animal people, but more importantly A Short Hike has a similar sensibility to those two Nintendo games. Like both, the goal of the game is less important than how you spend your time getting to it. And so your trek up a mountain ends up full of much smaller tasks, which, like in Animal Crossing, are nice and relaxing.

You can spend time collecting seashells, searching for buried treasure, fishing, or helping other visitors to the park find lost items. However, while those serve as relaxing distractions, the rewards for doing them also help with your ascent up the mountain. At the start of her trek Claire is only able to jump, glide, and climb up walls or cliffs until she gets too tired and lets go. But by completing these side activities you’ll usually get some sort of tool that allows you to perform more actions, like being able to run by getting running shoes or dig by getting a shovel.

Mainly, though, you’ll be trying to collect golden feathers. These feathers act like Link’s stamina bar in Breath of the Wild: the more you have, the more you can climb before tiring out. Except, unlike Link’s stamina bar, each feather also provides you with an additional jump (which, because Claire is a bird, is more of a flap than a jump). Each flap consumes a chunk of your climbing stamina, while not providing as much height as you could have gotten just from climbing.

The climb up the mountain becomes about balancing. You have to determine how much you jump before you start climbing, in order to maximize what stamina you have. Although this is really only a concern if you try to get up the mountain as quickly as you can. If you spend your time exploring the park and taking part in all the different activities available, you’ll end up with more than enough golden fathers to make those later sections a good bit easier.

And you’ll want to spend time exploring, because the mountain is much bigger than you expect it to be. It’s a place full of interesting environments and ruins, as well as quirky and clever characters who you can’t help but want to hang around with or help out. In fact, the writing is maybe the best thing about the game. There is very little of it, but every character feels distinct from the next, and charming in their own way (even the kid that overcharges you for feathers). And when you do finally get to the top of the mountain it’s an emotional gut punch that both validates and recontextualizes whatever path you took to get there.

Luckily, getting to the top isn’t the end. Instead, it essentially frees you up to explore the park without any explicit goal. Maybe you want to catch all the different fish, win the foot race, or just stand near the beach and watch the waves. It’s a perfect structure, because even if the game had ended at the top of the mountain, I’d have found it pretty hard to not start a new game just to wander around the park some more."
games  gaming  videogames  toplay  srg  edg  animalcrossing  ashorthike  2019  adamrobinson-yu 
29 days ago by robertogreco
LOVELY WEATHER WE'RE HAVING.
"A video game about going outside.

Out now.

"The vibrantly colored world of Lovely Weather We're Having doesn't take you back to a specific time necessarily, but to a mind set, when the world seemed bigger and brighter and more mystifying."
-Jess Joho, Kill Screen

"Lovely Weather is a clever little mood stimulator on the contemplative end of the scale, a kind of dynamic Zen box. You open it and poke around a little and maybe close it, thinking “Is that all?”
And then you come back, and the weather’s different, and the time of day’s just so, and it takes your breath away."
-Matt Peckham, WIRED

"Watched the trailer and I have no idea what the game is about."
-Someone on reddit "

[See also:
https://glander.co/Lovely-Weather-We-re-Having
https://vimeo.com/136570202
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXGVxnEVJiE
https://glander.itch.io/lovely-weather-were-having ]
gaming  games  videogames  weather  srg  edg  toplay  location 
march 2019 by robertogreco
TOUCH MELBOURNE by Andrew Gleeson, haraiva
"Explore the city of Melbourne through its various, tiny everyday interactions."
melbourne  art  games  gaming  videogames  everyday  andrewgleeson  cecilerichard  illustration  toplay 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Unravel Two - Wikipedia
[via: "Lovely game by Coldwood, which encourages collaborative play—really works if kids are roughly the same level (roughly). Beautiful setting, too. (Discovered via good games exhibition at Tekniska Museet in Stockholm, feat many Swedish games.)"
https://www.instagram.com/p/BmnSFiBgevo/ ]

"Unravel Two is a puzzle platform video game developed by Swedish studio Coldwood Interactive and published by Electronic Arts under the EA Originals label. It was released on 9 June 2018 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game centres on two Yarnys, small anthropomorphic creatures made of yarn.[2] It is the sequel to the 2016 game Unravel.

Unlike the first game, Unravel Two is both a single-player and a multiplayer game, though local co-op only. The game centres on two Yarnys, which can be controlled with either one player or two, which must work together in order to solve puzzles and manipulate the world. The game contains a main storyline, set on an island, as well as challenge levels, significantly more difficult levels.[3]"

[See also:
https://www.ea.com/es-es/games/unravel/unravel-two

Trailers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2TmLrTl6gs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eRmkCVHEbQ ]
games  videogames  toplay  collaborative  srg  edg  glvo  yarn  puzzles  classideas  cooperativegames 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Caves of Qud
"Caves of Qud is a science fantasy RPG & roguelike epic. It’s set in a far future that’s deeply simulated, richly cultured, and rife with sentient plants.

