Wondering what’s been keeping Venus Patrol relatively radio-silent the past couple months? Here’s one big reason: Thursday, June 13th, concurrent with this year’s E3 expo, the site will be partnering with MOCAtv, the video channel of Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, to present HORIZON, a press conference that will highlight a lineup of beautiful games as an alternative to what we’ve come to expect from standard E3 fare.
While we’re still keeping a tight lid on what the actual lineup will entail, the conference will present games from studios both small and large, and will showcase new looks at and details about some games you may have already heard of, as well as brand new games from some of your favorite developers, and very possibly some super secret new surprises that will be entirely unexpected.
If you’re a member of the press, invites to the event will be headed your way shortly — so save the date now — email email@example.com if you’re especially excited about attending and we’ll do what we can to make sure you’re there!
The genesis of HORIZON came as Cory Schmitz (who is, of course, behind the fantastic HORIZON design) & I sat at home streaming last year’s string of E3 press conferences and instantly decided to “light a candle, rather than curse the darkness” and try to put together the E3 experience we wanted to see in the world.
Through the organizational help and guidance of Double Fine‘s Greg Rice, Mathew Kumar, and especially the involvement of MOCAtv and curator Sarah Brin (who also helped organize the super excellent Ahhhcade exhibition at SFMOMA during this year’s Game Developers Conference), we think we’re putting together something very exciting, which we hope will stand out and become a new E3 tradition.
We’ll have much more to say about HORIZON in the coming weeks — we hope you’ll start looking forward to this as much as we are!
A week or so on, I wanted to give a quick update from both Keita & me, to say many thanks for everyone that’s supported the Videogame Romantics project so far, and to announce this little site I had a wild hare to put together over the weekend: WeAreVideogameRomantics.com, a mega-site of everyone who’s joined our league to express their “naïve, pure, wonderful, and silly Love“.
If you’ve already received your order — or were one of the many who bought one of the T-shirts at our GDC party this year — we’d love to have you submit a photo of yourself wearing the shirt, as a couple of you already have! You can do so here (it even works directly from your iPhone library through some manner of tumblr magic) — and hopefully soon enough we can crowd out the random package shots I added with some real actual human faces. We look forward to seeing you there!
Every month, as part of the regular monthly meetings of the Austin, TX independent game community JUEGOS RANCHEROS, we do a very casual & chatty rundown of the ten or so games from the previous month for the audience, to give people — especially those curious onlookers from outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed. The featured games are both local and global, and both indie and, on occasion, a bit-bigger-budget — what binds them together is simply that they’re all amazing.
In keeping with the tongue-in-tobacco-packed-cheek tone, we call these run-downs A Fistful of Indies, which are presented here on Venus Patrol for your reference, each fully-annotated, -linked, and off-the-cuff blurbed, in addition to their home on the JUEGOS RANCHEROS site.
See more posts about: A Fistful of Indies, Badland, IGF, JUEGOS RANCHEROS, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Melodive, Memory of a Broken Dimension, NightSky, Pipe Trouble, The Best Amendment, The Castle Doctrine, Triad
OK, it’s time to unbury this lede a bit: as you may have seen, New York designers Eric Zimmerman, Naomi Clark, and Ranjit Bhatnagar have just launched a Kickstarter that will revive cult-legend online multiplayer game Sissyfight 2000 — nearly a decade after it was last playable — and they’ll be doing so on a new home for online games currently being built by QWOP creator Bennett Foddy & myself.
Probably you will have had to be of a certain age & persuasion to remember the original Sissyfight — it was first launched in 2000 as part of the long-defunct web-zine Word.com, which at the time was a massive influence on me as a college kid who, even then, wanted to smash together the world of comics, words and interactive art & games in a way that it’d take me another 15 years to get right. (For more on that, I highly recommend spending your afternoon traversing this visual history of Word, and the Wayback Machine’s admittedly super-broken but still relatively complete archives, which you can jump forward in time a bit to see more issues of. It was the actual best website of the late 90s.)
