The most sublime iPad game just released: Bastion

 

Not being an XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade) junkie had deprived me of some top indie titles, so I’m so glad Supergiant Games have brought it to the iPad – cos it actually fits pretty much perfectly. Sure a big TV would be nice to play it on, but the detailed artwork is really nice up close.

I’m not reviewing Bastion. I’m just going to gawk about some awesome things and how details make a game wonderful:

The narrator

– the entire story is told by a deep, throaty sounding narrator, who commentates on everything you, “The Kid”, does. The Kid has no name, as the narrator, known only as “The Stranger”, never got around to asking. His superb Western twang doesn’t irritate at all, but instead gives what might have been lumped in with every other JRPG a very fresh storytelling approach.

Visual Extravaganza

The world is incredible – right from the very first moment, you’re thrust into a vibrant, colourful and lively world that literally builds itself beneath your feet – the environment rises up from the depths of Calamity to greet you, piece by piece, and the hand-painted art is so detailed and well animated that you’ll constantly want more – and there are much more – as you’ll seldom encounter the same biome twice. This game is 1Gb due to the HD visuals that Supergiant Games have packed into it, according to them.

“I dig my hole you build a wall”

The music – the musical centrepiece is a haunting western vocal, and the way it’s introduced is also splendid. That track is accompanied throughout the game by other awesome scores. You want to play this game with your headphones, for sure. Don’t play it on the iPad’s puny speakers!

Why haven’t you gotten it yet?

Overall, Bastions of such an amazing quality that if you haven’t played it, and do own an iPad 2 and above (Not for the iPhones, sorry), you owe it to yourself to experience it. At $4.99 on the App Store, it’s really better than any macMeal you’ll ever have with that price.

If you need more convincing,

check out more of this gobsmacking art:

Edit: The gallery was met with the Cataclysmic Blog Cataclysm of 2013, and will rest in peace. Check out more Bastion eye candy here.

 

Free Gamification 6 week course by Coursera – starts Mon 27/8/2012

Have you ever heard of Coursera?

It’s a really cool organisation that hosts free online courses from some of the most prestigious universities around the world. Free education? While it may sound like most of it would be boring dregs of freely available textbooks, in truth, it’s really, really exciting. This particular course on Gamification is presented by the University of Pennsylvania, whose homepage has something about Printing 3D Blood Vessel Networks Out of Sugar… So certainly it’s an exciting institution :)

For those not familiar with Gamification,

Gamification is the study of using concepts found in games and gaming to drive behaviour – Things like Foursquare are perfect examples of Gamification. It’s always good to study about what makes things fun – it’s about making what people enjoy. So, come join me on the course if you’re intrigued :)

If Gamification isn’t your thing,

there are 119 course currently there – with more being added regularly. So go and check it out, it’s exciting stuff!

Lucasarts, cease & desists, and how IPs should live

 

The other day I got an email from RedBubble saying that my design Inkblot Trooper was removed due to a request from Lucasfilm Ltd. Shortly following that, the same email came, with the Terminated March as the offender. I have a few thoughts regarding this:

Fuck yeah

As much as it sucks to have my work pulled, I’m happy that it is pissing the right people off.

But why can’t Vader be a Terminator?

… can you imagine a world where the only merchandise were “official”? I know for a fact that Terminated March could not have come out of Lucasarts official merchandise, because it’s basically a parody on Star Wars, Terminator, Predator, Lord Of The Rings, AND Assassin’s Creed. That would never happen with big businesses lawyers breathing down everyone’s necks.

And then we’ll all be forced to get humourless, ugly Adidas Star Wars stuff (They’re not even found on their site, they must’ve been disowned). They’re not terrible, but they’re so… CAN YOU EVEN CALL THIS CREATIVE??

 

A MAZE game dev convention in Jozi Aug 24 – Sep 2

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Game dev in SA??

If you are like me two months ago, you probably think that South Africa has zero game development culture. Two months later of discovery, while I can’t tell you we’re the game development capital of the world, I can tell you that we do have a vibrant and active game dev scene, and the proof of that is that we have a 7 day gaming convention running right around the corner right in the heart of Jozi!

Info and links

It’s officially titled A MAZE / Interact, here is the official page, which quite frankly looks cool but functions as well for me as a calculator that has dice instead of numbers, but it’s all there.

The festival runs across 6 venues throughout the heart of Joburg and will run for 7 days – here is the link to the programme  showing where everything is – trust me, you’ll thank me for linking you this since it was next to impossible to find on the site.

Some highlights for me:

  • The Annual General Meeting with the makegamesSA.com guys talking about the plans for Make Games South Africa, our very own local game dev association.
  • The Game Jam, which is a bunch of game devs coming together to make a game at the convention within the short few days, spitballing ideas and duct taping code like ninja jugglers.
  • An amazing exhibition of 25+ in-development indie and not-so-indie games. This is the closest SA’s come to PAX South Africa :)
  • Meeting people all over SA and the world (Germany, Czech, Finland, etc) who’re samurais in game dev.
  • A Jump ‘n Run Party – with international and local acts like BLKJKS, By Haruo, Chris Palmer, Meneo, Ootz and Wiij Timski who will DJ without any hardwire equipment, with the movement of his body. WHAT!?
  • Workshops on Limited Game Design, Puredata & Sensors, Wii & Kinect Hacks for performance and installation art.
  • Having my mind blown.

 

So if you’re remotely interested in new digital trends, games, meeting cool people, dreaming big and reaching for it, I’ll see you at the party :)

 

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