Now in Early Access.
Full release coming to PC, Linux, Mac, iOS, and Android in 2019.

Come inhabit an exotic world and chisel through a layer cake of thousand-year-old civilizations.

Play the role of a mutant from the salt-spangled jungles of Qud, or play as a true-kin descendant from one of the few remaining eco-domes: the toxic arboreta of Ekuemekiyye, the ice-sheathed arcology of Ibul, or the crustal mortars of Yawningmoon.

Do anything you can imagine.

• Dig a tunnel anywhere in the world.
• Purchase rare books from an albino ape mayor.
• Contract a fungal infection and grow glowing mushrooms on your hands.
• Charm a goat into joining you, then give him chain mail and a shotgun to equip.
• Clone yourself, mind-control the clone, hack off your own limbs, then eat them for sustenance."



"Caves of Qud weaves a handwritten narrative through rich physical, social, and historical simulations. The result is a hybrid handcrafted & procedurally-generated world where you can do just about anything.

• Assemble your character from over 70 mutations and defects, and 24 castes and kits — outfit yourself with wings, two heads, quills, four arms, flaming hands, or the power to clone yourself; it’s all the character diversity you could want.

• Explore procedurally-generated regions with some familiar locations — each world is nearly 1 million maps large.

• Dig through everything — don’t like the wall blocking your way? Dig through it with a pickaxe, or eat through it with your corrosive gas mutation, or melt it to lava. Yes, every wall has a melting point.

• Hack the limbs off monsters — every monster and NPC is as fully simulated as the player. That means they have levels, skills, equipment, faction allegiances, and body parts. So if you have a mutation that lets you, say, psionically dominate a spider, you can traipse through the world as a spider, laying webs and eating things.

• Pursue allegiances with over 60 factions — apes, crabs, robots, and highly entropic beings, just to name a few.

• Follow the plot to Barathrum the Old, a sentient cave bear who leads a sect of tinkers intent on restoring technological splendor to Qud.

• Learn the lore — there’s a story in every nook, from legendary items with fabled pasts to in-game history books written by plant historians. A novel’s worth of handwritten lore is knit into a procedurally-generated history that’s unique each game.

• Die — Caves of Qud is brutally difficult and deaths are permanent. Don’t worry, though — you can always roll a new character."
games  gaming  via:tealtan  videogames  roguelike  toplay  2019  android  ios  mac  osx  steam  windows  linux  edg 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Neo Cab — a game by Chance Agency
[https://twitter.com/neocabgame/status/974329646828474369

"HELLO WORLD.

We are Chance Agency, a new studio working on our first game as a team. It's called Neo Cab and we are SO. EXCITED. to start sharing a glimpse of it with you.

Neo Cab is an emotional survival game about gig labor, tech disruption & the experience of being a driver-for-hire... perhaps the last of their kind.

Neo Cab is transit for riders who don’t… fit.

No Capra account. No account of any kind. No identity. Too many identities. A secret. A story.

Choose your passengers— and your words— wisely."]
games  gaming  videogames  robinsloan  toplay 
march 2018 by robertogreco
Seedship
"Seedship, a simple text-only game about interstellar exploration & colonization. My best result was "Corrupt Post-Singularity Democracy" (9952 points) http://philome.la/johnayliff/seedship/play "
game  text  games  gaming  videogames  scifi  sciencefiction  toplay 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Brave Sparrow – Buried Without Ceremony
"You’re a sparrow, brave and terrified. Brave Sparrow is an alternate reality experience, a game for one, a journey toward recovering your wings."

[game: http://buriedwithoutceremony.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/brave-sparrow.pdf ]
games  toplay  arg  birds  sparrows 
january 2018 by robertogreco
The Quiet Year – Buried Without Ceremony
"For a long time, we were at war with The Jackals. But now, we’ve driven them off, and we have this – a year of relative peace. One quiet year, with which to build our community up and learn once again how to work together. Come Winter, the Frost Shepherds will arrive and we might not survive beyond that. But we don’t know about that yet. What we know is that right now, in this moment, there is an opportunity to build something.

The Quiet Year is a map game. You define the struggles of a post-apocalyptic community, and attempt to build something good within their quiet year. Every decision and every action is set against a backdrop of dwindling time and rising concern.

The game is played using a deck of cards – each of the 52 cards corresponds to a week during the quiet year. Each card triggers certain events – bringing bad news, good omens, project delays and sudden changes in luck. At the end of the quiet year, the Frost Shepherds will come, ending the game.

a game by Avery Alder
with endless support and vision from Jackson Tegu
and art by Ariel Norris
(header photo taken from Shut Up & Sit Down review.)"
games  cardgames  play  maps  mapping  toplay  time 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Opus Magnum en Steam
"Opus Magnum is the latest open-ended puzzle game from Zachtronics, the creators of SpaceChem, Infinifactory, and SHENZHEN I/O. Design and build machines that assemble potions, poisons, and more using the alchemical engineer’s most advanced tool: the transmutation engine!"

[via: "uh it’s frightening how much fun Opus Magnum is"
https://twitter.com/tealtan/status/947559009216794624

"I love how it’s relatively easy to get through but you can optimize to your heart’s content and make it hard for yourself"

"also love love love how you can choose to optimize for size, cost, or speed (I only ever do the last one)"

"(of course the best solutions are not the most optimized but the most extravagant or batshit beautiful)"]

[See also:
http://www.zachtronics.com/opus-magnum/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_Magnum_(video_game)
https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/opus-magnum/ ]
via:tealtan  games  gaming  puzzles  toplay  videogames 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Children Of The Anthropocene | Future Unfolding | Heterotopias
"Look beneath your feet and you will see the Anthropocene. It is made of the deep concrete that paves our cities, the abundant plastics that constitute our waste and the metal pipes that funnel our water and oil. Look up and the chances are you will see it, too. Vapour trails linger in the air after an aeroplane has shot through a clear, blue sky, their chemical residue spraying delicately over the earth below.

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life”
In 2000, the Nobel-prize winning atmospheric chemist, Paul Crutzen, and biologist, Eugene F. Stoermer, advanced a theory suggesting we are no longer living in the geological epoch known as the Holocene. Following the Paleolithic Ice Age, the Holocene provided us with stable, mild climates for approximately 12,000 years. Weather patterns were relatively predictable while land, animals, plant and tree life carved out a flourishing existence amidst its warm, pleasant temperatures. Citing the measurable effect greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane were exacting on the atmosphere, Crutzen proposed the Anthropocene, “the age of man”, the delineation of a time defined by human action on the environment. While the term has not yet gained official designation, there are increasing efforts to scientifically prove its existence. Global warming, plastic pollution, nuclear waste and many other human-driven phenomenon leave an unmistakable trace in geological records, the data of which is being used to evidence the Anthropocene.

Despite the bleak hubris and narcissism underpinning the term, these scientific efforts are facilitating a broader dawning ecological awareness. Eschewing the apocalyptic fatalism of its many contemporaries, Future Unfolding asks not what the world looks like after the deluge but before it. The game pulls off the temporal trick of transporting both player and setting back in time, adopting an almost childlike gaze of its seemingly edenic world. Inspired by designers Mattias Ljungström and Marek Plichta’s own experiences growing up in the Swedish and Polish countryside, dense forests of coniferous trees grow unchecked and its woodland floor is often carpeted with delicate red and yellow flowers. With such a shift in perspective—a reversion back to an earlier self—Future Unfolding asks us to assume a state of naivety and rediscover a sense of openness. With it, we might relearn our relationship with nature, unpick our assumptions and dissolve the hubris of our Anthropocene.

Things don’t function as you might expect in Future Unfolding. A tree is often a tree but at other times it is a portal, capable of transcending time and space. Sometimes these portals appear in its fauna like the idly grazing sheep who possess the ability to teleport. Elsewhere, amidst the ferns and luminescent lichen, pines appear to make patterns, simple shapes that when strung together, produce an entity capable of dissolving obstacles such as the impassable boulders strewn across the land. I remember playing in the ancient woodlands of Snowdonia as a child, forging many of the same connections and exploring the same potential of the environment that Future Unfolding depicts. That landscape hummed with the vibrancy of life, from the insects that consumed the pungent, rotting leaves on the ground to the thick, green moss that covered each rock. It offered me a window into another world that, as a child, echoed in my consciousness."



"For a crisis as enveloping as the Anthropocene, there is a value in this type of universalism. Specific problems abound that require specific solutions, of course, but Future Unfolding, along with other video games, literature, art and music are beginning to craft a new vernacular capable of conveying this shift in expression. Bjork’s work has long since channelled some sort of symbiosis with nature. Speaking about utopia in a recent interview with Dazed, she said: “There’s this old argument that civilisation treats nature the same as man treats women—you have to oppress it and dominate in order to progress. I just don’t agree with that. There is another way.” Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith crafts what might be considered the sonic equivalent to Future Unfolding’s pristine wilderness, her dense latticework synths sparkling with the same primordial urgency as the game. Track titles like “Existence in the Unfurling” speak to a similar biological enmeshing that Future Unfolding works towards. Ed Key and David Kanaga’s Proteus explores similar terrain, that game’s fizzing soundtrack determined by your place in the environment. Trees, hillocks and beaches all carry specific sounds, the effect of which jostles you into paying closer attention to its procedurally generated landscape."



"Throughout both Future Unfolding and the Southern Reach Trilogy, the gap between “us” and “them”—between humans and other life—is broken down. Sleeping mammals with long, white hair populate the game’s glowing landscape, each one keen to dispense knowledge. “Things near are not less beautiful and wondrous than things remote,” one said to me. “The near explains the far. The drop is a small ocean.” Their words emphasise wholeness and co-existence at times while also asking the player to unknow. “Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything,” said another. “Not till we are lost. In other words, not till we have lost the world do we begin to find ourselves.” This might sound like the garbling of a new-age hippie but these messages signal to a wider picture while the moments of discovery and interaction enable us to peek at the minutiae of blooming flowers and bobbling rocks.

