So, I haven’t been posting for the last few days because of college work – but I’m back now and ready to roll up my sleeves and start anew. Well, this week I’ve got a slew of smaller games that I’ll be talking about – also I want to provide folks with a heads up that I’ll actually be doing a weekly review for the Able Gamers Foundation – so I’m super excited for the opportunity! I’ll keep people posted, and I’ll be reposting any review done there 48 hours after they’ve been submitted. Now – onto today’s game shall we?
Now, for those of you who’ve been following [ and for those of you who are new ] as an aspiring game developer I’ve grown a little bit of a love affair with this game app:
Game Dev Story is a mixture of RPG/Sim Game and it’s truly an addictive experience if you like simulation games. The graphics are definitely retro and the gameplay is simple enough, but actually learning how the game works and the strategy behind getting the best scores on your games is the real challenge of the game, which is why I got so hooked. You play as the owner of your own game development studio.
Create games, train your staff, and try and become an award winning game studio!
Working really bytes... unless you're gaming!
If that sounds fun then you’ll probably love Game Dev Story.
Now let’s break the game down in terms of it’s accessibility, because that’s the important part I love to focus on as a designer. I will start off by saying, that while the gameplay is sort of slow, the game is educational, simple to play, has heartwarming graphics, and definitely a game anyone should check out once.
Here’s some gameplay to see how it works:
Game Dev Story has one-touch controls perfect for physically impaired or one-handed gamers.
Graphics are vivid and color variations are different enough that colorblind gamers won’t have a problem with playing this game.
Large print text for vision impaired gamers.
Musical audio, but all directions and gameplay updates via text. Deaf gamers will be able to definitely grab this game and just play, without fear of missing valuable information.
Simple gameplay is not only educational [ helps learn financial saving/spending business concepts ] but makes it easy to play for many players.
Game time pauses for every time you make a change – helps physically impaired gamers play without fear of rushed decisions/gameplay.
Large buttons for easy touch controls.
Repetitive music score, while nice at first, can get old – but can be muted.
The game development process goes by quite fast, and while nice, when the Free version only let’s you go 5 years into development – it can feel like a much shorter experience than desired.
The game becomes far more difficult, not in gameplay, but in strategy. It’s a definite toss up when trying to determine which genre and style of game will sell well together – which may make the game harder for cognitively impaired gamers to be truly successful in the game.
No real story to the game, so the only incentives are trying to get your popularity and games to win rewards – but that’s a fun experience in and of itself!
Overall though, this game is a heartwarming throwback to the retro-sim games of old – and a wonderful experience to pass the time as a designer. If you’re interested I would totally recommend grabbing up the FREE version from either Android or the Apple App Store. This version will last you for about 2 1/2 hours of gameplay, but if you really grow hooked to the experience you can purchase the game for $3.99 on the App Store and $2.50 on the Android Market – and design till your hearts content – FOREVER! I hope that the game will get updates and perhaps some expansions in the future – but this is definitely a very simple, joyous experience I think any gamer looking for an educational, fun, and accessible game experience will enjoy!
If you enjoy Game Dev Story – I’d definitely recommend checking out the other simulation games that Kairosoft has to offer. They’re all easy to play and easily accessible – and I think that’s what more and more games need to have. Check ’em out!
Well, it’s official, I’ve reached a pinnacle in my blogging history – and to say “Thank YOU!” – to all of you viewers [ and to a supportive development team in Recoil Games ] I’ve decided to start a contest [ and hopefully there will be future contest given opportunity. ] Here’s what’s going on:
I’m offering up a few Steam codes redeemable for Rochard.
So here are the rules for the contest and how you can enter:
1. I’m going to be posting a poster from Rochard, and it’ll be up to you to create a unique ‘catch phrase’comment for the star character in John Rochard.
2. You’ll need a Steam account to actually redeem the code, so you’ll need an account to be eligible to win.
3. Post your ‘catch-phrase’in the comment box and I’ll be keeping this contest running for 2 weeks time. After 2 weeks time I’ll filter through any participants and choose the top suggestions.
4. The Top 3 suggestions will be granted as winners and receive Steam codes to redeem. We’ll determine how best to get the code to you, I’m going to presume either Facebook messaging or email would probably be best.
5. PLEASE NOTHING LUDE/RUDE/DISRESPECTFUL!
If you do – your submission will be deleted and you’ll be disqualified and will be unable to resubmit a new suggestion. I would like to keep my blog clean and appropriate and I don’t need vulgar responses mussing up my site.
SO – if you’re ready and respect the rules of the contest – let’s get started!
Here’s your inspiration to go by:
A Space Miner that even James Cameron can envy...
Show this space miner some love and give him a fitting catch phrase!
