Posts from ‘Social Impact’ Category

Final Breaker

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: July 5th, 2011

Okay, here’s a game Tim W. deemed “too violent and insensitive” for the Indie Games Blog. So it’s just PERFECT for here!

From what I gather Final Breaker is a game about chopping up a dance troupe with an exploding knife in a cardboard box factory. At first I was surprised to see something so violent and angsty come out of Japan, but then I remembered what Japan was. (Exploding Knife Sim is a thriving sub-genre over there. I swear, look it up.)

Unfortunately, The game’s link now points to a page I’m guessing says something like “obviously we had to take this down” in Japanese. So you’ll just have to keep that anger pent up inside for now, ’cause that’s healthier than playing violent video games, read the studies.

UPDATE: Forum gentleman “Painting” was kind enough to upload the game to his Box.net — you can play it here. Spoiler Alert: It is not very good! Tim W. also updated the YouTube page with more information, but it’s nothing scandalous, I’m afraid.

South Korean Game Rating Board Cracks Down on Indies

By: Derek Yu

On: September 5th, 2010

South Korean Flag

A Korean indie game fan brought an unfortunate situation to light on Reddit yesterday: apparently the South Korean Game Rating Board (GRB) has forced a Korean RPG Maker website to remove all of its games, due to the owner’s inability to pay for the ratings which are mandatory for ALL games. This includes freeware games that are distributed online, as was the case here. According to the poster, a 105 MB indie RPG might cost $71 to get rated in South Korea.

Similarly, Steam might be blocked by South Korea until they pay the fees to have their games rated, according to this post on TeamLiquid.net. This follows another unresolved incident between the GRB and Google involving games on Android, from March of this year. The South Korean government has threatened to ban Android Market if it does not comply with the ratings.

The GRB is a government-owned institution that, according to Wikipedia, was created out of a controversy wherein the Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) rated a gambling game “suitable for everyone”, allegedly due to a bribe. Now the GRB is South Korea’s only game rating organization, and unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be much better than the KMRB. On TIGForums, Mrkwang of the Korean indie gaming site Pig-Min has cited a case where less than half of one percent of available Flash games were rated by the GRB during an inspection in 2007.

Obviously, this is a terrible situation, not just for fans and developers in Korea, but for every hot-blooded, freedom-loving game enthusiast. Ways to help are currently being discussed in this TIGForums thread and on Reddit.

Preview: Serial Killer Roguelike

By: Derek Yu

On: August 26th, 2010

Update: The creator of this project has announced that it was an elaborate “hoax”. Not sure I buy that, but… in any case, you can read more about it here.

As GameSetWatch’s Eric Caoili deftly points out, someone’s gone and started working on an actual murder simulator. CrimsonKing’s Serial Killer Roguelike was originally themed after the popular HBO Showtime series Dexter, but has since turned into a more general killing game, with detailed combat that’s inspired by Dwarf Fortress. The goal is to develop the game into a full-blown crime sim that characters can (virtually) stalk their prey in (or not, as the creator notes), either as lone wack-jobs or as hitmen for organized crime factions.

In the description of the above video, CrimsonKing writes:

Keep in mind that this is a GAME, and that I am not advocating or condoning murder or any of the crimes that take place in it. I feel that the subject of serial killers, specifically the psychological conditions that drive them to do what they do, is one of interest and will hopefully translate into a unique game that has a vast number of potential options for play.

Well, what’s art and entertainment good for, if not exploring these darker themes? Personally, I think the game shows a lot of promise as a genuinely disturbing horror movie generator. But will it see a release before a U.S. senator decides to stir up some outrage over it? It is an election year, after all…

(Source: TinyCartridge)

Hit the jump for a video showing the character generation:

Read the rest of this entry »

Strangers

By: fuzz

On: February 2nd, 2010

<img src=“http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2725/4325705901_1f8391b109_o.png” width=“400” height=“400” hspace= "50"alt=“Strangers” />

Strangers, by Jan Willem Nijman (a.k.a. Jwaap or JW) and Jonathan Barbosa Dijkstra, is a short platformer set in a traditional sci-fi world. Jan Willem excels graphically here, as always, but what really makes this worth the download is the story, which has an interesting twist that you may or may not see coming. Gameplay-wise, it’s fairly standard platforming fare with movement that feels great, due in part to its FPS style controls. The jagged edges and interweaving colors of the art resemble a bizarre watercolour, and this effect is enhanced by the unintentionally blurry fullscreen mode. Each setpiece and character is made up of a number of large boxes, which creates a fascinating visual effect that plays on our tendency to gravitate to geometric shapes. There’s no music in-game, but according to the topic in which it was announced, this song is intended to be listened to during play, which is quite suitable to the overall style of Strangers. In the game, the unnamed main character is accompanied by his dog, Columbus, and he encounters quite a few slimy, one-eyed monsters in his exploration of a rather small alien planet. To say more would give away the best part, but once you’re done playing, hit the jump for my thoughts on it.

Again, you can download Strangers here.

Strangers is one of a rare few games that implement moral choices in a meaningful way. Sure, you have games ranging from Fable to Infamous touting their merits as a representation of life and the difficult decisions that must be made in it, but nothing I’ve heard of so far has ever gone beyond bland and obvious story-based choices. Jwaap has mentioned several times how game designers should not be playing games, and this exemplifies that notion: because he tries to approach his games from an outsider perspective, he’s able to criticize their established tropes, and in the end create a more gameplay-based storytelling formula.

