Dec 16, 2015

The Paradise of Issyos, Priorities and Progress

Two freeware games I'm most proud to have helped with have been released and that, dear reader, does make me rather happy. Here you can download Locomalito's excellent arcade platformer The Curse of Issyos and here you can play the Greek version of educational/political/strategy twine The Paradise of Debt (Ο Παράδεισος του Χρέους). I did come up with the Greek names for monsters and things for the former and translated the latter. 

Now that you know, I suppose it's time for me to get back to finishing Workers In Progress SE: Progress Harder which is almost done and looking way better than I expected it to and Earthling Priorities which has stalled again but is really close to release.

Dec 14, 2015

Game Cities: The Motionless City

Did you know that I spent over 10 years of my adult life almost exclusively studying cities, urban planning, the geography of cities and urbanism? Well, it's absolutely true. I even have the PhD, papers and teaching experience to prove this and, to cunningly and swiftly change the subject, as I've always been fascinated by those intricate, built manifestations of society and loved working on games, I've decided to bring the two together. My first attempt was that ambitious City RPG that's been --to put it mildly-- put on hold, but now more things are afoot.

I've already started consulting on city matters and exercising my fantasy urban planning skills for an amazing indie project I cannot say much about (yet), am actively looking for more work of the sort and have even slowly began organizing a book about the crafting of cities and settlements for games.

What's more, I thought it might be a nice idea to start writing a few simple articles about games and cities. Or even about the principles of urban planning that can be applied to level design. About storytelling via the built environment. Then again, a series of articles might be too time consuming to be a great idea after all. We'll just have to see how that goes I suppose, as I'm in no position to make any promises. For now, let me attempt a first take at an article of the sort.

Oct 28, 2015

Eye^Game^Candy: Life and Death

It may have been released across all major computer gaming formats and may have looked impressive on the Amiga, but it was always the CGA, MS-DOS version of Life and Death I considered the more appropriate. Its garish colours had an uncanny ability to make the subject matter just a little bit more disturbing to turn each operation into an exercise in bloody horror, whereas the PC beeper powered scream was simply unparalleled in its other-worldliness. Oh, yes, and this was actually the version I've always owned and loved complete in its magnificent box with the surgical mask and that brilliantly written The History of Surgery book. 

Find out more about Life and Death on MobyGames and Abandonia.

Oct 23, 2015

The City and the RPG That Never Were

I have been mentioning a certain RPG on and off for the past 15 or so months and have been working on it for longer than that, but it apparently just wasn't meant to be. Not yet at least and, shockingly, due to the very same reasons the wise Jonas Kyratzes was afraid of, but, admittedly, that's indie development you. There's always a chance you'll spend hundreds of hours for absolutely nothing.

Even more so if you are not a programmer and/or do not have access to several thousand dollars, euros, pounds, doesn't-really-matters.

Despite the fact that I am capable of fully comprehending this harsh reality, it remains incredibly disheartening to see such an ambitious and promising project simply die. Despite all the days poured into it and the brilliantly talented people that never gave up on it, the Kyttaro or City RPG as people used to call it will most probably never happen.

All I can do, after over a year of pre-production, countless pages worth of words, dozens of sketches and almost two prototypes, is attempt to give you an idea of what would have been and, in a way, preserve the game's memory. It was pretty important to me, you see, and having it cancelled almost made me give up games entirely, but, well, I do at least hope you'll find reading about the RPG-that-never-was interesting.

Oct 16, 2015

The Watchful Indie Watch #16.10

Now, that's more like it game dev dears. A healthy but not overwhelming week of new and intriguing indie things, that's managed to include a healthy mix of genres, styles and ideas.

On the retro-esque side of things, here's a little something I haven't played: That Dam Level. It's obviously TMNT and NES inspired and is cheap enough to be worth the risk.

On the generally sparsely populated adventure-platformer-RPG side of thing on the other hand we have Wanderer. It's seeking funding on Kickstarter and looking stunning.

Tale of Enders by Thunderware is way simpler. It's an ASCII maze exploration game and a refreshingly elegant one at that. Also, cheap.

Also, also, graveyard exploring, tombstone reading sim Boon Hill has been released and it's as fun as it doesn't sound. A very interesting and somber piece of gaming.

The Mooseman has appeared on Steam Greenlight. Looks wonderfully moody and has a shaman as its protagonist. I do love shamans.

Oh, and if you are looking for a seemingly addictive strategic-RPG-of-sorts-thingy, I suppose Templar Battleforce is worth checking out. Feels very Space Hulk-y and very good, though admittedly I've only played for an hour or so.

Reminder: I could really use your support via Patreon in order to survive long enough to make more indie gaming (and gaming in general) words and, of course, actual games and things. Thanks!

Oct 14, 2015

Strolling through the texty fields of 2015 IF Comp

The 21st Interactive Fiction Competition, the aptly named 2015 IF Comp, has opened its virtual doors (to its titular virtual fields obviously) and you can now either download a single .zip archive containing all 55 --I think-- texty entries, or simply follow this link to the comp's games to download and play stuff individually. 

Many will work better online, some might require you type words, others will come with digital feelies and most parser-based ones should probably be played using an interpreter like the excellent Gargoyle, but, I know, you care not for the details.

You love your interactive fiction, crave text adventures and deeply appreciate CYOAs. You are my precious reader and it's this texty time of the year when you get to play, discuss and judge an excellent selection of i-f offerings. A selection that's so far proven so amazingly good, I couldn't help but think that an exhibition might be a better idea than a competition after all.

As for the games I've already played, well, I've been writing about them over at the Impish Words, Spirited Games page on facebook, though I do suppose I could edit and post some of those mini-reviews here. Actually, I just did: