Posts with ‘Amon26’ Tag

Let’s Win Forever

By: fuzz

On: March 4th, 2010


“Mouse click on gerbils to shoot them, get scores, youre winning, YOU ARE WINNING FOREVER

Let’s Win Forever is the latest creation of Amon26, from whom sprang the wonderful Au Sable series and a number of other short, humorous titles. In Let’s Win Forever, the player aims their crosshair at the members of a large crowd of colourful gerbils. Shooting them results in their gaining jetpacks and a seemingly arbitrary number being added to the player’s score. There’s not really any objective or purpose to the game, but that’s okay since it allows you to WIN FOREVER (!). The music is quite brilliant, as always with Amon’s work. If you enjoy this, it’s also worth checking out the more experimental Let’s Win Everything.

Download Let’s Win Forever here; get Amon26 merchandise (including art-books and a CD of Au Sable/AOOFAD) here.

Hit the jump for an interview with Amon26:

with Amon26

TIGSource: What
does the pseudonym “Amon26” mean?

Amon26: I was fourteen when I found the name. Amon was short for Amontillado, and in junior high my friends and I talked about each other and our crushes in-code so that our peers wouldn’t find out our secrets. There was Eduardo, Oxy, Aim, Julius, Pizarro, and me, Amontillado. The 26 came in when I was tired of everybody using the same boring numbers like 69, or 666, 13, or 420. It seemed every number had some kind of special meaning. I couldn’t find any special meaning to the number 26 so I chose it to represent me. I let it become my ‘holy number’ I guess you could say.

TIGS: While you’re best known for your games, you’re also a prolific musician, visual artist, and occasional writer. How do you balance your multiple artistic interests?

Amon26: I don’t worry that much about balancing it out. For a long time I’ve liked the idea of trying to bring multiple elements to bear in a way that excites an audience. So sometimes I’ll write a story that becomes a picture, or I’ll design a picture that becomes a short film. I tend to think in fractals, so everything could be easily transformed into another media for me. AOOFAD could be a board game, or a 200 page poem, or a coffee table art-book. It just happened to come out shaped like a game. :)

TIGS: Where do you think games stand as a medium? Do you consider Anna Anthropy’s concept of games being primarily about creator-audience interaction to be worthwhile, or do you tend to focus more on your own individual expression?

Amon26: I think each game should be measured by its own merit. Boardgames for example: Mahjong can’t be compared to Brenda Brathwaite’s Train, or vice-versa even even though they’re both boardgames. Sometimes a game is meant to tell a story or have a message, sometimes a game is meant to realistically simulate an event, other times its just meant to look and feel cool with little or no substance and meaning. The whole “games as/are art” debate is hard for me to understand. The concept of what makes art art is so hard to pin down as it is. I think what matters more is setting out to try and accomplish something good, regardless of what it may be considered in the end

TIGS: All of the games set in the world of Au Sable are in traditional genres, as either run-and-gun or first person shooter. Is this due to a design philosophy that one can most easily distort what is already well known, or simply from the route of attempting to marry gameplay to aesthetic in a way that doesn’t require a great deal of coding?

Amon26: At first it was my way to make sure I wasn’t overstepping my bounds. I re-purposed a free, open source platformer example for GameMaker and didn’t want to design a game that had goals more complex than I knew I could accomplish with what limited skill I had. Now that I’ve learned more, I could try something less conventional but I’ve always been
fond of John Carmack‘s concept of simplicity. You can play Doom1 with a couple keys and the mouse, that’s all you need.

TIGS: What are a few of your major influences, in any medium?

Amon26: Hm, Castlevania II really helped me see potential in making lo-fi graphics unsettling, the whole game gives this stark sense of loneliness even when you’re in a populated town. Same with Wizards and Warriors 2. Silent Hill/Fatal Frame were good examples of creating a vulnerable player; someone who wasn’t good with guns or combat. As far as books go, I used Ray Bradbury’s “Death Is a Lonely Business” as inspiration for creating an eerie mood from what would otherwise be
considered mundane. Also “House Of Leaves” created an illusion that the book was shredding itself apart as you progressed. I listen to a
lot of music all over the board, from Lilly Allen to Soul Coughing. I modeled AOOfAD/AuSable’s music after Throbbing Gristle, and the
ambient tracks off of the Quake1 CD written by Trent Reznor.

