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 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, in addition to their home on the JUEGOS RANCHEROS site.
See more posts about: 80 Days, A Fistful of Indies, Aleks Sennwald, Bram Ruiter, Daniel Carneiro, David OReilly, Digital Dreams, Ghost Wheel Bundle, Harmony Summer Hardpack Tape 11-in-1, Hohokum, Honeyslug, Horse Master, Inkle, JUEGOS RANCHEROS, Lovely Planet, Metrico, Mountain, Quick Tequila, Richard Hogg, Super Game Jam, TheCatamites, Tom McHenry, You Are The Wormhole
Originally pitched as a physics-based toy that let you “play with the creatures and artifacts of North American mythology”, Ben Esposito’s Kachina quickly became one of my most anticipated games back in 2012, with its vaguely Katamari-in-reverse mechanics that allowed you to swallow up successively larger objects with a player-controlled hole that grew wider every time something fell in.
After its showing at various festivals throughout 2013, including last year’s HORIZON conference, news about the game went somewhat dark, as Esposito simultaneously continued development on Perfect Stride — the first-person skateboarder he’s creating with LA game collective Arcane Kids — as well as that collective’s numerous side projects like the cult hit Bubsy 3D.
After another couple long weekends spent with a few hundred excellent games, the first eight selections of this year’s Fantastic Arcade have just been announced, each of which will be given the full arcade-cabinet overhaul (as above, from last year) and put on public display for all Fantastic Fest & Arcade-goers in Austin, TX from September 18th to 21st.
Once again, the games have been selected by the operators of Austin indie collective JUEGOS RANCHEROS (aka Adam Saltsman, Jo Lammert, Rachel Weil, Wiley Wiggins & yours truly), with some of those games also serving as public tournaments throughout the festival’s five days — full information on each follows below.
Developer: Kyle Reimergarten
The next major game from Kyle Reimergarten — creator of Fantastic Arcade 2013 selection (and one of my overall top 2013 games), Fjords — Banana Chalice is a tunnel shooter about cats, bananas and monsters, with all of the off-kilter and lo-fi home-spun charm that by now has become his signature. Reimergarten promises as much mystery and magic out of Chalice as he brought to Fjords, which is to say, a lot.
See more posts about: Asteroid Base, Banana Chalice, Ben Esposito, Boneloaf, David OReilly, Donut County, Fantastic Arcade, Fotonica, Gang Beasts, House House, Kyle Reimergarten, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Mountain, Push Me Pull You, Santa Ragione, Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon, Tiger Style
[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]
It’s been on our most-wanted lists for ages, and the time is finally here: come join us next Thursday, August 7th, at 7:00PM at Austin’s North Door as we host the local premiere of the super gorgeous exploration game Hohokum.
Created by Honeyslug & Richard Hogg and due for simultaneous release on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 & Vita on August 12th (also available for pre-order right now!), we’ll be taking the game’s kite-like “long mover” protagonist for a spin on the North Door’s massive screen, and introducing attendees to the game’s fantastic soundtrack, produced in conjunction with indie electronic record label Ghostly International.
Honeyslug themselves best describe the game as “a place to wander about and get lost in”, so come join us as we drink, play and explore the world of Hohokum, Thursday, August 7th, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public!
Organizers of Fantastic Arcade — the indie game offshoot of Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest — are sending out a reminder that there is just under two weeks left to submit your game for this year’s festival, which will take place here in Austin, TX on September 18th-21st.
Once again, the festival will be curated by Austin’s game collective JUEGOS RANCHEROS, and will give the developers the opportunity not just to showcase their game (including some in custom-built arcade cabinets), but give talks in whatever manner they choose: music performances, one-on-one developer chats like this one between Gone Home‘s Steve Gaynor & Tiger Style’s Randy Smith, or more traditional presentations by Sword & Sworcery co-creator Craig Adams.
You can see full video of many of the past years’ talks and performances here on Venus Patrol.
See more posts about: Fantastic Arcade
Missed the livestream of our recent E3-alternative press conference? Look no further than the video above, which will let you watch the 2014 edition of HORIZON in its entirety. Held just a few weeks back at LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the latest edition of HORIZON featured debuts and new looks at games by the creators of Windosill, Thirty Flights of Loving, Dear Esther and more.
The breakout hit of the show, certainly, was Mountain, the first true videogame project by animator David OReilly (perhaps best known as the creator of the virtual reality game in Spike Jonze’s latest film, Her, who also recently debuted his Oculus Rift demo here on Venus Patrol).
Below the fold I’ll also include the other notable highlight: Brendon Chung of Blendo Games revealing, for the first time, single-player time-manipulating co-op mechanics of his upcoming 20th-century-cyberpunk game Quadrilateral Cowboy.
Visit the official HORIZON site for screenshots, video and more information on all of the games included in this year’s conference!
[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]
Spaceteam isn’t just one of our favorite mobile games, it’s one of the most enduringly engrossing, and next Thursday, June 5th, at 7:00PM, Austin’s North Door will be host to the first of a set of worldwide tournaments as we present the Spaceteam Admiral’s Challenge.
