Writer Tevis Thompson’s “Saving Zelda” essay — published earlier in the year, shortly after the release of the Wii’s latest Zelda installment, Skyward Sword — seemed to solidify that everyone else was also thinking the same thing: with rare exception, there’s been something missing in the franchise, a sense of diminishing returns, a growing and distinctive lack of the mystery and magic that made the series beloved in the first place.
And so, partnering with David Hellman, most notably the artist behind Jon Blow’s Braid, the two took to Kickstarter to help restore that sense of wonder as best they could with Second Quest, an upcoming, hard-bound graphic novella “for those who love videogames but want more compelling worlds and a sense of real discovery” and “anyone who’s felt the pull of distant landscapes and longed to explore a world full of mystery.”
While the project has already exceeded its Kickstarter goal, with just two days remaining, the pair have prepared a new bonus for backers with ‘Side Quest’, a six-page digital mini-comic companion story to the main Second Quest that they’ll be sending to everyone who’s supported the campaign.
And so, presented below is the first two pages of Side Quest — which you can dive further into by supporting their Kickstarter campaign at any level here — and a short note from Hellman as the project draws to a close.
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”.
If you’ve seen White Whale’s iPhone adventure game God of Blades mentioned anywhere — including here — over the past several weeks since its debut, you’ve no doubt seen it mentioned in the same breath as the pulp fantasy that inspired it, and to which it pays deep, reverent respect.
Names like Roger Dean & Michael Moorcock frequently bubble up to the surface in any discussion of the game, and, not having been immersed as deeply in the fantasy world as the White Whales clearly were, I thought I’d give the team an opportunity to go into greater detail about the place God of Blades was born, as much for my education as anyone’s.
Below the fold, then, artist Jason Rosenstock (above, right) and designer & writer George Royer (above, left) list their five top visual and literary inspirations for the game, which you can learn more about at the White Whales’ site, or find on the App Store here, in advance of its imminent PC/Mac debut.
[UPDATE: both of these wallpapers have been updated further to fit properly on the iPhone 5 -- click here for the newer versions and one additional wallpaper!]
As if I didn’t have enough latent guilt about impulse-upgrading to an iPhone 5 I didn’t necessarily really need, the first thing I realized on activation was that the extra row of icons had unceremoniously broken my favorite part of the phone: my original Noby Noby Boy wallpaper, which saw BOY playfully looped around each of your icons, and surprises hidden under each which only revealed themselves as you opened an adjacent folder.
And so, I registered my complaint with Katamari Damacy & Noby creator Keita Takahashi, who, even though he hadn’t yet upgraded himself, offered to alleviate the situation by creating an newer, longer version, and even threw in a brand new GIRL version for our troubles.
And so, presented below the fold, both of the wallpapers to adorn your own device, in wistful memory of the game that very shortly will be leaving the mortal coil of the App Store itself. If you’re still working the iPhone 4/4S, you can find the original BOY version here, with the shortened GIRL version promised to appear in the near future.
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!
Since 2005, TIGSource has hosted the largest forum dedicated to independent game development. Its devlog section, in particular — where developers show their work-in-progress and get feedback from the community — has proven to be a goldmine for amazing design, gorgeous art and constructive criticism. As a game designer and an artist myself, I find these quite inspiring and feel these projects deserve more attention.
Every week on Venus Patrol, using screenshots posted to the TIGSource threads, I’ll be building a visual map of the most inspiring projects of the past several days. Soon, this series will be a nice timeline of awesome games evolving from start to finish, and hopefully sharing them here will help get these games the exposure they deserve.
Click either the screenshot or the description on the map below to visit the forum thread for that game, and leave comments and cheers to the hard-working developers while you’re there!
[Dom2D is a game designer that spends way too much time designing, playing, reading about and thinking about video games. He currently works on cute mobile games, as well as his own indie games in progress.]
