independent video game

Facade by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern (2005)

Relationships are never easy things to negotiate, whether between companies, countries or individuals. The ones that cut the deepest into our psyches are those between individuals. Always the hardest and often the least logical, all our mental strength is required to negotiate our way through them. Constantly on edge and trying to react accordingly to keep at least some kind of dialogue going between all involved parties so that things don’t end in despair. At least, that’s the hope!

Noiz2sa by Kenta Cho (2002)

Kenta Cho plays it by the rules. His works are instantly recognisable as shoot-em-ups, genre pieces following the conventions laid out in the halcyon days of arcade gaming history: rRootage plays out the Ikaruga theme of good-and-bad bullets, Torus Trooper is a shoot-racer descended from Tempest and Zero-X, and even more recent and weird games like Mu-cade or Tumiki Fighters can somehow fit into the commercial game taxonomy without much shoehorning.

2nd Person Shooter by Julian Oliver (2005)

What is it about second person perspective that is, to quote a blogged comment regarding Julian Oliver’s Second Person Shooter, ‘creepy’? First and third person seem comfortable positionings; we are born locked into a familiarity with our own view point, and the third person omniscient provides a reassuring visibility of the very human desire for Godlike power. Second person perspective on the other hand provides the ’creepy’ view of ourselves as others see us. In gaming this usually translates to the point of view of our enemy. The view of the hunter seeking to exploit our vulnerabilities. A view that exposes the harsh truth (or lack thereof) of our representation in reality; the paranoiacs obsession; the disjunction between how we are perceived by others and how we perceive ourselves. Our experience of reality oscillates precariously between the two perceptions. Which, one wonders, is the truth?

Truck Dismount by Jetro Lauha (2006)

Truck Dismount is an excellent demo in the genre of physics games; a genre which harnesses powerful programming techniques to elicit visceral game play experiences. Wikipedia defines this category as including ‘computer and video games and simulators where the principal element of game play involves laws of physics; for example, predicting paths of moving objects, colliding objects, or estimating structural integrity. Excluded are games such as flight simulators or cue ball games where physics are simulated but are not the most defining factor of the game play, or the “selling point” of the game’.

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