One of the core tenets of Venus Patrol, and Offworld before it, and really basically all my work over the past several years is that bringing in artists of all stripes not traditionally immersed in the world of games can (and has) only ever resulted in some of the most sublime work videogames can offer.
That’s only one sliver of why I think Honeyslug‘s Vita minigame collection Frobisher Says is so brilliant — there’s also its self-awareness, and its irreverence, and its holistic approach to wringing out basically every absurd interaction you can manage with Sony’s hardware — but it’s a very non-trivial sliver.
For as much as I’ve been a fan of the art Honeyslug and cohort Dick Hogg have produced — going back to their 2010 Gamma IV contribution Poto & Cabenga (and going back even further to some of Hogg’s work for UK design house Airside), and their gorgeous and still in-progress adventure game Hohokum — Honeyslug themselves have as voracious appetite for amazing art, something that shines through blindingly with the dream team of illustrators they assembled for each minigame in Frobisher Says.
And so, to get a better sense of how they hand-picked their lineup, I asked designer and programmer Ricky Haggett (above, right) and Hogg (above, left) to go game-by-minigame to give us the whos and hows and whys behind every artist chosen for what’s become, hands-down, one of Sony’s “coolest” games — in that old, original PlayStation Designers-Republic-doing-art-for-Wipeout sense of “cool”.
And then, without warning, the wonderful news I have been waiting for quite literally since the launch of the PlayStation Vita itself: Sony’s stateside blog has just announced that Frobisher Says, the minigame collection from Hohokum & Passing Time developers Honeyslug will finally be released in U.S. as a free download on October 23rd.
Though often compared to games like WarioWare for its fast-paced & fractured play, Frobisher‘s less a frenetic exercise in reaction time and more a petulant and self-aware tour through the Vita hardware itself, guided by the titular narrator, played — pitch perfectly — by Kevin Eldon, who you almost certainly know, even if you don’t know you know (or, at least, you should know), from appearances in British comedies like Spaced, Black Books, Brass Eye, Jam & I’m Alan Partridge.
The game also contains a laundry list of amazing illustrators & fellow indie artists, from co-creator Dick Hogg (the same as behind the Venus Patrol Training Facility logo) to Johnny Ryan, David ‘Swatpaz‘ Ferguson, Greg Wohlwend & Pixeljam.
Long story short, it’s an essential download and the best reason to get re-acquainted with your Vita since Sound Shapes — expect to hear more here on it closer to its release.
Exciting news long hinted at that can finally be revealed: AdamAtomic’s Capsule Capsule won’t be the only Venus Patrol related activity that this year’s GameCity7 festival. As announced on the festival blog this morning, the site will be taking over a large chunk of Nottingham’s Old Market Square for an entire week, and converting it into The Venus Patrol Training Facility (featuring an amazing remixed logo by Dick Hogg).
The Training Facility, open October 20th through the 27th from 10am to 5pm, will house a number of games loosely bound together with a quasi-athletic theme from a handful of local favorites including QWOP & GIRP developer Bennett Foddy, Frobisher Says & Hohokum creators Honeyslug, and all of the games included in the recent Sportsfriends Quadrathalon.
Most excitingly, the Training Facility will house the public premiere of two games recently developed during a Danish countryside retreat controlled by trampoline jumps. The first will be The Proteus Frog God Mod, in which players instead experience Ed Key & David Kanaga’s Proteus from the perspective of the magical twinkling frogs, co-created with George Buckenham.
We’ll also be showcasing Get On Top, a new competitive trampoline game by Foddy & Joust creator Doug Wilson, where players take on the role of two sumo champs locking hands and trying to leap into the air and pin their opponent.
Videos of all of the games that will be available (and GameCity’s pithy commentary on each) are below the fold, and more details can be found on GameCity7′s website (see also: the full schedule of all other activities coming to the festival). Looking forward to seeing everyone there!