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

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

  2. 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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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 !

  9. @ 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.

  10. 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.

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

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

  13. 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

  14. 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 :)

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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