Sissyfight itself was a cornerstone of what made Word.com amazing, and — apart from the Kickstarter page itself — Zimmerman, Wikipedia, and this ancient Salon article will best get you back up to speed on the game itself. Or, even more briefly, here’s how the precis goes: it’s a real-time online playground game for 3-6 players, each trying to lower the self-esteem of their pig-tailed opponents through a series of carefully considered rounds of teasing, scratching & tattling, which presents a surprising amount of team-up tactics to reduce your rivals to ruins.
An online press preview last week was the first time I’d played the game since my now quite hazy college days, and I was delighted to find it was as compelling & engaging as I’d remembered, which is just part of the reason I’m proud to be able to have a hand in its re-birth.
If you visit the Kickstarter page, you’ll find that I’m doing that not only with some direct support of the campaign itself — with a very limited number of some of my own remaining supply of Venus Patrol Kickstarter goods, including some Scott C prints & #sworcery 7″s — but by providing the web-home where you’ll be able to play the game on its re-release.
On that: we’re still being somewhat tight-lipped about What This New Online Games Site Will Entail, but Foddy & I — with the help of the super amazing developer Mark Olson — have been quietly building up what we hope you’ll regard as a beautiful, vibrant place to both discover new games and, crucially, learn more about the actual people who develop them.
We’ll explain what this all entails very soon (the site is looking great, but we’ve still got a bit of sweeping up to do before we open the doors) — in the meantime, all of us hope you’ll join us on the first step and support Team Sissyfight in bringing back a long-lost classic.
It’s time for that little link at the top to shine a little brighter: I’m very pleased to announce that the Venus Patrol Shop is now, finally, open for business, which also brings even better news — the official, worldwide release of Keita Takahashi’s Videogame Romantics T-shirts.
In addition to the remaining “Sunset” stock we originally made available at our Wild Rumpus / Venus Patrol GDC Party, we’re also introducing two new colorways: “Octopus”, with pink on heather-purple, and “Treasure”, with sparkly gold on black (which, to Keita’s dismay, is not made of actual gold).
The Venus Patrol Shop is also currently stocked with a small selection of other items from friends of the site, including T-shirts, prints and zines from artists & writers like Maré Odomo, Cory Schmitz, Zac Gorman and Mathew Kumar. You’ll even find a few super-premium items in stock, like these hand-woven scarves featuring art from Faraway creator Steph Thirion’s debut game Eliss.
Be sure to let Keita & I know how you like the shirts! Photos for our scrapbook/future Tumblr posts can be submitted care of that Submit link at top. And overall, I genuinely hope you like what you see at the store, and thanks much to our superpals at Fangamer for all the hard work they put into making it a real thing — stay tuned for news on many more things I’m working on bringing to it in the coming months!
[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]
Multiplayer games have been undergoing a beautiful renaissance over the past couple years, and we’ll be bringing three of the best examples to Austin’s North Door next Thursday, May 2nd, at 7:00PM, as JUEGOS RANCHEROS presents Monaco, Towerfall and a brand-new version of Nidhogg.
A long-standing staple of JUEGOS RANCHEROS events, we’ll be celebrating the debut of our first permanently-installed TEXATRON cabinet by bringing a brand-new version of Messhof’s brilliant lo-fi sword-fighter Nidhogg, complete with a visual overhaul, a fantastic new soundscape, and a stack of new moves that’ll make this round feel fresh, even if you’ve faced off against a local rival a thousand times before.
We’ll also be debuting Towerfall, the “retro archery platformer” by Canada’s own super prolific developer Matt Thorson, who you may recognize from his frequent contributions to Adult Swim, including Give Up Robot, Fat Wizard and, most recently, Planet Punch. Fans of Spelunky‘s deathmatch or Beau Blyth’s Samurai Gunn will feel right at home here.
And last, but certainly not least, we’ll be featuring Pocketwatch Games’ long-anticipated and just-released multiplayer heist game Monaco — winner of 2010′s IGF Grand Prize, and near-universally praised as a new gold standard in multiplayer games.
Everything will be kicking off Thursday, May 2nd, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public — come drink, play, and meet the people changing the way you think about videogames!
