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Published on September 26, 2012 in Games, Random. 0 Comments

… or ‘Can Game Concepts Just Be Plain Old Weird And No One Really Cares As Long As The Gameplay Is Good?

Perusing the internet in search of yet more ways to trigger FBI flagging software (one day I’ll meet my beloved Agent Scully … sigh…) I lurked upon this article at Pixels or Death about the dreamlike qualities of divisive oddball survival horror game ‘Deadly Premonition‘ – one of my most favouritest games ever.

For anyone who hasn’t played Deadly Premonition, it’s an unashamed homage to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, centring around an offbeat FBI agent investigating a young woman’s murder in a scenic town. Due to acknowledged flaws in gameplay but captivating scenarios and character dynamics, the game’s reviews ranged from 2 out of 10 on some sites to being Game of the Year on others.

The game features playable overt dream sequences, combat scenes that may all be all your character’s delirium as well as a general Lynchian dream-like quality throughout that allows for your character’s imaginary friend, receiving telepathic messages from cups of coffee and the general oddball behaviour of the townsfolk.

But while Deadly Premonition might have a vast open world story that incorporates dream logic, many narratively ‘simpler’ games are also share a dreamlike quality. Games like Limbo (pictured above) often get drawn into the ‘games as art’ debate – but, expressionist artwork aside, is there really much difference between the boy searching for his sister and overweight Brooklyn plumber Super Mario travelling from left to right to rescue the Princess? We don’t really care whether any of it makes real sense because finding your sister or rescuing a princess seems like a nice/fun thing to do!

Obviously not everyone likes David Lynch stories, often because his use of dream logic (or random weird stuff) is too disruptive for some tastes. But, on the flipside of that, does narrative ruin the inherent dream logic of games? As game narratives grow more complex, by adding more details and rules not just to the gameplay systems but to the reality of the gameplay world, are we actually making the worlds less realistic and plausible? As the level of realism goes up, does our suspension of disbelief go down?

Just as comic books can use the time and space between panels to let the reader’s mind make leaps of logic, perhaps dreams (and therefore the more ‘surreal’ games) seem all the more vivid, profound and memorable because they don’t even bother to try and make sense.

Or maybe, as this cartoon strip detailing how Pac-Man is as if ‘Kafka wrote a Lovecraft story‘ brilliantly shows, the joy is in letting people interpret things how they want to and leave something to the imagination. Even those of us who think about these things too much :D

Published on November 2, 2009 in Games, News. 0 Comments

Blimey, It’s been ages since i’ve posted here. I got a load of topics I’ve been meaning to write about, and I’ve managed to get all of none of those actually started.
What I have been doing though is making sure we finally got our latest productions launched.

Beastie Burgers

Beastie Burgers

First up, we have Beastie Burgers, a time management / cooking frenzy style game we’ve been working on in our spare time for the past year and a bit (I can’t believe it’s taken that long). It’s been a lot of fun to build, and roughly marks out the style and direction of the sorts of games and apps we’ll be producing in the future. I’ll have a Hamster & cheese burger with Jalapenos and slime when you’re ready, thanks!

Secondly, we have the social media genius that is, the Beastie Builder, a Facebook app that we built alongside Beastie Burgers. The best way to describe it would be a monster themed dress-up style app. Except, you don’t really dress the monsters so much as assemble them. You can then save them to your photo stream or post them to your news feed (if you feel like it). Just a bit of fun to waste away the hours at work (and help promote Beastie Burgers of course).

I’m planning to write up a bit about the development of these in the future, although quite when I’m not sure yet. Watch this space!

Published on December 6, 2008 in Games. 0 Comments
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There are lots of flash games out there. Here are my five favourite:

The Last Stand

This game has you playing the role of a survivor of a zombie apocalypse who has to, well, survive against hordes of attacking zombies. This goes on for twenty nights, with the attacking zombies getting stronger and stronger with each passing night.

The really great thing about this game is how it introduces an element of strategy at the end of each level, giving you options on how you want to spend the day, whether it be searching for more survivors, searching for weapons or reinforcing your barricades.

The graphics in this game are also phenomenal and look very professional. The overall style works fantastically and gives off a very gritty atmosphere, with the story and game hints being given in the form of diary entries or post-it notes attached to various items in the menu screens.

Five Differences

This is a very unique flash game despite the fact that it is based on a very old idea. It’s essentially an animated game of “spot the difference” with amazing slick graphics and is actually pretty difficult.

The game presents you with two scenes of landscapes which are, seemingly, identical and tasks you with finding the minute differences, of which there are five, between the two scenes.

The gameplay doesn’t go any deeper than that, but it doesn’t really need to. Five Differences is a great game and a breath of fresh air from the usual fare of flash games (not that those aren’t great, of course).

Fantastic Contraption

An excellent physics based puzzle game, Fantastic Contraption tasks you with building a machine to carry, propel or otherwise move an object from one side of an area to the other. To build these machines you are given a number of base parts which can interact with each other, giving you the potential to build really complex inventions, should you wish.

The main challenge lies in figuring out exactly what kind of invention will be able to traverse the terrain, getting more and more difficult as the game progresses.

Blueprint

Another physics based puzzle game. This time you are presented with a ball and a target and you must arrange the terrain itself in such a way that the ball will hit. Terrain elements can include ramps, springs, conveyer belts, pipes amongst other things, all of which will be needed to accomplish each level’s goal.

Auditorium

Auditorium is one of the most unique puzzle games i’ve ever seen. You are presented with streams of light and your goal is to aim the light so it activates musical panels scattered around the screen. This is done by moving triggers around the screen that can affect the light in various ways; for example, a trigger has a circle around it and if the light enters the circle it could begin to move upwards rather than its current direction.

As the levels go on, the puzzles become more and more complex, with additional puzzle pieces being introduced, making the game more and more challenging.

The main draw of this game is the stunning visuals, despite their simplicity. The streams of light look very visually impressive and the overall style of the game is very well done.

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