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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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, naïve, 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).
Years in the making and still no less hotly anticipated, Dino Run developers Pixeljam have just showed off the video above of Glorkbot’s Mini Adventure, the smaller sister spin-off of the full Glorkian Warrior game they’re creating with local-favorite comic artist James ‘American Elf‘ Kochalka.
The low-bit Glorkbot was originally meant to merely be a power-up found in the fully hand-drawn & -animated Glorkian Warrior — a pocket-sized sidekick that’d go on pixelated side-quests in the main game (as in the original concept art above) — but, as the scale of the latter game grew, the team decided to give that side-quest setup its own full bonus game, to work toward a more easily grasped goal as they made enhancements to the 2D engine that’ll eventually power both.
Pixeljam are promising a full release of the spin-off game — which they describe as “the platforming of Sonic, the exploration and adventure of Metroid and the shooting action of Galaga rolled into a single enormous level” — for PC/Mac/Linux before the end of the year, with a potential iPad counterpart possibly coming shortly thereafter, tiding us over until the full magnum opus finds its way to the finish line.