Nottingham-based filmmaker Matthew Taylor got in touch with this video he shot at this year’s GameCity of ‘Wild Proteus‘, the live & improvised concert-type playthrough of Ed Key & David Kanaga’s game that I supplied some honestly not super great iPhone footage of a month or so ago.
Taylor ups the ante considerably, as you can see above, and captures a number of magic moments, like a.) the guy so lulled by the lullaby ambiance that he literally nods off, and, on the opposite side of the spectrum, b.) Fez creator Phil Fish, captivated and wide-eyed, drinking in the scenery along with his coffee.
Quite on the opposite side of the silly <--> sublime spectrum from GameCity’s Proteus Live revelations, but somehow none less awesome, Punch the Custard was one of the festival’s favorites, and works exactly as the name would have you believe.
Created by George ‘v21‘ Buckenham, the creator of Cubes, A Bastard and co-creator of the Proteus Frog God Mod, the game functions via a simple Arduino controller that completes a circuit when a player stands with one hand on a sheet of tin foil and the other is used to, well, you know, punch the custard — the mixture’s dilatant properties (I did indeed have to wikipedia that) firming the fluid as you strike it.
In practice, it’s a 2-player competitive game where each is racing to punch the custard as many times as possible in 60 seconds, with some good lessons that seem to have been taken from games like Copenhagen Game Collective’s B.U.T.T.O.N., where occasionally the game will ask you to stop punching the custard for a limited time, keeping you from simply going punch-nuts and not paying attention to the game itself.
While the game’s mostly only been played at live events like GameCity and Hide & Seek’s Weekender event in London (where the above video was captured), Buckenham’s provided full instructions and source code for putting together your own custard punching showdowns here, apron not included.
Here’s what we already knew, thanks to maybe the happiest hunch I’ll ever have in my life: Ed Key & David Kanaga’s musical exploration game Proteus is able to transform any space it enters into a fantastic dreamscape, proven out at its chill-out room installation at the Wild Rumpus/One Life Left/Venus Patrol party we collectively threw last March during the Game Developers Conference. There, a few dozen people at a time sat back & blissed out, engrossed in nothing more than someone slowly wending their way around its dynamic landscape.
Here’s what I couldn’t have known until it was quietly revealed as a feature of this year’s GameCity: performed live, as in, again controlled by a single person, but with more power of its progression put back into the hands of creator Key & with direct (rather than procedural) accompaniment by Kanaga on keys, it’s even more sublime than probably anyone would have imagined.
The ‘concert’ lasted for the better part of a full hour, with Key & Kanaga happy to give just enough freedom to the player to lend the performance an air of improvisation, while retaining an amount of control (see Key’s god-mode crib-sheet above, which I spy-cam-snapped only to discover later that his handwriting rendered the espionage more or less an impenetrable wash) to ensure that the game wouldn’t “end” until they were ready for it to.
With any luck, this won’t be the only time a performance like this occurs, as it’s not really an overstatement to say that it left the audience struck somewhat dumb — in the meantime, do your own best bootleg facsimile by picking up the game here if you haven’t already, and join us all in discovering why it’s truly one of 2012’s greatest.
Oh, the places we’ve gone — part one of two luggage-side pieces by previously-featured illustrator A.J. Hateley that’s been put together, it seems, for some manner of secret event coming along to this year’s GameCity 7, starting this coming Saturday.
Think you’ve got what it takes? A Monday reminder that this Saturday will see the opening of the Venus Patrol Training Facility at the GameCity7 festival in Nottingham, featuring two trampoline games by Bennett Foddy, Doug Wilson, Ed Key & George Buckenham, as well as Honeyslug’s Passing Time and all the games of the Sportsfriends Quadrathalon.
As a bonus, the first 200 plus-ish attendees to run the gamut will come away with these smart Dick Hogg-designed commemorative badges. People called up for duty elsewhere might even receive an additional memento of their own…
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!
Now in its second year, the GameCity Prize is meant to do for the videogame world what British institution Tate does for the art world with their Turner Prize, by choosing a shortlist of “the most brilliant, interesting and meaningful” games from the prior year and having them judged by “cultural commentators” from outside the games industry — to give the broader world a perspective on what’s happening in games somewhat underneath the surface.
This year, the just-announced shortlist includes a number of familiar faces, including Polytron’s Fez, Ed Key & David Kanaga’s Proteus (at top), thatgamecompany’s Journey (above), and Die Gute Fabrik’s Johann Sebastian Joust, up alongside more mainstream entries like Catherine, Super Mario 3D Land, and Mass Effect 3.
This year the top prize will be chosen from the list by a jury chaired by the film maker Lord Puttnam and including Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway, comic artist David Gibbons, UK designer Wayne Hemingway, BBC journalist Samira Ahmed, writer Ekow Eshun, actress Louise Brealey, actor Charlie Higson and BBC Radio DJ Jo Whiley.
The winner will be announced on October 24th at a ceremony at GameCity, where Venus Patrol will be attending with AdamAtomic’s Capsule, as well as a few more surprises up our sleeves… Visit the GameCity Prize website to learn more about the Prize & its nominees and jury.
Some awesome news finally starting to surface surrounding GameCity 7, the latest yearly festival taking place in Nottingham, October 20th through the 27th: Adam Saltsman & Robin Arnott’s Venus Patrol-exclusive game Capsule will be turned into “an exclusive theatrical presentation… with sensory deprivation elements taking place in a refrigerated area.”
Dubbed “the world’s slowest theme park ride ever”, GameCity explains that the so-called “Capsule Capsule” will see players “undergo special training on Earth before stepping into their spaceship to explore the dark, cold confines of space, battling dwindling oxygen and power levels while searching for answers to a slowly unravelling mystery.”
Venus Patrol Kickstarter backers & subscribers will probably immediately understand exactly how & why this is going to be amazing: the rest of you may want to consider a membership to the site for a copy of the game to better prepare yourself for the event later this month.
You can find more information about the Capsule Capsule at GameCity’s site, where there might also be some other interesting news coming in the next few days…