Wiley Wiggins sends word of a Kickstarter campaign for Thunderbeam a "psychedelic, open-ended adventure game for the iPad, with the sort of deeper gameplay we feel the device is worthy of," described as "an homage to the sci-fi shows we loved as kids, but full of the schadenfreude and dark humor our now shriveled, black hearts require in order to continue pumping."
Wiley and pals are trying to raise $20K to make the game a reality. As I type this, they're about 21% of the way toward their goal, with 27 days to go. More:
Thunderbeam! for the iPad (Kickstarter)
While we love the adventure games of the past, they were often primitive, and we've learned a lot about the weaknesses in their play mechanics. Cinematic games could be very effective but often sacrificed player freedom in exchange for narrative thrust, and point-and click games often turned into tedious easter egg hunts where the player dutifully clicked on every slightly out-of-place pixel in the hope that there was some hidden object that would allow him to progress. We've come up with a sort of codified formula of fun, that we are anxious to put into practice. It eliminates busywork, rewards ingenuity, maximizes randomness and emergent play, and we think will result in a game that we want to play as much as we want to create it. Our first game to implement our ideas is called Thunderbeam, and it's a carefully steeped brew of 70's science fiction from England, Japan and the States- but recast in a grown-up world where death is an immediate, irreversible and oddly-funny reality.
The game is defined by some really great artists that we've been incredibly lucky to somehow convince to help us. It has original songs and sound design by The Octopus Project, and is filled with the artwork of illustrators like Rachel Morris and Ian Berry. Our love of classic games like Out of this World (Another World in Europe) and the original Prince of Persia, which used rotoscoping to bring life to simple characters, sent me back to Bob Sabiston, who was the programmer and art director for Waking Life, and he's graciously allowed us access to his secret underground lab to rotoscope some of our in-game animation.
They even have a theme song!