Archives: Adam Saltsman


GET NEW GAMES FROM DOWNWELL, KATAMARI DAMACY DEVS & MORE IN THE 2016 FANTASTIC ARCADE BUNDLE


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9.23.2016

Brandon Boyer

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Want to bring this year’s Fantastic Arcade home to you? We’ve got the perfect way! Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS has just launched a bundle of five amazing and exclusive games making their debut at the seventh-annual indie game festival, Fantastic Arcade.

[ CLICK HERE OR USE THE WIDGET BELOW TO BUY THE 2016 FANTASTIC ARCADE BUNDLE AND SUPPORT JUEGOS RANCHEROS! ]

Thanks to distribution partner itch.io, all proceeds from the sale of this bundle benefit JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our non-profit organization. Help us showcase more amazing games both here in Austin and a city near you, and commission more fantastic developers to create new games like these!

Included in this bundle are all five games you see here, along with extras & bonus materials! Here is what you’ll get:


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NIUM, by Moppin & Nemk

DOWNWELL creator Moppin has partnered with Nemk (one of our favorite artists working in games) to present NIUM: a post-apocalyptic action game where players will crawl through a ruined, abandoned, STALKER-esque exclusion zone inhabited only by a variety of mutated wildlife. (Windows, Mac)


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ALPHABET, by Keita Takahashi & Adam Saltsman

Originally available only to select Kickstarter backers, ALPHABET is a slapstick marathon footrace for 1- to 26-players from Keita Takahashi (renowned creator of KATAMARI DAMACY & NOBY NOBY BOY) and Adam Saltsman (designer behind CANABALT & OVERLAND). Run, jump, eat, sing, poop, and sleep through silly obstacle courses!
(Windows, Mac, Linux)


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INSPECTOR WOOF, by Klondike

From Klondike — France’s upstart super-collective of indie game stars — INSPECTOR WOOF & THE VEGETABLE HIGH SCHOOL is a procedurally generated mystery adventure game where every student is hiding terrible secrets. Armed only with your freshly-printed hints sheet, dig deep into their guilty consciences and expose the truth! (Windows, Mac, Linux)


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F2OGGY, by Nathalie Lawhead

F2OGGY (Only one survives!) is a Brute-Force Frog-Combat Simulator, by the IGF-winning creator Nathalie Lawhead, made for a growing audience of competitive frogfans. Each player is divided into a faction (a Frog-Faction), and must defeat their opponent using High-Velocity Amphibian Impact Lunges. (Windows, Mac)


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LASSOS, by SOKPOP

From SOKPOP — the the Dutch collective behind indie cult classics like the low-fi sci-fi exploration game BERNBAND — comes LASSOS, a game fit for its Texas debut: throw lassos, get money! (Windows, Mac)


HEY AUSTIN: COME PLAY OVERLAND, FINJI’S TACTICAL SURVIVAL ROADTRIP GAME


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3.18.2015

Brandon Boyer

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

Love the likes of X-COM, Oregon Trail and roadtrips across a ruined American landscape? Then join us Wednesday, April 1st, at 7:00PM at Austin’s North Door as JUEGOS RANCHEROS presents the local debut of Overland, the forthcoming tactical survival game from Austin’s own Finji.

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

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Just back from a critically acclaimed first showing at San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference, Finji will be giving Austin an early opportunity to play the game, in which “players scavenge fuel and other supplies as they head directly into the heart of a cataclysm” which has produced “a hardly-recognizable America.”

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As part of the event, members of the development team — which include Austin locals Adam Saltsman, Shay Pierce & Jocelyn Reyes, in addition to LA’s Heather Penn — will give a short presentation on both the influences & design goals of the game, in advance of its desktop/tablet release later this year.

Overland will be playable Wednesday, April 1st, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public, so come join us as we drink, play and meet the people changing the way we think about games!


WILD RUMPUS & VENUS PATROL PARTY TO DEBUT NEW GAME FROM BEE & PUPPYCAT CREATOR


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3.14.2014

Brandon Boyer

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With just days to go before the shindig itself, the team at Wild Rumpus & I have just announced the final lineup of our third-annual party taking place alongside this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and we’re all quite excited to note that this year we’ll be debuting a new game created with Natasha Allegri, creator of the upcoming cartoon series Bee & Puppycat.

The game — which we’re referring to as Musclecat Showdown for now — is co-created by Major Bueno, the indies behind Party Bueno and a whole host of other games created each month throughout 2013, and should be just about the best drunken fun you can have with surly, muscular cats.

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Elsewhere, we’re extremely excited to have romantic beat magician and Nidhogg composer Daedelus joining a musical lineup that will include returning favorite Baiyon, Bubsy3d.com & Perfect Stride creators Arcane Kids, a new mix from Christoffer Hedborg, creator of Eleven, under his new moniker TRU LUV, and, of course, the unique stylings of DJ Phillipe Lemarchand.