Adopting this shift in perspective allows us to understand the scope of the Anthropocene as well as a way out of it. In his 2016 book, Dark Ecology, the philosopher Timothy Morton, wrote that “ecological awareness forces us to think and feel at multiple scales, scales that disorient normative concepts such as ‘present’, ‘life’, ‘human’, ‘nature’, ‘thing’, ‘thought,’ and ‘logic.’” But in traversing and reconciling these eerie phenomena we might reach a state of intimacy with nonhumans. “Coexisting with these nonhumans is ecological thought, art, ethics and politics.” For Morton, such a coexistence doesn’t entail a deferral to primitivism but an embracing of technologies amidst a transforming viewpoint. Play is crucial to the process and Future Unfolding gives us a space where we might test out these ideas for size to see how they fit, feel and taste.

Future Unfolding’s childlike gaze gently encourages a flexibility of thinking within us. It asks us to forget old cognitive pathways and instead forge new routes of thought. It is sometimes a sticky, unsettling process and, eschewing formal instructions or direction, the game reflects our current state of unknowing. We are prone to flailing in the murky darkness of the forest. But as we reformulate our relationship with nonhumans, Future Unfolding asks us to push through the uncomfortable anxiety of dawning ecological intimacy. Only then might we reach the ecstasy the Biologist experiences in Area X. We are prone to flailing in the murky darkness of the forest. But as we reformulate our relationship with nonhumans, Future Unfolding asks us to push through the uncomfortable anxiety of dawning ecological intimacy. Only then might we reach the ecstasy the Biologist experiences in Area X."
anthropocene  2017  lewisgordon  games  gaming  videogames  timothymorton  paulcrutzen  eugenestroermer  systems  systemsthinking  edkey  davidkanaga  proteus  kaitlynaureliasmith  futureunfolding  johnmuir  nature  mattiasljungström  marekplichta  globalarming  climatechange  via:anne  trees  lanscape  toplay  universalism  jeffvandermeer  southernreachtrilogy  biology  morethanhuman  multispecies  darkeccology  ecology  björk 
october 2017 by robertogreco
The Coral Cave
"The Coral Cave is a 2D point-and-click adventure game. The characters and backgrounds are painted in watercolor and hand-animated on paper.

Story

Mizuka, a little Japanese girl, lives on a small remote island, in the Okinawa archipelago.
One night, she has a strange dream. When she wakes up, a terrible danger is threatening the island. Mizuka must explore the surroundings and enter a mysterious spirit world in order to save her village. "

[See also:
https://www.behance.net/gallery/27549611/An-Irabuchas-Dream-The-Coral-Cave-minicomic
http://atelier-sento.deviantart.com/art/An-Irabucha-s-Dream-The-Coral-Cave-minicomic-617554100 ]
games  gaming  videogames  ateliersentô  toplay  watercolor 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Playdead
"“MASTERPIECE! Inside is a 2D puzzle platformer that builds upon what made Limbo great, and in fact builds something greater.” - 0/10 — IGN

“Inside expands on the concepts and scope of its predecessor in wildly creative ways, and it's so immaculately designed and constructed from top to bottom that it almost feels suitable for display in an art museum. This is one hell of a followup.” - 5/5 —Giant Bomb

“Gorgeous art and animations, devious puzzle design and a pitch-black sense of humor. A perfectly paced series of escalating "holy shit" moments.” —Kotaku"

[via: "I cannot think of any other game that gets as close to perfection as Playdead's Inside. A real masterpiece 👏👏👏"
https://twitter.com/molleindustria/status/772239251027140609 ]
videogames  toplay  games  gaming  srg  edg 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Tiffin | Board Game | BoardGameGeek
"Every day in Mumbai, the bustling financial capital of India, hot lunches are hand-delivered to employees in workplaces across the city. These home-cooked meals, packed in tins called tiffins or dabbas, are picked up from the customer’s home, whisked off by bicycle to a sorting facility, loaded onto carts and wheeled to the train station, loaded onto a train car, unloaded, resorted, routed, and delivered (again, by bicycle) to recipients at work. Each tiffin is carried by multiple dabbawallas (delivery people) along the way. Despite more than 250,000 lunch deliveries every day, mistakes are rare.

In Tiffin, players represent dabbawallas working to deliver tiffins and earn rupees by starting tiffins on a route and contributing to successful delivery of their tiffins and those of other players. The more tiffins delivered on a single route, the higher the payout for each player participating in the deliveries.

Shortcuts speed things up, flat tires slow things down, and an ever-present competitor might get there first. The game ends when all delivery routes are complete and the player with the most rupees is the winner."
games  boardgames  raeldornfest  jonathanhager  2016  toplay  mumbai 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Psychonauts on Steam
"A Psychic Odyssey Through the Minds of Misfits, Monsters, and Madmen. This classic action/adventure platformer from acclaimed developers Double Fine Productions follows the story of a young psychic named Razputin."

