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Tag: LAZA KNITEZ

Play Journal: November 2014

Ah, Novemeberr, the misspelled month. The cold carefully creeps closer and my alliterations are clearly cleverly cunning as ever. What does this have to do with the Play Journal? Nothing, of course. Should I actually be writing my term paper? Yes, but let’s just get this over with. If, for some reason, you want more once you’re done here, check out my BlackBox CPH post, which was originally part of this post. Blablablablabla! Aaaaand here’s stuff I’ve played in Novemibör 2014.

teddy

November means the teddy is back at one of the stops of my commute.

Prototype tests:
November saw our game design group move into full, actual production. In keeping with our sacred bible and guiding star, Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop, we went for an early playtest. We’ve also made sure to test a bit for the other groups, both for the goodwill (favors for favors etc.), but also because it’s exciting to test clunky shit and then watch as it grows (or slowly folds into a miserable little pile of secrets)

My words exactly! – I am so used to playtests being an exercise in civility/not crushing someone’s hopes all too much that I was pleasantly surprised by this prototype. Not only is it one of the few (if not the only) boardgame designs among all of the game design teams, it’s also really good and has been good from very early on. Second playthrough wasn’t as smooth as the first one, though. This was mainly the fault of feature creep probably brought on by the game being more or less finished at such an early stage. Idle hands and so on and so on.
My Words Exactly! is a word association game with a couple of clever twists. Not only do you try and get a player to guess what word is currently ”taboo”, you also try to predict what words other players will use to try and make the guesser get to the right word. If you predict well enough, you get the chance to basically steal the initiative and lead the guesser towards the taboo word, scoring points for both of you.
This is a game I’d really like to play with people (no, I don’t consider other game design students people, #sorrynotsorry). It has the tension of time-attack games, the deliberation and strategy of a tactical and competitive game, and the maniacal laughter of people (i.e. not game designers) I usually only meet in dreams.
KobraKitez – One thing I really appreciate in a design is when it’s clear that the people behind it have made an effort to use the platform’s affordances to their advantage. KobraKitez (apparently only a working title) does this in a couple of different ways. In this handheld touchscreen game, two players face off in a sort of “coopetition” where they try to gather as many points as possible by shooting creeps spawning all around the screen, shoot ’em up-style. The big twist is that if either of the spaceships are destroyed, the game is over for both players. A second, tinier twist is that at certain points, the game allows for the view of the game to be rotated by the two players actually rotating. This comes in handy in boss fights, where the main creep actually has to be avoided by rotating.
It’s been exciting to see this thing grow and become a game in its own right, rather than a 2P version of one of the most classic game types there is.

sketch2

Concept art for You & Eye. You’ll get the pun if you disregard the upper pair of doodles.

You & Eye – This is my group’s game. It’s a local multiplayer game for 2-8 players, supposed to be played in a party setting or wherever local multiplayer nerds gather. The main version of the game pits you and a teammate against a team made up of two other players. You share a controller with your teammate and use one stick each to control an end of an elastic rope. Together, you swing, roll, jump and tumble around trying to kill the other team, get through their levels and make it all the way to the end with a McGuffin-thingy.
We brought christmas beer for the Alpha test, but our professor didn’t drink it. He did hold it, though, and we’ve made our other testers hold cans as well… as a proof of concept, I guess. Though we have a couple of technical issues, the core gameplay is solid, hectic and makes people scream. These are all good things.

error

The joys of playtesting

Nordic Game Day 2014:
As w00t Pop-Up‘s first official gig, we headed to Vallensbæk library to play games with people there as part of the Nordic Game Day. Apart from some technical setbacks, it went well.

ngdBaking

Baking with Friends. Cake in the making.

Baking with Friends – I wrote about this game last month, and apart from me being a bit better at it (I actually made a cake instead of a hotdog this time!), not much has changed. That is to say: I still like it a lot.

ngdLAZA

The magnificent Babycade!

LAZA KNITEZ!! – We brought the trusty ol’ Babycade with us to Vallensbæk and I managed to play a couple of games before the whole thing crashed due to USB hub overload bullshit. I’ve mentioned before, and it’s still true, that I have a hard time giving n00bs a fair game in LAZA KNITEZ!!. I usually am OK at feigning incompetence (haha, yeah… I’m “feigning”), but I think that the fact that you always move forward in LK makes it harder to stay passive. This is of course part of the wonder of the game as you’re forced into tense situations all the time, but I’ve beaten people even when I didn’t use the controller AT ALL (!!).
JS Joust – I would probably skip saying much of anything if it hadn’t been for these guys taking jousting to the next level:

ngdJoust

OK. ’nuff said about Joust. Moving on!

Towerfall: Ascension – One of the mainstays of the indie Local Multiplayer scene, Towerfall is basically required play for our game design group. This was the first time I tried the game with four people, but I don’t feel I have enough experience with it to say much of anything.

Speedrunners – Another LMP game we tried out for our game design. This was interesting, but like with Towerfall, I’d like to play it a bit more before saying much. It sounds like I need to throw a ITU LMP party.

Luftrausers – For procrastination time, make it Luftrausers time. That is all.

Paraversume – Tried it for potential use in my term paper, but it hadn’t stolen the stuff from its predecessor (The recently shut down Shadow Cities) I was hoping for, so I decided not to use it.

Arcana – Tried it for potential use in my term paper, but decided not to use it. Won’t play again.

Nidhogg – Our game is turning out to take quite some inspiration from Nidhogg, so some of the development time is spent playing and analysing it to better understand our own game.

kapital

Just had to put this somewhere. It has nothing to do with anything in this post. You’re welcome.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl – I finished a narrative analysis of S:SoC for school early in Novemibherrr and didn’t play it more after that, but I could probably lose myself in this game if I had the time. I could even forgive the use of the fucking amnesia trope.

Toca Boca stuff (4 games) – First off: a wonderful thing about the Toca Boca apps is that their designers call themselves play designers rather than game designers. It shows in the games. Second, these apps are a whole bag of fun. I spent a good part of an evening getting into all of them myself. The music band app is crazy, and it fits the age category very well.

mdomino

Pictured: not a toca boca thingy

Malmö Play Club Session – I finally, finally, finally made it to another Play Club session. I seem to average on less than once a month, and that’s just too seldom. Here’s a list of games I remember us playing, but don’t feel like explaining:
Sound and Fury. Bleed tag; 1,2 looking for 3, 4 for 5,6; Chip Chipoing; Bleed Tag + ambulance; Sausages/Fläsk; Say Yes!; Wink Murder.

Mutant: År Noll – My one continuing RPG campaign continued with a session wherein we used our mutations a lot more than ever before. This pushes the system to a point where I wish it would push back, but the consequences seem a bit too weak. Every time you push a roll (rerolling), you run the “risk” of getting more mutation points, but once you reach the max (10) points, nothing really meaningful happens. Aaanyway, the system has a couple of strange holes that keeps bothering me, but I get to play with good people and that makes up for it.
This session was climactic in several ways. The first, and a bit less interesting, was that I finally changed character archetype from “mutant with dog” to… Zonstrykare (basically a STALKER) Which I reckon will be a bit more useful. The second big and amazing thing that happened was that one of my fellow players drove a PC-PC conflict pretty hard and it ended up in him retiring his character. My mutant and his came to blows (almost physical) on a lot of issues that we both feel has been the result of the system and color of the game basically encouraging PC psychopathy. This is a thing we reveled in throughout the first couple of sessions, but once it became clear that we weren’t getting stopped by NPCs, we realized that in order for our characters to become playable, we had to push for that ourselves. So, the result was bittersweet and satisfying in that things were resolved without actually reaching much of a conclusion.

mcards1

Hit the Hat – This was probably the one of the first proper games for lil’ M. We play with cards and memory bricks all the time, but the focus is mostly on learning numbers and colors of cards or building farms (yes, for toy animals) out of the bricks. A funny and fun thing about playing more structured games with kids (this one being 3,5 yrs) is that it forces you to reevaluate what you think is most important about the game. It’s not always what it says in the manual. This time (and most times, I hope), it drew me towards finding the well-played game. Doing this is helpful for anybody exploring games and what makes people play them, but doing it with little kids doesn’t leave you any choice but to play along, as it were. If you don’t, they’ll adjust by either finding a strategy that works within the game or leaving.

HitHat

Hit the Hat!

If you’ve read this far you’ve… read this far, I guess. The map is the territory and so on and so on, right?

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Thom’s Top Ten Play Experiences of 2013

A year ago, Douglas Wilson, designer of Johann Sebastian Joust, published his look back at 2012. This is close to how I look at games and so I give you: my top ten play experiences of 2013. Now, I call them “play experiences” instead of games for two reasons. First, some of them are not really games, or even single instances of play, but they’re still playful. Second, I call the journal I keep on this blog my “Play Journal” and I think that this recap should mirror that. Speaking of the journal; I’m going to steal a bunch of stuff I’ve already written in there for this list. You are going to be OK with this.

Before I go on to the actual meat of the list, I want to thank everyone who has played with me this past year. A clear pattern in the experiences listed below is that none of it was achieved by staring at a screen all by my lonesome. Some things (like The Stanley Parable and Gone Home) came pretty close, but ultimately had to give way for more intense, heart-warming, social, spiritual, communal or silly stuff. These sorts of things demand other people willing to open up and be playful in an inviting way, at times challenging and pushing you to do better, at other times making an effort and realizing the gravity of the play at hand. Thank you, everyone.

Hvid Død (September 6)
Short larp for twelve(ish) people. No talking allowed. Played in minimalist setting. Everyone wears black. Loud music plays. Everyone dies. It’s beautiful.

Hvid Død - eat _ Peter Munthe Kaas

Photo: Peter Munthe Kaas

2013 was the year I started larping for real. It’s amazing to me that this did not happen sooner since I’ve been playing RPGs, hung out with larpers and been invited, and pretty close to actually going, to countless games. Other larps will be mentioned below, but Hvid Død was something above and beyond anything I can hope to experience any time soon.

As has been the case with many of my best roleplaying experiences, this game allowed for a collective and temporary falling in love on a group level. A love marked by a feeling of absolute acceptance between the players. Hvid Død is a very physically active game and as I often do with these things (dance, play, moshpits) I went all in. It paid off, big time. There really is no way to have a good experience with this sort of scenario without allowing yourself to be swept away, as well as making sure to do some of that sweeping yourself. I was later asked how much of this scenario is just group hallucination á la The Emperor’s New Clothes, and I guess there’s some of that going on, but if that’s the question you ask during play, this game will suck real bad. This may sound like an attitude more fitting for a christian telling people to pray their problems away, but I think that this scenario absolutely requires an open and honest play attitude to work. First of all, it’s all about body play so there’s no hiding behind words in the way other larps can end up only being about hypothetical and intellectual relationships between fictional characters. This emphasis on body forces the character interactions to also be very personal and physical player interactions. If you, as a player, give and accept what is given at that point, your play is going to be all the better for it.

Hvid Død has provided me with the basics for approaching all larps from a different angle going forward. I’m happy I got to play in it and I hope you take the chance to play it if the opportunity presents itself. This goes for all larpers, even if you’re initially made uncomfortable by the idea of a larp involving physical contact (god knows I would have been had I read a bit more about it beforehand). And hey, make sure to trust the other players and give them reasons to trust you. We’re only in it for the play.

Hvid Død - pray _ Peter Munthe Kaas

Photo: Peter Munthe Kaas

NGC afterparty (May 23)
A party I organized at Moriskan in Malmö. Kick-ass music. Lotsa dancing and playing. Cool projections on stage. Amazing people.

NGC

Photo: Tommy Rousse

I had the great fortune/misfortune to be responsible for organizing (the cool) part of the Nordic Game Conference afterparty and even though I had irregular heartbeats for two days after the event, I’m very glad I did it.

This party was all I had hoped Spelkultur i Skånes Spelrum:Digital night club/game nights would have been. There were retro games, Jousting, kick-ass music, local multiplayer games and a ton of wild dancing.

I jousted with a  whole pack of chatty Brits trying to throw me off by talking — a lot. It worked.
I screamed into a microphone as way of introducing performers.
I struggled to get games running properly on the backdrop screen.

All in all, I had a pretty amazing time. Two moments stand out as top moments of the night:

1. Playing/dancing Go Nuts during the Nordloef/Salkinitzor/Linde gig.
Apart from the game itself, which is actually a pretty simple and solid concept, Go Nuts! also has some seriously trippy graphics. Just check out this screenshot of a three-player game:

The amazingly strange look of this game added a lot to the insane chiptunes performance on stage. After playing it competitively for a while, me and my play partner started using our colorful cubes to make improvised video art. It worked surprisingly well; we used the dash function to accentuate the beats and worked ourselves into the game’s swarm mode (which looks pretty much like in the picture above) to take up a lot of space on screen. This was one of the play highlights of the whole event, for me. It was like we were jamming along with the musicians and the rest of the audience. I think that’s usually called dancing, isn’t it?

2. Going nuts at the Chipzel gig.
I’m a huge fan of Super Hexagon. This is no secret. In welcoming Chipzel on stage, I even said that it was, by far, the GOTY of 2012. An unsurprising part of Chipzel’s performance was her playing the soundtrack of Super Hexagon. Here, I just could not help myself; I had to play. So, there I was, dancing like a madman (one of the skills I’ve put a lot of build points into) while playing the hardest level of Super Hexagon and listening to Chipzel perform the soundtrack live. For me, it was not far from this image, and I’m aware that that might make me look like a complete nerd. Fine. I’m a complete nerd. Also, despite jumping around, I still made it 12 seconds into the level. Neeeeerd.

Till the State Do You Part (March 22)
Short larp about speed-dating in a dystopian future Sweden. A Sweden where your worth as a citizen is arrived at in curious ways.

Till the State Do You Part - Getting Married

I’ve written at some length about this larp in a previous Play Journal entry, so I’ll keep it shorter here. I think that some of the reason I have for putting this game on my list for 2013 is how surprised I was at how well some of the stuff worked. I was part of genuinely touching and heartfelt moments and some of the people I played with really made an honest effort. In a larp, you’ve come a long way if you only have that.

w00t CPH (May 25)
Copenhagen public play festival. Ran for two days, right after Nordic Game Conference. I was there the first day only.

Inte nudda mark

Ever since I went to my first Hide & Seek Weekender, I’ve wanted to attend other events like it. w00t was Copenhagen’s first public play festival and it turned out great. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend one of the days, but that turned out to be plenty. I wrote three different posts about all the stuff I played there, so I’ll point out the two games that still stand out for me:

1. The Ground Is Lava
Remember this game from when you were a kid? You’re not allowed to touch the ground because it’s super toxic or lava or just plain dangerous for whatever reason (as if you need one). When we played this as kids, we did it indoors and used furniture to move around. At w00t, we played it outdoors and used waste from some sort of construction site to step or climb on: pieces of metal, planks (complete with rusty nails and all), pallets etc.

This game had us in a continual and concentrated state of play for a good hour or so and it just felt really silly and really good.

2. Weeping Angels
Street game, in the dark, with flashlights, lotsa runnin and screaming and hiding and sneaking, teamwork – what’s not to like? Great play area, great players. Read more in the third post from w00t.

Limbo (April 16)
Abstract and elegant larp about the space between life and death. Played it on a genuine vintage tram riding through a foggy Oslo. 

20130420-205110.jpg

Limbo is a very elegant and hackable game. It can be, and has in fact been, adapted to many different contexts and venues. The larp was originally written as a chamber larp, but it has also been played as a larp/dance mashup and in the week leading up to this year’s Knutepunkt it was played as a tram larp.

There’s a lot to say about this game, but for the sake of brevity I’ll summarize what I’ve already written.

The pre-game is great because it gives you the opportunity to choose how close to yourself you want to play. It also demands that you examine our own views on death and reflect on where they come from. The setup, through the use of unfulfilled wishes, provided me and my character with something to play towards. It also used colored pipe-cleaners to signal common experiences between the characters. Not much else was needed to get people talking and having a clear drive behind their play.

This scenario is very much about that unknown nowhere between life and death and riding in an old tram through a strange city covered in fog helped to drive this home. At times, it all felt very, very surreal and these were the moment when the game really worked for me.

What is really clever about Limbo is how players are encouraged and allowed to play towards completely different goals without necessarily breaking the game or the experience of for each other. I played my character for tragedy, but there was no problem with people having characters embrace the situation and, in some cases, finding it amusing or soothing. Limbo was simply a place where all of these attitudes were to be expected.

In the end, this game didn’t leave me with an emotional puzzle to be struggled with for days or weeks. Rather, it was really easy to enjoy while playing and I appreciate how well it navigated its own meta-levels of play.

Hemligheten (June 6 – 7)
Interactive theater play about the persecution of immigrants in Sweden. Most scenes were set on the streets of Malmö. It ran over two days.

Me, wearing a mask

This is one, I haven’t written about at all in the Play Journal. I was planning on making it a separate post and, as is so often the case with those particular plans, that didn’t happen.

This play (I don’t know what else to call it) took place on the streets of Malmö and had groups of players (once again, that’s the best way to describe the audience of this play) run around town trying to locate and help two children who were in Sweden “illegally”, i.e. without papers. In Sweden, immigration is a hot topic and has been for some time. The theme of this play followed years of scandals and abuse coming from and perpetrated by the state as well as citizens of Sweden. We (V and me) managed to get into the run that started on Sweden’s national day and ended on our oldest kid’s second birthday. These two dates became significant in their own ways as the story progressed. National day in Sweden is not a widely celebrated event and Swedish nationalism takes on nasty forms when allowed to go unchecked. Partaking in a story with this theme while seeing people waving Swedish flags added to the disgust we felt at the mistreatment of the children in it. The play ended with a surreal birthday party for the absent boy and this coincided with our own kid’s birthday, twisting the knife of feels a couple of extra times.

Hemligheten was well-executed, well-measured in terms of interaction and felt relevant. Also, I got to use my roleplaying and gamer skills in making sure our group kept moving forward (while trying not to dominate it, as that was the story’s job). Using these same things, I tried to help the cast by acting on their cues (like actually running down the street, urging everyone else to follow, when we were supposedly being chased by one of the main villains).

Big up to Teater Insite for putting this thing together.

Playing with Lil’ M
Not that complicated, really.

Photo 2013-03-21 18 28 43

OK, so this one’s cheating a bit, but playing with my kid is a whole fairybag of fun. Hide and seek, peekabo, playing with words and songs, playing with toys and just generally being silly is great, great stuff and it makes for wonderful play. Being a big part of someone else’s play development is priceless.

Improvised ritual at Knutepunkt (April 16)
Improvised movement and sounds performed in groups inside an old mausoleum in Oslo proved more powerful and draining than expected.

The  Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum

The Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum, in only a small part of its glory.

Apparently rituals are a big thing in Norway (at least in the larp community) and this, of course, means that we had to have one before Knutepunkt. A real one. An actual, serious ritual in an actual, serious place. The whole thing was built around improvised sound and movement with the sound being a sort of chant jam and the movement being an easy version of contact impro dance. The details are boring, but the result was kinda cool.

The mausoleum turned out to be one of the strangest places I have ever visited. A lot of that feeling is, of course, related to the context of the visit, but I can imagine that the scary, strangely erotic, somewhat depressing mausoleum is all of those things regardless of the reason for your visit.

All in all, the ritual turned out to be quite a draining experience, both physically and mentally. After the initial rocky start, the four small groups we found ourselves in started interacting and playing off of each other. The end result was an experience, which for me bordered on the sacrilegious and divine at the same time.

Leaving the mausoleum, walking through the cold rain, I felt both strengthened and very fragile. I think that the exhaustion of work  both before and during the Larp Exchange Academy, of which I had been part, and play had caught up to me. Add to this a pinch of old memories from my time as a christian and you’ve got yourself a cocktail filled to the brim with staring-into-thin-air-not-knowing-what-to-make-of-things. I really made a conscious effort to get carried away, but I didn’t quite expect it to work as well as it did. I guess I need to stop being so surprised these things actually work.

Malmö Play Club Deluxe Summer Sessions
Public play sessions in Malmö’s finest park. The first serious steps towards building a stable play community in Malmö. Featured everything from kids’ games and reality games to jousting and New Gamesy games.

A team in Rock, Paper, Scissors tag deciding what sign to throw.

A team in Rock, Paper, Scissors tag deciding what sign to throw.

I’ve written a lot in the Play Journal about Malmö Play Club and that has not been without good reason. In the Play Club, we have created a tool and opportunity for building a local play community. I hope we are able to continue and develop this in 2014.

The Deluxe sessions were especially great because they saw our numbers bump up from our usual maximum of 10-15 people to around 40. The variety of games that we were able to try out because of this was really inspiring and, finally, the play talks that were given in connection to some of the sessions were really interesting and thought-provoking.

Tiny Games
Simple and brilliant play tool from the superpowered Hide&Seek people. Best game app of the year. Almost none of the play is screen-centered.

Tiny Games - Cucumber Race

Me, trying to get a slice of cucumber from my forehead to my mouth as fast as possible. Because an app told me to… and because it sounded like a good idea.

Tiny Games was the best thing to come out for iOS in 2013. I’ve played with it at home, at events, at the office, during walks. The one I would point to as my best Tiny Game happened with my colleague Chris while we were waiting to be interviewed on live radio about Malmö Playdays. We were in the empty staff cafeteria and we played a color finding game, ran our asses off and laughed more than you’re probably allowed to at a radio station.

There’s really something to having an app that lets you fire up a game instantly, no pretensions, no hassle, no problems. All you need is a playful attitude and a mind set on fun and you’re ready to go.

That last part goes for most kinds of play, BTW.

Play Journal: October 7 – 13

HA! I did it! I finished a Play Journal on time. Do I want an award? Do I deserve one? No, but it would be kinda nice. No? I’m not getting one? Maybe just an achievement, then.

Automat – Gothenburg’s Indie Arcade
(the arcade took place on oct 6, so this is actually cheating, but by then I’d already posted that week’s play journal, so… WHAEVA!)
The Room (interaction design student project)
– A guy mapped a virtual room to a corner in an actual room. This can then be interacted with by using a move controller attached to a tiny projector working as a flashlight, illuminating only the part of the wall that’s actually being pointed to. One person controls this flashlight, and the other interacts with objects in the room using another Move controller. The theme is horror and it was cool, but shooting monsters ended up getting in the way rather than being scary. I don’t think it was married to the theme and interaction of projecting light on a surface to advance in the game and I would have hoped that those ideas would be carried through and used to defeat or get rid of monsters as well.
Ultimately, it was a good experience and most definitely unlike anything I’ve ever tried. I hope the guy who made it graduates with honors. Make it happen, Staffan! Just kidding, I know Staffan doesn’t read this.

Tri-Tri-Tritournament

Tri-Tri-Tritournament

LAZA KNITEZ – Fun as usual and it was nice being able to show it to old friends… until it started smelling funny and it had to be turned off. TOO MUCH TECHNOFUTURE!!
Chain jam games – The Babycade from Copenhagen featured Chain Jam Games. Most were over before I knew what was going on. Sonar was cool
Super Pole Riders – Squished image and low sound volume. Still a great and strange game.
JS Joust – Somehow, this didn’t feel like the optimal setting for Joust. Maybe I’m still in love with the on-the-streets game we did at Malmöfestivalen in August.
Mrs Dad – Always a blast. Once again, I’m very happy to have played this with people who are important and close to me, but with whom I haven’t played a lot of digital games.
Tri-Tri-Triobelisk – I finished second in the tournament! Mostly because I had played Shot Shot Shoot before, but come on…
Super Hexagon – New High Score!!! 130 secs on 2nd hyper level. I never knew that it switches after 60 secs of hyper. All of a sudden I was in the hardest hyper level and ten seconds later I was out, hands shaking. I’ve, of course, been trying to get to that time on my phone (because that high score needs to be registered on my account) but I haven’t been able to.

Hexagon Pentagon

Super Hexagon high score, in a pentagon

Lekklubben
Name Game – Passing a ball around, just getting a feel for the group and allowing everyone to introduce themselves.
Chinese Whispers/Telephone – Using funny faces instead of words. Basically a simple and good excuse to do loads of funny faces. We also combined this with actual whispers in a variant.
Ball Pass Workout – Stand in line, make a tunnel by standing with your feet far apart, pass ball from the front to the back through the tunnel, person in back runs to the front of the line crossing everyone who has now thrown themselves on the floor. This is apparently an old exercise from the Swedish worker’s movement. It got extra silly when we started shouting “fun” every time we hit the ground. Silly fun.
Red and White Rose/Wars of the Roses – One team hides a small object, the other team searches for it. Also, if a hider is tagged by a searcher, the hider must give a clue as to where the object is hidden. The clues give players a very useful pacing tool. If the game has gone on for too long, just make the clues easier!

Zumbie

My friend, playing Zumbie at Automat in Gothenburg

Weekend workshop
Meet and Greet Bingo – More of an exercise, but it’s still playful. I gamed it and won. A strange but fun thing to do in this setting.
Card Bureaucrats – Group exercise meant top teach you things about collective and group leadership. It involves being very quiet and passing cards according to a strict model. For A (the person at the top of the model), it was a puzzle, for me, it was totally a game. This exercise had such a strange vibe to it that I feel like I want to make it into an absurd larp.
Tiles and Runners – A game preceded by a group exercise where participants, starting out blindfolded and standing along a rope, are tasked with making the rope into a square. Needless to say, communication is key (read that again, by the way. Did I just start a sentence talking about communication by stating that it was needless to say? Yes! Yes, I did!). By the end, we had a nice square, and the instructors randomly distributed tiles (the kind you can use to put on you balcony) with numbers painted on them in the square. Two teams then competed to see which one could, using as many participants as they felt like (but only having one inside the square at any given moment), step on the tiles in numerical order. We set a new record by plotting optimal courses across the field and letting runners do very short runs. Good fun. I’ll probably use it myself some day. Great field game.

15

Tiles & Runners

SuperHot – Creepy vibe. I had somehow gotten the impression that it had much more of a action movie feeling. I don’t know why. Hope it is developed further.
Vesper.5 – Thought I’d be done by now. I’m not. So it goes.


UPDATE:
There’s a video out from the Automat event. Check it out:

Play Journal: August 19 – 25

This past week was all about Malmöfestivalen (the Malmö Festival), a city festival, where all events are free and basically every person in Malmö is out on the streets. My project organized three days focused on DIY aspects of gaming culture; Cosplay day, Box Wars day, and Videogame Day.

Malmöfestivalen:
Box Wars! [Check out this video to see more]
Moshpit Hero [Jonatan and Mads from Glitchnap came over, ran a live game jam and showed some other games. Moshpit Hero was strange and fun, but could use a bit more… feedback. Hard to know what the hell was going on. Great and ridiculous use of ragdoll physics, though! ]
Johann Sebastian Joust [Nighttime joust on a busy street complete with a player looking like he stepped out of Hotline Miami]
Laza Knitez [I beat two beginners by not moving the controller at all. It wasn’t my fault! Really! They kept running into me!]

The stuff from our Videogame Day was made into a video. Can’t embed it, so check it out here: http://vimeo.com/73377171

Invisible Playground - entrance

Invisible Playground Field Office at Metropolis in Copenhagen (These games will all be available at http://ludocity.org/ eventually)
Locked [reality game playing with the idea of the perfect neighborhood and drug use/pushing]
Butchers vs. Bitches [territory control and hand pushing in one and the same game. Also, opportunity for crossdressing, yea!]
Trying to Formulate One Clear Thought [Yes, that’s the title. I’ll run this game next time I have the opportunity. Great use of other non-players as game elements, while also being fairly non-invasive in terms of interaction with non-players]
The game of Jante [A site-specific game played in a parking garage. The parking spaces served as the primary play space and the sensors that indicate if parking spaces are occupied or not were integrated into the core mechanic. The game featured a traitor mechanic, but no one knew how many traitors there were. I thought I was the only one in my group, but it turned out there were two others as well. So… that’s why they behaved so weird. Go figure.]

1e0a83220de011e382a622000aeb4361_7

Other stuff
Super Hexagon
Danish Clapping [Taught it to someone while waiting around for something at Malmöfestivalen]
Dots [New game mode is entertaining, not as stressful and makes it possible to maintain a game over a longer period of time.]
Little Inferno [Not really playing, just going through it to get to the end. I guess the joke is on me, right?]
Vesper.5 [Still getting there. Think I saw an alien a couple of days ago]

Twilight Imperium [Thoughts beforehand: OMFG this is a huge mistake. This is exactly the sort of boardgame I’m not into. Too much fluff, too long, too much all over the place. I’m going to be stuck in an 8-hour game, knowing within 30 mins that I’ll eventually lose and then have to deal with it like an adult. FML
Thoughts after the game: It’s OK, but it’s not worth it. The payoff is too small and it takes too long to get there. I don’t think the systems interact in a very interesting way and the fights are given a disproportionate amount of focus.]

Megaphone 2 - Invisible Playground

Play Journal 2013-06-20: Forgot to put a title on the damned journal entry

Most of these play experiences deserve their own posts, but that’s not going to happen, so let’s just get to it; here’s some stuff I’ve played recently:

Apocalypse World – Finally!!! We have a campaign of AW (sorta) up and running. Ok, so we’re only one session in, but anyway. I’m the MC and I oversee a Brainer, a Maestro D’ and a Quarantine. They’re an odd bunch and it’s always a challenge to come up with exactly how they fit together. Fun point to my players reading this: I have no idea what’s happening, you’re doing all the cool shit!
So, yeah, the Brainer… I fucking hate the Brainer. And I also like it a lot. Every time the Brainer is part of a scene it feels like shit is about to either go down or go crazy real fast. This scares me a bit, but I hope I can trust me Brainer player enough to not abuse that fact too much. In Apocalypse World, a little abuse of your powers is, after all,  always a really, like, super good idea.
I wish we would have had an hour more to play, since character creation ran a bit late, but instead we have a really cool place to pick up the action when we play next time.

Impossible Road – My go-to game when it comes to getting a quick fix (i.e. when I’m on the toilet). Current best: 92 pts.

Vesper.5 – Nothing much to say. I’ll have more in… a week maybe. Right now, I’m spending a few days walking straight down. Feels good.

Monaco – I’ve explored some of the Pickpocket’s story and I really like how the game  conveys its parallel stories. Still want to play a local 4 player game. Oh, and I’ve also realized that the Gentleman in Monaco is actually… the Most Interesting Man in the World:

interestingMonaco

Spoiler, BTW

LAZA KNITEZ – I’ve written enough about this game for a while. Only difference this time was that the controllers wouldn’t work and we used the keyboard instead.

HokraWe set it up in our booth at a gaming music event hosted by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra. Got to play a couple of times and won about half of the games. Even without a lot of spectators, there was a lot of shouting and the game got as intense as always. At least once everyone had gotten into it. Always a blast.

Kairo – A game unlike most things out there, Kairo gave me a feeling of taking part in some sort of sacred activity. I’m not sure what that activity would be, but I’ll say that it wasn’t unpleasant. One note: I’m not a huge puzzle game fan. Most of the time, I just lose interes and feel that the puzzles serve no other purpose than simply being in my way, but Kairo had me at least looking up the walkthroughs in order for me to progress. Does that mean I’m not… a hardcore gamer? Well, in that case: WOOHOO!

Grit – When Douglas Wilson recommends a game, I tend to listen. So when he started tweeting about Zach Gage‘s game Grit, I was intrigued and had to try it out. This gave my girlfriend and me a chance to get back to playing together. Even though I do a lot of stuff that involves digital games, we have played very little of that sort together. Most of the time, the games we play together are of the tabletop kind, so Grit fit right in. It’s also a quick enough game that it’s not a huge investment for someone to just try out once or twice. I’m not going to write about how we worked out the kinks in the system and how those have been changed in the latest iteration (we played v.2 BTW). Instead, I just want to point to how the specific context of play influences the experience of the game. We’ve been wanting to play  more games together and Grit (+ our oversized cards) gave us the excuse to do that. Trite as it may sound, that’s what stuck with me.

Grit

Apart from my sentimental reasons, you should play Grit because it’s a really neat little game.

Urverkshjärtan – A gaming buddy of mine wrote this RPG for a convention with a steampunk theme. Luckily, he slapped on a healthy serving of creator/creation drama (a theme that I’m a huge fan of ). Urverkshjärtan [Clockwork Hearts] is a game for three players. Everyone plays a scientist building an automaton. I played bishop who built a prayer automaton to save humanity and himself from sin. BUT (!) the players also play each other’s automatons as well as the society surrounding the two characters. These rotating roles worked very well as no one was ever left without anything to do.
A strange thing I did a lot throughout the game was that I kept asking for permission from the other players. I’m unsure of whether this was due to us not having played together all that much or the game in itself.

Badland – I felt that this game winning the Nordic Game Indie Sensation award at least meant that I had to try it. It’s a very well-made and polished game and I enjoyed most of it, but I won’t spend a lot of time with it. Then again, I’m not sure that’s the idea in this case. I’m sorry I didn’t play with headphones, but sometimes you (I) need to be able to keep an ear on other stuff (my kid). Also, this game served as one of those games that help me zone out. Sometimes, that’s all I want from a game.

D&D 4 (Dark Sun) – It’s been ten years since I last played D&D and 3.5 as well as Pathfinder and 4e has been added to the history of the game. This was very obvious in the way that I’d forgotten a lot since my days playing D&D after school. A funny thing, however, is that D&D is so much a part of the gamer unconscious (or the unconscious gamer… I can never tell) that I picked it up quickly. The additions I had a hard time dealing with were the ones that felt like they were very influenced by MMORPGs. It used to be you could just… hit a dude, you know.
Our GM (oops, sorry, I meant to say DM) did some great stuff with adding color and brutality (because that’s totally called for when playing Dark Sun) to the game.

Snek – Any game made by Pippin Barr is worth a try and the same goes for Snek. The game’s opening screen “Best learned in private. Best played in public.” says a lot. The performative aspect, in particular could be made very interesting, either through additions of weirdness (like, you know, using a strap-on for the thrust mode) or simply some personal expression. The fact that you’re actually creating music while playing adds to this potential.
Also: I have a global high score! Admittedly, that’s because not many people have played the game yet, but still: HIGH SCORE! YAY, I’M GOOD AT THRUSTING!

Snek - High Score

Mass Effect 3 – [SPOILERS ahead] Won’t waste many words on this as I’m getting more bored every time I played it. I tried switching to “Narrative Gameplay” (i.e. super easy fights) and that helped a little bit, but I really don’t care about the whole saving the galaxyverse anymore. I did get laid however, and unlike in ME1 and 2 I didn’t really see it coming until it was happening. Maybe I’m a bit naive, I don’t know. Also I totally fuckin’ shot Udina in the face without meaning to. The renegade symbol flashed and I twitched and shot as Ashley shouted “Gun!”. I always, always go with Paragon, but this is a thing that happened and I refuse to go back and change it.

Kinect stuff – Went to the new superdupermall in town, Emporia, to get my phone fixed and walked past a wall covered by a huge screen showing the outlines of some landmark buildings in Malmö (or the equivalent). All of a sudden, a big black splotch that looked a bit like me appeared on the screen. Turns out, the whole wall was monitored by Kinects and projected a dreamy shadow image of you onto the Malmö panorama. This part of the floor also had a big hall with six Kinect station running a bit more traditional Kinect games like Kinect Adventures. I held Lil’ M in my arms as I jumped up and down and that seemed to be to the kid’s satisfaction.

Play Journal 2013-05-24: #NordicGame Conference 2013

My Nordic Game Conference 2013 was super stressful but also packed with wonderful play experiences. Wednesday night saw the Nordic Game Indie Night fill Slagthuset in Malmö with gamers and cool games as well as interesting talks and performances. Thursday was the first actual conference day and also ended with the Nordic Game Party, which I played a role in putting together. We created a game night/night club mashup similar to our previous Spelrum:Digital evenings at Inkonst and I’m super proud to say that it went well beyond my own (an, it seemed, anyone else’s) expectations. I’m especially happy to have brought Chipzel over from the UK. Her set was amazing and I spent all night and some of the morning still coming down from the whole thing. That said, let’s talk play:

Crowd Gaming Flight Simulator – After last year’s crowd game AAARRRGGGGHHH! at the Nordic Game Indie Night, Patrik Jarnfelt and Tim Garbos threw together another one. This time, I think, they did it a liiiiitle bit faster. Like, in a day. Anyway, it was a massively multiplayer motion-controlled flight simulator (or, as we in the business like to call it, an MMMCFS). Even broken, unfinished crowd games are often good fun if only because they build on the changing social dynamic that the game encourages and allows for. That said, this game never really kicked off. The game did, however, see (literally) us do the wave, and that’s never not good.

Flowstorm – My laptop is too slow to run Flowstorm properly online and I haven’t tried it on my desktop, so it was cool to try it out in a proper manner. Also, there were other people *gasp* around to play the game with. That helps, especially when much of the gameplay is centered around the local multiplayer aspect. Flowstorm is a hard game, and does not apologize for it. This, however, means that it’s not too well suited for pick-up-and-go conference play. As with so many of my recent play experiences, I only got a taste. I’ll probably archive it somewhere in my disgusting brain (brains are totally disgusting and weird, when you think of it) until I bump into someone interested in hard racing games. That’s when I’ll bring it back — hopefully untainted by all my disgusting brain stuff.

Rymdkapsel – Been wanting to try this out for a while now. Martin, who designed the thing, handed me a strange sheet of stickers he’d been throwing at people when he attended GDC and I was intrigued by the stuff I found online about the game. It looks amazing, sounds good and seems like it may be an enjoyable game. I write “seems” because the five minutes I spent with it at the conference did absolutely not do it justice. I didn’t even get attacked by the weird alien arrow ships! I’ll buy it and play it once it comes out for iOS.

Stikbold – The trailer on the website gives just about no clue of how the game is actually played and I’ve been super curious to try it out. To no one’s great surprise, I’m really into local multiplayer games, and Stikbold delivers on that front. Once again, though: conference, no time to play, don’t really know what to think apart from first impressions. First impression: There’s to much stuff going on and with six players, it’s really hard to know what the hell you’re doing. Add to this the fact that, at any time, a whale my come out of nowhere to crush you, or a van may run you over (I think the van comes from the same “nowhere” as the whale, but I’m not sure. I also think I don’t really care).

Johann Sebastian Joust – JS Joust is a game I try to get people to play about as often as I can, and what better event than the Nordic Game party? If I’ve got the story right, 2011’s conference did after all feature the first public jousts after the game’s creation. I only participated in a couple of games, but one that stands out was the first game of the night where I faced a whole pack of chatty Brits trying to throw me off by talking — a lot. It worked.

Go Nuts – Here, we get to the Thursday night party. During the Nordloef/Salkinitzor/Linde gig, we hooked up my laptop to a projector and used a big screen on stage to play Go Nuts!. That was one of the better decisions of the evening. Apart from the game itself, which is actually a pretty simple and solid concept, Go Nuts! also has some seriously trippy graphics. Just check out this screenshot of a four-player game:

I’m actually not going to explain this picture.

The amazingly strange look of this game added a lot to the insane chiptunes performance on stage. Playing this game, jumping up and down and listening to the kick-ass stuff blasting out of the speakers — that’s when I started feeling drunk and that high didn’t leave until late at night. I should probably clarify: I do not drink or do any other drugs, I just had such a good time that I worked up a natural high.
Anyway, after playing it competitively for a while (we me kicking some ass, I might add), me and my play partner started using our colorful cubes to move them around and make video art. It worked surprisingly well; we used the dash function to accentuate the beats and worked ourselves into the game’s swarm mode (which looks pretty much like in the picture above) to take up a lot of space on screen. This was one of the play highlights of the whole event, for me. It was like we were jamming along with the musicians and the rest of the audience. I think that’s usually called dancing, isn’t it?

LAZA KNITEZ – Apart from featuring LAZA KNITEZ at Spelkultur i Skånes booth as part of our Nordic Game Conference Gaming Buddy Initiative, we also featured it during Chipzel’s set (I have no parenthetical joke here; it was simply amazing). It was, as always, good, but I think the high point was reached when other people used it similarly to how we’d used Go Nuts! earlier that night. The start screen of the game has a little exhibition of the four horsemen available for play. When you press “A”, your KNITE lights up along with its name and a short text above it. There’s also a colorful loading bar that starts to fill up while the button is press. This allowed players to make visual effects and have text like “Kick-Ass!” blink on and off along with Chipzel’s music. Kick-Ass is an appropriate term for it.

Super Hexagon – It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Super Hexagon, and in welcoming Chipzel on stage, I even said that it was, by far, the GOTY of 2012. I guess I really think so. Hmm. Anyway, an unsurprising part of Chipzel’s performance was her playing the soundtrack of Super Hexagon and I felt I just could not help myself; I had to play. So, there I was, dancing like a madman (I’m good at that) while playing the hardest level of Super Hexagon and listening to Chipzel perform live. For me, it was not far from this image, and I’m aware that might make me look like a complete nerd. Fine. I’m a complete nerd. Also, despite jumping around, I still made it 12 seconds into the level. Nerd.

Play Journal 2013-05-08: TL;DR

I’ve fallen behind on the Play Journal after getting home from Knutepunkt. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is. Instead of splitting this up into smart posts, I’ll just make a messy wall of text and leave it like that. Take that, dear readers and Future Thom Who’s Trying To Find Some Note About Some Game He Once Played!

Vesper.5 – Nothing much to say, really, other than noting that I have made a commitment to finish this game soon (if such a thing is possible with this (or any) game) I now try to incorporate it into my morning routine at the office and it’s been working out so far. I’ve checked out some water, for instance. Cool.

Water!

Water!

On Formalism – Following some internet disagreement stuff involving other people, I tried out this game. It’s a sort of comment on said disagreement and reminded me of my time studying digital poetry and things of that sort. An enjoyable experiment.

Monaco – “So, Thom,” you say knowingly, “how did your first session of Monaco go?” Well, imagined person not actually talking to me, it went well. For about 48 minutes. Then my kid vomited. Four times. Apparently there’s such a thing as too much pancake.
Anyway, I’ve gotten to play it a couple of times since then, both single and online and local multiplayer. Local multiplayer (to the surprise of no person anywhere) was superior. However, my partner in crime and I are hitting a wall where it feels like we need two more players to complete some levels. I hope to be able to throw together a Monaco party some time soon and just plow through a couple of levels as well as do plenty of shouting.
My favorite character is the Cleaner. He puts people to sleep. This only cements the fact that, deep down, I’m a pretty creepy guy.

The Cleaner, smoking his cigar.

Spaceteam – Played this twice recently. Once, I only demoed it quickly and not much can be said other than stating that it happened and was enjoyed by all parties involved. The other time, I played with only one other player. We decided to try switching on all challenges from the in-app purchases I’ve made. It broke us. I enjoyed it.

Singstar – I’ve had some good times with Singstar in the past, but this was not one of them. I sang this song and this one. What was missing in the new version was the unexpected surprises you got when buying the discs for the old versions. Sure, you knew what to expect of some of them, but there were always a couple of songs there to surprise you. The in-game store (the… SingStore! *slow clap*) killed the party mood, which is not what you want your party game to do, I guess.

Alpaca Evolution – This game keeps crashing on me and that’s really too bad. I want to experience how deep the insanity is. It seems like it’s fairly deep.

The Other Brothers – Removed it from my phone after my last try-out. If the game is available on some other platform, I may try it, but I won’t do it without a proper controllers. Emulating old scholl D-pads and A+B buttons on a touch screen just doesn’t work. At least not in the way the Other Brothers tries to do it.

LAZA KNITEZ – This game always makes my day a little bit better. I kicked my opponents ass, which was no surprise since I had the advantage of having played the game before (I’m not one for pulling punches). We then proceeded to get our asses kicked by the AI. That, too, was no big surprise.

LAZA

Spaceship With a Mace – Here, my opponent (the one from LAZA KNITEZ, remember?) managed to beat me, but then again, I find it hard to get good at this game or to even know what I’m doing, it seems.

Pole Riders – This was maybe not the ideal warm-up game to play while waiting for the two other Kult players to arrive, but anyway. It never fails to amaze new players nor make me laugh out loud like a silly person. I really like it and look forward to the new version that I’ve heard some twispers (which is what I imagine you would call whispers on Twitter) about.

Kult – This one is a true Swedish classic when it comes tabletop RPGs. This year, it’s been 22 years since it was first published and I must say that it’s a bit strange that I’ve never gotten around to actually playing it before. We didn’t engage with the system all that much and I still don’t feel I have a clear picture of how that would work. A lot of the stuff I saw in the book (in terms of mechanical stuff, the setting is solid) seems utterly unplayable and is probably a remnant from older days. This goes primarily for the things with mechanical consequences, not the setting material – which looks like it’s ace.
We set the game locally, in Malmö, which is always a nice change. We ended up quite literally playing it close to home with one of the buildings we visited in-game being one in my neighborhood. Often, in Swedish roleplay, we end up playing in the US or some other mythologized place and I think that sometimes takes the tension out of the game. It’s just too far removed from the players to feel important.
Funniest moment of the game: I didn’t get that we were running around at night doing weird stuff or why people, consequently, were so pissed off about it. It all had to do with me thinking the GM thought papers were sent to the printer in the middle of the day. I didn’t want to halt the game to point out that it doesn’t work like that and decided it was time for our reporter characters to do some reporter work.
Other good stuff: dismemberment scene. Picked up creepy stuff from Swedish criminologist. Was able to use it.
Also, a very suspenseful scene where our characters hid out in a wastewater treatment plant to record a cult meeting ended up sticking with me. I’m still not sure what about it grabbed me so, but we all got very much caught up in the scene. I think part of the appeal was due to our characters walking a fine line between immoral behavior, investigation and being caught due to very stupid slip-ups.

Death is only the beginning

Death is only the beginning.

Mass Effect 3 – I recently found myself to be a grass widower for a bit more than a week. In between mayday celebrations and work it took a good part of that period to realize I could have spent my nights playing Mass Effect 3 instead of doing useful stuff like cleaning the apartment. Anyway, I asked the internet to deliver me a Mass Effect 3 and the internet delivered… well, I had to bike across town to get it, so I guess “delivered” isn’t the right word, but you know what I mean. Shut up.
I’m only like 3 hours into the game and right now I’m mostly waiting for the whole thing to really start. I hope it does. Soon. I’m not yet invested in anything in the game. No characters, no places, no things. Also, the voice acting generally isn’t as tight as it is in the other games and that’s a shame. Until further notice, I’ll be relying on the fantastic voice of Jennifer Hale to keep me going.

Dots – Once again, I’ve been hooked by a game recommended in the Kill Screen playlist. That list is a danger to my health and well-being. Anyway, the app is available for free, which helped in this case since I’ve spent money on shit games off of the Playlist before and wasn’t looking to repeat that mistake. The price tag, thus, got me playing, but the game is very good in its own right and that’s what kept me playing. The design is very tight and elegant. It’s easy to get into and rather easy to get an overview of once in the game. Finally, there’s not a whole mess of levels and things to divert your attention from actual play. Imagine that, a game that doesn’t overdo it. Crazy.

Play Journal 2013-02-26: You say potato, I say zombie

Yesterday: Slow day. Still recovering from last week’s madness. No play on the weekend. None. So tired.

Zombie Potatoes – Downloaded this one because I know a guy involved in making it. It’s not a particularly arousing experience, but there are some interesting bits. The game’s pause function, for instance, was cleverly set up to kick in as soon as the player lets go of the controls. I’m sure this is present in some other game, but I can’t recall having seen it before. It can be a bit disorienting, but it’s probably helpful for beginners. It also helped push the idea that while you’re playing, you’re constantly moving.
The whole thing is an advergame for a potato chips company and, thus, there is a high score list. The competitive aspect is interesting as it can make people play regardless of whether or not they actually enjoy the game. This is, effectively, a way of making players do work for you and could probably have been used by Estrella much more efficiently.

Pox: Save the People – Bathroom break meant Pox today. Haven’t played this in a while and had forgotten how hard I found it last time. I set the game to the second easiest setting and got beaten over the head and neck by the game. Maybe I’m missing something or maybe it’s just one of those games I won’t figure out unless I really try and concentrate. Lovely and simple design, though.

Today: Workshop in game analysis with people from the Arabic Game Jam evening course. They played games and we talked about them and how to talk about games. I shut down a discussion going off into “is this a game” territory. Yeay, me?

J.S. Joust – We kicked off the workshop today with some jousting. It didn’t work as expected. First, because the atrium (where we first tried jousting) in the building ate all sounds. This meant the game sorta died and got lost in everything else going on. Second, once we had moved into our classroom, I suspect that we had lost much of our momentum and it was hard to get people excited about playing the game again. Maybe this was also a contributing factor to the players being overly cautious and polite to each other.

LAZA KNITEZ – Having hyped this one after our Friday night club, I had to show it to V. A lot of our very short session went into her figuring out the controls (as always with new games). My bad instructions (hey, it’s been a long day) didn’t help, either. Still, LAZA KNITEZ is always enjoyable and I’m happy it’s out for everyone to enjoy. This and the game below underlines my need for two additional USB controllers. Hokra, BaraBariBall, LAZA KNITEZ, Spaceship With A Mace – the list of 4-player games on my computer(s) is getting longer by the day.

Spaceship With A Mace – Two quick games following on LAZA KNITEZ. Nothing much to say really. I want the new, shiny version with the ginormous weapons.

Play Journal 2013-02-22: La Grande Finale!

Today: Organized a gaming event at Inkonst, Malmö. This time it was a sort of night club/game night mash-up and it served as the big finale of our launch week (RPG weekend friday-saturday, board game sunday, game events for kids on monday, tuesday and thursday). The whole thing well exceeded our expectations and some kick-ass music and games were played. More on the ones I played at Inkonst below. It’s a given that context and setting has an effect on the how, why, where, when etc. of play and the frame within which we played yesterday was definitely one of the more party-heavy ones I’ve been part of since the Hide & Seek party in the Old Vic tunnels in september 2012. For me, as an organizer, that meant I probably wouldn’t get to experience deep and meaningful play, but that’s one I’m willing to take for the team. That is not to say that the play I was part of at the club was worthless, only that it was a bit shorter and more shallow than a really awesome play experience. Anyway… Once I get better pictures of the event I’ll update this post.



WiiU-KjellNicklas

Joust – Can’t get enough of Joust, and that seemed to be the case for a lot of other people as well. The game ran almost without a break for close to three hours before we switched games in that specific area and played Magnetize Me instead. Gosh, do we need more of these things at gaming events everywhere (that’s a statement, not a question).
For me, one nice thing was not having to oversee the actual playing of the game. People simply let new players in and quickly explained the rules before letting them try it out. Also, I got to play with a bunch of experienced players (we’re talking people who were there at the origin: Nordic Game Jam 2011) which really changed things up a bit. My cheap tricks didn’t necessarily work the way I hoped.

LAZA KNITEZ – A last minute booking, LAZA KNITEZ nonetheless represented and kept the game going until we closed up the place.  Last time I played this was at the Nordic Game Conference 2012, where it was a contestant for the Nordic Indie Sensation award, which it won. This is another game I’m always up for playing. I just need to get more Xbox 360 controllers with cables since I’ve only got two of those at the moment.

Spaceship With A Mace – Two great things: I got to play the new version (new music, shiny interface, new super strange weapons) AND I got to try it with four players, which turned out to be really chaotic and enjoyable. The whole thing was nicely presented through the Copenhagen Game Collective BabyCade (a stroller set up to work as a portable arcade machine complete with its own sound system, truly a strange thing to behold).

Spaceclutter – Charming little arcade, but the drawback was that it was single player. As an organizer, I didn’t feel OK standing around playing a game for myself at an event I was supposed to keep track of. Also take into account that the high score would take a couple of hours to beat and it becomes clear that I couldn’t spend too much time with it. I am, however glad that it was at the event, because it looked really pretty and other people enjoyed it.

Spaceclutter

Magnetize Me – HIGH SCORE! Oh, yes, through the clever use of my unbeatable humping technique and my dancing/playing partner Alexanders attractive force, we shot straight to the top of the high score. This game need to be played all out, I feel, and that’s why, when presented with the opportunity, I didn’t strap the move controller to sit at my hip. Instead, I strapped it to sit right over my crotch. It seemed more fun that way. This game absolutely needs more work, but I still prefer it to games where you’re really just pushing buttons with your feet or where the music, not the playing of the game, is what is the real focus.

Magnetize Me