If you've been long-suffering under the assumption that games are created in a mashup of impalpable art and science, our latest high-res gallery on Offworld will prove you wrong, as we go inside the factory workshops where your favorite games were built (above), from the smelting of Sonic's rings, the chiseling of the 1-Up mushroom, and the rubber-pressed rebounding blocks of Arkanoid. And in more art-overload news, we also took a look at the fantastically fragile and delicately rendered games-inspired work of Melbourne illustrator Ghostpatrol, saw some select images from French guerrilla artist Invader's new Rubikubism exhibition in London, and played with the bloom-lit pixels of Stimergy, a 36-hour game of retro-futurist picnic ant invasions. Elsewhere, One More Go columnist Margaret Robertson told us how Galleon, the criminally overlooked Xbox game from Tomb Raider designer Toby Gard, can lead us on a six-degrees journey through the games industry, found another example of a gainfully employed developer using a game to announce he was quitting his job, and watched the first official trailer for our new top iPhone pick, Spider. We also saw Timbaland and Rockstar's music creator app Beaterator officially announced for PSP and the steampunk-ian environmental strategy game Greed Corp announced for PS3, learned that Tokidoki and Upper Playground were coming to Wii racer Need for Speed, and our one shot's: Call of Duty and BioShock, the Criterion editions, and Pong on the streets, and Pong in the streets.
Recently on Offworld we've had a good slate of indie devs giving us a deeper look into some of the games already high on our most-wanted lists: chief among them is Castle Crashers devs The Behemoth officially beginning to reveal the mechanics of their cutely chaotic party/arena game still known as Game 3, and art game champ Jason Rohrer showing off a paper prototype of his Angolan conflict diamond-based DS multiplayer game. Elsewhere, we got the first shot of Die Gute Fabrik's gorgeously illustrated swamp-opera adventure Mutatione, Edmund McMillen & co. showed off the first video of their pathos puzzler Time Ufck, and Taito revealed the first video of dual control methods in their upcoming Puzzle Bobble iPhone port. We also saw Nintendo plunging their toes further into the social media space with the U.S. release of their free web-sharable DS flipbook animation app FlipNote Studio, Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner revealed the first draft script for a prequel to his PC adventure The Last Express, the EA Black Box team behind Skate gave us their top 10 user-made skate videos, and Team Fortress devs began dropping awesomely gentlemanly turn-of-the-century ephemera surrounding their latest game update. Finally, our 'one shot's: the nostalgic simplicity of Six Flags' early-80s Pac-Man theme park, Metroid's Samus on a ZX Spectrum, 9 0 0 0 gives us a motivational ninja poster, and, as above, Brock Davis shows us the sobering tragedy of a Mushroom Kingdom hit and run.
It seems as though as the App Store game entries grows exponentially, our true, heartfelt suggestions have dropped off inversely, but recently on Offworld we made one of our strongest, most unreserved recommendations yet with Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, the debut game from the former Thief/Splinter Cell devs at Tiger Style. It's a game that works brilliantly on two levels: first, as an intuitive action game that sees you finger-flicking/spinning webs to catch the insect inhabitants of the long-abandoned titular manor, but second, and just as wonderfully, unraveling the secret narrative that's running underneath, just under your nose if you're careful enough to look -- it's instantly become one of our top 3 iPhone games of all time. Elsewhere, we took a look at two of the best meta-games to come to the web in recent months, with the one level exploration of, er, This is the Only Level and the self-purchased enhancements of Upgrade Complete, and listened to both a wonderfully diverse Songs to Frag By videogame mixtape, and the live house/trance styling of PixelJunk Eden director Baiyon. Finally, we saw the first dazzling entry in the AI-controlled Mario contest, made our own Noby Boy catnip toy, saw LucasArts/Double Fine dev Tim Schafer reveal his hidden Rubik's talent, and our 'one shot's for the day: the geographical secrets of Left 4 Dead and the amazingly ugly excesses of the women of Leisure Suit Larry.
