On Play This Thing, Greg Costikyan reviews The Snowfield, a game developed as a student project at the Singapore MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. It sounds like a very odd and compelling experience: in The Snowfield, you're tasked with gathering up the survivors of a brutal battle on the eastern front in WWII and coaxing them to gather at a ruined house where a fire will keep them from freezing to death. Greg calls it "a game of small mercies."
You begin on what was clearly a battlefield not long ago, strewn with corpses, barbed wire, and broken fences, covered in snow. You are huddled and obviously freezing. There are some other soldiers in the area, mostly standing in a daze, shell-shocked; they speak to you (a handful of catch-phrases repeated), in German; evidently, this is the Eastern Front in World War II, though none of the corpses are wearing Russian uniforms. The setting is stark, and emotionally impactful.
Movement is via WASD; some items can be picked up, though only one at a time, and handed to others. In a ruined house nearby is a fire; if you spend too much time away from it, you freeze to death, the view becoming blurry about the edges and what seem like ice cracks appearing in your vision as warning. It's easy to lose your bearings in the snow and freeze to death; the controls are also a bit awkward and you cannot climb even a fairly shallow slope, so you sometimes find it hard to extricate yourself from your current position.
渋谷でゲームあるある再現してみた pic.twitter.com/dk5KH6kUgM — がんそ【駒沢アイソレーション】 (@KaoruGans0) August 5, 2020 In this video, @KaoruGans0 walks around Shibuya like a character from a video game: stilted and repetetive pacing; sliding oddly along walls; and interacting robotically with landmarks, conspiciously obvious items and other people.
Townscaper is a charming and beautiful toy by Oskar Stålberg (previously at BB), available now for Windows and MacOS. It approaches the city-builing genre, but subtracts all the things that make such games distressing and frustrating, leaving you to create the waterside town of your dreams without worrying about resources, enemies, natural disasters or other […]
I wrote about the original 8bit Card Deck a couple of years back, and now a second edition is live with tweaked designs and the same pixel-perfect look. $15 a deck, target hit, and no question about fulfilment as the print order’s already in with Gambler’s Warehouse. The 8Bit Deck is back with a fresh […]
If the last 50 years of education have taught us nothing else, it’s that it often requires different tactics to best reach different learners. To pick up a foreign language, some students take best to the old-school high school language lab method, using heavy repetition, verb conjugation and grammar emphasis to embed a new language. […]
For those who want a career in video games, there’s no reason to sit around and wait. EA and Rockstar Games probably aren’t going to seek you out and knock on your door with a job opportunity. But if you’re an indie developer with a good idea and some passion, you can create a really […]
Nobody is happy about the current state of our COVID-ravaged education system. With a new school year fast approaching, plans for teaching students still in flux, and political in-fighting driving more fear and confusion about whether or not to re-open campuses, teachers and parents are concerned. Meanwhile, most kids are just fine with spending less […]