I’ll be the first to admit my weakness for cute things.
If someone were to pick up a stuffed animal, have it ‘look’ at me and in a strange yet fitting voice for a small stuffed inanimate object say, “Hello, Chris!” I’d probably take it home then and there. I’m not ashamed, it’s who I am baby, which is why Ilomilo, from Swedish developer Southend Interactive has quickly found a special place in my heart.
Two friends meet daily for tea and maple cookies. Unfortunately, the path they take to each other is never constant, changing with the weather. Manipulating a cube-like world, we can control either Ilo or Milo on their quest to meet, chat and eat cookies and drink tea. It sounds simple, and in many ways is, but it’s also pure and irresistible sugar.
My mind seems to be a bit scrambled at the moment, so you’ll have to forgive me. I just finished eight consecutive games of Score Rush on Xbox LIVE. Imagine being a white blood cell, drifting through the bloodstream on your way to, I don’t know, say a white blood cell rave party, when suddenly a virus appears.
As a fan of science, with no technical expertise or experience, I still imagine playing Score Rush is very similar to what would occur: the white blood cell would immediately fire millions upon millions of bullets at the intruders until they died, and gave up their experience points.
For those of us who have made the case for violence as art, a staggering lack of evidence has been our biggest downfall. Dismemberment, decapitation, gallons upon gallons of blood; it all rings the wrong bell for people like Roger Ebert and the Red Cross.
But then along comes White, an avant-garde take on painting a portrait in the style of a Jackson Pollock or an angry art major. From first-year students of the Graduate School of Games and Interactive Medias in France, White allows the player to paint a portrait using various weapons to murder anthropomorphic paint balls who giggle and prance along a barren white canvas.
Take for instance my own painting, after the break.
Say what you will about World of Warcraft.
Go on. It’s an incredibly derisive, love it or hate it ordeal. On one side you have those who are the dedicated, forging names for themselves online and off, spending countless hours building up characters which represent an alt-reality personality that some come to love and cherish much like one would coddle a small dog or ferret. On the other side, there are those who could care less and maybe have dabbled in it like one would witchcraft.
But what of the actual players? Over this past weekend at BlizzCon, I was lucky enough to meet people for whom World of Warcraft and Starcraft aren’t merely games, but a way in which to keep tabs on friends and live vicariously in two worlds.
Take a look around you in this, the gaming environment we’ve crafted for ourselves. Does it remind you of a museum or a demolition derby? I’ve often come away from a gaming session feeling drained if I’m playing an RPG, or shell shocked if I’ve been playing something like, say, Battlefield 1943. But have I been educated? I’m not sure, unless you count running in terror from active grenades or falling off a cliff a learning experience.
For that, I’m not sure a major developer can deliver. They’re too interested in reaching the middle; what’s good for all is good for one. Over the past weekend however, I was lucky enough to attend IndieCade, my first time doing so, and in another first, I’m left feeling rather worldly.
Take The Cat and the Coup, a game developed by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad out of USC’s Game Innovation Lab. In this trek through the memories and events leading up to the US backed coup of Iran’s first democratically elected prime minister, we play as Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh’s fictional cat in an effort to persuade him through open doors and through the headlines of an American perspective of the event itself.