VENUS PATROL PRESENTS: A GLORKIAN WARRIOR BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION


venuspatrol glork launch v1

3.13.2014

Brandon Boyer

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24 tweets

I just double-checked my inbox and confirmed: it’s been over seven years since I first started talking to indie comics legend James ‘American Elf‘ Kochalka about making a videogame, and took until exactly today for that dream to actually come true.

The funny thing is: even back then, before his involvement with Dino Run creators Pixeljam & their Kickstarter to create the game released today, before there was even an iPhone to launch a game on, Kochalka’s pitch was remarkably similar. Though the game we’d been talking about in those early days was drastically different (and something that I still hold out some hope for actually being created today), there was one key through-line: it’s all about the Glorkians.

Now, years after he’s been a supporter of all my endeavors (with comics for Offworld & a set of collectable Miis for Venus Patrol’s Kickstarter) I can finally return the favor & give that recommendation back to Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork, just launched for iPhone & iPad, a game itself three years in the making.

It’s exactly what you’d want a James Kochalka game to be: exuberant, na├»ve, completely un-cynical, and — the bit I appreciate the most — a game that even as it dips so heavily into Galaga-ian inspiration still finds room to feel like something new, totally blurring the clean breaks between cut-scenes & levels & play sessions into one self-aware experience that’s a perfect introduction to both the character and Kochalka himself, for the totally uninitiated.

And so, in celebration of the Glorkian birthday, in addition to the painting at the top of this post, Venus Patrol is also proud to present the first several pages of Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza, a companion comic also coming in just a few weeks time from First Second Books (which you can pre-order at Amazon here).

You can find that preview below the fold, and grab Trials of Glork on the App Store here — after that, following along with more Glorkian celebrating happening here at Kochalka’s tumblr.

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HEY AUSTIN: NEXT THURSDAY, GET THE LATEST LOOK AT PANORAMICAL’S MUSICAL LANDSCAPES


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2.28.2014

Brandon Boyer

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[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]

It was one of the first best surprises and then a central fixture of the past two Fantastic Arcades, and now we’re bringing it back to debut a night of never-before-seen new scenes & music: join us next Thursday, March 6th, at 7:00PM at Austin’s North Door, as JUEGOS RANCHEROS presents Fernando Ramallo and David Kanaga’s interactive musical landscape generator Panoramical.

[ RSVP FOR THIS EVENT AND INVITE YOUR FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK BY CLICKING HERE! ]

As Ramallo & Kanaga (the latter also known for his musical contributions to Proteus & Dyad) ready the game for commercial release on PC, Mac & tablet devices — which will also feature a number of audio & visual collaborations with a host of exciting artists — we’ll be giving Austin a chance to experience just-added scenes from the game on the ND’s massive screen, all under the control of the bespoke knob & slider controller made by Mickey ‘Delptronics‘ Delp first debuted in last year’s Fantastic Arcade cabinet.

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Doors will be open Thursday, March 6th, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public — including guests of the Bang Pop! Music & Interactive Festival happening at the ND that day — come drink, play, and meet the people changing the way you think about videogames!


FULLY ENTER THE EXTERNAL WORLD WITH DAVID OREILLY’S OCULUS RIFT EXPERIENCE, CHARACTER MIRROR


Poster copy

2.11.2014

Brandon Boyer

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36 tweets

It’s been five long years waiting for the first real interactive experience from animator David OReilly — ever since successfully fooling the world (myself shamefully included) with his iHologram concept video — but the time has finally arrived.

In advance of its public debut at the upcoming Pictoplasma character design festival, he’s just released Character Mirror, an Oculus Rift experience that lets you embody all the characters from his multi-award winning short, The External World.

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Created with some technical assistance from Kokoromi member Damien Di Fede, and in keeping with Pictoplasma’s 10th anniversary ‘Portraits’ theme (which also has birthed this amazing Tumblr of character-selfies) — the Rift experience places you in a virtual gallery space with only one exhibit: a mirror that reflects ‘you’ as a rotating array of cast members.

