Everything but the Game: Behind the Sketchpad of Amanita's point and click Machinarium

Machinarium: point & click!

By Brandon Boyer

machinarium_predhernou.jpg Point and click adventures -- one of classic gaming's most revered and, until recently, most forgotten genres -- have seen a renaissance of late. That's something I'll be exploring more fully in a future column, but, for now, it's a point best proven by what will surely be one of the highest profile indie games released this month: Amanita Design's adventure Machinarium, due for release this Friday for PC and Mac. Best known for their early web adventure Samorost -- a game that swapped out pixel crafting for a photo-surreal landscape built on rusted cans and gnarled, mossy roots ('samorost', not coincidentally, being the word for 'gnarled' or 'twisted' in Amanita head Jakub Dvorský's native Czech) -- the studio quickly established themselves as the indie forerunners of the then-niche form with Samorost 2, and promotional games for Dallas-area glee-rockers Polyphonic Spree, Nike, and the BBC. Machinarium looks to be the studio's most ambitious work, here fully hand-drawn as opposed to their former photo-shoppery, and digging deeper into the genre's past with inventory-based puzzling and exploration rather than rote hot-spot-hunting points and clicks. Presented here, then, ahead of its imminent release, a rare hi-res look into the sketchbooks of Dvorský and fellow artist Adolf Lachman showing the conceptual origins and creation of its rusted iron steamworks world, alongside a selection of images of the completed product. Machinarium can be pre-ordered directly from Amanita (which comes with a downloadable bonus soundtrack thank-you gift), or for via Direct2Drive (for PCs) and GamersGate (for the Mac), where you'll also find a demo version for each platform.
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Published 4:00 am Wed, Oct 14, 2009

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29 Responses to “Everything but the Game: Behind the Sketchpad of Amanita's point and click Machinarium

  1. Pantograph says:

    I love seeing orther people’s sketchbooks.
    Is “Sistine Chapel of puzzle games” too much hyperbole for this? Because it looks awesome.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I’d been waiting for this game for a long time, but managed to forgot about it! And now only two days to wait! Excellent. If it’s half as good as either of the samorost games, it’s worth the $17 for me.

  3. Phoenicks says:

    ohhh my. Yes. Do want. It’s GORGEOUS.

  4. Kyle Armbruster says:

    This looks absolutely wonderful!

  5. Nectar says:

    It looks really beautiful. Seems like its picking up the grown up/melancholy vibe of the original Oddworld games. Thanks for the links to the other games: I hadn’t seen the BBC one before.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This looks amazing!

  7. DoppelFrog says:

    Hmm. Is this just Myst all over again (again) ?

  8. benher says:

    Comparing the point-n-click adventure stylez to Myst?! Blasphemy!

  9. Daemon says:

    While it looks cool, it’s really not my sort of game.
    That said, it’s awesome to see a post about a PC game, instead of the non-stop iphone and ds coverage on offworld. It was starting to feel like PCs didn’t have games anymore.

  10. holtt says:

    DoppelFrog, very different than Myst. Sure, similar in the very basic “you have a mouse, you move around” vein, but as far as storytelling style, very different.

    Definitely go play Samorost. It’s free and Flash based. URL is http://amanita-design.net/samorost-1/

    A really fun and quirky adventure I found a while back is “Ben there, Dan that” from Zombie Cow. Really funny writing and quirky art style. URL is http://www.zombie-cow.com/?page_id=17

  11. Anonymous says:

    Oh- I see he has to ‘save his robot girl-friend’. How cliche. Even this game is not free of sexism. Even robots cannot be free of it, apparently… FAIL.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have been waiting years for this to come out. Samarost were awesome games and not to mention the mini game they did for The Polyphonic Spree. Can’t wait till Friday!

  13. Anonymous says:

    FAIL my a#$. Based on the experiences of Samarost and Samarost 2, this game has a high percentage chance of becoming a classic. I for one am looking forward to this with very high expectations.

  14. Anonymous says:

    great Art Style,just love the feel and Design of the World you guys Created ! Wonder how long it took you guys to make the game from start !

    Anyway,love the atmosphere ! Must buy….!

    Thanks for for creating it,so we can enjoy !

  15. Anonymous says:

    @ DeDomenici – I was struck by the resemblance to BASS too – that first image looks exactly like one of the scenes still stuck in my mind from all those years ago.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Actually, the Czech word “samorost” has two meanings: a) a crooked piece of wood (resembles asteroid – spaceship form the game) and b) a maverick (about a person). Both Samorost games are really great and I’m looking forward to play Machinarium.

  17. watman says:

    I love how the robots in the last few images are infused with personality and character. That’s great art.

  18. Anonymous says:

    http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/baf/Film_Detail.asp?filmid=8698

    Just out of interest, I noticed that Jakub Dvorksy will be appearing in Bradford, UK, on 10th November as part of the Bradford Animation Festival 2009…

  19. Anonymous says:

    I for one would just love to get some of that artwork as a “gelskin” to stick on my laptop cover. Wow! Love it.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I loved the article, feel in love with the sketches and the final results, so that you led me to go buy the game! I downloaded it yesterday and it’s awesome, and the music too. I hope the game gets all the awards and recognition it really deserves. In a time when first-role war games are king, a coming back to this kind of entertainment with such a professionalism is art. Thx Boing Boing, kudos Amanita! Gisela Giardino

  21. Toast says:

    Hopefully this thing will be a free torrent to try out soon. 20 bucks is ridiculous.

  22. Anonymous says:

    it’s a painting, which i will buy, that you can play.
    -rojo

  23. Anonymous says:

    I just finished Machinarium and am quite sad about it. Absolutely fantastic ambiance and artwork. I bought it simply because I could see the love that had been poured into it.

    I’m off to play Samorost now :)

  24. Anonymous says:

    I’m From Mexico and I found that game by chance, and is one of the best games that I’ve ever played (Just The Demo). I’ll buy the full :D

  25. Anonymous says:

    I feel like this game is the digital equivalent of an ornately crafted puzzle box or lovingly sculpted chess set by an artisan. The fact that there is a delightful game and puzzle woven into what can only be described as phenomenal art, is a bonus. Magnificent.

  26. Wuss Brillis says:

    Bolt is beautiful.

    nb: Ridiculously cheap on eB.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Haha! In the second sketch top left they used the logo of the Dutch railways! Seeing that they tried several similar two-way facing arrows in the same sketch, it is well possible that they stumbled upon it quite by accident.

    Machinarium is by far the most enchanting game I’ve played since Myst and Riven.

  28. maxtrova Argentina says:

    Exellent!!
    I love sketchthingssssssss!!
    congrats !!!
    http://www.mattepainter.com.ar