First released in late 2012 and best described by its creators as a “cooperative shouting game”, Spaceteam has been a local party and any-other-downtime mainstay since. And so when word came that creator Henry Smith would be relaunching his campaign to fund new games through the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club (after coming just shy of his original Kickstarter goal), we knew we wanted to officially take part.
And so, next Thursday we’ll be hosting the first of a series of Spaceteam tournaments that will be happening from June 4th to July 5th, across dozens of worldwide locations that’ll also include New York, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Melbourne, and Montreal.
App Store-approval willing, participants will be able to download an updated tournament-ready version of Spaceteam that’ll include new special achievements & in-game rewards for competitors, and physical prizes for the best Spaceteam captains of the night.
We’ll have more information on how this is all going to work the night of, so come as a team or be prepared to form a crew the night of, but either way we hope to see you out on Thursday, June 5th, promptly 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!
Ready to give the world of Ed Key & David Kanaga’s Proteus a second visit in an entirely new way?
Inspired by a tweet by The Floor is Jelly creator Ian Snyder, Devine (best known most recently for Oquonie, the abstract iOS adventure game created in collaboration with illustrator Rekka Bellum) has given Proteus a total aesthetic overhaul with new graphics, sound and an entirely new soundtrack (available for streaming below the fold and for purchase on bandcamp).
As far as I can tell, the chain of events that set off this development were: Proteus creator Ed Key shows a debug screenshot for an OSX patch, which I coined ‘Dark Proteus’ and then doggedly wouldn’t let go of the joke.
In fact, Synder & Devine have kicked off what hopefully might be a wave of new Proteus total-overhauls — you can follow along with other attempts via this thread at makega.me, a recently revived & steadfastly inclusive new forum for aspiring & veteran developers.
To enter the world of Purgateus yourself, visit the new dedicated site for the game here on Venus Patrol and enter your name and email to receive the mod. You’ll need to already own a copy of Proteus (which you can purchase on the Purgateus site), but once you do, installation of the mod is as easy as replacing a folder inside the Proteus directory with Devine’s new files.
[It's no secret that I count Kentucky Route Zero as one of my favorite videogames of all time, and one of my highest recommendations particularly for people who haven't dipped their toes in the videogame waters in a while, and so seeing artist Tamas Kemenczy was a top priority at this year's Game Developers Conference.
His talk (linked below) was a fantastic account of how theater and film staging influenced the game's visuals & transitions, made doubly valuable by loops of those pieces playing independently as Kemenczy talked. I was particularly entranced by Burton's face in Equus, as below, which I didn't recognize, and snapped a quick photo to have him identify it later.
Having then subsequently watched & been blown away by Equus, I asked Kemenczy to ID all the films in his repertoire of influences, which he's written up in full after the jump, and to which I've added streaming/DVD/Blu-ray links, where available. I hope you find it as valuable a resource as I already have!]
I gave a talk this year at GDC about the scenography of Kentucky Route Zero, the theatrical and cinematic influences on the game, and how we go about designing for performance. Some folks asked about the films shown during the talk, so here’s a list of them, but I thought I’d include some that were on the shortlist but didn’t make it onto slides, and some of these were shown in the KRZ talk the year before as well.
(Not included in this list is David Lynch, who we admire and most people are already familiar with.)
I really like the long take of Dysart’s (Richard Burton’s) face, totally stressed out about the chaotic moment that brought about Alan’s personal horse-god. There is a literary connection in KRZ to this play, but also the film by Sidney Lumet has dramatic flourishes that we took to heart.
Doing anything particularly romantic between May 24th and June 8th? No? Good, because I’m super happy to announce that Venus Patrol is organizing the first in what I hope becomes a regular series of game jams, this time dedicated to the lonesome future west-world theme: the space cowboy.
The game jam, hosted with the help of itch.io, is open to developers worldwide, and will run for two weeks, after which it will be judged by players for the week following on a variety of to be determined criteria like romance and psychedelia.
The idea for the jam came, as you probably have already guessed, after I finally got it together to watch all of Cowboy Bebop in one crazy week-long marathon (which I suggest you do or re-do in advance) and realized no game had quite struck that tone the series did — an ineffable feeling I also get from Cory Mcabee’s film The American Astronaut and Lisa Hanawalt’s web-comic Coyote Doggirl.
And hopefully you’ll find that feeling just as evocative and inspiring, because just as exciting as the jam itself is news that our Austin indie collective JUEGOS RANCHEROS will be showcasing the best of the games from July 2nd through the 6th in the real-life mystical West Texas high desert town of Marfa, as part of the Marfa Film Festival.
A few of us just got back from Marfa late last night, where we met with Film Festival organizers & location-scouted the area we’ll be carving out and dedicating to your Space Cowboy games, and there’s a whole lot of expectation from all parties involved that This Is Going To Be Really Cool for the thousands of people that attend the Fest.
We’ll be putting out more detailed information at the official Space Cowboy Game Jam site and open up for your submissions on the 24th of this month, but in the meantime start clearing off your calendar, dreaming up big ideas under an endless starry sky & discussing collaborations on twitter via the hashtag #spacecowboygamejam — we’re all crazy excited to see what you come up with!