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For as stripped-down an experience as it is, it’s a weirdly haunting & compelling one — each character never dropping “eye-contact” even as you do your best to look away — particularly when inhabiting some of OReilly’s let’s just call them like less-adorable creations (all the character rigs of which he’s Creative Commons released over here for your own Unity/Rift experiments).

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You can grab a Windows & Mac version of the Character Mirror now via OReilly’s website, or find it on display at Pictoplasma when the festival opens in Berlin this May, and join me in hoping that this is only the first of a long line of interactive OReilly-ness.

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If this is the first time you’ve run across OReilly’s work, I’ll also embed The External World in full below, which it sort of goes without saying that you should dim the lights & watch in its entirety straight away, before moving on to his earlier Please Say Something.

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VENUS PATROL, WILD RUMPUS ANNOUNCE THAT VENUS PATROL AND WILD RUMPUS PARTY


thatpartyscene

2.10.2014

Brandon Boyer

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7 tweets

Did you think we forgot about you? We definitely did not: Venus Patrol & UK roughhousers Wild Rumpus have just announced that we will be returning to San Francisco for the third annual Venus Patrol/Wild Rumpus party on Wednesday, March 19th — just after the IGF & Game Developers Choice Awards ceremonies at this year’s Game Developers Conference.

While we aren’t quite ready to give you the full low-down on the lineup, I can say that the music acts, developers & games we’ve got confirmed are already super exciting, and the emails that keep popping in from around the world for things we’re still working up are making me very, very happy.

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If you’re going to be in town for the Game Developers Conference or otherwise in the Bay Area the week of March 19th, head over to That Party’s Eventbrite page to grab one of the limited number of discounted early bird tickets (or just a regular one if those are already sold out) & join us from 7pm to very late for “indie games, DJs, drinking, dancing, etcetera”, and stay tuned both here and That Party’s official website for lots more exciting announcements in the weeks to come.


JUEGOS RANCHEROS’ FISTFUL OF INDIES: FEBRUARY 2014


2.7.2014

Brandon Boyer

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8 tweets

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.

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VENUS PATROL PRESENTS: THE FOUR GAMES PENDLETON WARD REALLY WANTS TO MAKE WITH DOUBLE FINE


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2.6.2014

Brandon Boyer

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125 tweets

What could be more exciting than Broken Age creators Double Fine announcing another round of its Amnesia Fortnight game jam? Here’s the easy answer: another round of Amnesia Fortnight where one team has already been chosen to create a new game led by Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward.

Like last time, the Fortnight — a two-week long jam that’s previously given birth to Double Fine games like Costume Quest, Stacking and Spacebase DF-9 — will be funded by the public via the studio’s just launched Humble Bundle page, and funders will ultimately decide which of the nearly 30 pitches Double Fine will focus on, all of which will be again fully video documented by studio stalwarts 2 Player Productions.

But this year’s twist is that Ward is also pitching four of his own game ideas for the studio to produce, which will also be voted on by the public. Outside his story & design input on the console and mobile Adventure Time games (and Cheque Please, his still forthcoming collaboration with QWOP creator Bennett Foddy), the resulting prototype will be the first original concept he’ll have released in actual game form, and all four pitches are as honestly super hilarious & creatively unbridled as you’d expect.

And so, below he’s given Venus Patrol the extra special horse’s-mouth skinny on (and new doodles for) all four of the concepts — from a stab-happy cupid, to an entire town’s least favorite human-pyramid topper, to the fantastically ambitious zombie thriller he’s wanted to create since high school, which we might as well call right now as totally the one everyone is going to vote for, aren’t they.

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HEY AUSTIN: NEXT THURSDAY, GET YOUR FIRST LOOK AT TIGER STYLE’S SPIDER: RITE OF THE SHROUDED MOON


spidershroud01

1.29.2014

Brandon Boyer

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12 tweets

[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]

The original was one of the first best games released on the App Store, and now we’re giving Austin the first look at its return: join us next Thursday, February 6th, at 7:00PM at Austin’s North Door, as JUEGOS RANCHEROS presents an evening with local indie studio Tiger Style, as they pull back the curtain on their forthcoming game Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon.

[ RSVP FOR THIS EVENT AND INVITE YOUR FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK BY CLICKING HERE! ]

Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor was noteworthy for bringing the iPhone a game that wasn’t simply a light time-killer. Peek just one layer beneath its friendly, approachable web-slinging mechanics, and it revealed an involved story of the former inhabitants of the manor, told entirely through the objects they left behind.

And Tiger Style carried that approach one step further with their iPhone & iPad follow-up Waking Mars, a game crafted to bring more mature, console-quality-type mechanics and storytelling to pocket-sized devices.

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Now they’re revisiting the world that put them on the map with Rite of the Shrouded Moon, a game that promises to bring back everything you loved about the original Spider, but with a massively expanded and richer world containing even more mysteries and magic.

Like their earlier JUEGOS RANCHEROS debut, Tiger Style will be taking you on a guided tour through the development of Shrouded Moon, and tell you more about what they’re trying to accomplish with its return, the research into secret societies & symbols that’s inspired it, and what you can expect when the game launches later this year.

As usual, the meetup will be immediately followed by our pals at Texas-area chiptune showcase TX Chip — visit their page for this month’s full lineup of 8-bit wunderkind!

Doors will be open Thursday, February 6th, 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!


THE GREAT BEAST EMERGES: A Q&A WITH NIDHOGG CREATOR MESSHOF


nidscreen1

1.13.2014

Brandon Boyer

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62 tweets

It’s been nearly four years since Mark Essen’s tug-of-war fencing game Nidhogg first emerged, seemingly fully grown as the perfect lo-fi brawler that none of us knew we needed until it was in our hands. Originally commissioned for the first No Quarter — NYU Game Center’s annual public-multiplayer-focused exhibition — and then known as Raging Hadron, the game was soon re-named after the Norse snake-dragon horror that ends each round and submitted to the 2011 IGF, where it took home the festival’s Nuovo award, on top of two nominations for both excellence in design & that year’s grand prize.

And then the beast slumbered… with only tiny (and, for some, maddeningly rare) further glimpses at public exhibitions put together by hyper-local indie groups Toronto’s Hand Eye Society and our own JUEGOS RANCHEROS, the game was soon cemented as one of videogames’ best spectator bloodsports for all who were lucky enough to be present, but largely avoided public gaze — until a mid-2013 appearance at fighting game mecca EVO signaled that it was finally nearly ready for public consumption.

Following quickly on the heels of & fitting beautifully in amongst Matt Thorton’s TowerFall & Teknopants’ Samurai Gunn as part of a multiplayer renaissance & still one of the most anticipated multiplayer games, Nidhogg has just been released for Windows on Steam, with Mac & possible console ports to follow in due time.

I talked with Essen about what the past four years of incubation have been like, and what people who’ve only played its earliest iterations can expect from the finished game — including two of its most major additions: online multiplayer and a robust single-player AI.

So, what’s been keeping you busy since your IGF win back in 2011?

Grad school, then part-time co-teaching Intermediate Game Design with [Waco Resurrection and The Cat and The Coup co-creator] Peter Brinson and my own class on experimental mobile games — both at USC Interactive Media & Games program — as well as contract work, side projects, and making & tweaking games for festivals and museum or gallery shows.

I have been working pretty consistently on Nidhogg all this time, it’s just that some weeks got one day a week, and others got eight days a week.

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JUEGOS RANCHEROS’ FISTFUL OF INDIES: JANUARY 2014


1.3.2014

Brandon Boyer

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9 tweets

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.

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JUEGOS RANCHEROS’ FISTFUL OF INDIES: DECEMBER 2013


12.18.2013

Brandon Boyer

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4 tweets

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.

(more…)