[See also: "Psychonauts Retrospective // The Color of the Sky in Your World Part 1"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVizZG0QL9Y

"2 Player Production's documentary work with Double Fine continues with a look back at Psychonauts, the platform action adventure game that launched the studio. This short series serves as a prelude of things to come, as Double Fine looks to the past to better understand the future." ]
games  videogames  gaming  edg  srg  toplay  via:austinkleon  doublefine  psychonauts 
december 2015 by robertogreco
This American Indian Dungeons and Dragons lets you weave powerful stories - Boing Boing
"Ehdrigor, a game created by a black, American Indian game designer, gently reflects the Native experience, and how that approach to storytelling differs from Western narratives."
americanindians  nativeamericans  culture  games  gaming  dungeonsanddragons  danielstarkey  ehdrigohr  allenturner  toplay  edg  srg  2015 
july 2015 by robertogreco
The Sailor’s Dream | Simogo
"Inside every knickknack left behind is a treasure trove of memories and stories filled with joys and sorrows

A peaceful narrative experience, in which the only objective is to satisfy your curiosity. Explore an ocean dream world, in which time passes even when you are not there, visit forgotten islands and piece together memories – some even existing beyond the screen of your device."
ios  via:senongo  game  gaming  videogames  toplay  simogo  srg  edgipad  iphone  applications 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Ori And The Blind Forest
"Four years in the making A love-letter to 2D games Pixel Perfect Platforming Unique Gameplay Explore an Enchanted World A story worth telling Ori And The Blind Forest



Over the past four years, Moon Studios has been feverishly working on Ori and the Blind Forest.

At Moon Studios, we all grew up playing games like Super Metroid, Zelda: A Link to the Past, etc. and with Ori, we wanted to recapture the magic of these games.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a bit of a genremix – It’s a ‘Metroidvania‘, but with a stronger platforming focus and light RPG elements, all set within an atmospheric world.

Naturally we tried to push 2D gaming forward on all fronts: We tried to make every single screen in Ori look like a painting come to life while making sure that the controls are still pixel-perfect.

We’ve been taking lessons from games like Super Metroid and A Link to the Past in order to really bring back this sensation you had when you played the games Nintendo was building in the early 90s. The level of polish and the execution of design in these games – we feel – was extraordinary. We felt strongly that children and adults today should get that same feeling again. Remember the first time you played Zelda or Metroid when you were a child? We hope that years from now people will also remember the first time they got to play Ori and the Blind Forest.

We also push the story angle really hard. We explored some new ways of telling stories within 2D games and we’ve been heavily influenced by Ghibli/Miyazaki as well as by great animated films of the 90s like The Lion King or The Iron Giant.

Ori is a bit of a coming-of-age story. The player is put into the role of a forest spirit, who – over the course of his journey – has to find out more about his role within the world he’s living in. We tried to create memorable characters in an atmospheric world and to craft a story that players will truly care about!"
videogames  games  gaming  via:senongo  moonstudios  ori  oriandtheblindforest  comingofage  srg  edg  toplay 
june 2015 by robertogreco
A card game about drone strikes makes you comfortably numb - Kill Screen - Videogame Arts & Culture.
"By my third game of Bycatch, I was no longer bothered if the target was a child. It didn’t matter who the target was at all. They were a number and a few identifying characteristics: red bag, orange dress, man or woman, young or old. I was surprised by how quickly I settled into the rhythms of the game and its dictionary. This is the reason such language is so meticulously crafted by state departments and militaries to remove the humanity from a war zone. “Bycatch,” collateral damage, the fish in the net you didn’t mean to swoop up that is too worthless to worry about.

Those first couple games, though, it was unsettling. Bycatch is a Rummy-like card game in which each player is a country looking to place numerically ordered runs of citizens into shelters, taking them out of play and earning that player points. Nine numbered cards make up the citizens, each with flat but distinct character art. Two of these citizens are children; one of them wears a yarmulke. “Intelligence” cards randomly determine the current target; if you shelter the target, your points for that shelter are doubled. But you can also send out the drones.

Along the lines of Go Fish, where you are sniffing around the other players’ hands and calling out what you want and think they might have, Bycatch gives you the option to use a camera phone to shakily spy on your neighboring countries to identify targets worth a strike attempt. Remote-manned military vehicles have dominated our collective consciousness lately, and with good reason: We are told in many ways that they are all-knowing, all-powerful, and they would never be used against us. Here your camera-in-hand is the drone, and when taking surveillance over another player, you hold your phone over their hand such that you can’t see the screen or the faces of their cards. Thus you don’t know what you’ve got until you have already taken the picture, and your resulting intelligence is often pointed up your own nose or just a blur, though even a little info is better than nothing.

