Crayon Physics creator buys a 360 so he can download Braid

In 2006, I marched into my then-workplace and crowed that I had finally purchased an Xbox 360.

A coworker was suspicious. “Is this so you can play Geometry Wars at home?” he asked.

I glowered. “Yes,” I said quietly.

In short, I own a 360 so’s to download things.

Jumpman - from Braid

Last Wednesday, Crayon Physics creator Petri Purho announced he had purchased a 360 specifically so he could buy and play Braid. Is there any more glowing a compliment?

Yes, there is. Earlier in the day, Purho wrote:

...[A]fter playing the game I got somewhat depressed because of it. So if you’re an aspiring game designer and you think you know something about game design, don’t play this game. You will get depressed, sad, and fanboyish towards [lead designer] Jonathan [Blow].

There is nothing so bittersweet as loving something so much, you wish you had made it yourself.

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New Introversion Game!!

I’m kind of lying. It’s a slow news day. I can explain.

I was IM’ing my friend Arne. He mentioned a book he’d just finished, and recommended that I read it, too. So I recommended The Red Star, which I’ve recently been playing again. In another window, though, I was trolling through my daily RSS feeds. “Man,” I typed into the chat window, “what is with the dearth of game news?” Like, the only real news blurbs on my radar—and even then, this is all literally yesterday’s news—are the just-announced Elebits for DS, as well as the launch of that one (admittedly interesting) new iPod Squenix music role-playing game whatever. Arne suspects the news dearth is part of the “pre-E3 media blackout.” I think the entire game industry is just hungover from the Fourth of July weekend.

Finally, though, I found some news worth squealing over! Today at Rock, Paper, Shotgun: New Introversion Game? The question mark is RPS’s, by the way; Chris Delay (Introversion Software’s founding designer) confirms only that their tiny game company has been offered funding for a game they’ve been wanting to make. I think everyone is being much too tentative and so, simply for the sake of cheerleading and irresponsible journalism, I have reappropriated Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s headline and added two exclamation points to it. Two.

No matter what wishful punctuation I use, nothing is official, even though the game Chris Delay is not necessarily making has already been named Chronometer.

Perhaps Introversion ought to hold off on development, though, even in spite of my enthusiasm. The company has always been notorious for its unhurried, deliberate game-making and now, with three projects underway—Darwinia+ and Multiwinia, both long-due XBLA titles for 360, as well as the upcoming Subversion—Introversion must be stretched to its limit.

Still, I’m pleased that everything is coming up roses for them! Introversion Software is the small, brilliant team behind, to date, just three titles (including my favorite game of 2006, DEFCON).

Edit: Channel 4 is funding Chronometer’s “production proposal,” which I assume is the proof-of-concept that immediately follows the “pitch.” (Alice Taylor clarifies.)


Aquaria Cosplay

I have been waiting for, like, ever, for Aquaria to be ported to Mac. It’s this brilliant indie adventure sidescroller that, at the beginning, looks and feels a little like Ecco. Naija, the heroine, is a green-skinned creature with a pixie haircut and cute webbed feet.


Naija Cosplay!


BodySurf: an adaptive hack

Speaking of Audiosurf and its adaptability...! Yesterday, Game|Life reported on BodySurf, a script authored by Evan Jones for use with Audiosurf, your computer, GlovePIE software, and both the Wii balance board and remote.

With BodySurf, you control your ship in Audiosurf by shifting your weight from side to side using the Wii balance board. Witness Evan’s demonstration, below.


Audiosurf: an “adaptive” experience

AudiosurfHere is what makes Audiosurf, for us, so incredible: the software manages to analyze music files and generate ‘playable tablature’ in a way no other rhythm game can even approach. Just as no two iPods are alike, the Audiosurf we play is not the same game that, say, Sharkey plays. (Sharkey—who proselytizes for Audiosurf any chance he can get—plays Audiosurf with a library full of prog-rock, for instance.)

Dylan Fitterer, the one-man team behind Audiosurf, recently spoke at a Valve press event (Audiosurf is now digitally distributed using Valve’s Steam service). Chris Remo of Gamasutra wrote up the best bits of Fitterer’s presentation, and the resulting article is Inside Audiosurf: the Indie Adaptive Steam Music Experience?

Part of Audiosurf’s success was due not just to Fitterer himself having easy access to his customers, but also due to potential customers having open communication between themselves.

The game’s design, he argues, lends itself very much to viral marketing, something Steam facilitates. For example, he saw users linking one another to the Audiosurf Steam page, which contains a convenient purchase link. Some evangelists went as far as purchasing the game for their friends with Steam’s gift function.

On the development side, he implemented a simple feature that encouraged competition between users, as well as providing automatic, but personal, encouragment keep coming back to the game.

“Dethroned” emails are sent to users when they are knocked off a song’s leaderboard, informing them of their defeat.


Scarygirl game shaping up nicely

We love the art of Nathan Jurevicius—the pride of our Scarygirl vinyl toy collection is our Tree Dweller figurine—and that’s why we can’t wait to play this gorgeous Scarygirl online Flash game based on Jurevicus’ art and characters. Australia-based developers Touch My Pixel expect the game to launch in three months. The preview video is absolutely beautiful.

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1-Up MegaZine #3

Raina Lee introduces issue #3 of 1-Up thusly:

Welcome to 1-Up MegaZine, Issue #3. For those new to 1-Up, our publication represents the ghost of video game future; a world where secret golden coins and power-ups emerge out of the ruins (broken blocks), and everyone can live as many lives as they earn.

It’s a good introduction, encapsulating the dreamy-eyed intellectualism of the zine as a whole—and, for that matter, shedding light on the wherefores of this very website’s title.

1-Up is targeted at, we suspect, a particular kind of gamer. She is a cradle-to-grave gamer, to be sure, but because of the videogame industry’s current climate, she is cornered into that horrible niche called “casual” (or in Nintendo’s lexicon, “latent”) gaming. She intellectualizes and externalizes the videogames of her youth precisely because they are so internalized: her individual videogame experiences are woven into her earliest memory.

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