Did you think we forgot about you? We definitely did not: Venus Patrol & UK roughhousers Wild Rumpus have just announced that we will be returning to San Francisco for the third annual Venus Patrol/Wild Rumpus party on Wednesday, March 19th — just after the IGF & Game Developers Choice Awards ceremonies at this year’s Game Developers Conference.
While we aren’t quite ready to give you the full low-down on the lineup, I can say that the music acts, developers & games we’ve got confirmed are already super exciting, and the emails that keep popping in from around the world for things we’re still working up are making me very, very happy.
If you’re going to be in town for the Game Developers Conference or otherwise in the Bay Area the week of March 19th, head over to That Party’s Eventbrite page to grab one of the limited number of discounted early bird tickets (or just a regular one if those are already sold out) & join us from 7pm to very late for “indie games, DJs, drinking, dancing, etcetera”, and stay tuned both here and That Party’s official website for lots more exciting announcements in the weeks to come.
One more HORIZON post for posterity’s sake: if you missed the Twitch.tv livestream of Venus Patrol & MOCAtv’s alternative E3 conference last week — graciously provided and masterminded by the super excellent production team at AREA5 — we’ve uploaded the conference in its entirety to YouTube so you can view it again at your leisure and on your device of choice.
As a reminder, you can also find more information, video, and big, gorgeous screenshots of all the HORIZON games at the conference’s website, as well as all the additional games curated by LA’s Sarah Brin for its post-show party.
Thanks again to all who have supported our efforts to showcase a selection of beautiful games to E3 — we hope to have more news soon on what’s next for HORIZON!
It’s been almost a week since we ran HORIZON, the alternative E3 press conference co-presented by Venus Patrol & MOCAtv, and to be honest, I think we’re all still recovering. Reaction to the conference has been more or less universally positive, and we’re super grateful both to everyone who made it happen and for all the kind words that have been coming in over the past few days from outfits like Polygon & The Verge.
That also includes photographer Brian Erzen, who documented the entire conference as it was happening, which we’re presenting here in slideshow form for those that couldn’t make it the day of. Above is the group shot or HORIZON’s presenters & participating developers that immediately followed the conference, and below the fold, a slew of other great photos of nearly everyone that took part.
We’re just a couple more weeks away from HORIZON, the alternative press conference being presented by Venus Patrol and MOCAtv, the video channel of Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and so I thought I’d share a bit more about what you can expect.
To that end, we’re lifting the lid just a bit to announce some of the participating studios of the showcase lineup, including Psychonauts, Brutal Legend & The Cave developers Double Fine, LittleBigPlanet & Tearaway creators Media Molecule, as well as Capy, the Toronto indies behind Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Critter Crunch & Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes.
They, as well as a number of other studios both independent and otherwise, will be presenting a selection of their unreleased and unannounced games as part of the Thursday, June 13th event, which we are also making plans to livestream to the rest of the world.
The HORIZON event will also include an evening mixer, where a number of the participating developers can talk more with the invited press, and where attendees will find an additional selection of new games from the Los Angeles art/game community, curated by Sarah Brin.
Stay tuned for more specifics about the HORIZON event — we’re all really excited about how this is coming together and the lineup of games we’ll be showing off!
Wondering what’s been keeping Venus Patrol relatively radio-silent the past couple months? Here’s one big reason: Thursday, June 13th, concurrent with this year’s E3 expo, the site will be partnering with MOCAtv, the video channel of Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, to present HORIZON, a press conference that will highlight a lineup of beautiful games as an alternative to what we’ve come to expect from standard E3 fare.
While we’re still keeping a tight lid on what the actual lineup will entail, the conference will present games from studios both small and large, and will showcase new looks at and details about some games you may have already heard of, as well as brand new games from some of your favorite developers, and very possibly some super secret new surprises that will be entirely unexpected.
If you’re a member of the press, invites to the event will be headed your way shortly — so save the date now — email email@example.com if you’re especially excited about attending and we’ll do what we can to make sure you’re there!
The genesis of HORIZON came as Cory Schmitz (who is, of course, behind the fantastic HORIZON design) & I sat at home streaming last year’s string of E3 press conferences and instantly decided to “light a candle, rather than curse the darkness” and try to put together the E3 experience we wanted to see in the world.
Through the organizational help and guidance of Double Fine‘s Greg Rice, Mathew Kumar, and especially the involvement of MOCAtv and curator Sarah Brin (who also helped organize the super excellent Ahhhcade exhibition at SFMOMA during this year’s Game Developers Conference), we think we’re putting together something very exciting, which we hope will stand out and become a new E3 tradition.
We’ll have much more to say about HORIZON in the coming weeks — we hope you’ll start looking forward to this as much as we are!
A week or so on, I wanted to give a quick update from both Keita & me, to say many thanks for everyone that’s supported the Videogame Romantics project so far, and to announce this little site I had a wild hare to put together over the weekend: WeAreVideogameRomantics.com, a mega-site of everyone who’s joined our league to express their “naïve, pure, wonderful, and silly Love“.
If you’ve already received your order — or were one of the many who bought one of the T-shirts at our GDC party this year — we’d love to have you submit a photo of yourself wearing the shirt, as a couple of you already have! You can do so here (it even works directly from your iPhone library through some manner of tumblr magic) — and hopefully soon enough we can crowd out the random package shots I added with some real actual human faces. We look forward to seeing you there!
OK, it’s time to unbury this lede a bit: as you may have seen, New York designers Eric Zimmerman, Naomi Clark, and Ranjit Bhatnagar have just launched a Kickstarter that will revive cult-legend online multiplayer game Sissyfight 2000 — nearly a decade after it was last playable — and they’ll be doing so on a new home for online games currently being built by QWOP creator Bennett Foddy & myself.