During your turn you can only take a single action: survey an opposing player’s hand with your drone-phone, build a shelter for points, order a strike if you discard two of the same citizens, or do nothing. You can’t drop bombs willy-nilly, and information is always outdated. Whenever a drone strike is ordered, three citizens are removed; if one of them is the target then the attacking player gets 100 points per matching target, minus 10 for each citizen that was not the target, aka the “bycatch” or collateral damage.

As we played, I learned a few things about myself: Taking blind photos of your opponent’s hand is difficult at first, resulting in some hilarious and creepy selfies; no intelligence is infallible and the ability to bluff is key; and, though I was quite uncomfortable with the idea of administrating death from above during the first game or two, I would eventually to order drone strikes with no information and no concern who the current target was, just to mess up an opponent’s chance to build a high-scoring shelter.

Bycatch does have an explicit goal of getting people to talk about this sort of military activity, done on our behalf and affecting thousands of innocent people around the world. And it works, though it doesn’t dominate the experience. When my opponent racks up ten collateral damage kills in a sort of scorched earth campaign against me, eventually he gets his target, but at what cost? Even a successful strike sweeps up the innocent, you will pretty much always catch non-targeted citizens in an attack, so a strike is often imprecise and never clean.

But it’s easy to bury those impulses relatively quickly. In the moment it’s simply a game, with rules and a lexicon that strips out empathy from drone strike victims while simultaneously every card is a picture of a person living an ordinary life and collateral damage is nothing short of murder executed at your order. I mean, ok: we are holding cards, not nuclear launch codes, but the artwork of Bycatch is a consistent reminder of the human costs involved even if this is all just a metaphor. It’s all disconcerting at first, but by my sixth go-round I was cheering successful strikes and moving on accordingly. Still, even a number of games later, uncertainty creeps up on me. By then it’s too late."
games  cardgames  drones  droneproject  2015  bycatch  collateraldamage  military  warfare  war  toplay 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Campo Santo - Firewatch
"A VIDEO GAME BY CAMPO SANTO

Firewatch is a mystery set in the Wyoming wilderness, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio.

In Firewatch you play as a man named Henry who has retreated from his messy life to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Perched high atop a mountain, it’s your job to look for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. An especially hot, dry summer has everyone on edge. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you at all times over a small, handheld radio —

and is your only contact with the world you've left behind.

But when something strange draws you out of your lookout tower and into the world, you’ll explore a wild and unknown environment, facing questions and making interpersonal choices that can build or destroy the only meaningful relationship you have."

[See also (via: http://blog.tanmade.com/post/113092344186/migurski-firewatch-is-a-mystery-set-in-the ):

“Campo Santo Shows You Firewatch”
http://www.twitch.tv/camposanto/c/5068947

developer's blog
http://blog.camposanto.com/ ]
games  gaming  wilderness  videogames  outdoors  wyoming  camposanto  edg  radio  toplay 
march 2015 by robertogreco
80 Days on the App Store on iTunes
[See also: "80 Days Is the Alternate-Reality, Anti-Colonialism Adventure We All Deserve"
http://killscreendaily.com/articles/80-days-alternate-reality-anti-colonialism-adventure-we-all-deserve/

and http://www.inklestudios.com/80days/ ]

"1872, with a steampunk twist. Phileas Fogg has wagered he can circumnavigate the world in just eighty days. Choose your own route around a 3D globe, travelling by airship, submarine, mechanical camel, steam-train and more, racing other players and a clock that never stops.

* "For people who love high adventures and good writing, 80 Days is a voyage that must be taken" - The Verge
* "Interactive storytelling as its best" - The Guardian
* "A brilliantly paced, memorable and quite frankly terrific piece of modern interactive fiction, that masterfully blends strategy, resource management and adventure" - IndieGames.com
* "one of the best iOS games of the year." - iLounge

150 cities to explore. Detailed research and techno-fantasy combine in an 1872 of tensions, inventions and exploration. Climb the Burmese mountains, trek the Zulu Federation, sail up the Amazon and disappear under the Indian Ocean - but don't fall behind the time!

* "Could be the best interactive fiction game out there" - 148 Apps
* "A sublime video game to immerse yourself in" - The Examiner
* "One of the most extraordinarily memorable and unique games I’ve played in years" - Pocket Tactics
* "Everything about this game is perfect" - AppAdvice
* "Innovative and extraordinary, and unpredictable fun" - Apps Zoom
* "Rich with ideas, brilliantly written, and creates a world that you'll want to visit over and over again" - PocketGamer (gold award)

Featuring stunning art by Jaume Illustration, a half-million word script by Meg Jayanth, original music by Laurence Chapman, and built using the same inklewriter engine that powers our critically-acclaimed Sorcery! series, 80 DAYS is an interactive adventure created by your choices, on the fly, and is different every time you play.

Playing as Phileas Fogg's loyal valet, Passepartout, you must balance your master's health, your finances, and the time, as you choose your own path from city to city all the way around the world. Bribe your way onto early departures, but don't let yourself go bankrupt or you'll be sleeping rough and begging for aid! Trade items for profit, and collect the equipment for the conditions you'll face: but too much luggage will slow you down...