TIGS: Your games tend to employ a glitch aesthetic in that there’s no definite reality that is readily understood by the player, making them unsure of their abilities and goals. To what extent is this
intentional, rather than accidental as a result of your unfamiliarity with your tools?

Amon26: Well a lot of those glitch and scratch concepts come from “manufactured accidents” during the development process. I.E the Eyes in Ausable. I wanted them to do something other than hover in a
fully predictable pattern, so I made attempts to break the game on purpose with lots of random integers, particles, distortions. Once I found something that looked good, I toned it down to a point that kept the game playable, but reflected that sense of nearly crashing. That’s pretty much how I do everything.

TIGS: Collaboration is obviously something that you’re familiar with, as you’ve done the music for both Anna Anthropy‘s and Jazzuo’s games. To what extent has this been a positive influence on your own work?

Amon26: Mighty JillOff and Sexy Hiking have been two heavily played games among my local friends and I for years. We’d spend hours at all-night diners trying to work our way over that damn tree, or up the impossible tower. So when I was invited to compose music for Jazzuo/Anna/Kepa I nearly wet myself! Now, a year later, I’ve learned about who they are, and what they enjoy doing beyond what brought us together. Their friendships have been the most valuable outcome from all of this. I’ve met Anna in person and someday I would like to fly over and visit Jazzuo so we could do a live performance of the DildoTank theme song. I think we would obliterate all of Eurasia with
its greatness. (And some of Denmark)

TIGS: One of the defining features of games as opposed to other artistic mediums is the possibility of a social aspect; this is present even in single player games, as you’ve mentioned in relation to your experiences with The Mighty Jill Off and Sexy Hiking. Do you plan on ever creating a game that focuses as much on human interaction as atmosphere, a la Anna Anthropy’s Octopounce?

Amon26: I have this really crazy idea for a 2 player game that actually encourages failure to some degree. I loved how the later ps2 Burnout games rewarded you with super-dramatic visuals when you failed. I want to recreate that same sense of “oh man, I lost the round but look how amazing my failure was!”

TIGS: Do you have any tips for complete beginners to Game Maker or independent game development in general?

Amon26: hmm.. well it applies to more than just GameMaker, but; Make lots and lots and lots of mistakes. Visit forums, grab examples and code and just rip them apart. Even if you dont know what you’re doing, you’re still doing something. Eventually it gets clearer.

its not effective for people who want to go from zero-to-awesome in a day, but its really rewarding

also, make friends with other small devs, cultivate meaning partnerships with other fledgling designers and share your experiments between eachother.

if it wasn’t for the help of glyph, the A.I in AuSable would be little more than bouncing do-nothings.

TIGS: I see that’s worked out very well for you and Anna Anthropy.

Amon26: exactly, she really took me under her wing and spends lots of time helping me fine-tune things. In return, I’m her “piano monkey” writing fun music for her work.

TIGS: Are you doing the soundtrack for her new deep sea diver game, too, then?

Amon26: It’s planned, I’ve had really bad writer’s block with music lately. Winter gets me down and makes it hard for me to focus on things, but I sent her a few blurbs of music today Ages ago, now- see what she thinks.

it’s a lot of fun, there’s stuff I cant discuss about it that really amuses me. Very much her sense of humor.

TIGS: Your Quake machinima tend to have a comical aspect not present in your games or music (aside from the Dildo Tank theme). Is it less natural for you to make humorous, rather than melancholy, creations?

Amon26: I struggle with chronic night terrors. I’ve had them since I was a child and they’re very distracting. One time I had a therapist that encouraged me to try “trapping” my horrors on canvas but It
didn’t work out really well. The pictures didn’t make me feel any better. But it all changed the moment I personified a nightmare as an NPC, took aim, and killed it.

In my ordinary waking-life I tend to be very light hearted, positive and quirky. I avoid over-exposing myself to negative things, I don’t read the news or watch TV. So when I’m in the spirit and feel it’s time to tell a really good joke, I do it by whatever means necessary. I look forward to creating a really absurd and hilarious game in the
future. Something that I hope will equal the polish of AOOFAD/AuSable.

