A synopsis of the content of PUNKSNOTDEAD, an indie game made in 12 hours in 2013, is explained by mooosh, the game’s developer: “12HOURS/1979/GET PUNCHED/PUNKS NOT DEAD/EAT SHIT.“ To which, I can only respond that if punk’s not dead, then, well, fair enough. I hear you.
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If there’s one genre of game I don’t get to play really anywhere other than at Indiecade, it’s the party game. Party games are made for large groups of people, often for the sake of an audience of onlookers. They are games that emanate fun through the spectacle of their chaos. They are challenge and competition, and in the same breath, they are light and harmonious. Nothing is worse than when a party game becomes serious. In short, they are the perfect sort of game for a gathering of fun loving people at a small expo like IndieCade East.
Doubly so, because I can’t get together a large group of people at my house to play a party game. It takes a lot to get just a single friend to to drop by to play a co-op game. So these aren’t games whose experience I can bring home with me. Still, there is that expressionistic joy that comes from being able to play these types of games that is worth experiencing, even if it can’t be any time I want.
Valiant Hearts is not another first person shooter set in World War II. Instead, Valiant Hearts makes players puzzle through the oft forgotten significance of World War I to European history.
This week we discuss its choice of presenting the Great Conflict through cartoon aesthetics along with its puzzles and how these still manage to express the very serious events and consequences of World War I.
Braid made it look easy: Take one part platformer, one part puzzler, sprinkle in some “deep thoughts” between the levels, and presto—instant critical and commercial acclaim. But Braid only made it look easy. The puzzle-platformer may have become the indie go-to genre of choice in the wake of Braid‘s success, but that doesn’t mean that those kinds of games are easy to make, especially if they, also like Braid, aspire to be about something greater than their puzzles and platforming.
As video games continue to soak into all aspects of modern society, often eyes are on how some form of gaming is become a sort of high culture: interesting, sometimes bizarre, often provocative interactions that delve into things like post-traumatic stress disorder, amputation and food as intelligent beings.
But the continued metamorphosis of gaming has a much more mundane side as well.
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