Well, we’ve come to the wonderful, inspiring day of my week and I’m honored to be posting on this story. I just want to say thank you to my friend Matt for sending me this story. Thanks man!
Today, we’re going to be talking about a gamer that I truly admire and respect for how he’s lived his life and how he’s allowed himself to still be able to enjoy the gaming world and his personal life with a joy for life rather than begrudging his personal struggles. His name is Matthew “LookNoHands” Fink – a prolific Starcraft player and amazingly inspirational gamer.
This guy is fantastic - watch him play Starcraft and your jaw will drop.
I only found one decent video interview with Matthew [ and it’s a long one ] but it’s phenomenal to see how positive he is towards life. He’s a brilliant mind and I applaud him for all his success. ESL TV did the interview with him, and I actually applaud them too for providing the interview with such respect and dignity to Matthew. Matthew’s positive outlook on life is something that should be truly cherished by everyone and I think it humbles all gamers and makes any of us appreciate the way we individually play games and interact with others.
Matthew was born without a spleen and this caused his body to be massively susceptible to infections. He acquired an infection and it required the doctors to have to amputate his limbs at 1 1/2 years old. I’ve been in hospitals frequently throughout my life, and I’ve experienced what it feels like to be a hospital child – but I love Matthew’s attitude regarding his situation. He’s never known life without the situation he’s been given, and so he’s focused his life to benefit what he can do – rather than focusing on what he can’t. The fact that he’s a gamer on top of it all – is fantastic and the man is brilliant! BA in International Relations, PERFECT scores in Science and Math on SAT- and he’s planning on going to GRAD school for Political Science and MEDICAL school!
Way to go man!
Why does his story mean so much to me?
Well, just watch him play – and then you’ll see why this story touches me so much. I’m a huge advocate for game accessibility and providing more and more options for gaming for all players. I love that he doesn’t use any special equipment or hardware – he uses a keyboard and a mouse. I think there’s a lovely quote that he says in the interview that I think people need to take away from most gaming:
“I think it’s cool, Starcraft in particular, is a really neat opportunity for someone like me and for other people with physical disabilities because it’s – once you get to a certain level – about how your mind works, rather than how fast your fingers work.”
I love that he sees his gaming outlet as a way to compete with others without any assisted adaptations – I can’t tell you how much that touches my heart and makes me admire this man even more. He’s a phenomenal player with a phenomenal view on life whose message – I hope will influence other gamers to realize how blessed they are and how humbled they should be for their plastic controllers and ability to use them.
” I’m a very competitive person, and I’ve competed in all sorts of things – debate – I swam for a while, I’ve done stuff like that and that was nice and I really enjoyed it, but it was never quite enough. I could never compete against others without those sorts of adaptations. It was always ‘He did really well, but’ – and so this is a real different opportunity. This is the first time where I’ve really ever gotten the chance to [ measure yourself against everybody ] Exactly.”
So – here’s to you Mr. Fink! I’m inspired by you man – you make me appreciate my life and humble me to look at my own physical limitations with a renewed sense of confidence. You are my Inspirational Gamer of the Week sir and I hope that your journey around the world to support the play of StarCraft 2 and accessibility for disabled gamers – helps to provide encouragement to others and open the eyes of future developers to see how truly remarkable some of their valued players can be!
You can even like him on Facebook and follow his progress as he draws his world tour to a close on his Facebook page:
Well, I haven’t done one of these in a long while – but I think it’s time for a long overdue Developer of the Week post. This time I’m focusing on a company that I truly admire for giving the control of a game to the user and letting users merely play with tools to design their own gaming experiences. Media Moleculeis the UK based company famous for the lovely family-friendly PS3 exclusives LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2. I’ve been a huge fan and advocate of the LittleBigPlanetseries for years now, but what I’m most fascinated with by the Media Moleculecrew is the amazing opportunities for accessibility in player designed levels.
Umm... excuse me, but umm - might I get a nifty hat too?
LittleBigPlanet is a one of a kind ‘creator’ game, and players are truly taking advantage of these design tools to create unique and meaningful little gaming experiences [ some of which I’m so fascinated by I wish they were their own PSN games ] Now while LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2 as games themselves, can often lend themselves to a few accessibility issues in the Story mode, I think that can be overlooked by some of the more artistic and fantastic designs that the online community has been providing. Media Moleculeis a fantastic company for giving power to the players instead of just having them play through something that’s already been designed.
Here’s a couple of community levels that I’ve played that I definitely suggest you check out, because they’re quite accessible and definitely a fun experience to try out:
You play as a small jellyfish swimming through a vast ocean experience collecting colored water droplets to solve puzzles within the game. It’s a simple concept that’s extremely accessible. Created by a designer entitled: EaziG – the level provides simple gameplay, intricate puzzles, beautiful atmosphere and music, and when you see this little game it’s no wonder why I suggest that this game become it’s own little PSN title. The accessibility is phenomenal:
Relaxed gameplay and mechanics allows for players to take their time with each move. This helps mobility challenged gamers to actually succeed and enjoy this game – even single handed players will be able to enjoy this as long as you’re willing to be patient with the controls.
