275: Tripping the Arcade Fantastic

Tripping the Arcade Fantastic

Take a trip to Austin gamefest Fantastic Arcade, where you can play a game starring a starving Russian street urchin, pull Richard Garriott's rattail, and guzzle beer in the Lightning Round.

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Why do I want to quote dickens to describe this event?

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"

I have a feeling that everybody got drunk to try to forget the Russian street urchin and office drone games. Other than that, it sounds like my kind of party. Of course, I live under a rock and I don't know about anything until after it happens.

Indie developers trying their best to replace real arcade gaming. Sickening.

And now I want to go.

Sounds... prencious. My main problem with the indie scene is that most of what they produce is just stapling Dostoyevsky to Mario bros over and over again and sitting back going "Look how clever we are!". There is a lot more happening OUTSIDE of this mainly American model of 'indie' (which has come to mean the genre of "Pretencious platformer") where people are making full 3d games without being owned by giant publishers but instead using them to their advantage. Look at places like 4A games, CD Projekt RED, GSC Gameworld, Codemasters. This is the model i would like to see indie games take, games that can stand soulder to shoulder with the big boys in ambition and scope not prencious little 2d projects.

'Indie' exsits has an almost ruthlessly hipster reaction to 'the evil mainstream' in which it exists in the vaccum of it's own percived cool. These people could do more to interface with the big players and maybe try and bring the likes of EA or Activision on side. The melding of the Indie scene and the big players to add backing to ideas with smart market understanding is the only way we are going to move gaming forward.

As it stands i can't help but seeing these people has buying a bottle of wine, some thift store cloths and pretending to be a wino at the train station. Sure being indie is 'cool' but sometimes you actually have to go beyond making games about stick men which is really a metaphore for capitalism.

hahahaha it won best family game... I now love fantastic arcade

Scrumpmonkey:
Sounds... prencious. My main problem with the indie scene is that most of what they produce is just stapling Dostoyevsky to Mario bros over and over again and sitting back going "Look how clever we are!". There is a lot more happening OUTSIDE of this mainly American model of 'indie' (which has come to mean the genre of "Pretencious platformer") where people are making full 3d games without being owned by giant publishers but instead using them to their advantage. Look at places like 4A games, CD Projekt RED, GSC Gameworld, Codemasters. This is the model i would like to see indie games take, games that can stand soulder to shoulder with the big boys in ambition and scope not prencious little 2d projects.

'Indie' exsits has an almost ruthlessly hipster reaction to 'the evil mainstream' in which it exists in the vaccum of it's own percived cool. These people could do more to interface with the big players and maybe try and bring the likes of EA or Activision on side. The melding of the Indie scene and the big players to add backing to ideas with smart market understanding is the only way we are going to move gaming forward.

As it stands i can't help but seeing these people has buying a bottle of wine, some thift store cloths and pretending to be a wino at the train station. Sure being indie is 'cool' but sometimes you actually have to go beyond making games about stick men which is really a metaphore for capitalism.

You have said everything I was going to say and said it better. I felt I needed to get some black rimmed glasses, wear a 1970's suit jacket over a faded Legend of Zelda shirt I bought at Hot Topic for $30 while drinking either Pabst Blue Ribbon or some nasty tasting micro brew just to read it in proper context.

RowdyRodimus:

Scrumpmonkey:
Sounds... prencious. My main problem with the indie scene is that most of what they produce is just stapling Dostoyevsky to Mario bros over and over again and sitting back going "Look how clever we are!".

You have said everything I was going to say and said it better. I felt I needed to get some black rimmed glasses, wear a 1970's suit jacket over a faded Legend of Zelda shirt I bought at Hot Topic for $30 while drinking either Pabst Blue Ribbon or some nasty tasting micro brew just to read it in proper context.

Not all indie games are pretentious. If you played Nidhogg you'd see that there's no pretension at all. It's just a game about sword fighting. About having fun. Same goes for tons of indie games.

i love, and wish i could be at this arcade festival. alas, i loathe programming and im not much of an artist. great, interesting games, and those two games that were playable, the russian and the office one were both intense and demonstrated the value of the medium.

Nacho Vigalondo! That's badass. I loved Timecrimes.

Fascinating read. I can't believe I hadn't heard of this before.

One thing that entertained me:

Robert Rath:
The most disturbing of these is Ulitsa Dimitrova, where the player controls a chain-smoking Russian street urchin as he goes about his daily life begging for money, selling glue to street-side huffers, and stealing vodka for his prostitute mother. If the player stops giving orders, the boy lies down and freezes to death. It won "Best Family Game."

I read this as: "the player controls a chain-smoking Russian sea urchin", making the description that much more ridiculous.

Scrumpmonkey:
Sounds... prencious. My main problem with the indie scene is that most of what they produce is just stapling Dostoyevsky to Mario bros over and over again and sitting back going "Look how clever we are!". There is a lot more happening OUTSIDE of this mainly American model of 'indie' (which has come to mean the genre of "Pretencious platformer") where people are making full 3d games without being owned by giant publishers but instead using them to their advantage. Look at places like 4A games, CD Projekt RED, GSC Gameworld, Codemasters. This is the model i would like to see indie games take, games that can stand soulder to shoulder with the big boys in ambition and scope not prencious little 2d projects.

'Indie' exsits has an almost ruthlessly hipster reaction to 'the evil mainstream' in which it exists in the vaccum of it's own percived cool. These people could do more to interface with the big players and maybe try and bring the likes of EA or Activision on side. The melding of the Indie scene and the big players to add backing to ideas with smart market understanding is the only way we are going to move gaming forward.

As it stands i can't help but seeing these people has buying a bottle of wine, some thift store cloths and pretending to be a wino at the train station. Sure being indie is 'cool' but sometimes you actually have to go beyond making games about stick men which is really a metaphore for capitalism.

The pretentious appearance of the indie games is probably spot on, but it's just a response to the dull formula of the mainstream. When the movers and shakers of the industry are just rereleasing 'Space Marines in Tones of Gray' for the 15th time, you aren't going to change the way people think with Minecraft, no matter how cool it is. You're going to make games that are actually gritty and depressing and bring gamers' attention to how, no matter what the big shots say, there are alternatives. Most gamers won't even understand this alternative, but that's how they end up hearing about Minecraft on the first place.

Plus there are plenty of indie developers that start with high brow artistic titles and end up with gameplay-first retro games that still manage to be revolutionary. Terry Cavanagh's 'Don't Look Back' is pretty high brow, but you can see how it led to the simple but tightly woven VVVVVV. Overall it's common for most creative people to produce consistently more accessible works as their trade grows better.

And of course... the article was all about people drinking beer and talking shit while playing games on old tyme arcades. It wasn't exactly Snobcon 2010.

The Random One:

And of course... the article was all about people drinking beer and talking shit while playing games on old tyme arcades. It wasn't exactly Snobcon 2010.

Well yes, the indie movement has done quite a lot to shift the ideas and perceptions of what people think a game can be and how we relate to them. But the feeling i get as time drags on is that the 'Indie' scene is it's own self mythologising invention. Listing 'indie' as a genre was the first mistake, indie games fall into distict catagories, you are not an 'indie developer' you are a 2D platformer developer or a space combat developer.

Indie as a kind of counter-culture is slightly counterproductive. I can't help feeling that in the USA there is this feeling of the "Capitalism is evil, small 2d, shoestring budget, 'deep' message, simple short game, relatively high price, low chance of profit" developer and the "Owned by massive publisher, mega budget, HD graphics, dosen't take chances" kind of developer and little imbetween. It's ciminal how few mid-budget independatly developed 3d games come out of america when even places like Chile, the Ukrain, poland, Turkey can manage them and i think a lot of the blame falls on the image that "indpendant studios should do 'indie' games"

It's less "Snobcon" more "hipstercon"

josh797:
i love, and wish i could be at this arcade festival. alas, i loathe programming and im not much of an artist. great, interesting games, and those two games that were playable, the russian and the office one were both intense and demonstrated the value of the medium.

