Game review by Costantino OlivaContinue reading
Game Review by Costantino OlivaContinue reading
Mario meets democracy in Super Mario Maker, a side-scrolling platform game creation system and video game developed and published by Nintendo in which fans are provided with the tools to design and create their own levels. Players from all over the world responded to this call and thousands of levels have already been created, ranging from the brilliant to the dull, from the insane to the even more insane.
Super Mario Maker is a development tool just as much as it is a guided tour of the world of Super Mario. Devoid of enemies to beat or princesses to save, players now witness the familiar 2D spaces raw. They need to populate them with obstacles and challenges and will quickly realise how hard it is to design a good level. This experience reveals the balance and elegance reached in games such as Super Mario Bros. 3.
However, democracy has its perils: many creations will probably be ignored by the Mario community, but a few kind peers will certainly comment and play through them. If you’re good enough, you can become a Mario starchitect, respected and applauded by the community. To reach that status, you need to analyse the failures of others who play your levels. Will you make the level harder or easier? The choice is yours.
There’s no pre-made game in Super Mario Maker. Effectively, the player creates content for Nintendo. The player will stumble through many unremarkable levels but the experience is worth the time and will help you learn to love the possibilities you create in the familiar Super Mario universe.
If you’re into music-centric games, you’re in for a treat. Vib-Ribbon, the seminal rhythm game released in 1999 for the original Playstation, is back on contemporary consoles. It’s not a new version, but rather a faithful emulation: an important recognition for a title that was never commercially released in North America, but still made its way into the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York) collection. Continue reading
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Why is Metal Gear Solid V one of the most relevant games of the season? After all, new iterations of this franchise have been released for the past 25 years. Sure, Ground Zeroes boasts a new graphic engine and a vivid open-world structure. Enough to keep the tech savvy fan happy. But it’s Hideo Kojima’s authorial take that makes the difference. Continue reading
Our idea of digital games certainly doesn’t fit Pale Machine. The latest work of Ben Esposito — a multimedia artist based in Los Angeles — comprises a physical CD with eight songs and eight wacky game experiments that accompany every track on the album. The title track (or game) is a sequence of absurd vignettes: first you are somehow controlling a bottle rolling on a desk. A few seconds after, you are awkwardly maneuvering a hyper extendable tongue, which soon enough will occupy the whole screen. The game then proceeds to completely change the controls, and now you become a giant hand floating in the sky of a suburb.
It is hard to grasp, but Pale Machine is a tribute to many other works: games like WarioWare and Keita Takahashi’s Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy. One can also hear echos of Japanese electronic musician Nobukazu Takemura, as well of the chiptune band YMCK. But the uniqueness of Pale Machine is in its ability to join together interaction design and music composition. It provides an intense and inspiring experience, perfectly appropriate for an artistic setting.
Attack of The Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Tale
Not a 50 hour-long blockbuster, not a 30 second casual game: Attack of The Friday Monsters is an experiment with a new, middle-sized format. The game presents a day in the life of an 8 year old kid. The oneiric, nostalgic storyline is a masterfully paced intense adventure that feels just right.
Downloadable from the Nintendo 3DS eShop, the game is set in a ‘70s Japanese town, where our hero Sohta and his family just moved in. Told from the kid’s perspective, the events are open to interpretation: apparently, Godzilla-like monsters attack every Friday. On the same day, a TV show also packed with monsters is produced and aired in town. What is the secret behind these attacks? And is there a connection between fact and fiction?
Don’t expect to engage in massive monster fights in Attack of The Friday Monsters. The game focuses on talking with villagers, meeting new friends, and strolling in a beautiful countryside town. It really makes you feel like a kid again encouraging a relaxed kind of roleplay.
At €7.99, Attack of The Friday Monsters proves that digital downloads can be a great way to introduce audiences to new formats and concepts. It introduces a poetical take on games.
What is the story behind our smart phones? Phone Story retraces the production stages of our favorite products, showing us the dramatic working conditions behind their assembly. It seems like Apple didn’t like it: the game is now banned from the App Store.
Mass riots and frequent suicides shed a dark light on Foxconn, the company that assembles product for the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. Afterwards, it became impossible to ignore the conditions of the workers that mass-produce contemporary tech gadgets.
Enter Molleindustria, the software house funded by Paolo Pedercini, responsible for a remarkable series of ferociously satirical, “serious” games (check molleindustria.org for more — it’s worth it). Phone Story takes us through an uncomfortable ride of funny minigames with classic, familiar mechanics juxtaposed to harsh vignettes: underage miners extracting silicon, suicidal workers jumping from the roof of the factory, and an army of Apple — pardon, “Pear” — fans taking a flagship store by storm.
Don’t expect a radical new gaming experience with Phone Story, but pick it up if you’d like to reflect on the process that brought you your mobile, while you’re
actually holding it in the palm of your hand.