Color scheme is dark, but the main characters and puzzle pieces are illuminated in the darkened waters, which makes the game accessible for colorblind gamers and vision impaired gamers.
Deaf players can easily play this game, while it’s disappointing that they can’t hear the warm, calming, melodic music, no sounds are required to play.
This game is actually very simple and relaxing – so cognitively challenged players may actually enjoy this title.
Gameplay of Flowtation:
2. A Daily Cup of Tea:
This is a very simple item drop game, where players have to catch small sugar cubes into their tea cups. Now the game designed by Nirokeib, and while the design has a very sepia tone color scheme – the games accessibility makes it noteworthy to, once again, be one of the suggestions of ‘must check out’ LBP2 games. Here’s how the accessibility breaks down – and what makes it a fun experience for me personally:
The controls only require you to hit the triangle button once to lock into your tea cup, and then it’s a matter of moving left to right on one single analog stick. This may seem like too easy of a game to care about, but it’s actually quite a fun experience with the frequency of sugar cubes being set at random. You may see an easy moment where there’s only a few and then you’ll get bombarded with quite a few.
Precision is required, because you have to catch the sugar cubes in the cup to make them dissipate. This can make the game a tad more difficult for mobility impaired gamers, but still totally accessible.
The music is good, but it’s not required to play and all instructions are displayed to you via text – which is fantastic for deaf gamers. Definitely makes the level more accessible for those with hearing impairments.
Gameplay of A Daily Cup of Tea:
I’ve checked out quite a few more, but those two held the most love from me. I just want to give my love to Media Molecule, because they have a fantastic game that allows players to create accessible little mini games for fellow players. The Story modes and creation modes of LBP and LBP 2 may be a bit extensive to deal with for mobility challenged gamers [ Trust me, I’m perfectly capable of fast reflex movements, and many times LBP levels drove me nuts with how often I died. ]
Media Molecule gives players an ability to devise a game jam on a daily basis. They have millions of players devising millions of levels and with all of these vast creation tools and creators going forward there’s no wonder that these games are fantastic for the trend of accessibility being valued in games. Media Molecule, I just want to say folks, I love you guys. You have made a fantastic – trend-changing game, and I hope more and more community developers begin to devise games that are accessible to multiple players.
Well, this gives a new meaning to 'jaw dropping' performance...
LBP and LBP 2 have been two of my favorite games to play as an aspiring developer and I am fascinated by all of the lovely games I see coming out of the community and all of the advancements that you all have placed within the games’ look and feel. If anybody owns a PS3 [ especially if you’re a developer who owns one ] I highly suggest picking up these games. LBP and LBP 2 have deep creation tools that are easy to understand and access – and if you’re a more advanced designer you’ll be able to do even further fantastic levels with all of the advancements that LBP 2 has given.
Check out Media Molecule and the LBP series. Their gameplay and game design tools are making a difference, and that’s why I admire them and nominate them for my Developer of the Week this week. I hope that the future of this company keeps going forward, developing ways to provide more and more accessibility to the masses and the levels that they create and those that they allow players to create.
I can’t wait to see the future – and here’s to the waiting period for whenever they announce LittleBigPlanet 3.
Well, with the prices of gas sky-rocketing to 4+ dollars here in recent weeks, it got me to thinking about something that I love and wish we had – space travel. You know, because honestly, if we’re dealing with a natural resource issue on Earth perhaps we can start to mine planets for their resources? – maybe even find new ones we never knew existed? – well, that’s pretty much the job description of this week’s game protagonist: John Rochard.
Rock is hard. John Rochard is HARDER!
Rochardis the first game designed by Finland based Recoil Games – and it’s a great first step into the world of console development. Rochard has all the bells and whistles of a console puzzle and action game, and while I did find some issues with the accessibility of the game, the game overall is an enjoyable and rewarding experience that you’ll remember for quite a while. Here’s hoping that that trend carries over into future Recoil Gamestitles. Now, onto Rochard:
What is it? How do you play? etc.
Well, you play as the leader of a space mining crew named John Rochard. Your task, if you choose to accept it, is to guide John around and help search planets in search of a mineral known as turbinium. Rochard carries around a gravity-bending gun which you can use to help solve puzzles, access areas, defeat enemies etc. depending on the tasks at hand. Now I’ve only played the demo, and while it was shorter than I expected – it was an experience that definitely kept me wanting to see more of it – so that’s a bonus I think for any game.
