[Fantastic Video is a regular Venus Patrol feature where we recap the goings-on of the 2012 installment of Austin's Fantastic Arcade, the indie-game spinoff of Alamo Drafthouse's genre film festival Fantastic Fest. You can find all the Fantastic Videos by clicking here, and find out more about Fantastic Arcade here!]
In this latest installment of Fantastic Video, we’re joined by Dennis Wedin & Cactus — the duo now better known as Dennaton, for a thirty minute look behind the scenes of the creation of their 2012 ultra-violent & ultra-sytlish Hotline Miami — a game that now sports its own bonus level based on Fantastic Arcade itself.
Not only do you get a look at the prototyping process that spans back to versions Cactus had created nearly a decade ago, but also the real-world cultural touchstones that inspired the game’s neon-lit and blood-drenched scenery.
As a bonus, below you’ll find the post-mortem aftershow in its entirety: the Catline Meowmi Megamix, about which there is little more to say than ‘just watch’.
[VP Rewind is a quick look back at the important events of the past week or two that should have been on Venus Patrol had it actually been alive.]
Beautiful, brutal, and honestly not even the most shocking depiction of violence from Dennaton’s upcoming I’m-just-going-to-go-ahead-and-already-call-it-a-hit-game Hotline Miami, this new poster image by Niklas Åkerblad (also one of the game’s musicians, and artist behind fantastic & totally polar-opposite iPhone meditative-adventure Kometen) at least gives you fair warning for what you’re about to get yourself into.
Below the fold, the Hotline Miami trailer itself, just to basically prove out everything I’ve just said above. [via @ElHuervo]
Traces of Death Race and Cannon Fodder permeate what appears to be a you vs. zombie horde game from the ever-prolific and re-inventive Cactus, and I sincerely hope that map view is showing the blood-smeared/cleared areas where you’ve totally eliminated the threat.
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This was the surprisingly large, warm and receptive crowd that turned out for my early-morning session at the opening day of GDC Austin’s debut Indie Game Summit, and the reason they’re all smiling will be clear by the time you reach the end of this post.
My task for the session was to give the attendees here a snapshot of the best of what indie gaming’s currently got to offer: some old and unmissable, some never before seen, and some seen, but never before played live. Here’s the run down — for reference and further research and download — of everything I showed off.
By far the most widely played and important indie game of the past several years (even in prelude to its upcoming Xbox Live Arcade port), I found out quickly just how hard it is to play live and talk in front of an audience, in a quasi-Game Center CX series of embarrassing failures.
2.) Glum Buster
Too few people have still taken a trip through Austin-native Justin ‘CosMind’ Leingang’s fantastically surreal world — hopefully playing it live gave everyone an even more compelling reason to.
Even just the tiny shred of a teaser for Craig ‘SUPERBROTHERS’ Adams’ indie debut was enough to impress, with his inimitable graphic style, and the promise of its simulated grueling mountain ascension.
4.) Time Donkey
The inherent charm of Flashbang’s latest made it one of the most popular playthroughs of the session, judging by audience reaction. I very regretfully haven’t had the time yet to do it justice here, but will surely do when GDC Austin madness dies back down.
5.) Captain Forever
As I said before, this will probably end up topping a lot of best-of-2009 lists when word reaches out further, and a round of applause rose as soon as the name was dropped. Creator Farbs was kind enough to drop off a debug build of the game for the session, which meant that I could cheat my way into demonstrating the jaw-dropping muted disco-dance-rain-of-destruction that you’re ultimately fighting to build toward. Expect much more on this game here soon.
The first surprise of the show was the latest game from oft-mentioned Offworld favorite Cactus, with a rare sneak preview of his previously blogged and yet to be released “game about killing everything you love”, now titled Tuning. Even with early warnings from Cactus about playing through it ahead of time to be sure I could do it justice live (which I did, I swear, and I got so far), with its constant, progressively more sadistically perception-warping, it was the second time of the morning that proved how embarrassing public play can be.
And the session’s biggest surprise: Polytron’s Phil Fish made a guest appearance to give the first live demonstration of what the studio’s been cooking up for the past few years.
The game’s grown even more rich and complex than I’d expected since I last saw its 2007 Indie Games Festival debut, and impressed the crowd enough (see: the photo at top) that we cut well into the planned coffee break to hang on main star Gomez’s every dimensional shift.
Thanks to everyone for coming out and putting up with what I can only imagine was a rambling, too-early, caffeine-addled, ranty awkward set of playthroughs!