[Fridays on Venus Patrol are designer Dominique 'Dom2D' Ferland's day to present TIGSource DevLog Magazine, a visual guide to the newest & most interesting in-development games making the rounds on the invaluable TIGSource forums. Looking for inspiration, or just the very first look at the amazing games we'll be talking about in the future? Click any image to learn more, and come back on Fridays for the latest picks!]
This week’s selection shows some love for pixel art, with fourteen games in development showing true skill with the pixel brush! We have Chasm in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign, Tale of the Stolen Rainbow creating an epic Zelda-like adventure with minimalist black and white pixels, and then there’s The Bitter End.. oh wait, it seems to have been made in Hexels!
I’d also like to point out that Dungeon Hearts, a puzzler for the quick mind, has finally been released on the App Store, after over two years of thorough devlogs on the TIGSource Forums. You should probably read their entries, especially if you enjoy the soundtrack – there’s a freebie in there somewhere!
See more posts about: Chasm, Dungeon Hearts, Dying Sun, GetOff, Grabbyhands, Grotto Quest, Meta4, Olav and the Flute, Pipeworks, Sky Tourist, Solstice, Sprout, Super Punchball, Tale of the Stolen Rainbow, The Bitter End, The Dungeoning, TIGSource DevLog, Trash TV, Upthere
After well over a year of build-up and preparation, the day has finally come: Austin indie collective JUEGOS RANCHEROS has officially given the first of its TEXATRON machines a permanent home at Guzu, Austin’s new best designer toy/art/comic shop & gallery.
What this means for you is that now you can go play Messhof’s still-unbelievably-highly-anticipated Nidhogg, for free, whenever you want, during Guzu’s operating hours — as well as a slew of other games on the Winnitron network, including special 2-player builds of Canabalt & Super Crate Box, and much more.
The installation is just the first of what we hope will be many more to come, as well as the prelude to many enhancements to the Winnitron’s front- and back-ends to make machines like the TEXATRON perfect cultural-outreach machines to bring interesting, beautiful videogames to a wider and cross-cultural audience.
If you’re in Austin, drop by Guzu at 5000 N Lamar Blvd — just next door to Austin Books & Comics — and be sure to browse around for a legitimately amazing selection of books & toys while you’re there. Keep your eyes on the TEXATRON site for more news about upcoming locations, and investigate the Winnitron site if you’d like to bring machines like this to your own town.
Good news for those across the pond, as UK supergroup Wild Rumpus have officially announced the date, time & nautical location of their next multiplayer games event.
The group will be taking to the high seas, sort of, for a party aboard the MS Stubnitz that will not only include a live set from Super Hexagon composer Chipzel, but the UK debut of Keita Takahashi’s Tenya Wanya Teens, its first appearance abroad following our GDC party & most recent JUEGOS RANCHEROS meetup.
The Rumpus is happening Saturday, May 11th, just one day after the UK indie conference Bit of Alright, which will also be aboard the Stubnitz and will include talks from Thomas Was Alone‘s Mike Bithell, Hide & Seek’s Holly Gramazio, Wild Rumpus’s own George Buckenham, writer & game designer Cara Ellison, Redshirt creator Mitu Khandaker and many more.
Tickets for the Rumpus are currently on sale via eventbrite here, just a few hops away from Bit of Alright’s own eventbrite, where you can purchase tickets for the day-long conference. More of the lineup for both events will be available soon via Wild Rumpus & Bit of Alright‘s respective sites.
In addition to the new David Kanaga drops, we also get this: Blue Skies, Green Hills, a free Sonic the Hedgehog tribute album put together by Paul Veer (he of Sega Zine & Gun Godz & general art renown).
The album features a who’s-who of indie game musicians, including Luftrausers & Gun Godz composer Kozilek, Souleye — the musician behind Terry Cavanagh’s VVVVVV, Reckahdam — composer, programmer, and the drummer you’ve seen supporting any given live Disasterpeace performance, and, notably, Anticon’s Doseone, who you’ll no doubt recognize as the artist behind Gun Godz‘ title theme.
As usual, you can stream the entire album above, or download the whole thing gratis at Bandcamp.