Here's looking at you Gravity. Do your stuff.
The art design is lovely. Warm, bright, and meaningful color schemes truly give this game a touch that makes it worth checking out. It’s got a style akin to a steampunk/sci-fi comic book and I totally live for games like that. The dialogue between characters is witty and engaging and it’s completely subtitled, which makes for a wonderful experience for deaf gamers. The game gives you a nice tutorial using text to describe the actions you need to take, which helps deaf gamers gain accessibility to playing this game. The music is fantastic too – the opening cinematic really set me up for a joyous experience, and despite some qualms that I had, the game was one I’ll definitely be picking up.
Now, let’s get on to the accessibility listing, because obviously, there were problems:
Deep, interesting, and invested storyline in a gravity puzzle game.
Characters are truly charming and memorable. Rochard is a treat.
Music is fantastic. I swear the game made me feel the gritty electro-vibe.
The cinematics [ the few I saw via the demo ] were wonderful, and really added to the depth of gameplay as well as storyline.
Puzzles are engaging and difficult enough to challenge players.
Fast-paced action puzzler is something gaming needed: Rochard delivers.
Full subtitled dialogue, as well as tutorial instructions for new actions.
I'm just sailing, sailing on an ocean of gravity... there ain't nobody else but me...
On the PS3 version the joystick movement is really loose, and unfortunately, I didn’t find in the options menu where that could be changed. This game requires a lot of precision movements and placements in order to access specific areas, quick reflexes to fend off enemies, etc. and so mobility impaired gamers will severely struggle with timing and movement issues. In order to fix that, a control sensitivity setting would have been nice [ but perhaps it’s just in the demo and I’m unsure for PC or Mac versions. ]
Color-blind gamers may have issues with the environments. Examples include when gravity is turned off, the entire environment turns into shades of blue, etc. but most color schemes in Rochard are vibrant and distinct enough to combat that – if any color-blind gamers have any problems please let me know. I’d love to receive personal feedback from your perspective.
Cognitively impaired gamers will have a difficult time with this game – the puzzles are actually quite complicated once you get deeper into the physics pool that this game provides and can cause issues for some players certainly.
So, overall, it’s a great little physics based puzzle game – and despite the few hiccups in accessibility, Rochard, is definitely a must see. I’m hoping that the PC version provides a little more assistance for gamers with mobility issues, but like I said, if you can get passed that – the game is truly rewarding. It’s got a slew of levels and interactive moments and it’ll definitely be one I put on my PSN download list in the future. You can catch it on Steam, PC, Mac, and PSN right now for $ 9.99 or for $14.99 on Steam you can get the game and the soundtrack as well [ and it’s fantastic! ] Thanks Recoil Games for such an enjoyable and rewarding gaming experience – I’ll be venturing into the great unknown of space for quite some time thanks to you!
So I’ve sort of been on this whole love of foreign country games, and rightfully so. I think it has something to do with spring break [ and that thing I’m not usually acquainted with – sunshine ] I’ve just been musing – thinking about how glorious it would be for me to just be lounging somewhere peaceful. Perhaps I’ll think about going to a small little island somewhere off the coast of nowhere and just get lost in my peace and serenity – and then I realize… it’s just a dream, and I wake up.
Ahh... all alone. Now where's my hammock?
Well, if any of that made you think of the many maddening moments we all have during dreams, I’d invite you all to check out Swedish developers Cockroach Inc. and their delightfully mysterious indie title called The Dream Machine. It’s unique design, deeply interesting storyline, and odd enchanting characters make The Dream Machine a must check out. The game is divided into chapters and you can easily purchase each piece individually, but what I love is that they let you play through the whole first chapter for FREE.
Now, why do I love this game?
Well first of all – there’s the art style. Anders Gustafsson and Erik Zaring made this whole game out of clay and cardboard, which is why it charms it’s way into my heart as one of the most enjoyable artistic experience I’ve ever had in gaming. They have some fantastic little flash game experiences on their website, but The Dream Machine stands out. It’s a dark, yet engaging little art piece. The gameplay is point and click adventure game, but there’s a sense of narrative and mystery novel that I haven’t seen in games in a while. It may be simple gameplay, but it’s such an intriguing experience that you won’t let go.
Can I help you? Look into my eyes!
Gustafsson and Zaring made some very distinct choices that I feel makes The Dream Machinesuch a far reaching accessible title, and I hope that my fellow gamers appreciate them:
No audio needed, except music is great, which is a shame for deaf gamers.
Point and Click for mobility impaired gamers.
Easy gameplay with difficult puzzles and problem solving.
An above screen inventory setup
Slight highlight and wording when you glide over clickable objects.