My favorite part of Cactus’s video for Death Party, the followup to his 2008 game Shotgun Ninja (available as part of the Cactus Arcade package [zip]) isn’t the continuation of its pre-retro graphics with more decidedly modern mechanics, it’s the deep storyline he gives it on his blog, like a throwback to Atari/C64 back-of-the-box hyperbole:
A small guerrilla squad, called Death Party, undergoes rigorous training to be sent on a mission to take out the mysterious dictator ruling their home land. But how will they uphold their morale as they discover the citizens have all been turned into mindless addicts from drugs introduced into the local water supplies? They soon find themselves in a battle against an over powerful enemy, fighting for no one but themselves. Meanwhile the plot of their adversary seems to expand beyond their wildest imagination.
As usual, it’s always a bit premature to get hopes up for Cactus games that may or may not see the light of day, but, he says, there’s still hope for a few additional levels and a release soon.
Offworld favorite indie dev Cactus finally long-form reveals Air Pirates, his LoFi Minds collaborative “game about killing airplanes“, which will be coming next month to UK TV network Channel 4′s “E4” entertainment subsite.
What I hadn’t known before: the Flash game of “pirates, airplanes, giants, loot and secret bases in volcanoes” will apparently include platformer sections, spotted briefly toward the end of the video, which has since doubled my interest.
Following his screenshot montage preview from the beginning of the week, Cactus has given us a further taste of his “game about killing everything you love” an official trailer, and it’s as beautifully hard to read as you might’ve hoped.
As mentioned before, a sneak peek at Petri Purho’s desktop background during this year’s Indie Games Summit showed the picture at right of head-spinningly prolific indie dev Cactus, and considering his last work in progress update covered some eight games — none of which were at all related to front-burner larger projects like Brain-Damaged Toon Underworld and compilation game Mondo Nation or those seen in his last WIP trailer video — the photo suddenly feels slightly less parodic.
It’s heartening to see, then, that at least one of those games from the last round has carried through to a month and a half later, as Cactus shows off three sets of images from the games he’s currently turning his attention to.
None of the games are yet named, but between the three — which cover themes as wide ranging as the only vaguely misogynistic looking “game about killing each other” and the “game about killing airplanes” (the one seen last month as well) — it’s the dream-haze galactic geometry of the third “game about killing everything you love” that’s got me the most intrigued.
Whether any of the three eventually see the light of day is anyone’s guess, but in the meantime, you’ve got your work cut out for you finishing all of his prior games, if you haven’t already — start with the Cactus Arcade compilation for the fastest path into his special blend of inspired madness.
If you missed the opening of Offworld’s oft-blogged Giant Robot/Attract Mode exhibit Game Over/Continue? (though, judging by the overwhelming turnout, not many of you did), you may have missed your chance for some time to play the four collaborative ‘artxgame‘ games created for the show.
While the games were up and running on opening night — and continually swamped, even if you could move through the thick of the crowd to get to them — they’ve subsequently left the scene for the time being (though the rest of the art remains).
So, for the rest of you then, a quick recap of what the four artist/indie dev teams (Hellen Jo/Derek Yu, Saelee Oh/Anna Anthropy, Souther Salazar/Petri Purho, and Deth P. Sun/Jonatan “Cactus” Soderstrom) produced. (more…)
Cactus is a name I haven’t mentioned nearly enough on Offworld (in fact, the last time I gave him his due was in 2007 when his Clean Asia and Protoganda: Strings topped my top 5 freeware games list).
Apart from being one-eighth of last week’s Game Over/Continue indie dev/art crossover team, he’s one of the indie scene’s… well, prolific is too tame a word, and attention deficient sounds far too pejorative: let’s just say that Crayon Physics creator Petri Purho’s PC desktop is a photo of Cactus saying “while you were slacking off I made three more games,” and realize that it’s funny because it’s true.
From the grain-filtered 8mm stylings of his shooters to the terrifying Lynch-ian void of his Mondo series to the candy striped sunburst pixels of his upcoming games, he possesses one of the most singular and distinct visions in the scene, and manages to keep that consistent despite the jackrabbit pace with which he takes on new projects.
That’s why I was so disappointed to have missed the first half of his over-capacity Indie Games Summit session (until I convinced a volunteer I’d just stepped out for a bathroom break), though what I did see was every bit as uniquely him as I’d expected. Managing to make all the sweat and tears of game creation look like melodramatic trifles, his dual underlying message of keeping-it-simple and going-with-instinct was one of the most inspiring of the two days.
And now, though it doesn’t have the narration to match (there is a bootleg video torrent making its way around the internet, however), you can play through his fantastic presentation slides (created, of course, in GameMaker software itself) by downloading his just-uploaded executable (.zip here) and get a taste of his flavor before moving on to tackling his prodigious back-library. Get more of a sense of the surrounding lecture by flipping through TIGSource’s write-up here.
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