Recently on Offworld, American Elf artist James Kochalka dropped in to let us preview Robot Shark, one of the songs off his latest album Digital Elf, created entirely with Nanoloop on his Game Boy Advance, and we discovered that Jason Rohrer, creator of reigning memento mori art-game-champ Passage, was creating a two player DS strategy game based on the illicit blood diamond trade in Angola (!). We also watched Love Sport, a set of fantastically expressive pixel animations from Studio AKA's Grant Orchard, and heard Austin Wintory's soundtrack for thatgamecompany's PS3 art-game flOw being played live by LA's Golden State Pops Orchestra, and (literally) looked inside Sony's upcoming augmented reality virtual EyePet. Finally, we saw why 2D still matters in 2009 with the jaw-dropping visuals in XNA game Dust, and found infinitely adorable crocheted Marios, a re-imagined 80s arcade pinup, and, best of all, back-alley knock-off Pokemon.
Recently on Offworld, our Ragdoll Metaphysics columnist Jim Rossignol takes us through an illustrated history of one of videogames' best mechanical conceits: the jetpack. From The Stamper Brothers' original JetPac, to Exile, to Tribes, Jetpack Brontosaurus (above) and beyond, he looks at how the 'pack has let us "explore strange new worlds where the sky is not the limit, and where the vertical axis is as just as essential as the horizons that lay all around us." Elsewhere we marveled at the intricate rusted ironworks designs in the latest video of Amanita's upcoming adventure game Machinarium, saw Minotaur China Shop (and Jetpack Brontosaurus, coincidentally) creators Flashbang poke gentle fun at Braid creator Jon Blow, and found a wonderful series of T-shirts based on the glitched-out boot-up sequences of arcade games. And for our 'one shot's of the day, two more fantastic pieces from artists appearing in the upcoming Autumn Society games/art gallery show: Zelda's Link aims for the eye, and the Swarovski crystal-studded queen Tetrisina.
Recently on Offworld, Valve announced another infected incidence with Crash Course (above), a new downloadable campaign for the original Left 4 Dead due in September that will bridge the No Mercy and Death Toll episodes with an entirely new location, and PopCap continued to perfect their chesty/lusty zombie parody with a new set of Evony-busting banner ads. We also saw Braid creator Jon Blow tease his next game, The Witness -- described as "an exploration-puzzle game on an uninhabited island" -- by dropping a Tao Te Ching quote, as Braid itself is confirmed to come to the PlayStation 3, and we found new details of the Wii/Xbox 360/PS3 remake of cult hex-strategy game Military Madness/Nectaris. Elsewhere, AI specialists announced a competition that will use science to build a better Mario, Taito teased Puzzle Bobble for the iPhone, Sega fanatics released the long-fabled 32-bit Virtua Hamster (!), and we looked at an 8-bit iPhone NES synthesizer. Our 'one shot's for the day: Keita 'Katamari' Takahashi, shoeless and amused, and Super Mario Lilliput.
Recently on Offworld we played with words in two ways: first, by downloading our latest iPhone obsession, NewToy's Friends With Words, as svelte and streamlined as an online-multiplayer Scrabble-alike we've played, and as perfect (read: dangerously addictive) as the original Scrabulous proved when it first dominated Facebook. We then saw Flashbang co-founder Matthew Wegner solve PopCap's fellow iPhone word-smither Bookworm with science, with a fully automated OCR word-finder that just might be expanded to a web service soon. Elsewhere, we saw Spore, Fathom and more indie all-star devs joining August's rapid-proto Experimental Gameplay competition, electro star Deadmau5 taking on Zelda, learned what Disneyland can teach devs about game design, and saw "worlds first computer programmer" Ada Lovelace coming to LittleBigPlanet with other historical friends. Finally, we found a wicked Mario 64 optical illusion papercraft, looked inside Italy's Art of Games gallery exhibit, read the latest, fantastically well researched update on the Tim Langdell v. Mobigame trademark battle, and our 'one shot's: Parappa and Umjammer Lammy play in "My First Rockband", and gorgeously abstract picture-postcards from Wipeout HD (above).
Recently on Offworld we saw heartening tales of Indie Spirit leading to two cross-promotional cross-overs: Crackerblocks' Enviro-bear -- ursine motorist star of the indie PC favorite and recently-launched iPhone port of the same name -- coming as an unlockable character to Mountain Sheep's just-launched iPhone shooter Minigore (above), and bunny battleships coming to Positech's Gratuitous Space Battles to help promote Wolfire's leporine/lupine battler Overgrowth. We also saw the first footage of an entirely new game from Knytt and Night Game creator Nifflas -- the fantastically ambient and atmospheric platformer project title Q -- and it's every bit as gorgeous as his earlier games above. Elsewhere, we got the latest update on homegrown voxel-deforming puzzler Flipper as it makes its way to DSiWare, purchased one ticket to mouth-foaming seizures and glitched-out landscapes in a video for chiptune artists Chromelodeon, saw papercraft artist Harlancore do an 8-bit console Speakerdog, and read an interview with the founder of abandonware repository Home of the Underdogs, who, as it turns out, is Harvard alum and investment bank exec Sarinee Achavanuntakul. Finally, our one shot's for the day: making love, not Wor, and the tale of the bravest invader.
