Roguelike games (previously) are "a subgenre of role-playing video game characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, tile-based graphics, and permanent death of the player character" (Wikipedia).
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Pippin Barr (previously) created a game that presents itself as a Windows 3-ish desktop from about 25 years ago. Mash away at each task in It Is As If You Were Doing Work until you win promotions and break time, wherein Breakout may be played.
“I positioned It is as if you were doing work in the context of the apparently near future of automated work (I read Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford recently in this vein). Thus the game poses as an application that humans who have been put out of work by robots and AI can play as a way to recapture the sense they once had of doing work and being productive. It’s a kind of semi-condescending service offered by this new world to those of us who can’t deal with it.”
Via Alice O'Connor, who points out the uncanny similarities to the pointless make-work foisted on the white-collar unemployed in Europe, training for jobs that will soon be extinct. Read the rest
Pippin Barr's Snakisms is a version of the classic game Snake, but with a selection of philosophical viewpoints to choose from at the outset.
SNAKISMS was begun on the strength of the idea of "Ascetic Snake", a game of Snake in which the snake isn't meant to eat the apple (or whatever that thing is in Snake). That basic reversal of the standard form of the game struck me as funny because those sorts of things always strike me as funny, but on turning to actually make the game it seemed pretty clear it was too much of a throw-away idea all on its own.
And so it came to pass that I decided I needed to make a whole set of Snake games based (loosely) on different philosophies, eventually settling on the idea of "isms" because SNAKISMS is really a pretty great title for a game, I think you'll agree. The design process took a surprisingly long time in terms of coming up with a set of "reasonable" interpretations of philosophies/isms that could be translated in some way to the mechanics of the original Snake game.
The creator's Comp Sci PhD thesis concerns the moral dimensions of gameplay. Read the rest
Artist Pippin Barr wrote his PhD video game values and got a Masters in UI metaphors, so it's natural that he's created Snakisms, a collection of 22 variants on the classic video game Snake (best remembered from the era of candy-bar featurephones), each of which is meant to illustrate (or at least make a joke about) philosophies from Stoicism (your snake runs into things, pauses a moment, shakes it off and presses on) to Determinism (your snake drives itself), to Holism (just try it). They're lovely, witty fun! (via Kottke) Read the rest
Since I last presented a year-end videogame wrap-up for Boing Boing readers, it's become an exponentially harder task. The number of games released per day has - even just since 2014! - risen a few times over, so narrowing a list down means leaving amazing and creative work behind. That's not even to mention the herculean task of staying on top of the pile of games still unplayed.
2016 gave us a generous amount of powerhouse titles hoisted by massive budgets and massive marketing efforts: hello Overwatch, Dark Souls III, Doom, No Man's Sky, Pokémon Sun & Moon, and especially Uncharted 4. But I did my best to wander the far corners of the internet, searching and sometimes blindly stumbling upon weird, beautiful, thoughtful videogames.
Below you'll find 20ish games (actually quite a good number more) that sang to me the most, and I think exemplify the best that 2016 had to offer. You'll find interesting places to explore, unique achievements and re-inventions of old standards, and brilliant ideas executed simply. I hope you find them as surprising and delightful as I did.
by A.P. Thomson & Jenny Jiao Hsia • Get it: Windows/Mac/Linux
Beglitched is, on its face, a fairly simple match-3 type game, on the same family-tree branch as Bejeweled or Candy Crush or any other number of similar clones you may have spent all your idle moments thumbing around with on your phone over the past few years. Read the rest
The best from the independent dev scene
A shot rings out in the dark, lighting up one of dozens of faceless windows in front of you. This game is about the feelings that follow.
This week, our partnership with Critical Distance brings us a takedown on 'empathy games' from one of the field's most well-known independent designers, as well as a unique collection of games inspired by the classic Breakout. Read the rest
The first European Games are kicking off in Baku, Azerbaijan. This tiny web browser game stands in protest, highlighting the unlawful detention of political prisoners in the country.
As I understand it, being the parent of children is consistently terrifying -- like herding cats, except suddenly minor environmental conveniences, like power outlets and stairs and cars, suddenly turn lethal. Everything is to be either managed with your last shredded nerve or avoided. Read the rest