I saw the twist coming from the beginning. When I realized that the aliens weren’t shooting at me, I tried walking through them, expecting them to hurt me. They didn’t, which is when I realized that while I was playing the game, the reverse was also true. The “kill or be killed” motif present in so many games is here removed, but since it’s packaged in all the trappings of a traditional 2D platformer, there’s no expectation or curiosity on the player’s part that this might not be the case. At first, I thought it a fault that only one ending is present, no matter whether you shoot the alien’s children or not, but it appears that his reaction can act literally as well as euphemistically; perhaps his children are playing hide-and-seek when you choose not to brutally murder them. This versatility of meaning works towards the game’s advantage in that it allows Strangers to act as vignette rather than anything more. Jan Willem has made several “art games” before this one, but this seems to be one of his first non-parody ones, and it’s all the more effective for it.

Here’s JW’s initial mockup for the game, if you’re into that sort of thing; also check out his article on proper violence in games.

seminar_2_mockup

Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe

By: Xander

On: September 30th, 2009

Charlie Brooker is a not-quite-well-enough-known-as-he-should-be british writer/telly person in the employ of ‘The Guardian’ paper. He also produces some brilliantly wry programs acting as commentary to society’s relationship with TV, the news media and most recently games.

Embedded is the first part of the 50-minute episode which covers everything from Street Fighter II to Perfect Cherry Blossom. The rest of the program is also online on youtube as well as on the UK-Accessible BBC iPlayer. Similar to the ‘Rev Rants’ of Destructoid’s Anthony Burch, only with a somewhat bigger budget, it’s an interesting and entertaining deconstruction of videogame culture. Whether viewed from the mind of an indie games developer, a general enthusiast or simply someone fed up with half-hour, half-arsed sensationalist pieces on gaming addiction featuring at least one fat guy who has customised his chair to double as a toilet, I cannot recommend it enough.

Jason Rohrer’s New DS Game

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: August 11th, 2009

Go Stones + Chickpeas + Pennies == DS Game

You may have seen this reported elsewhere, but “arthouse” game creator Jason Rohrer is hard at work on his first retail release, a turn-based, two-player strategy game for the Nintendo DS “about diamond trading in Angola on the eve of the passage of the ”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberley_Process_Certification_Scheme" title=“The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme on Wikipedia”>Kimberly Process." This first struck me as a heavy subject for a handheld game, but the fact of the matter is there are countless games about counter-terrorism, war, monsters, death… I’m apparently just a bit desensitized to certain topics!

I asked Jason for more details on the game and he was kind enough to oblige. Pictured above is his paper prototype of the game. He’s still ironing out the design, but he got approved as a developer by Nintendo last week and programming should begin soon. He was reluctant to describe the gameplay itself this early, which is understandable, but he says there are no big surprises here, so all will be revealed before release. Oh, and he’s making every bit of the game himself, right down to the box art.

Edgy

By: Derek Yu

On: June 26th, 2009

Edgecrement

Mobigame’s Edge is available once again on both the US and UK App Stores. I shot David Papazian and the rest of the team an email to ask them if they could explain what happened, exactly, and will update this post if and when I receive a reply. Thankfully, I don’t see a “Used under license” notice anywhere on the site!

While you’re at it, you should check out the entries for the unofficial

Edge a competition for Games Competition


that some members started here on the forums. These games, which were made as parodies and solely for entertainment purposes, are pretty damn funny! Shown above is Edgecrement, an entry by well-regarded independent developers and artists Adam Atomic Burrito Farts, Pootoing, and Brandon McFartin.

Home of the Underdogs: Underdog Harder

By: Xander

On: June 19th, 2009

hotud

Classic abandonware/freeware portal Home of the Underdogs has brilliantly returned from the grave. There really isn’t much else I need to say, except that it has been sorely missed and I will forever owe a debt of gratitude for being the site that introduced me to Nikujin.

Welcome back!

(Source: Rock, Paper, Awesome)

DAS UBERLEBEN

By: Xander

On: May 20th, 2009

uberleben

Uberleben was actually released at the end of last year, but it must have passed me by. At 100mph. Plummeting into the centre of the earth.

Uberleben is a multiplayer survival game, where each player takes the role of a suicidal power ranger equipped with a parachute. The aim is to survive the fall longer than your peers, ultimately trying to reach the safe drop zone at the bottom which will be a set distance away depending on the difficulty (including a possible ENDLESS setting). Same screen multiplayer has always been a special kind of fun, and Uberleben spreads this kind of enjoyment by allowing SEVEN players at once. Of course you’re going to require a few controllers to get the full compliment of people in game but ultimately it’s worth it as the ‘FIGHT’ option can mean contact with another player will punch them in a certain direction. This of course allows for a heavy emphasis on foul play, which combined with same-screen multiplayer will probably cause many games to end in bitter rivalries and hopefully one or two TIGDuels. Alone it may not seem like much, but with enough people it turns into a suprisingly compelling distraction. At least until someone makes a new Marshmallow Duel.

(Source: peachboy’s blog)

Videogame Nation

By: Xander

On: May 18th, 2009

NGPhoto

If you happen to be in the area of ‘Manchester, England’ anytime from now until September, you’d do well to stop by the Urbis Centre to check out their Videogame Nation Exhibition which is an exhibit mostly surrounding the British games industry. Interestingly, as spied by Negative Gamer, there’s actually a small section dedicated to indie smash-hit Darwinia. The exhibit as a whole seems to cover everything from the DSi right down to the early days of ‘Jet Set Willy’ and the old bedroom programmers like The Oliver Twins. It’s interesting to see such a thing created surrounding video games, and for there to be an indie presence is rather heartwarming. Be sure to check it out if you have the chance, as it sounds like a worthwhile trip, but if that’s impossible then check the Negative Gamer link for a bunch of photos from the event (Such as the one heading this post).