TIGS: Have you played any of Aliceffekt‘sgames? They’re quite reminiscent of yours, especially Cyanosis Fever.

Amon26: ooh this looks interesting (downloading valp.zp)

angon a sec, trying it

ohh MAN!

i never knew i could feel that way about a game.
valential hopes just made me keep going “YES! FASTER! YES!” then i ate some mints, and i was allright.
im not sure what its about yet, i just tried the first path

yeah, i’d really love to develop something alongside a programmer with some genuine 3d prowess. I have an idea for a flight game that I’m not nearly smart enough to make yet.
I tried unity, but it made my brain explode out my ear,

TIGS: It appears that you’ve tried to sell some of your work on CD and USB locally as well as on-line; has this been successful?

Amon26: The money I’ve made off sales doesn’t cover much more than a nice dinner or a DVD on occasion, but I don’t expect it to. It’s just my way of providing people a method to donate money and be able to get something nice in turn as my way of saying thanks. I wish I could curb production costs though, I make 2 dollars profit off a 18 dollar shirt.

TIGS: You’ve recently made the jump into 3D; how is designing for three dimensions different than designing for a spatial area seen only from one side?

Amon26: It was a nightmare at first, but I was sort of expecting that. Even though all I was doing was providing a variable for “height” along with width and length, it took a lot of re-thinking to
understand. Once I started getting the basics down It actually felt very familiar. Cactus helped me solve a problem that was a bit tedious but he really saved my ass. Without his tip, The Hunt still wouldnt run right on most PC’s. I really need to look into Unity and
see if I can make anything interesting in that next, but I’m not sure if my brain can handle it. We’ll see. If i start speaking aramaic and drawing stick figures of zalgo with my own feces, then maybe i’ll stick to 2d a little longer.

You can ask Amon26 your own questions at his Formspring.


The Hunt

By: fuzz

On: January 16th, 2010

Amon26‘s The Hunt is a prequel to his run-and-gun horror masterpiece, Au Sable. In first person shooter format, the characters and entities residing within the world of Au Sable are presented from an entirely different point of view than in the latter game. The player’s gun-wielding maniac acts as narrator in place of the original’s red-haired girl. It’s a fair bit shorter than All Of Our Friends Are Dead or Au Sable, but almost as effective.

Essentially, this is a creepy version of those weird deer hunting games you can find in arcades. What is lost in innovation in gameplay, however, is gained in disorientation. Being the first 3D game Benjamin (Amon26) has made, walls are frequently bumped up against and aiming is extremely difficult. Many would call this a fault; I would argue that the clear disorientation of the creator in the design process accentuates the player’s own disorientation. When the realization dawned on me that nobody was holding the reins and control had been relinquished to the game itself, rather than its creator, I wanted to scream and hide. The gradual removal of the player’s own power through larger and larger crowds of enemies is the conscious reply to the glitchy brokenness utilized in all of Amon’s work. Fear of the unknown guides the player’s emotions through the first section, where there are no enemies, only dead bodies. Later in the game, the only two enemy types have become familiar to the player yet still prove effective in scaring and unnerving them: the knowledge that The Hunt is “only a game” cannot and will not save you.

The graphics are the characteristic Amon red-and-black sprites. While these are very good, much is reused from Au Sable, and the colour scheme is beginning to wear itself thin. The faux 3D of The Hunt is similar to Judith‘s style in that all the action takes place in a three dimensional plane with two dimensional creatures living in it. It’s at once groan-inducing and horrifying to see these paper-thin monsters gambol about around blood-soaked remnants of humans in a dance of death. The device used to show the main character’s health is quite ingenious: the static covering the screen becomes more and more dense as greater amounts of damage are taken. Although as it is, the art is nowhere near perfection, different graphics would seriously alter the game and remove one of its most important elements.

The atmospheric glitch-industrial music playing in the background is fantastic. Amon26’s sound design and compositional abilities are easily his greatest artistic asset, and The Hunt showcases this to amazing effect. The voices of the last act are the primary vehicle to draw the player’s fear out until the end, and they succeed extremely well. None of it’s the sort of thing that can be properly listened to outside of the game, but as a part of a holistic experience, it’s essential.

In summation: The Hunt is brilliant, although flawed. A plethora of bleeding corpses and winged demons await you. Go forth and do battle.