80 DAYS is a breakneck race, with an in-game clock that never stops running. Trains, steamers, hot-air balloons, boats, camels, horses and more leave and arrive minute by minute.

Every city and journey is narrated via an interactive story where you control every action. Will your choices speed you up - or lead you into disaster? Will you earn Fogg's trust and respect? Will you uncover the secrets and short-cuts that can shave days off your time? Murder, romance, rebellion and intrigue await!

The app is network-connected, with a live feed that shows you the position of all the other players of the game, their routes, triumphs and disasters. You can race to be the fastest - or look ahead to learn the secrets of the world.

Share your own journey with friends, and load other's routes directly into your app so you can race head-to-head.

80 DAYS is a complete experience, with no in-app purchases, and was made by a core team of just four people. If you enjoy it, please leave a rating, and check out our Sorcery! series."
iphone  ios  games  ipad  phileasfogg  interactivefiction  srg  edg  toplay  megjayanth  laurencechapman  inklewriter  aroundtheworldin80days  julesverne  gaming  videogames  if 
august 2014 by robertogreco
No Man's Sky is coming to PS4 - PlayStation.Blog.Europe
[post has several screenshots]

"Hello PlayStation Blog! My name is Sean Murray, and I’m part of an independent studio called Hello Games. You might know us from a game called Joe Danger. That’s the only time I’ve been on the blog before. Sony were incredibly supportive of us back then, when we were just starting out as four friends, making our first game.

Now Sony is putting our next game, called No Man’s Sky, on the biggest stage in the world of video games… and I’m feeling pretty sick with nerves.

I’m writing this during the rehearsals for Sony’s E3 keynote. I’ve never been before, just watched every year from home. It’s a lot bigger in real life.

No Man’s Sky is a science-fiction game, and it’s incredibly ambitious, set in a vast universe we have created.

It’s a game without limits. If you see a mountain, you can trek there. From that mountain, if you see another planet hanging on the horizon, that’s a real place, with its own ecology. You can get in your ship, fly into space and it’s yours to explore. Not just that, but every star in the sky is just the light of a sun, with its own solar system waiting for you to discover and adventure in.

To put together our demo for E3, I’ve just been flying around, looking for nice locations for screenshots. Normally as a developer, your game doesn’t often surprise you, but I’ve just been grinning ear to ear as I’ve explored. Getting into fights with pirates, attacking space stations, discovering life I never knew existed. I guess I’m biased, but there are moments where my jaw drops, just seeing unexpected results emerge from procedural systems we’ve created."

[See also: http://kotaku.com/how-a-seemingly-impossible-game-is-possible-1592820595 ]

""People are just so used to that type of game that it becomes hard for them to go back to something that's a bit more free," Murray said. "For us, perhaps we're the generation who grew up with Mario and so we understand levels and missions and quests. So a lot of the questions we get from journalists are about that. How does the mission structure work? How does your rank work? That kind of thing.

"The main people that I talk to who are fans are often the generation that's grown up with Minecraft and they don't have those preconceptions. They don't ask any of those questions. They actually assume that it's just all gonna be there and have that freedom. It seems really outdated, almost, to get that question. How many levels? Or, how do quests work? Well, we won't have any quests.""

[Posted to Tumblr with commentary: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/89246157468/this-began-as-a-post-about-a-videogame-and-ended ]
playstation  ps4  games  gaming  videogames  worldbuilding  joedanger  edg  noman'ssky  sciencefiction  scifi  toplay 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Kentucky Route Zero
"Kentucky Route Zero is a magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it. Gameplay is inspired by point-and-click adventure games (like the classic Monkey Island or King's Quest series, or more recently Telltale's Walking Dead series), but focused on characterization, atmosphere and storytelling rather than clever puzzles or challenges of skill.

The game is developed by Cardboard Computer (Jake Elliott and Tamas Kemenczy). The game's soundtrack features an original electronic score by Ben Babbitt along with a suite of old hymns & bluegrass standards recorded by The Bedquilt Ramblers."
games  gaming  toplay  edg  srg  jakeelliott  tamaskemenczy  videogames  kentuckyroutezero 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Blackbar for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad on the iTunes App Store
"Blackbar is a text game: a sci-fi story of a dystopian future told through the medium of word puzzles. Reminiscent of text adventures and interactive fiction, it has a unique mechanic centered around the concept of censorship. Censorship is frustrating, but the human spirit can beat that frustration by turning it into a game.