Probably you will have had to be of a certain age & persuasion to remember the original Sissyfight — it was first launched in 2000 as part of the long-defunct web-zine Word.com, which at the time was a massive influence on me as a college kid who, even then, wanted to smash together the world of comics, words and interactive art & games in a way that it’d take me another 15 years to get right. (For more on that, I highly recommend spending your afternoon traversing this visual history of Word, and the Wayback Machine’s admittedly super-broken but still relatively complete archives, which you can jump forward in time a bit to see more issues of. It was the actual best website of the late 90s.)
Sissyfight itself was a cornerstone of what made Word.com amazing, and — apart from the Kickstarter page itself — Zimmerman, Wikipedia, and this ancient Salon article will best get you back up to speed on the game itself. Or, even more briefly, here’s how the precis goes: it’s a real-time online playground game for 3-6 players, each trying to lower the self-esteem of their pig-tailed opponents through a series of carefully considered rounds of teasing, scratching & tattling, which presents a surprising amount of team-up tactics to reduce your rivals to ruins.
An online press preview last week was the first time I’d played the game since my now quite hazy college days, and I was delighted to find it was as compelling & engaging as I’d remembered, which is just part of the reason I’m proud to be able to have a hand in its re-birth.
If you visit the Kickstarter page, you’ll find that I’m doing that not only with some direct support of the campaign itself — with a very limited number of some of my own remaining supply of Venus Patrol Kickstarter goods, including some Scott C prints & #sworcery 7″s — but by providing the web-home where you’ll be able to play the game on its re-release.
On that: we’re still being somewhat tight-lipped about What This New Online Games Site Will Entail, but Foddy & I — with the help of the super amazing developer Mark Olson — have been quietly building up what we hope you’ll regard as a beautiful, vibrant place to both discover new games and, crucially, learn more about the actual people who develop them.
We’ll explain what this all entails very soon (the site is looking great, but we’ve still got a bit of sweeping up to do before we open the doors) — in the meantime, all of us hope you’ll join us on the first step and support Team Sissyfight in bringing back a long-lost classic.
It’s time for that little link at the top to shine a little brighter: I’m very pleased to announce that the Venus Patrol Shop is now, finally, open for business, which also brings even better news — the official, worldwide release of Keita Takahashi’s Videogame Romantics T-shirts.
In addition to the remaining “Sunset” stock we originally made available at our Wild Rumpus / Venus Patrol GDC Party, we’re also introducing two new colorways: “Octopus”, with pink on heather-purple, and “Treasure”, with sparkly gold on black (which, to Keita’s dismay, is not made of actual gold).
The Venus Patrol Shop is also currently stocked with a small selection of other items from friends of the site, including T-shirts, prints and zines from artists & writers like Maré Odomo, Cory Schmitz, Zac Gorman and Mathew Kumar. You’ll even find a few super-premium items in stock, like these hand-woven scarves featuring art from Faraway creator Steph Thirion’s debut game Eliss.
Be sure to let Keita & I know how you like the shirts! Photos for our scrapbook/future Tumblr posts can be submitted care of that Submit link at top. And overall, I genuinely hope you like what you see at the store, and thanks much to our superpals at Fangamer for all the hard work they put into making it a real thing — stay tuned for news on many more things I’m working on bringing to it in the coming months!
I should probably slow down a bit with the Big Announcements, but there’s just too much to get through before everything explodes next week, so here’s One More Big One: in addition to the debut of Tenya Wanya Teens, our March 27th GDC party will also see the release of a new T-shirt designed by Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi.
The ‘Videogame Romantics’ shirt, inspired by Takahashi’s speech featured on Venus Patrol a few months back, will be released at the party in the ‘Sunset’ colorway pictured above, in a very limited edition that will be exclusive to that one night.
Following the party, the shirt will be the first item available worldwide on the Venus Patrol Shop — long teased in that top bar, but now actually coming soon in partnership with our superpals at Fangamer — in two new colorways, and probably even more colorways after those sell through, and then, hopefully, branching out into many more new designs after this.
Until then, if you want to fly your fellow Videogame Romantic freak flag in those colors above, I would suggest literally like bee-lining to the Fangamer booth at our party on March 27th as soon as possible, because I honestly don’t think they’re going to last long.
You’ve no doubt spotted our various teasers for the game across the web, but with just a week until its debut at our upcoming GDC party, it’s time to pull back the curtain just a bit more: introducing Tenya Wanya Teens, a co-production of Venus Patrol, Wild Rumpus, and Uvula, the husband & wife indie team of Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi & former Namco composer Asuka Sakai.
What is Tenya Wanya Teens? It’s “a coming-of-age tale about love, hygiene, monsters and finding discarded erotic magazines in the woods”. It’s a game about trying desperately to not say or do the wrong thing at the wrong time — that universal struggle to maintain the façade of normality during the awkward transition from child- to adulthood.
But, more than anything, really, it’s a silly party game for two players armed with sixteen buttons each, as demonstrated on prototype box-file controllers by Wild Rumpus’s Marie Foulston & Dick Hogg above, as we put the final touches on the real deluxe custom joysticks that will make their debut alongside the game.
In addition to its appearance at the party, Tenya Wanya Teens will also be part of the lineup at GDC’s Experimental Gameplay Sessions on Friday, so stop by there if you aren’t able to see it earlier in the week.
After that? Stay tuned for news about release to the wider world: we’re already thinking about how we can bring the game to your home, even granted its poly-button insanity — we’ll have more about that in the future both here and at the official Tenya Wanya Teens website & twitter account.