If you’ve only played Windosill, you also need to stop what you’re doing and pick up his similarly amazing iPad app Feed the Head (also available in miniature iPhone form), and then Levers and smaller toys Acrobots and Carousel, at which point all your iOS devices will be at maximum (read: proper) wonder-levels.
Following a conversation earlier today about the enduring brilliance of Patrick Smith, best known as Vectorpark, I thought it was long past due to feature some of his non-interactive work, here with a 2007 painting called Cabin, which, along with this Citadel pencil drawing, should look somewhat familiar to anyone that’s played through his fantastically enchanting Windosill.
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 — both local and global, and both indie and occasionally a bit-bigger-budget — for the audience, to give people — especially those curious onlookers from outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed.
In keeping with the tongue-in-tobacco-packed-cheek tone, we call these run-downs A Fistful of Indies, which are be 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.
See more posts about: A Fistful of Indies, Alan Hazelden, Andrew Plotkin, Die Gute Fabrik, Distractionware, English Country Tune, Eufloria, Increpare, Jason Shiga, JUEGOS RANCHEROS, Meanwhile, MirrorMoon, Omni Systems Ltd, PixelJunk Eden, Q-Games, Santa Ragione, Shit Snake 2, Super Crate Box, Team Foccacia, Terry Cavanagh, Vectorpark, Vlambeer, VVVVVV, Where Is My Heart, Windosill
Like James ‘presstube/insertsilence’ Paterson, the Flash creations Patrick Smith has been creating over the past five plus years as ‘Vectorpark‘ haven’t quite penetrated the games industry’s consciousness as much as they should have, and maybe fair enough: his earliest creations like Levers and especially later updates like FeedTheHead were as much interactive toys as anything (the line’s blurrier with Park, which initially bears an uncanny thematic resemblance to Amanita‘s later Samorost).
But that’s fully changed with Windosill, Smith’s latest creation, where each single screen has a single goal to progress to the next: namely, finding a single pink cube via simple point/click/drag interactions which will unlock the right-hand door of each diorama.
But even still, it’s not necessarily the rules of the game that are the draw as much as the successively more involved exploration that takes place in each area to get to that block, all a culmination of (and with overt throwbacks to) objects of Smith’s earlier output.
And that exploration wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding were it not for Smith’s ability to somehow have teased out (with the aid, I can only conclude, of some dark, black magic) easily the greatest sense of physicality Flash (still, remember, an essentially 2D toolkit) has ever produced. Everything has such a well defined heft and tension, everything responds to your prodding with just the right amount of ‘squishiness’, that even its most surreal concoctions feel fantastically alive.
The free demo version of the game will get you roundabout halfway through, and, it should be said up front, it’s absolutely worth the $3 pittance Smith asks to continue on to the end, as there’s one single screen — and it kills me to not splash it all over the page here — that so perfectly both bends the rules of the game up to that point and typifies that magically-alive hyper-reality that it’s worth the admission alone.