See more posts about: Barbarium, Chroma, Cutthroat EP, DDrop, Deep Dungeons of Doom, Environmental Station Alpha, Escalated Strange, Isomer, Key of Ethios, Lone Wolf, Ocunaut, Pirattitude, Pivot, Planet Explorers, Ram Bros, Ring Runner, Secrets of Grindea, Sneaky, Soldier Of, Son of Nor, Temporus, The Last Night, The Walled Garden, TIGSource DevLog, Trenchbrain, Venus Patrol Presents
My original writeup on Teknopants’ brilliant upcoming brawler Samurai Gunn managed to drum up quite a bit of the attention it so richly deserves, with a number of people commenting that they very much wanted more video. And so, presented here is ten-ish more minutes of the other matches held at the game’s first ever official tournament at this year’s Fantastic Arcade.
Above you can see how the action expands as the number of players increases to three, with some more 2-4 player matches included below the fold. As before, click the ‘gear’ at the bottom of the player to up the resolution to 720 or 1080p for the best pixel clarity, and enjoy the ongoing commentary by Karakasa Games‘ Wiley Wiggins & Vlambeer‘s Rami Ismail.
For more information on the game itself, browse through the original post about the game.
London-based illustrator and animator James Gilleard has partnered with Chicago art/culture gallery OHNO!DOOM for an exhibition opening this Saturday, October 6th, featuring 18 original art pieces he’s created in tribute to Fumito Ueda’s PS2 classic, Shadow of the Colossus.
To mark the occasion, Gilleard’s given Venus Patrol permission to feature previews of all 18 pieces, which we present in ultra long gallery format below. Interested & local parties can view all the pieces live at OHNO!DOOM’s 1800 N. Milwaukee Ave. location (recently the site of a similarly amazing Adventure Time tribute show) — if you manage to make it out, take photos of the proceedings!
As you may have already spotted over the weekend, Eirik ‘Phlogiston‘ Suhrke has just announced ‘Super Crate Box Special’, a newly arranged & re-mastered album of his original music from Vlambeer’s Super Crate Box, to be released this Tuesday at Phlogiston’s own site.
Also known as the musician behind Mossmouth’s revamped Xbox 360 version of Spelunky (buy the full 62-track [!]), Suhrke has given Venus Patrol the first full track off the album — the final cut of the Construction Yard arrangement — streamable via the player below.
Also previewable is the final album art at top, created for the album by artist, animator & game-maker Francis Coulombe, whose art also adorned Phologiston’s Game music 1 collection, featuring a number of tracks composed for games by Cactus & a handful of others.
Below the fold you can find the trailer for the album with snippets of a few more tracks from the album, which will be live on Phlogiston’s website October 2nd.
With just two days remaining on their Kickstarter campaign, creator Zach Gage — creator of iPhone essentials Spelltower and Bit Pilot — has given us the drop on the bonus cards that will be included for all backers of Guts of Glory, the post-apocalyptic food-eating-contest boardgame he’s created with designer Jesse Fuchs and illustrator Jess Worby.
Glory‘s not the easiest game to introduce in a few short words, so I’ll let Zach explain it to the uninitiated through the video above, and simply add that it’s one of the smartest new card/boardgame designs I’ve seen in quite some time: an unusually funny and alluring narrative structured in a way that allows for chain-reactions that cause amazing reversals of fortune, and — most importantly — a highly accessible design that welcomes all players.
With these bonus cards — the full versions of which you can see below the fold, with commentary on each by Gage himself — the team have taken the opportunity to delve further into that post-apocalyptic narrative, with Gage adding that each contains “hints to the origins of the savage wasteland Guts takes place in.”
Watch the video above to acclimate yourself to the game, and consider pitching in to the campaign: while the funding has already been successful, the team are well within striking distance to include more bonus cards from an incredible line-up of guest artists, including local favorites Dustin Harbin, Lisa Hanawalt, the previously-featured Sam Bosma and more.