You'll pick up and understand Blackbar instantly; however, its challenges will keep you searching, trying, and thinking for days."
games  ios  toplay  nevenmrgan  2013  text  sciencefiction  scifi  puzzles  dystopia  wordpuzzles  words  language  gaming 
september 2013 by robertogreco
No Accidents, Comrade – The New Inquiry
"But where fiction generally resists reader alteration, board games take it for granted and depend on it. A fictional narrative remains the same despite how it’s interpreted by readers. The underlying expectation in gameplay, however, is that the player actively constructs a narrative and perhaps even modifies the game’s rules. Meaning for players comes only through the active process of experiencing play. Operating Twilight Struggle’s narrative platform provides a ludic truth — truth through play that gives experiential knowledge using popular, though misleading, historical explanations for the period. It purports to compress the Cold War experience while maintaining some semblance of fidelity to the mentalité of the period, but the chance experienced through gameplay is wed to narrative exposition that clearly embraces a U.S.-centric worldview. Chance narratives help players validate experiential knowledge they acquire during play, but their execution actually inverts the meaning…"
influence  ussr  alternativeplay  bias  toplay  containment  rationalirrationality  distortion  nostalgia  meaning  interpretation  assemblage  narrativeassemblage  narrative  individualism  perception  history  us  opportunity  luck  chance  gameplay  storytelling  fiction  2006  2012  coldwar  boardgames  gaming  games  play  twilightstruggle 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Alex Payne — The Game
"Zendo is a game of inductive logic. Anyone can enjoy it, but programmers take particular delight in it. In broad strokes, a round of Zendo mirrors the intellectual process programmers engage in when debugging. You know there’s a rule in the machine undermining the task you’re trying to accomplish, but you don’t know what the rule is, so you build and rebuild and think and observe and rebuild again until you understand the rule, and then you win."

"The best rounds of Zendo I’ve ever played are ones in which the master has chosen a devilishly hard rule, a rule so difficult to guess that the players cease to be in competition with one another and are instead in a collective war against the inscrutability of the master. When one player finally wins, it’s due to the combined efforts of all the players building structures, making guesses, exploring the solution space. That shared victory is a wonderful moment."
zendo  toplay  play  programming  inductivelogic  inductivereasoning  logic  edg  srg  2012  alexpayne  games 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Gaga Playground Game Is Popular at Camps - NYTimes.com
"Believed to have originated in Israel, the game — “touch, touch” in Hebrew — has been a standby of Jewish summer camps and community centers in the United States since at least the 1970s. Now, to the surprise of parents who recall the game from their youths, gaga is solidly mainstream. …

In gaga, players lob the ball underhand, trying to hit one another below the knees (or below the waist, depending on where you’re playing) to eliminate their opponents from the court. If the ball goes over the wall, or if it is caught before bouncing, the person who launched it is out of the game. …

The quick turnover is well suited to children’s short attention spans…

It is also appealing because the game is easy to learn, and unlike many playground sports, gaga is not typically dominated by children with natural athletic ability…

As in any good playground game, house rules vary…

…schools and camps favor gaga because they can engage a large number of children in a limited amount of space."
fun  toplay  children'sgames  children  2012  ballgames  srg  edg  playgroundgames  play  games  gaga 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Shadow Cities, a New iPhone Video Game - Review - NYTimes.com
"I have played the future of mobile gaming. It is called Shadow Cities.

If you have an iPhone, you simply must try this game. Shadow Cities isn’t just the future of mobile gaming. It may actually be the most interesting, innovative, provocative and far-reaching video game in the world right now, on any system.

That’s a strong, perhaps outrageous, statement. But it’s merited because Shadow Cities delivers a radically fresh sort of engagement. Shadow Cities fully employs the abilities of the modern smartphone in the service of an entertainment experience that feels almost impossibly exciting and new."

"Until now games on phones and tablets have basically used those devices as small versions of traditional game machines; they did not allow you to play directly with other users in real time and they certainly took no note of where you were in the real world…

But in Shadow Cities the network and the real world it pervades become the game, which is so much more powerful."
iphone  ios  applications  shadowcities  via:adamgreenfield  situationist  place  games  gaming  toplay  2011  play  gps  location-based  location-aware  greyarea  psychogeography 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Hemisphere Games — Osmos
"Enter the ambient world of Osmos: elegant, physics-based gameplay, dreamlike visuals, and a minimalist, electronic soundtrack.

Your objective is to grow by absorbing other motes. Propel yourself by ejecting matter behind you. But be wise: ejecting matter also shrinks you. Relax… good things come to those who wait.

Progress from serenely ambient levels into varied and challenging worlds. Confront attractors, repulsors and intelligent motes with similar abilities and goals as you."
osmos  osx  ipad  iphone  mac  macosx  flow  videogames  games  gaming  toplay  physics  ambient  windows  applications  ios 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Caught Sleeping- Boing Boing
"And that, ultimately, will be Sleep is Death's true test on its April release. Most of us consume media because we've lost the capacity, interest or time to construct thrilling tales of our own, and it's unproven how much an easily grasped set of pared down tools can inspire — whether they'll turn even a few of us into budding Rohrer's or whether we still need him to entertain us.
jasonrohrer  gaming  gamedesign  videogames  games  toplay  design  psychology  literature  collaboration  art 
march 2010 by robertogreco

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