On Arty 2D Platformers

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On Arty 2D Platformers

Little children, big heads: Yahtzee investigates some artistic 2D platformers.

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The great thing about 2D arty platformers too, is, they are so simple, and easy to make...and depending how artsy you want to be, depends on how much content you actually add...

Im not a fan of them myself really, but, I do see why people try to make so many of them!

"a battalion of gibbons"...there is an image for you.

What? No Knytt?! I am disappointed.

I started actively gaming fairly late since I was poor; I got my first PC in '99. so I never bought the whole "let's get some cash from the NES kids" platform thing. That and the fact that I suck at platformers.

I should play more games like these but I rarely venture into the realm of indie games.

Yahtzee:
But society has expectations of us. Move out of your mum's house. Get a job in a dog food factory. Figure out how mortgages work and impregnate something. Join the queue. Fill in forms. Society stands tapping its foot like an impatient nanny waiting for us to grow up and all we want to do is live in our twelve-year-old selves playing Sonic with our lithe, athletic bodies and efficient metabolisms.

Did anyone else hear The Logical Song while reading this?
"We'd like to feel you're acceptable, respectable, oh presentable, a vegetable..."

Art games can be hit or miss. There are some art games that are charming and interesting, but the message seems lost or uncertain ("The Majesty of Colors" on Newgrounds for example). Others are too simple to be really survive in the world of the XBLA ("Pray for Good Fortune" on Newgrounds for example).

I think art games should stay small scale on free game sites. That way they can reach more people and people won't feel cheated for overly simple gameplay, subpar graphics, and short play time.

Once again Extra Punctuation is preferred for me to this week's ZP. Although the latter was pretty good. I also liked the short review of Cave Story, although getting the best ending isn't as hard as most say. Sure, you'll die tons, but you'll succeed without smashing your controller(or keyboard).
There are still retro platformers on newgrounds which are lotsa fun to play. Nostalgia or not, I doubt this genre will ever die.

The Lucidity comments on the girl with no self preservation cracked me up.

Seemed like an interesting game, though.

PJ Winterbottom seemed like a game similar to the ones described. I loved the artistic asthetics, even if the game didn't draw me in.

I can totally agree with most of this article, but I wonder if Yahtzee took a look at some of the free 2d platformers available all over the internet. Some of my favourite platforming games i've just found on Newgrounds or on Armour Games.

Lots of them are made purely as art (although sometimes its just pretentious to the point of wanted to smack the beret of the developers head) and involve some truly wonderful puzzle challenges. Like Limbo lots of them have a case of ending when the ideas run out but i still consider that to be a good thing. Nothing spoils food like stagnation...

I laughed at the "...Or Hiroshima," and enjoyed the Cave Story review.

I'm not exactly an old gamer, I'm only 16, and the first videogame I can remember playing was Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Sega Genesis so I guess you could say I did partially grow up on the 2D platformer so nostalgia could play a part in the success of these games. I think gamers also appreciate indie developers or some guy who just made a game by himself, much, much more than they would a big game studio. It's like when you hear people say "These graphics suck," or "It's too linear," on big name titles. You will almost never hear them say that about one of these indie platformers.

I've only really played Braid, so I can't say too much from experience, I'm not usually the type that's all about these "artsy" indie games.

I definitely like these posts more than ZP for whatever reason.

I loved Braid so much when I played it! :D

From the art and the music to the level design it all seemed so perfect, and the artsy-ness and hidden meanings and such in Braid are like my idea of sex.

You are late, four hours late, pull yourself together Yahtzee.

Hey Yahtzee, have you ever played Deadly Premonition.

http://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Premonition-Xbox-360/dp/B002WSR8BC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1281474340&sr=8-1

that's bargain price right there!

i know this is off-topic a little bit, but after playing the game i find it weird you've never mentioned it

Another "childhood innocence lost" game that I can think of is Heart of Darkness, where you play a boy who is running through a world that is, quite literally, trying to kill him while he quests to save his dog (his only friend) from the darkness and its evil.

Ewyx:
What? No Knytt?! I am disappointed.

Quite frankly, while it did have a bit of a story, there really wasn't much to it other than "Get off planet ?". There really weren't any relatable characters or interesting plot devices to it.