You can download The Hunt here. You can also get a compilation CD with AOOFAD, Au Sable, and a few extras from Amon’s Lulu page. If you’d like weird t-shirts or plastic models of the characters from these games, those are here and here, respectively.

Dildo Tank

By: Guest Reviewer

On: December 21st, 2009

[This is a guest review and interview by Fuzz.]

How does one begin to describe Dildo Tank? Is it a porn game? Is it a brilliant re-invisioning of the side-scrolling shooter? Is it a meditation on the eternal differences between man and woman? A philosophical treatise on stupidity versus wrong-headedness?

Dildo Tank is all of these things and more. The latest collaboration of Jazzuo and Amon26, it opens with an awe-inspiring duet between the two artists, culminating in the final, repeated lyric, “you are weak in the knees”. Here the option is presented to play the game in either normal or censored mode. If you click on censored, the vaginas will be blurred out, as part of an attempt by Jazzuo to make all his games family friendly, regardless of subject matter (see Boobza Sports for US Kids). Proceeding to the first story screen, we learn that a man named Joon has need of our pilot skills in order to help destroy the women with no heads, who are trying to destroy mankind. From here on, the goal is simple: shoot your nude adversaries with poison dildos in order for their vaginas to absorb the harmful chemicals contained within these phallic objects. The implementation, however, is rather difficult, as you will be forced to confront all manner of giant naked women, including ones with spiked boots, laser shooting vaginas, and drills for feet.

Jazzuo’s work may be crude, but it shows a keen eye for design. The stages are carefully constructed to gradually acclimate the player to greater and greater amounts of spikes and enemies. Technique is taught through accidental experience; every player is sure to notice soon enough that the feet of the women should be ridden upon in order to more easily target them and avoid the spikes. One section in particular forces the player to ride a horde of women across a field of lethal spikes, while still attempting to shoot them. The choice has to be made: should I kill the women right away, or allow them to carry me across this spike field? Each new type of enemy is first introduced as a boss, with more health than they would normally have. The whole experience feels as though it was intended to be exactly as it is.

The graphics, while sub-par, are charming, and it is obvious that a fair amount of work went into them. The music perfectly suits the atmosphere of the game and again showcases Amon26’s stellar compositional skills. Jazzuo’s sound effects, entirely composed of his own grunts and squeals, are exceptional. The story is revealed in small portions through intermission text, as the main character’s instant messenger communications with his friends or enemies. I was not able to learn of the conclusions made by the game, as I was incapacitated by a large woman with a metal thong covering her genitals, but what I did see impressed me, as it explored much more than would be expected for a game with such a premise.

The game is available for download here, while the trailer can be viewed here.

Hit the jump for an interview with Jazzuo:

Interview with Jazzuo

TIGSource: Are your games intended to shock or provoke, or are they just created based on the topics that you find interesting?

Jazzuo: Some games are meant to shock and provoke some are not. I sometime make provocative games to let people know i am here and to get some feedback. Some times i make erotic games for same purpose. But i never forget to use some interesting and unique gameplay concept. I also believe that i do provoke by implementing new ideas. Especially those hardworking guys with not much ideas dislike me. Sometimes i just make something that interest me, but provocative stuff and erotics stuff are often what interests me.

TIGS: While your games may appear crude on first glance, there is usually a lot of depth to the inner workings of the game. How do you generally go out about designing any particular section of a game?

Jazzuo: Well they are crude. Since I start with gameplay. I first program the gameplay I have in my mind. And when I do that I make all the graphics and sound just so that I can publicize my game. In early years of Gamemaker community I could get some attention with this approach. I try to do little more with presentation now. Since there are so many freeware games now, totally crude games will not even get a single download. And my old games also have small hidden messages since at that time I believed I am a genius that will be discovered. The reward in sexy hiking is great example. I challenge you to play my old games and look for strange connection between games and hidden messages.


TIGS: Some of your creations, such as Rape and Dildo Tank, seem to exhibit a great deal of misogyny; do you consider men to be on a higher plane than women in regards to intelligence and overall worth?