There were only a few issues that I found with the game in terms of accessibility, but it’s a stylized deal – not necessarily gameplay issues:
Difficult puzzles, while great overall, problematic for cognitively impaired.
Color scheme may make it difficult for colorblind gamers to play areas.
Text is rather small so it can make for issues for vision impaired gamers.
The game is filled with a rather deeper, darker, mature sort of storyline.
Now while that last one really isn’t an issue with the gameplay, it’s more of a warning for players. The game is a deep cerebral experience and it often mentions disturbing mysterious dream sequences and I’ve encountered a few slews of curses within the text so far [ I’ve only played through Chapter 1 ] but the game is amazing with all things considered.
Now, currently, their website is selling the FULL game [ All 5 Chapters ] for € 13.00 [ but more chapters will be added later ] It will require you to make an account with The Dream Machine‘s website to actually buy the game, but the game is entirely allowed with Cloud save access and allows you to play from any computer anywhere! It’s truly a dream game and a special little experience. I highly recommend checking out Chapter 1 and seeing what you personally think, but Cockroach Inc. has officially made a warm spot in my heart for noir/mystery art games. They’ve not only made an artistic masterpiece, they’ve also made it a highly accessible experience that any gamer should experience at least once.
I always find it a charming experience when I can find games made from foreign countries that can make me smile. In this month’s case of The Humble Bundle – I think I’ve found a new love in a game design company. Now you all may have been around when I touched on Machinarium during my Point and Click Adventures post , and let’s just say if you liked that you’ll certainly love the package that the Humble “Botanicula” Debut gives you.
Created by Czech Republic indie company Amanita Design these games are fantastic, whimsical, and will charm their way into your hearts with their simplistic, engaging, and emotionally heartwarming gameplay. The glorious thing about it all, is that you pay what YOU want for the Bundle – and your donations go to a wonderful cause – we’ve been through this routine before with past Humble Bundles if you’ve followed my blog. I’m telling you now they’re wonderful money-saving, cause caring little bundles and you should really check them out.
In the Humble Botanicula Debut you’ll receive the following:
Kooky – An indie movie by Amanita Design
Windosill – if you pay over the average donation – which is 8.77 as of now
So, now to try and examine each one, in short, to prove you get your money’s worth.
In the newest release from Amanita Design, you play as a quirky little gang of misfit tree creatures [ one looks like a stick, the other an acorn or seed, one looks like a fruit, etc. ] and you must guide them about this fantastically artistic world to save their forest homeland from spider invaders. Does this sound fun yet? – well it should! The game has a sense of whimsical charm I haven’t seen in ages, and it’s point and click storybook humor and gameplay make it not only simple, but a game that can be enjoyed by players of all age groups.
One small step for seeds - one giant leap for a forest.
I really have nothing bad to say about this game, because it doesn’t have dialogue from what I’ve experienced, and if it’s anything like most Amanita Design games, they’ve taken into account deaf players and either added no necessity for sound, or some sort of written or picture instruction [ in Machinarium, they used picture instructions so I’m leaning on the same vein. ] The colors are vivid and the animations are child-like and gorgeous. The mechanics are easy enough via point and click mechanics – so if you’ve got a mouse, even those with limited mobility will be able to play this game.
We're your friends! We're your friends! We're your friends till the bitter end!
The color scheme is the only thing that scares me, not being color blind I don’t know how this will affect colorblind gamers, but there’s quite a few spots where I felt that the colors of the background and items tended to have similar color tones, and that may cause some issues, but the characters and backgrounds I feel are vivid enough to counteract that. If any color-blind gamer gives this game a shot, let me know your personal opinion. I would love to hear it from a person who’s had first hand experience. Overall though, the game is charming and can be played by practically anyone – I totally endorse it as a must see game.
Some of you have probably already heard of my ringing endorsement of Machinarium, but in case you haven’t, please check out my post on Point and Click Adventures.
If there ever was a game that I could honestly say had an almost Salvador Dali feel to it then it would have to be Samorost, but it’s sequel brethren Samorost 2 is no different. Now in Samorost 2 you play as a little man who’s dog has been kidnapped by alien invaders. They’ve taken your dog and now you must fly off to go on a grand quest to save him and find a way to return home. This basic and charming premise leads to one of the most heartwarming and light-hearted stories I’ve seen in ages.
Excuse me, but umm - have you seen a dog about Mr. Aardvark?
Now the games difficulty can become a bit tedious, as this point and click adventure game doesn’t hold your hand. You’re not told what does what, and you’re not told what items you can click on – so you’re sort of shooting in the dark, but I think that’s the joy of point and click adventure games. It’s a puzzle from the moment you walk into an environment. The game really has no dialogue, except for some sounds here and there, and so it can be played rather well by deaf gamers. The game is, once again, for all ages too. It provides a whimsical and exhilarating change of pace from the stereotypical game culture of FPS’s and MMO’s that we have floating around today.
