The runner-up in this year's Jennifer Ann Game Design Challenge by up-and-a-coming developer Thomas Lui, made in Flixel, void where prohibited, A Decision Of Prominent Importance strikes me as the most notable game out of a cast born in a priori assumptions that seems to preclude their potential.
A Decision Of Paramount Importance
Uhhhh, Abusive Relationships're Bad, Mmmkay?
|Submitted by the99th on Fri, 06/04/2010 - 22:24.|
Why I Want To Fuck Barack Obama
It's The Hair
|Submitted by the99th on Tue, 04/06/2010 - 03:15.|
Quicksand Games, creators of We Want You bring us another politically charged masterpiece, inspired by J.G. Ballard's 1968 short story, Why I Want To Fuck Ronald Reagan, it serves to transplant the political machinations of hyper-personalized political celebrity to the mechanics of puzzle-by-proxy AI manipulation games -- or, it's Lemmings with Barack.
Cap n' Raid
|Submitted by the99th on Sat, 12/12/2009 - 21:48.|
World leaders are meeting in Copenhagen to talk about climate change, and generating a lot of carbon emissions in order to do so fashionably. It is in this context that we look at Gonzalo Frasca's newsgame on the subject, from earlier this year. Global Warming is a fairly simple Flash where you control a hot air balloon picking up and dropping objects in order to limit carbon emissions and prevent the penguin from becoming lonely.
Frasca was one of the first designers to push the button (or envelope?) of what games can do in terms of political persuasion. I thought his game September 12th was a real benchmark in game design, I played it when I was 18 and my design scope as well as concept of how the world really works were just being cracked out of the shell of fast food, cheap gameplay and Christianity - which combine into an Easter Egg hunt. September 12th demonstrated that you could balance timing and splash radius to create a feedback loop that confounds any amount of skille, it demonstrated that you could subvert the assumptions of a game to make a political point, though Greg had a differing perspective (you'll need to scroll down 3/4th of the page).
Global Warming does not seem to have the same lever of procedural rhetoric that Frasca's earlier work did, it works as a casual arcade game whose balance begins easy enough and becomes rather tight as the difficulty increases, you'll find yourself swinging to cap that last factory right as the ice caps buckle and the world is seconds away from flooding. But still, maybe I'm just kind of messed up in the head, I try to find meaning in it. What I come away with is a concern that this game is, no doubt unintentionally, abetting with distraction a scam that will not only not-solve our climate problems but enrich the usual suspects. The game's dynamic hinges on a cartoonish abstraction of what a future carbon-neutralized economy might portent, factories producing bikes, smog-filters and... firemen, and these things then saving the environment, cleaning up our transportation, and cleaning up the factories, including the factories that make the smog-filters. If you don't know much about the loopholes in this carbon credit game, here's a cheeky video.
By suggesting that rapid replacements of parts of our existing infrastructure, using cleantech-upgrades which in this case are funded by your clicks, but in the real world are funded by a great scam-o-la, I fear that Frasca may be drawing attention away from the real solutions. The music and graphics are lush, calming, like one of those wind turbine commercials British Petroleum was putting out in 2008. Games are good at demonstrating processes that imply arguments, perhaps, but they're just as good at making you feel complacent. If only we had more money, perhaps we could make more of the prior, we'll have to do work-for-hire for advergame clients and save up!
We Want You
Played This Thing To Spitfire By The Prodigy
|Submitted by the99th on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 00:14.|
Continuing the fine tradition of procedurally generated platformers made in GameMaker, such as Spelunky and also the fine tradition of belligerent, Christianity-addled empires, comes We Want You. You fall through a freshly weaved mess of destructible blocks and killer soldiers, grabbing armor and weapons, raiding refugee tents, and trying not to be distracted by the torrent of Fox News-esque headlines that blip by. A few things you may not be aware of initially, pushing up picks up stuff and goes into tents, pressing C will drop a mine that will blast through floors (for free, unlike Spelunky where terrain deformation via bombs was a finite resource). There isn't a whole lot to this simple game, and yet, there's so much more.
|Submitted by the99th on Sat, 11/14/2009 - 23:57.|
A Colorado Highschool student went on a shooting spree this week in protest of a Flash game posted on Newgrounds, wounding several and then killing himself. Witnesses proclaim that the student repeatedly critiqued the title Columbine Massacre as he fired at random.
"I can't believe someone made another game about Columbine! Its not even very good!" He shrieked as he riddled chalkboards and bookshelves with hollow-point rounds purchased at Wal-Mart.
Distraught students gave testimony to press while fighting back tears:
"He just kept going on about how this web game doesn't treat Columbine with much nuance! He kept saying the graphics were lame and the gameplay was a rip-off of Ninja Turtles 2, and then he shot my friend!"