It seems a little hard sometimes to divorce the subject of art from pretentiousness in 2d platformers nowadays, especially in more indie titles. Seems like video games have entered that adolescent age that music was and still to a large degree is in. It's all hip and stuff to like the small guy because he or she drones on about some abstract concept. It's also sad to see that like the music industry, we're now getting flooded with games like this.

The spiders are capitalism! Of course it all makes sense now!

The advantage of games with low graphic intensity on computers is that you don't need a brand new computer to play the game.

One 2D platformer that I can think of that features loss of innocence (but not a large-headed child) is Eversion. It starts off pastel-colored and happy, but then... I won't spoil it for you entirely, but I will tell you that the warning "Not for children or those of a nervous disposition" is EXTREMELY apt. Oh, and it starts off with an H.P. Lovecraft quote. Have fun!

Vestsao:
The spiders are capitalism! Of course it all makes sense now!

You all call the spiders what you want I call them awesome.

I agree with this whole thing, except I didn't like Braid that much and what he liked I probably like more but that's typical.

For some odd reason, I thought Yahtzee would hate Cave Story. I don't know why he would, maybe I was just being prejudiced against him, and automatically think that he hates everything.Good to know that he appreciates a great game.

I think the point with these mildly nostalgic 2d platformers is that bt stripping back a lot of the tech it allows the games purely to relay on graphical stlye. This is a very literal interpretation of "games as art" (and i find very misleading one) where the game is ruled by concept and actual physical look and these are the terms it attempts to use to connect with the player and make themselves seem 'meaningful'.

Personally i think most of them seep pretenciousness and would do better to build amazing and original mechancis intothem ala Braid rather than just relay on mood like Limbo. Personally i feel we need to move into an area where we are doing more than just stapling Dostoyevsky to Mario Bros and sitting back going "look at how artsy and clever we are".

I have to agree with his opinion on Braid. The game was too confusing with it's whole "Artiness" thing that it tried. I never really played Lucidity, so I don't really have an opinion on that. As for Cave Story, I'm kinda surprised by what he thinks. Though when I think about it, it did seem that everything just fell right in place...

Oh, and this;

Srdjan:
You are late, four hours a year late, pull yourself together Yahtzee.

Fixed.

Ewyx:
What? No Knytt?! I am disappointed.

Pfft. Forget Knytt. Within a Deep Forest is the epitome of artsy 2D platformers. You don't just HAVE a large cute head... YOU ARE A CIRCLE WITH A TINY FACE.

Vestsao:
The spiders are capitalism! Of course it all makes sense now!

There's capitalism on mars???

I've been meaning to try Cave Story since it's a modern-made game in a basic retro form. Maybe it's games like the new Mega Man titles that also renew interest in the old.

Brotherofwill:

Vestsao:
The spiders are capitalism! Of course it all makes sense now!

There's capitalism on mars???

Well why do you think they invaded London in 1898? They needed to kill off all the humans and nick our resources to create more goods to sell on Mars!

I think you could definitely make an argument that Braid also has elements of "The Death of Innocence" in it.

I'm in the process of making an 'artsy' action platformer myself, actually. It's just such an attractive concept! Simplicity of gameplay, giving far more time to paint and design graphics and write story. However, I think they are for people who care more about aesthetics than gameplay, like myself. Not that they have bad gameplay, just simple.

They are ten a penny, ive played lots that fit exactly into the description. Most arent even about gameplay, a simple puzzle or bit of platforming and then the abstract idea of a story is strung together before your eyes. Some of them do keep me amused for about 10 minutes though.

Anyway, i know you want it to fade away but im far too interested for "Fun Space Game: The Game" to disappear. The process of learning and creating it is probably the best bit. More i say!

While reading this I couldn't stop thinking about the game "I wanna be the guy"

TERRY CAVANAGH nuff said...

Haha, while I like your theory of "little people in big scary world = us afraid of growing up and spiders", I think you're a little off base on the nostalgic graphics. Pixelated graphics are not bad, they're a style choice: Simplistic and leaving room open for our imagination to fill in the details. Long after graphics reach the point of realism, people will still be putting out 2D pixelated games for those reasons. It's somewhat similar to some artists using stick-figure-ish characters with balls for hands, a single block for a body and maybe some stubby legs and a head.

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