[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 Paolo ‘Molleindustria‘ Pedercini — the peerless leader of using games as socio-political commentary — and Jim Munroe, artist, novelist, filmmaker, indie game creator (who you may recall from his latest interactive fiction work, Guilded Youth) and co-founder of Toronto indie-collective Hand Eye Society.
The two discuss their latest game, Unmanned, an accessibly-light-hearted but ultimately sobering and prescient investigation of the life of drone pilots, which was in part an attempt to answer the question “how do you make a videogame about war, when war already has become so videogame-like?”
The hour long video also includes an in-depth discussion on Phone Story, Pedercini’s commentary on the practices and social repercussions of manufacturing the technology we use every day — specifically, our ubiquitous iPhones, which itself was presented as an iPhone minigame collection that was ultimately banned from the App Store, later resurfacing on the Android marketplace.
As a bonus, below the fold you’ll also find Pedercini’s “reverse propaganda” machinima film “Welcome to the desert of the real”, referenced in the video above and discussed at much greater length here by researcher Simon Ferrari.
Officially — and easily — the best thing I’ve played today, from seemingly out of nowhere comes Guilded Youth, from writer and designer Jim Munroe and illustrator Matt Hammill (known best for his gorgeously illustrated puzzler Gesundheit). Originally conceived of at Toronto’s TOJam, Youth is another in Munroe’s series of interactive-fiction-plus type games that combine text-adventure tradition with illustrated & sound enhancements, like his excellent & understated 2008 suburban adventure Everybody Dies.
Guided Youth is brief enough that delving too far into its story & structure would give away the ghost, so suffice it to say that it’s one of the most evocative portrayals of our collective disaffected BBS-enhanced adolescence I’ve experience in a game, effortlessly giving surprisingly rounded life to characters you only know briefly via a few descriptive lines and Hammill’s skilled caricature.