Oh Wise Big Head! Me and my pup want to go home!
The color schemes are great, vibrant colors with distinct tones to separate one object from the other without being too offensive to the eyes. Samorost 2 is truly a treat, and I suggest anyone who loves any of these games today to seriously check it out. If you’re unsure still and you want to give the game a whirl you can try out the demo – or try out the full version of it’s predecessor Samorost. It’ll truly be a surrealist gaming experience that I feel you’ll cherish in your heart for a while.
Now Kooky isn’t even a game, but rather, it breaks from the traditional design medium of Amanita Design by being a MOVIE. This movie has everything going for it, and while at first I was skeptical of having an indie game company design and produce an indie film, I was proven wrong with my foot in my mouth when I watched the trailer. If you personally loved the movie “Where The Wild Things Are” or have ever watched any Muppet/puppet based movie – you’ll probably love Kooky.
A picture of the Kooky puppets from a museum exhibit
Kooky is a tale about a little teddy bear who gets lost from his owner, and must travel across a forest in search of him. This basic principle has been done before, by many successful franchises [ in fact I’m pretty sure Winnie The Pooh was made off the idea of adventuring to find Christopher Robin ] but my point is this – this movie will captivate you. The movie is captivating, in my eyes, because of the use of materials and the use of Czech actors actually portraying the English speaking roles. The accents portrayed give a wonderful tone to the movie, and the puppets are gritty, odd, and out-of-this-world unique.
You can see Kooky in all of it’s glory in both the Czech/English Dub, or you can watch it in Czech with English subtitles – and to think you can get this ALL of these for less than 10 dollars? I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the whole thing, and you should too. Here’s the trailer to show you how amazing of an experience you’re bound to have:
[ Yes, that’s Jeremy Irons being Narrator ^_^ If that doesn’t sell you… ]
If you’re looking for a completely bonkers, unusually artsy experience well then look no further than Patrick Smith of Vector Park and his odd-ball game of Windosill. The game look like it came out of a child’s nursery, if it was the nursery of a famous artist of course. My point is this game will be odd, I’m certain of it – but after playing the demo I’m completely intrigued. There are a couple of issues I have with the game that limit it’s accessibility, but overall it’s grand.
Well, this is a look into a person's closet...
The first would be the color tones. I’m in love with the artwork that Smith has portrayed, but the rooms often carry very similar color tones, and for color blind gamers that can make differentiating items difficult to determine. The other is that, because there is no instruction what so ever you’re tossed in blindly to finding out how to access new areas – what items do, etc. It’s a very odd game to say the least, but it’s a beautiful game and if you’re looking for something oddball to pass the time I’d definitely say you should be glad to pick this up.
So there you have it folks! Four fantastically artistic indie games that are both simple to play and beautiful to look at, and one intriguing childhood whimsical film that I’m exceptionally excited about. You can grab all of these for less than 10 dollars currently and you’re donations are not going to waste either. You’ll be aiding the World Land Trust, an organization that works to promote conservation of our world’s natural rain forests. So please, if you’re in a gaming mood and in a giving mood – I suggest stopping over and checking out the Humble “Botanicula” Bundle.
You’ll be glad you did. The Bundle is going to be running for 13 more days so get your button clicking fingers ready and pay what you want for a fantastic good time!
Today on this weeks’s Inspirational Gamer of the Week, I decided to focus my attention on a very important topic that is near and dear to my heart. I recently watched a video from a gamer named Justin LeGrande, or otherwise known as 8-Bit Animal, and his video touched my heart with his message and so I figured that I would share it with my audience.
Cyber-bullying, or Online Discrimination is a huge problem within our online gaming communities. I can personally say that’s why I practically despised the movement to online gameplay when most games started importing multiplayer aspects to their games just so they could say that they were online compatible. I’ve had countless times where I’ve personally felt the sting of online harassment, and it’s one of the few reasons why I refuse to ever wear a headset again. A headset, while it may be useful in some games, is practically a gateway to getting bullied and harassed.
What makes it worse, is that I typically don’t talk back – which only allows me to listen to the slurs of vulgar language, discriminatory conduct, and depravity that are passing through the airwaves during matches. I’ll give you an example:
Recently I was playing the Uncharted 3 Multiplayer on my PS3, and while I didn’t have a mic on, one of my anonymous party members did. Now the voice was obviously that of teenage kid, probably no more than 12 – 13 and so his comments shouldn’t get to me right? He’s just a kid, and I don’t know this person – so why should his words affect me? Well – unfortunately, they can and do for many gamers around the world. I personally have been picked on enough, that I can shove words like ‘retard’, ‘gimp’, etc. in one ear and out the other.
