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 for the audience, to give people — especially those outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed. The featured games are both local and global, and both indie and, on occasion, a bit-bigger-budget — what binds them together is simply that they’re all amazing.
In keeping with the tongue-in-tobacco-packed-cheek tone, we call these run-downs A Fistful of Indies, which are presented here on Venus Patrol for your reference, in addition to their home on the JUEGOS RANCHEROS site.
See more posts about: 80 Days, A Fistful of Indies, Aleks Sennwald, Bram Ruiter, Daniel Carneiro, David OReilly, Digital Dreams, Ghost Wheel Bundle, Harmony Summer Hardpack Tape 11-in-1, Hohokum, Honeyslug, Horse Master, Inkle, JUEGOS RANCHEROS, Lovely Planet, Metrico, Mountain, Quick Tequila, Richard Hogg, Super Game Jam, TheCatamites, Tom McHenry, You Are The Wormhole
[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]
It’s been on our most-wanted lists for ages, and the time is finally here: come join us next Thursday, August 7th, at 7:00PM at Austin’s North Door as we host the local premiere of the super gorgeous exploration game Hohokum.
Created by Honeyslug & Richard Hogg and due for simultaneous release on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 & Vita on August 12th (also available for pre-order right now!), we’ll be taking the game’s kite-like “long mover” protagonist for a spin on the North Door’s massive screen, and introducing attendees to the game’s fantastic soundtrack, produced in conjunction with indie electronic record label Ghostly International.
Honeyslug themselves best describe the game as “a place to wander about and get lost in”, so come join us as we drink, play and explore the world of Hohokum, Thursday, August 7th, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public!
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.
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 for the audience, to give people — especially those curious onlookers from outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed. The featured games are both local and global, and both indie and, on occasion, a bit-bigger-budget — what binds them together is simply that they’re all amazing.
In keeping with the tongue-in-tobacco-packed-cheek tone, we call these run-downs A Fistful of Indies, which are 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.
Developer: Exotworking | Platform: Web | Play it: Here
“… a brief and clever little short story of a game from Exotworking, a group that includes a guy who’s currently interning at Double Fine, which should give you a hint about the sense of humor you can expect. I won’t go into too much detail & spoil the fun, so let’s just say it’s an exploration of the ethics of the traditional retro platform game & leave it at that.”
“… just recently landed on the 3DS — which is my new favorite way to play it — it’s a serene bedtime story of a game from a Swedish indie called Nifflas, who’s sort of the resident master of quiet, ambient platformers, which is exactly what you should expect from this.”
Developer: The Catamites | Platform: PC/Mac | Get it: Here
“… a 3D dungeon crawler from the same developer of the amazing game Murder Dog. If you’ve played that, you’ll feel right at home with the sort of anarchist punk vibe happening here. If you haven’t, you’ll basically be wolloped across the face by how bizarre and brutalist it is, but underneath the sort of terrifying severity, there is actually a lengthy adventure here.”
Mark of the Ninja
“… a super polished stealth platformer from Klei, and is maybe most remarkable for the fact that it’s the first game that’s given me the choice between pacifism and genocide and I’ve not just chosen but almost like lusted to kill every single person — it’s an incredibly satisfying game all around.”
Developer: Colin Northway | Platform: PC/Mac/Linux | Get it: Here
“… the new game from our friend Colin Northway, best known as the guy with the big mutton chops and a blue safari hat in Spelunky. Like most of his games, this is a heavily physics-based game where you construct your own characters, here by adding limbs & muscles to give them life and solve puzzles. It’s insanely beautiful & super satisfying.”
God of Blades
Developer: White Whale | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“This has been featured at a previous JUEGOS, but if this is your first time hearing about it, it’s a pulp fantasy inspired swordfighting game for iPhone & iPad from our own White Whale Games that’s got a ton of soul, and is just about to get a big new dose of content in the next couple weeks.”
Developer: Twinbeard | Platform: Web | Play it: Here
“…basically impossible to describe without ruining it, except to say that I know that based on this screenshot you’re not going to believe me that it’s not just one of the funniest and absurd games to come out in recent memory, but one that basically has the most ideas crammed into one experience. You’ll see what I mean.”
Developer: Honeyslug & Dick Hogg | Platform: PlayStation Vita | Get it: PSN
“… a minigame collection that teaches you about all of the hardware features of the Vita, and also a super funny, absurdist, irreverent game with a ton of unbelievably amazing guest artists. If you’ve got a Vita, you need this game.”
The Unfinished Swan
Developer: Giant Sparrow | Platform: PlayStation 3 | Get it: PSN
“… if you’ve only seen screenshots like this, where you splatter black paint on a fully-white world to explore more deeply, you haven’t seen anything yet. As a sort of magical children’s storybook of a game, it’s just unbelievably completely delightful. ”
Developer: Dennaton | Platform: PC | Get it: Steam
“…an extremely violent and blood-soaked action game that also manages to be both fantastically stylish and awesomely thoughtful in how it handles its violence. Also worth noting is that this screenshot here will be part of an update to the game that should be ready by the time you read this, which lets you play a special level that takes place right here in the Highball.”
See more posts about: A Fistful of Indies, Colin Northway, Dennaton, Exotworking, Frobisher Says, Frog Fractions, Giant Sparrow, Goblet Grotto, God of Blades, Honeyslug, Hotline Miami, Incredipede, Klei, Mark of the Ninja, Nifflas, Night Sky, Richard Hogg, The Unfinished Swan, The Visit, TheCatamites, Twinbeard, White Whale
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”.
And then, without warning, the wonderful news I have been waiting for quite literally since the launch of the PlayStation Vita itself: Sony’s stateside blog has just announced that Frobisher Says, the minigame collection from Hohokum & Passing Time developers Honeyslug will finally be released in U.S. as a free download on October 23rd.
Though often compared to games like WarioWare for its fast-paced & fractured play, Frobisher‘s less a frenetic exercise in reaction time and more a petulant and self-aware tour through the Vita hardware itself, guided by the titular narrator, played — pitch perfectly — by Kevin Eldon, who you almost certainly know, even if you don’t know you know (or, at least, you should know), from appearances in British comedies like Spaced, Black Books, Brass Eye, Jam & I’m Alan Partridge.
The game also contains a laundry list of amazing illustrators & fellow indie artists, from co-creator Dick Hogg (the same as behind the Venus Patrol Training Facility logo) to Johnny Ryan, David ‘Swatpaz‘ Ferguson, Greg Wohlwend & Pixeljam.
Long story short, it’s an essential download and the best reason to get re-acquainted with your Vita since Sound Shapes — expect to hear more here on it closer to its release.
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!