In the history of the company, there's only been one Nintendo-published game that has been overtly about "fighting and fucking": GameCube game Animal Leader (Cubivore in the states), and it's the subject of Margaret Robertson's latest One More Go column, where she peers into Nintendo's heart of darkness and prods at some of the company's more whitewashed ugly truths (see: the true relationship between Mario Bros' Bowser and Peach). Elsewhere, we see artist Jude Buffum reflect on the financial crisis also through Mario's lens (and made an open plea for more financial system gaming), saw how Shigeru Miyamoto lifted ancient Japanese legend when creating Super Mario, and wolf-whistled at PopCap's Plants Vs. Zombies doing an absolutely phenomenal job of parodying the ubiquitous bosomy banner ads for free-to-play game Evony (above). We also took a guided tour through the Nintendo DS's new Facebook Connect features, saw more mind-melting footage of "type anything" DS puzzle game Scribblenauts and Left 4 Dead invading The Sims, found new official Monkey Island fashion, and watched the latest fantastically expressive 50x50 pixel video from Garth + Ginny. And, for the final few that haven't seen it, we also saw the first concept art of the Magic Kingdom's steampunk dystopia in Disney's upcoming Wii project Epic Mickey, and our 'one shots': an ode to Fallout's Nuka-Cola Quantum, the domestic bliss of Mr. and Mrs. Pac.
Recently on Offworld we went deep into the virtual arthouse, as McSweeney's DVD offshoot Wolphin screens a faux-16-bit short, Ledo & Ix, we discovered a quarter-square-mile Second Life art/vinyl toy gallery that never was (above), and we watched the first video of Fig. 8, a game where a bicycle wends its way through "the surreal world of an 'architectural' diagram." We also listened to the delightful electro-pop space opera soundtrack of Sidhe's recent PS3 Breakout/shooter Shatter, poked our head into a recent and awesomely Wareheim-ian chiptunes dance party, and saw Ubisoft officially announce Scott Pilgrim, the game (but offer frustratingly few additional details). Finally, we saw footage of Cryptic Sea's terrifyingly sparse Lunar Lander tribute, a plan to bring Sonic CD to the iPhone, another Japanese indie freeware hit coming to WiiWare, a project to MS Paint a Pikachu, and our 'one shot's for the day: Fallout 3 Wasteland clutter in real life, and an 8-bit dark castle from the depths of the Cube Kingdom.
Recently on Offworld, it was a day of tributes: fans of cult hit RPG series Earthbound celebrated its 20th anniversary, home-crafters celebrated Hand Circus's iPhone platformer Rolando 2, and renowned papercrafter master Matt Hawkins celebrated the pursuits of Pac-Man for an upcoming gallery show. We also saw the first concept art of Minotaur China Shop creators Flashbang's next web-game, Time Donkey, in which players will cooperate with earlier iterations of themselves playing the game to reach their goal, and the first multiplayer video of Infinity Ward's upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, specifically the ability for players to take control of gunships to wreak distant havoc on the battlefield. Finally we saw Media Molecule and Marvel partner to bring comic book heroes to LittleBigPlanet (with cutely taped-on accessories, as above), a new game from Gish co-creator Edmund McMillen that cryptically promises to be "a 1+1=2 formula that will ask more from you after you leave it alone", and, best of all, new pixel art concepts of an imagined Salvador Dali Game Boy Advance game.