Jazzuo: Rape is very strange game. I made this when i was in art school my first years and wanted to prove game is an art. So i made something with contemporary art feeling. Make game that is fun in gameplay but makes you uneasy, something like Edmund. Its not about personal opinion. Now dildo tank is a different story. It is extremely exaggerated but there are my opinions on girls and boys coexistence. Most people see more criticism on women but I think it is fifty fifty. The difference is women are depict more to stupid and men more to wrong. And that is also my big question to the world. Why it is more offensive to show someone as stupid then as wrong.

TIGS: You seem to place a lot of emphasis on innovation in gameplay concepts. How important do you consider this to be for the overall enjoyment of a game?

Jazzuo: I am not sure how important it is for enjoyment of playing a game. Most people don’t play my games because they don’t want to learn new gameplays. But it is essential for enjoyment of programming a game. It is the reason for me to make a game. I have an idea and programing is experiment if I can program it and if the concept works. Often I change it and let it evolve during the programing. I learn a lot and have fun doing it.

TIGS: How was it collaborating with Amon26 on Dildo Tank? Did your collaboration positively affect the outcome of the final product?

Jazzuo: Well I did collaborate with Amon26 on Yellow ninja’s extreme zero as well. And it was great. I always didn’t want to do collaboration, because it was about waiting for someone to do his part of work. That is also a reason why my games are all about programmers art. But Amon was very fast and made his job in time so I could do my work in my own pace. And the music is really nice. I think the games came out very nicely. I especially like the vagina he drew me for dildo tank. I made them really ugly.


TIGS: The Yellow Ninja seems to pop up quite often in your advertisements and he is the main character in Yellow Ninja: Extreme Zero. To what extent is he based on yourself?

Jazzuo: Boobza girl, John Packadge, Gunboy, John Asscratch, Yellow ninja, Blue muscle they are all representation of part of what I am or I want to be. And I am to keep identity of Yellow ninja to my self, so I cannot answer. Well ninja wears cape for a reason.

TIGS: Your characters and gameplay concepts are often quite unique. Do you tend to spend a while thinking about what you would like in your game, or do you simply add content as the ideas come to you?

Jazzuo: Mostly it is fast process. And I like to participate in various competition because the tasks always give me new ideas. Otherwise I tend to get my ideas based on real life situations.

TIGS: Several of your games can be considered erotic or pornographic. Should pornography be considered a valid art form when done in an interesting way?

Jazzuo: I am not sure. It is entertainment. It could be art but it is not my case. What I want to achieve with these game is to make game that are not only visually erotic but the gameplay it self has something unique that only sexy theme can offer. I cannot say I hate the conventional erotic games because I do like visual porn, but I am still sad there isn’t much creativity in this field. I hope more creative people will start making porn games like me.

TIGS: You’ve made several Star Wars games; are you a great fan of George Lucas’s work, or is it simply a world that you enjoy creating games for?

Jazzuo: Well Star Wars has such memorable action moments, speed bike in woods, sword fight training with eyes covered. Star wars VII and Star wars VII dark side of story was my dream come true. They are games I wanted to play and I made them by my self. There are no other games that can give you the feeling of sword figh with covered eyes or extremely speedy fighting in woods. I started making them partially because Star Wars games get more attention then others but it is mainly about the love.

star wars episode vii

TIGS: Your games are often extremely difficult. Do you value challenge as an important aspect of the replay-ability of a game?

Jazzuo: This is actually little bit of mistake. I program the games my self. And unfortunately none of my real life friends are much of computer game players. So I do all testings my self. And I get always so good at my games that I just make the games hard. Difficulty progression is something I am really bad at and I know it. And when I try to make easy levels I feel like it is an insult how stupid it is and make maximally one such level.


TIGS: The website for your Kamila games states that they were inspired by conversations that you had with your girlfriend. How much has she influenced the majority of your games?

Jazzuo: Basicly kamilka my life love, with whom I am not anymore did influence many games. She appears in many other games like, sadist meets pacifist or wild girls. And actually dildo tank is a little bit inspired by the relationship experience and frustrations.

TIGS: Do you consider your games to have progressed greatly in quality since you first began releasing them to the public?

Jazzuo: Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. This is difficult. They did change a lot. But I think all game depict well my state of mind of given time. I think my games now go more to the playability. But old game have its beauty and magic.

TIGS: How much time do you generally spend on making games in the average week?

