Archives: The Unfinished Swan



Brandon Boyer

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[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]

Want to meet the creators of 2012’s breakaway hit Dishonored, learn more about Sony’s first-person paint-em-up The Unfinished Swan and take the role of a Cosmic DJ in a late-night dance party? Then join us Thursday, January 3rd, at 7:00PM as JUEGOS RANCHEROS returns at its new night and ND Austin venue, where we’ll be featuring an unbelievably awesome triple-header bill.


We’ll kick off the night with directors’ commentary from Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith, co-creators of Arkane’s Dishonored, more or less unanimously praised as the 2012 Game of the Year. They’ll be in conversation with Tiger Style’s Randy Smith, and will be on hand to answer all of your questions about the mechanics, the conception and the lore behind the wildly imaginative & viscerally thrilling adventure through Dunwall.

Following that, we’ll be joined by special guest star Ben Esposito, lead level designer on Giant Sparrow’s PlayStation 3 exclusive The Unfinished Swan, who will guide us through its fantastically charming storybook world, as well as give us a taste of the other independent game creations coming from this rising indie star developer.

As if that weren’t enough, we’ll then kick off the night in full dance-party style with a live performance of Cosmic DJ, the upcoming iPad game from Austin’s own GL33K, self-described as “a drum machine that loves you”, which will allow you, the player, to help create the music in real-time, as you can see near the end of GL33K’s preview video above.

And finally, as part of the city’s “Free Week” series of free, live music performances, we’ll also be joined by Austin’s own Total Unicorn, who’ll finish out the night in their own inimitable electro-psychedelic style demonstrated above.

Everything will be kicking off Thursday, January 3rd, at 7:00PM at ND Austin, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public — come drink, dance, and meet the people changing the way you think about videogames!



Brandon Boyer

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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.

The Visit

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.”


Developer: Nifflas | Platform: Nintendo 3DS | Get it: 3DS e-Shop, Steam (PC)

“… 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.”

Goblet Grotto

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

Developer: Klei | Platform: XBLA/PC | Get it: XBLA, Steam

“… 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.”

Frog Fractions

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.”

Frobisher Says

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. ”

Hotline Miami

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.”



Brandon Boyer

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[VP Rewind is a quick look back at the important events of the past week or two that should have been on Venus Patrol had it actually been alive.]

I’ve been semi-deliberately been keeping myself in the dark (no pun?) on developments with Giant Sparrow’s The Unfinished Swan, originally unveiled nearly four years back as an intriguing IGF Student Showcase proof-of-concept based around revealing world geometry by judiciously applying splatters of black paint to the world.

Now a full Sony Santa Monica production coming soon as a downloadable PlayStation Network game, this latest peek behind the curtain reveals a fantastically tender storybook backstory that gives the entire experience an unexpected emotional charge that I’m definitely not sorry I spoiled for myself. [via Giant Sparrow]

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