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The games lineup will also include a new 2-player version of Kyle Reimergartin’s FJORDS, the multiplayer dance mat version of Keita Takahashi & Adam Saltsman’s A͈L͈P͈H͈A͈B͈E͈T͈, and the stateside debut of Push Me Pull You (above), a new sports-game that exists somewhere in between Hokra and Noby Noby Boy — aka directly in my ever loving heart — and a lot, lot, lot more.

You can peruse the full lineup of all the games and music over at the That Venus Patrol And Wild Rumpus Party website, and we hope to see you out next Wednesday night!


JUEGOS RANCHEROS’ FISTFUL OF INDIES: JANUARY 2014


1.3.2014

Brandon Boyer

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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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HEY AUSTIN: NEXT THURSDAY, COME PLAY ADAMATOMIC’S PHYSICAL GAME BREAKDANCING SUPERSPY


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11.26.2013

Brandon Boyer

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

You know him best as the designer behind games like Canabalt, Hundreds and his Keita Takahashi collaboration A͈L͈P͈H͈A͈B͈E͈T͈, but next Thursday, December 5th, at 7:00PM at Austin’s North Door, JUEGOS RANCHEROS will present Breakdancing Superspy — a brand-new physical game being created by Austin’s own Adam Saltsman.

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

In the grand tradition of body-bending games previously featured at JUEGOS RANCHEROS & Fantastic Arcade like MEGA-GIRP & MEGA-A͈L͈P͈H͈A͈B͈E͈T͈, Saltsman describes the game as “a race to be the fastest to complete an awkward obstacle course that resembles single-player Twister, drunken hopscotch, and/or a clumsy Entrapment-era Catherine Zeta-Jones.” (see: below)

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“Players will live out their wildest spy fantasies and,” he adds, “tip over sometimes”, in this “large-scale physical game powered by a tarp and a pair of projectors.”

For those less limber or sure on their feet (particularly a few beers in) than Saltsman himself — seen above lithely prototyping the game in his backyard — we’ll also be toting along a few more traditional games to fill out your evening, or feel free to just gawk at the tangled bodies making their first foray across Superspy‘s playfield.

Also new this month: our JUEGOS RANCHEROS meetup will be immediately followed by the new, regular North Door appearance of Texas-area chiptune showcase TX Chip! Visit their own Facebook invite for this month’s full lineup of 8-bit wunderkind!

Doors will be open Thursday, December 5th, 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!


HEY AUSTIN: THIS THURSDAY, PLAY TWO NEW GAMES BY KATAMARI CREATOR KEITA TAKAHASHI


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4.1.2013

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’s been years since we’ve last seen a new game from Keita Takahashi — most famous for his Namco cult classic Katamari Damacy and the even cultier PS3/iPhone game Noby Noby Boy — but this Thursday, April 4th, at 7:00PM, JUEGOS RANCHEROS will be showing not one but two brand new works from the esteemed designer at the North Door.

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

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The first will be Tenya Wanya Teens — the co-production of Takahashi’s indie studio Uvula, UK-based multiplayer event group Wild Rumpus, and Venus Patrol — which just made its world debut to great acclaim at last week’s Game Developers Conference.

Tenya Wanya Teens, which we describe as “a coming-of-age tale about love, hygiene, monsters and finding discarded erotic magazines in the woods”, is also maybe also best described as “a very silly party game for two players armed with sixteen buttons each.” This will be its first showing outside the conference as it starts to make its way around the globe playing in various multiplayer arenas.

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But Austin will also be the first place anywhere in the world that gets to see another new game from Takahashi, this one titled A͈L͈P͈H͈A͈B͈E͈T͈ (those little marks are important) — a co-production of Takahashi and JUEGOS’ own Adam Saltsman, creator of iPhone superhit Canabalt — being put together for the recently-Kickstarted LA Game Space.

Everything will be kicking off Thursday, April 4th, 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!


GIMME ADVER GAME: COUNTING DOWN TO THE APOCALYPSE WITH 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD


11.27.2012

Brandon Boyer

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We may actually honestly be nearing end-times when an Old Spice adver-game is suddenly a very serious contender for November and December’s web-gaming-best, but here we are, and Dikembe Mutombo’s 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World very easily could be.

The idea might come as less of a shock when you consider the all-star team at the heart of it: Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman along with his Capsule cohort Robin Arnott, artist Paul Veer & musician Jukio ‘Kozilek‘ Kallio — both behind the other Venus Patrol-exclusive game, Gun Godz — and artist Sven ‘ptoing‘ Ruthner, best known (or maybe should-be-best-known) for his work on 2008 action-tunneler Thrustburst.

Working with ad agency Wieden & Kennedy, the team were tasked with coming up with a new, full mini-game every week straight through to the Mayan apocalypse, the second (and stronger of both so far) of which has launched today. Shown at top, it’s a multi-tiered mine-cart action game that doesn’t fall that far from the tree Saltsman & Veer planted for their Hunger Games movie tie-in Girl on Fire, and continues the overall initiative’s reliance on a steady-stream of non-sequitur jokes.