This kid was reaming on me, because I kept trying to save his butt, but in the process kept dying. Now I’m pretty good at the Uncharted Multiplayer. I won’t lie, I’ve got quite a few hours of that game under my belt, but when a teenager calls you all sorts of discriminatory names without knowing who you are at all – it really devalues your gaming experience and makes you not want to play anymore. This is exactly what Justin gets at in his video, and that’s why I love him for it.
How can we allow this to continue?
We have to be able to stand up for gamers, especially gamers who don’t have the courage or the ability to stand up for themselves. I love his advice on trying to make sure that you have a dedicated group of players and friends who know you well enough that discrimination won’t be an issue. I love all of my fellow gamers no matter what race, creed, orientation, etc. I’m a fan for all, but what I’m not a fan of is disrespect and grief for just being a fellow gamer. It’s uncalled for and rude behavior that drives me away from online gameplay constantly.
Now sure, there’s ways to prompt that gamers be banned and accounts pulled – but that’s not what I’m asking for either. All I’m asking for is a sense of understanding, and some maturity on the part of my fellow gamer. We have to start being aware that the millions of players around us on these online servers come from ALL walks of life. They may be homosexual, bi-sexual, black, white, disabled, etc. and guess what?
IT SHOULDN’T MATTER!
It shouldn’t matter if a 19 year old GIRL gamer who’s paralyzed in a wheelchair can headshot you in Halo Reach 3 times before you even change your clip out – but apparently it’s heinous in the eyes of bigot gamers who feel that the anonymity of online gameplay gives them the right to say horribly outlandish things. I find these actions appalling and that’s why I’m so admiring of 8-Bit Animal for his inspiring message.
You are an amazing gamer man, and I appreciate all of the sentiments and ideas that you’ve bestowed upon our gaming community. You have my fellow gamer support and I applaud you for such a stand up message. I hope more and more people begin to think and act like you when it comes to online gameplay, because seriously, the online market needs to change. Discrimination will always be a factor, but hopefully, we can at least get word out enough that we lessen the impact of the words in question and hopefully get fellow gamers thinking about their actions.
To all my fellow gamers,
Please heed this man’s wisdom. Acknowledge that just because a gaming console or PC gives you the anonymity to be an avatar or portray someone else it doesn’t give you free reign to abuse your fellow gamer. Griefing is a form of cyber-bullying and it’s been happening now for far too long. There are far too many children and adults plagued by these anonymous discriminatory actions not to do anything. To joke around in a group of close friends may seem acceptable, but to do so spitefully and rudely on an open forum like a gaming site or server can cause detrimental damage to the receiver. Please think about your actions and, when all is said and done, it’s almost best to say nothing than to say anything at all.
If you’re an advocate in the fight against cyber-bullying, if you feel like all gamers should have a peaceful environment to play within, then I urge you to check out more information on cyber-bullying here:
The more we get acquainted with the actions that we take that are abusive, the quicker we can become aware of the steps needed to stop these interactions. I pray for a day when cyber-bullying isn’t an issue, but until that day, the best step is to be made aware that it is one. On the site there’s also a game available to play too called Alex WonderKid Cyber Detective.
I haven’t downloaded it yet [ and I assume it’s PC only ] but it’s supposed to help students learn about the dangers and issues involved with cyber-bullying and discrimination.
Thank you Justin and I hope that your message helps touch countless other gamers!
Well, I’m always a fan of etherial sorts of gameplay, and today’s game is no exception to that. I’m fascinated when a game can take a simple design aspect like light, and transform it into the base medium for their game. Now some of you may hate me today [ in fact I’m sure many of you will if you don’t own a PS3 ] but today’s game is a PSN exclusive for now… unfortunately. I wish I could provide this game to anyone and everyone, but alas, there WILL be PC and Mac versions later this year. So now, please, before I ramble on any further – how about we get some Closure?
The light will guide you home...
I remember seeing closure back at PAX ’09 [ Yeah, it’s been a while ] and when I first checked out this game by Tyler Glaiel, Jon Shubbe, and Christopher Rhyne [ The trio of Eyebrow Interactive ] I was fascinated by the initial concept, and in fact, it was one of the first indie games that really strengthened my desire to step into this industry. [ Thanks guys! ]
Three years later, and now they’re a indie game sensation. They’ve won countless indie game awards, and honestly, when you look at Closure – you can see why. Closure is this artistic, musically enthralling, light puzzle game and it’s got so much going for it that I’m scared to even say a word about it.
Left or Right - Oh for the love of Light I can't choose!
The gameplay mechanics are really nice. I always love when you can port onto a game and your controls feel fluid and simple. The game only requires the use of three buttons too: x, square, and triangle. I’m hoping that the Mac and PC versions only require a point and click interface – it would provide much more accessibility. The game is intriguing on all fronts, whether it be the alluring art design from Shubbe, or the dark and pulse pounding musical tones from Ryhne – this game has a ton to keep you entertained.