You don't have to be an indie game designer or a games journalist to go, those were just the people who largely showed up. The event is open to the public. For example, the Machinima panel had a family of five in the audience, who came because their kids like making Machinima films. You can buy a VIP badge that gets you into everything in the festival, or just a day pass. Also, if you buy a badge for Fantastic Fest as a whole, you can get into everything, plus get four more days of awesome genre films. It's a pretty cheap weekend trip if you live close enough to drive, or know someone in Austin whose couch you can crash on.

Just Craig:
Nacho Vigalondo! That's badass. I loved Timecrimes.

He's a really entertaining speaker, and totally unpredictable. I think Jonathan Blow was also taken aback by how knowledgeable Nacho is about videogames. Nacho's biggest point in the panel was that, while videogame adaptations haven't changed movie making, the way videogames are presented has had a great deal of influence on filming techniques. Mostly he was talking about the increasing use of first-person camera shots, like in Cloverfield, and extended over-the-shoulder Gears of War-style follow shots like you see in Children of Men.

Scrumpmonkey:
Sounds... prencious. My main problem with the indie scene is that most of what they produce is just stapling Dostoyevsky to Mario bros over and over again and sitting back going "Look how clever we are!"...

'Indie' exsits has an almost ruthlessly hipster reaction to 'the evil mainstream' in which it exists in the vaccum of it's own percived cool. These people could do more to interface with the big players and maybe try and bring the likes of EA or Activision on side. The melding of the Indie scene and the big players to add backing to ideas with smart market understanding is the only way we are going to move gaming forward.

RowdyRodimus:

You have said everything I was going to say and said it better. I felt I needed to get some black rimmed glasses, wear a 1970's suit jacket over a faded Legend of Zelda shirt I bought at Hot Topic for $30 while drinking either Pabst Blue Ribbon or some nasty tasting micro brew just to read it in proper context.

Scrumpmonkey:

Indie as a kind of counter-culture is slightly counterproductive. I can't help feeling that in the USA there is this feeling of the "Capitalism is evil, small 2d, shoestring budget, 'deep' message, simple short game, relatively high price, low chance of profit" developer and the "Owned by massive publisher, mega budget, HD graphics, dosen't take chances" kind of developer and little imbetween. It's ciminal how few mid-budget independatly developed 3d games come out of america when even places like Chile, the Ukrain, poland, Turkey can manage them and i think a lot of the blame falls on the image that "indpendant studios should do 'indie' games"

It's less "Snobcon" more "hipstercon"

Both of you seem to be making the mistake of assuming the indie game scene is like the indie music or indie film scene. While it might be argued that the latter two are more about "style" and hipster chic than they are about music or movies, that simply isn't true about indie game developers. Real-life gatherings like the Fantastic arcade are pretty rare, and half of the time they aren't even open to the public, so if someone actually did get into indie games as an attempt to "seem cool" they wouldn't get a whole lot out of it. =)

Instead, the indie "genre" is simply a group of developers that are trying to experiment with gameplay mechanics that aren't really used by mainstream games. While 2D platformers are definitely the current trend right now, there certainly isn't any unwritten law that 3D engines are a no-no (indeed, both Jonothan Blow's and Thatgamecompany's latest games are going to be in 3D).

There's always a fine line between making something deep and making something that's just plain pretentious. If you think these games fall into the latter category, that's fine, but realize it has more to do with a failed attempt at art than it does with hipsterdom.

As someone toying around with Python (spare me the non compiled languages vs compiled languages talk, I already know performance takes a huge hit), programming an engine for 2D gameplay, this is a breath of freash air for sure. It kinda warms the heart that there is a concerted effort to carry out gaming just for the sake of working with the medium, and in some cases, advancing it.

Kudos.

 

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