It’s those “no idea turned down” jokes that seem to be giving the project its vitality — between handing retired basketball champ and game-star Mutombo an insane script for him to deadpan his way through (with shades of the way TV cult-classic Fishing With John played with its own narrator) and the punch-drunk exhaustion that must come from providing a new, polished design every five days, the games have the same raw enthusiasm as any from a typical game jam.

Three more ‘current event’-ish games will be released up to the December 17th deadline, a countdown to which you can watch via the vaguely terrifying computer-aided Mayan calendar carving live-cam happening behind the scenes: play the first two now to make sure you’re caught up on the non-storyline as it develops.


WEEKEND WATCHING: ADAM SALTSMAN & GREG WOHLWEND ON THE MAKING OF HUNDREDS


11.9.2012

Brandon Boyer

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As I mentioned last week, this past Sunday’s meetup of our Austin indie collective JUEGOS RANCHEROS featured the local debut of Hundreds, the next game from Canabalt developers Semi Secret along with Greg ‘aeiowu‘ Wohlwend — creator of the original Hundreds prototype and co-designer of games like Solipskier — and local-favorite musician Loscil.

If you haven’t seen Hundreds before, it’s a fantastically austere & ambient action/puzzle game which I described at greater length a month back, and which — I predict — will likely be one of the next big App Store hits. That’s not just a hunch, as mentioned in my last Hundreds post, there hasn’t been a single person who I’ve seen casually start to play that hasn’t become instantly, deeply hooked.

And so, presented here is the full 30 minute talk Saltsman gave the assembled crowd (an abbreviated version of his overseas debut of Hundreds at GameCity) that goes into both the genesis of the project and the long, arduous task of taking such a simple and refined idea to its deepest logical conclusions, and paring down on all the ideas that creep in in the meantime and initially seem worthwhile but ultimately prove to be unnecessary complications and distractions.

After Adam’s talk, you also get to hear — remotely, via Skype — from Wolhwend, who takes questions not just on Hundreds and its cryptic narrative, but of his more recent game, Gasketball, and what the future holds for Mikengreg, his collaborative company with developer Mike ‘fucrate‘ Boxleiter.

As a bonus, and because I haven’t managed to edit them more cleanly into the video, below the fold are a number of Saltsman’s slides that show his early design sketches for Hundreds and early art tests from Wolhwend, to refer to directly, rather than squinting at the clip.

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ADD IT UP: CANABALT, SOLIPSKIER DEVS (RE-)ANNOUNCE IPAD PUZZLER HUNDREDS


10.5.2012

Brandon Boyer

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One of the iPad games I’ve been dying to get my hands on for nearly a year now, Semi-Secret’s Hundreds has officially been announced with this awesomely designed new website, following a quick blip appearance during last year’s IGF (where it managed to land an honorable mention in the mobile category).

Based on an original concept from Solipskier and Gasketball designer Greg Wohlwend, Canabalt & Capsule developer Adam Saltsman has been vastly expanding on the concept, and the pair have brought in Scott Morgan, better known as local-favorite ambient musician Loscil (who you also heard contributing tracks for Osmos), turning an ultra-minimalist design into a gorgeously & mysteriously presented package.

The conceit is as simple as it can be: flat-colored circles slowly meander across the single-screen stages, harmlessly bouncing off one other, each with a digit in its center. Touching each circle inflates it, and each stage is complete when the added total of all digits equals 100.

The trick? No circle can touch another while it’s being inflated, meaning you’re forced to find perfectly timed moments to inflate when there’s no danger of a collision, something that’s clearly harder to do as the circles grow larger.

You can try a very early concept of the game Wohlwend submitted in 2010 at Newgrounds, but bear in mind that the game’s grown a hundred times more complex in the two years since, with Saltsman adding some truly devious wrenches into the works, as well as a layer of opaqueness that hints at a deeper narrative happening within the game, as seen above.

The game’s making its public debut at IndieCade this weekend — LA locals should make a beeline to it in anticipation of its release in coming months.

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SPACE MADNESS: PLAY ADAMATOMIC’S CAPSULE IN A CAPSULE AT GAMECITY 2012


10.1.2012

Brandon Boyer

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Some awesome news finally starting to surface surrounding GameCity 7, the latest yearly festival taking place in Nottingham, October 20th through the 27th: Adam Saltsman & Robin Arnott’s Venus Patrol-exclusive game Capsule will be turned into “an exclusive theatrical presentation… with sensory deprivation elements taking place in a refrigerated area.”

Dubbed “the world’s slowest theme park ride ever”, GameCity explains that the so-called “Capsule Capsule” will see players “undergo special training on Earth before stepping into their spaceship to explore the dark, cold confines of space, battling dwindling oxygen and power levels while searching for answers to a slowly unravelling mystery.”

Venus Patrol Kickstarter backers & subscribers will probably immediately understand exactly how & why this is going to be amazing: the rest of you may want to consider a membership to the site for a copy of the game to better prepare yourself for the event later this month.

You can find more information about the Capsule Capsule at GameCity’s site, where there might also be some other interesting news coming in the next few days…

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