The most exciting development to come out of Comic-Con this year? Creator Bryan Lee O'Malley dropping news that Ubisoft Montreal is currently developing a PS3/Xbox 360 downloadable game based on his comic series Scott Pilgrim (above), to be released alongside Edgar Wright's film adaptation -- news of a magnitude that almost nearly canceled out the disappointment of EA's contest calling for systematic and institutionalized harassment of SDCC booth babes for prizes. Elsewhere on Offworld, we rounded up more of the best films Netflix's Xbox 360 streaming service has to offer, with Zach Galifanakis' dystopian cult comedy Visioneers and more multilayered time-warping and epic human-drama documentary films than you could ever want, and a bonus comedic British invasion. We also figured out how to get a taste of the PS3 Katamari Damacy remake on display at Comic-Con from the comfort of our living rooms, saw new footage of the giant crab battles and near-avoidance baby violence of 'conjure anything' DS game Scribblenauts and of Gearbox's Mad-Max-ian post-apocalyptic co-op open world shooter Borderlands (which promises '87 bazillion' procedurally generated weapons). Finally, we saw chiptune punk stars Anamanaguchi plan their U.S. domination summer tour, got the first look at UK indie Mode7's abstract tactical strategy game Frozen Synapse, and our 'one shot's for the day: No More Heroes in 3D 2D pixels, and Noby Noby Boy's essence in just nine words.
Recently on Offworld we saw a bit more news trickle out of the ongoing Comic-Con, most notably new media and information on Left 4 Dead 2, with a gallery of new screenshots, on-the-floor video of its bayou-terror in action, and a new boss monster, whose get-up serves as a strict warning to everyone: when you dress yourself in the morning, please take note that this outfit could possibly be the one in which you spend eternity as a reanimated corpse. (Note: new star Rochelle understands this, as she shows up in style donning the electroclash Depeche Mode T-shirt above.) We also saw newly revealed features coming to Q-Games' decidedly old-school inspired PixelJunk Shooter, and a demonstration of its fluid- and thermo-dynamics, and discovered that -- finally! -- an official version of gold star board game Settlers of Catan is being developed for the iPhone. Finally, we saw Plants Vs. Zombies confirmed for the Xbox 360, Katamari Damacy's King of All Cosmos bringing his aloof and royally pluralized inanity to Twitter (and with it, a fantastic repurpose-able desktop background), and watched what happens when you try to play all four instruments at once as a One Man Rock Band. And our 'one shot's for the day: gorgeously illustrated Mario deaths, and retro-future Pac-Man/Space Invaders in automotive form.
Recently on Offworld the first bits of games news have started to trickle in from Comic-Con, as Alien Hominid creators The Behemoth announce that their Xbox Live Arcade hit Castle Crashers is coming to the PlayStation 3, as they also show off more videos of the chaotic-cuteness of their upcoming multiplayer party Game 3 (with a retro-lounge soundtrack by Combustible Edison). We also saw the developers at Maxis open their game even wider and include the ability to export your Spore creature to Maya or any Collada-supporting 3D package (above), fully mapped and posable, to do with it what you will, saw Evil Dead director Sam Raimi tapped to make a World of Warcraft movie, and saw Cartoon Network series Metalocalypse coming to PSN and XBLA courtesy developer Frozen Codebase. Then we wrapped up a very musical Wednesday with yet another chiptune tribute album on the horizon, this time 8-bit covers of The Prodigy, listened to cancer charity CD Songs for the Cure including tracks by World of Goo creator Kyle Gabler, and, best of all, discovered a new, free EP by local favorite low-tech shoegaze band Tree Wave. And finally: a NES made of paper and James Kay's papercraft Game Boy bird, and our 'one shot's for the day: Commander Video's glitch ritual, and a gorgeous tribute to Chrono Trigger.
Recently on Offworld: rapid prototyping time lapse, Experimental Gameplay Wii-bound, headbanging for love
Recently on Offworld, Crayon Physics creator Petri Purho showed us a fantastic time lapse video of what it looks like to rapid prototype a game in seven days (including Team Fortress breaks), watched the latest footage of the multi-part harmonizing in Rock Band: Beatles with newly confirmed tracks, and saw Sega announce a new Wii Fit Balance Board enabled Super Monkey Ball. We also watched Namco's bizarre puppet show video for PS3 collection Katamari Forever, and saw Katamari's Prince -- as well as the PS3's PixelJunk series -- coming to Sony's Home virtual space (above), and found an unofficially fashionable Tetris T-shirt. Finally, we saw the World of Goo and Henry Hatsworth devs behind Experimental Gameplay Project collaborating on a new WiiWare game, and our 'one shot's for the day: soft-shaded 3D pixelcrafter Dotter Dotter does more Super Mario, and Die Gute Fabrik tease a game where a couple, by "synchronising their headbanging, reach new planes of heavy metal love."