Jazzuo: Well it depends. I in fact program my games very fast. Gamemaker is my kind of a program. I finish the basics mostly in 2, 3 days. Then I have to force my self for weeks to finish the game. But basicly I have 1 or 2 days a week for programing. I work, I make music, I do design, and think about big things and come up with incredible thoughts.

TIGS: The art style in your work is immediately identifiable from the strange mix of 2D and 3D aspects as well as photography. Do you put a great deal of effort into developing a unique art style, or is it simply programmer’s art?

Jazzuo: Lately I try a little more. But basically the mixture of 2d and 3d comes from the fact that backgrounds and tiles are easier to draw and animations are easier to make in 3d on anim8or. Yes it is programmers art.

TIGS: How long do you think it will take for the mainstream to accept the concept that video games can, in fact, be art?

Jazzuo: I think lot of people do understand that. And I feel no problem in this. What I want to see is more open mind of players. Most players are willing to learn gameplay of mainstream commercial games. Even though they are so many weapons and items and what ever. I would like people to take little more time with free games, take them little more seriously and be willing to learn new gameplay, accept its style and so on. Otherwise I am not fan of pure art games. I believe game should be a game and I look always for some uniqueness in gameplay. For example rape is my kind of artgame but it has interesting well done catching a girl gameplay to it. But there are exception as cactus whose art talent is so huge, I don’t mind even if its just a plain shooter. I just wish there would be less wonnabies of the cactus and meshoft.

Sexy Hiking

TIGS: Sexy Hiking made you somewhat famous within the independent games community; how do you feel about its success? Do you think it is a good representation of your work?

Jazzuo: It actually is the best. Take something simple and unexpected and make a crazy game. Make sure concept is unique and original, programing works and each level is unique. And also there is my rough art I was so much in love at that time. With this game I gave absolutely no shit for others, it was my pride. I did it as I felt. And i think it actually says on my web-site I am proud of this game of them all. And the reward is just crazy. I am amazed even now how early in age I fell in love with my self.

TIGS: You’ve become known as the father of the B Game. Are you proud of this achievement, and the way in which you inspired the competition of the same name on the Tigsource forums?

Jazzuo: I am extremely. I used to write by my self that I am a king of GM minigames. Now I have a title that was given to me. And there is no GM in it. It is a world wide respected title. I am really glad to people that rediscovered sexy hiking and everything. And although I am a controversial trouble maker I would like to end the interview with this big thanks.


Au Sable

By: Paul Eres

On: November 5th, 2009

Au Sable is a game by the maker of All of Our Friends Are Dead, Amon26, and appears to be at least a spiritual sequel to that game. Fans of the previous game might enjoy the new one. For those who didn’t play that one, they are both platformers which focus on delivering dark and creepy feelings.

There’s more variety than the first game, and the controls feel tighter, and the art is just as nice. My only complaint is that the mouse cursor is off by default and the only way to learn how to turn it on is in the ReadMe file (which I missed and played through the game with that difficulty).

Again, you can get a taste of the game from Ortoslon’s playthrough if you’re sleepy or unconvinced by this review.

All Of Our Friends Are Dead

By: Paul Eres

On: May 9th, 2009

All Of Our Friends Are Dead is an atmospheric run and gun platformer. It’s pretty short (I finished it in under two hours), and what’s going on isn’t very clear, but it does a good job at immersing the player into a strange alien world and has nice and stylized visuals. To me it felt like a cross between Glum Buster and the final alien levels of Contra and Super C.

Though it’s not just a “zen platformer” as moi in the forums described a particular type of game, which I took to mean games like Knytt and Seiklus: there’s too many shooting enemies, precise platform jumps, bosses, and deaths from spikes for the player to zone out while playing it. But it shares their emphasis on carefully building up a strong sense of the game’s world and atmosphere with little interesting touches.

My only minor complaint is that the movement is a bit too slippery, causing me to fall into spikes unless I’m precise about it. But thankfully the emulator-style quicksave/quickload feature means that’s not a big problem. That and I wish the game were longer, as is often the case with games I like.

EDIT: Here’s a mirror for those who are annoyed by RapidShare. Also this is the willhostforfood download. Don’t download the first download in that forum thread, it’s v0.9, instead get v1.1 at one of the above links.