Police waited outside the school until the all-clear signal was given, after it became clear that any innocent people they might have saved were already shot. Police report hearing the shooter screaming from out a classroom window "at least the Columbine RPG said witty things about Denver city water!"
A teacher who was wounded in the classroom where the shooter took his own life later remarked to press after recovery "his last words were, 'I can't live in a world where the game medium moves at this slow a pace'. After having him in my english literature class for almost a full school-year, I just couldn't understand it."
The shooting comes on the heels of the tragic murder of Colorado third grader, Gordon Stoltski after being mistaken for a truck driver of the same name.
There´s a Bull Market In Bullshit
|Submitted by the99th on Fri, 08/14/2009 - 15:41.|
Terry used to work as a "Risk Analyst" for an Irish bank, keeping in mind that Ireland has a nearly 1000% debt-to-GDP ratio. While there he applied his technical competence toward automating stuff that would have otherwise been tediously done by back-office sycophants. The logical next step is to go make indie games and have one be about a bull destroying capitalism, what could be more efficient?
Like Pedercini´s take on Communism in a game, Bullfist is contra-simulationist in its approach to ideology; in this case its communism is skin deep, and its satire of modern capitalism plays out more in the arcade-y viscera of bulls smashing into things. The ideological "thesis," if you want to take it that far, isn´t about the mathematical curve of a system but rather the chemical link of rush and crush. Its capitalism´s animal spirits wrapped as a gift to destroy capitalism. It´s also got really solid mechanics, and as we know, the bull is only indirectly responsible.
You charge along, crushing monocled, Age of Innocence looking gentry, picking up fellow bulls, then smashing Model-Ts. Once you get a full sextet you can smash Joe´s Diner type establishments like a leveraged short-seller of commercial real estate, with horns! This is the bull rush that culminates the dance with capitalistic incentives gone coked, and your score may experience exponential gains, provided that you don´t mis-time the end of the rush and crash.
New Testament Meets Giuliani´s NYC
|Submitted by the99th on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 13:49.|
I used to give away lots of money to homeless people, at one GDC I gave away like a quarter of my travel budget to various hobos, in $20 denominations, because they asked and it was like a cool tourism thing for me. Since living in a filthy, cosmopolitan megalopolis for the past year I´ve become more jaded, at first it was a joy to hand out torn ten peso bills to various street performers on Calle Florida, and to children juggling in the avenidas, but overtime its become another social tension, another point of mental stress in the great control grid of a city. So now we´ve got an "art game" in the sense that its main mechanic involves something social, you play the eponymous beggar who, after getting thrown out of the elite castle, has to go about soliciting aid to survive.
When Pigs Fly
|Submitted by the99th on Wed, 07/15/2009 - 02:36.|
It seemed appropriate to wait until now to release a light management game about being a mutating virus that destroys all of humanity. This is the game Prince Phillip was born to play.
The game gives you a world map and lets you look at different countries, the shading of the countries shows you how deeply infected the populations are. You simply spend evolution points earned with infections over time to buy and sell symptoms, making your disease as transmissable as possible without being too noticable and triggering a global panic. Then once you´ve gotten in to every major region, you can mutate into an extremely deadly condition that nearly wipes out humanity. A globalist aesthetic replete with a conspiracy-chic soundtrack loop gives the game a thriller feel even as you sit back and watch.
Of course, this is a fairly shallow game were it not for the psychological effects, made ever deeper now, of dealing with the collective dissonance of pandemic paranoia. Once you´ve decoupled emotions of fear and panic from the underlying mechanics of pandemics and virology, you should read some of the material describing evidence that this whole Swine Flu thing is a big scam at best, or at worst an atrocity of overruled personal sovereignty where the cure is more lethal than the problem.
(N.B.: Not to be confused with the boardgame Pandemic.)
|Submitted by the99th on Thu, 06/18/2009 - 16:31.|
Flashbang is back with a flash and a bang, the staple physics-based viscerality, and the staple removing dialectic of destruction vs. capitulation. Instead of being Taurus trying your hand at entreprenuership, you´re a lazy entitlement-jockey trying to do the bare minimum to get through the day while collecting guaranteed pay. Your job is to man a crane, though man-handling it is more accurate. The controls, like those of Minotaur In A China Shop, are intentionally difficult. There´s an inherent delta in where you move the mouse and how the crane follows, and they tuned the gamma up real high, it makes running in the original Super Mario Bros. feel like walking in The Legend of Zelda, by comparison. This sloppiness is amplified by the inability to directly control the height of the crane hook. There´s something in the noise.
Faith Fighter 2
Cancelled Due To Lack of Irony
|Submitted by the99th on Fri, 05/01/2009 - 16:24.|
Update: Paolo responds, after the jump.