The great thing is that, while in some cases and puzzles you have to follow the light around, I felt like there wasn’t a severe sense of urgency. If I failed I could simply start over again, and there was no real penalty or game over screen. The color scheme of the monotone black and white was a brilliant choice – considering that it aids colorblind gamers and makes the visuals actually pop quite nicely. There isn’t a real requirement to play this game with sound, but the sound definitely adds to the games allure – so deaf players will be sadly missing out if they don’t have hearing aids. I merely tried the demo, and I’m already hooked. They managed to take a game I had witnessed back when they first started conception – and turn it into a real masterpiece.
Lights... Camera... Action!
Accessibility, for mobility impaired gamers, is where it gets tricky. The game is simple, and so it’s refined mechanics make it easy to go from one button input to the next. The downside though, is that in many of some of the beginning puzzles [ and I presume further on ] you actually have to follow the light, and while I’m sure it can be done with one hand on the analog stick – it makes for precision timing issues and that can lead to the failure of a level multiple times. The game is forgiving though, and allows you to replay levels as many times as you need, which is a refreshing thing to see game designers put into console games. I hate ‘Game Over‘ screens, I prefer “Continue at your leisure‘ games.
I thought it was something back in ’09, but give them a while and they really did a fantastic job. The game is accessible to almost everyone, considering that there’s no dialogue instructions or need for sound to play. Blind gamers will be sadly out of luck due to this lack of audio instructions, and the fact that you need to be able to see the puzzles to complete the worlds, but overall, it’s accessible which is a great thing. There’s definitely a sense of losing yourself though, which can be a bummer for some gamers. The lack of light in levels can cause you to fall off into the vast black spaces, or cause you not to be able to see the full map of where you need to get to.
I need a little Closure in my life.
One aspect that I really loved was the idea of having multiple characters in multiple worlds, so each world advancement, your character gains a new persona to aid it through the light defying levels. I love this game and quite honestly, I’ll probably be buying the full game the moment I have enough to splurge on it. You should definitely check this game out if you’re a puzzle fiend, are into artsy games, and you love deep, enjoyable indie game experiences – Closure is most definitely for you.
Aside from a few minor down points this game is all upside, and I’m totally endorsing it as a highly accessible game that, when you get the opportunity, everyone should try out. I can’t wait for the game to come to PC and Mac so more players can try it out, but if you’re hankering for a wonderfully immersive and innovative puzzle game give yourself some Closureat the price of $14.99 on PSN – or you know play the free demo before you go splurge that cash on an awesome game.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some light bending to do and some puzzles to thwart…
You know, on occasion, I find some really interesting games that I just feel compelled to comment on. I’d much rather introduce them early than wait to catch up with the masses. Today is no different, which is why I’m not waiting till Tuesday to post this. Today I’ve got a lovely little artistic game called I Saw Her Standing There… by Krang Games.
I Saw Her Standing There… is a puzzle game with tons of artistic appeal. It looks so simple, but the story is fun and engaging. You play as a small stick icon in love with a fellow icon and as you approach you realize there’s a twist to this love story…
I Saw Her Standing There… But Then She Was A Zombie.
This game has something definitely going for it: humor.
Each level is like a segment of your avatar’s devotion to his zombie fiancee. The game mechanics can be a little cumbersome, but it’s a fun enjoyable experience for such a simple game. The puzzles involve you having to lure your zombie fiancee into a containment cage. It sounds simple, but it can actually be quite difficult due the WASD/ Arrow Key movement. As you advance throughout the game, the game adds other controls too, including a spacebar for a gun to fend off offensive zombies.
... I love you... You nom me... I don't care if you're a zombie...
This game is adorably charming, and I’d highly recommend it for someone who’s into games that are driven by a narrative concept in a game. It’s the narrative of this love story that drives you to continue from level to level, and the simple design of the game makes it easier for many players. Color blind gamers won’t have a problem with the game, and neither will deaf players. The only demographic that will have a major problem is motor impaired gamers, because it can be quite difficult with the control scheme.
I kind of wish it was a point n’ click situation, but alas, the game still delivers on a beautiful premise. The game is a testament to how sometimes simplicity can definitely mean more. There are 15 levels, so it can be a short, sweet love fest of gaming. The game is so much simple fun that I don’t really have much more to say…
… all I will say is that the ending will definitely be a surprise, and I hope that you love your virtual zombie bride as much as I enjoyed playing this new indie title. It is definitely an artistic title to say the least. I would love to see this title become bigger and better, maybe even garnish a phone/tablet game. You can play it for free though here: