-By Tabitha Dickerson & Kestutis KalvaitisThe Black Glove. A simple name for the new twisted narrative-driven first person puzzler from Day For Night Studios. Day for Night is a studio that was formed via Bioshock Infinite Allumni. The Black Gloves looks to be a rather unique puzzler set in a macabre and twisted plane of existence called The Equinox. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j12-iKeldcY?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360] The Black Glove is narrative driven. This surreal marvel places you in the shoes of the latest Curator. Your job is to help get the theatre and the three Creators, Avery Arnault, Marisol and a musical outfit called Many Embers back into their right state of function. This is done by altering these individuals past and righting wrongs in their past. In order to carry out this task you interact with games of skills and chance that allow fourth dimensional space to be explored. Besting these games will summon The Black Glove, an item that then allows you to manipulate time and space to change an aspect of a Creator's past. Changing an aspect of a Creators past for example might change something as somber as an art display of portraits to a demonic autopsy scene where giant parts of the creature glow under black light or a an ancient 70's disaster film suddenly becomes a silent movie science-fiction diamond in the rough.
The game focuses on many different scenarios and is designed as such to have a decent amount of re-playability. As of writing this, the Black Glove Kickstarter page has only raised $76,734 of it's hefty goal of $550,000 it needs before November 8. It looks very unique and original. My personal opinion is while it is a large goal, The Black Glove looks set to help advance the medium further into the realm of becoming an art medium, narrative driven with the ability to tell some amazing stories unexplainable through any other media. I advise anyone reading this to scrutinise The Black Glove closely but also keep an eye on it. It looks immensely promising and is set to carry on the humour Irrational games were well known for with 80's sci fi references and just crazy all out fun.
Another exciting prospect in kickstarter this week is a new Metroidvania type game called Beyond Human.Their kickstarter says they plan to support PC/Mac, PS4, and the Playstation Vita.
Beyond human is set in a post-apocalyptic world an extraterrestrial attack. You will play as Adam who wakes up in the year 2099 with amnesia. He has to then piece together what caused the world to fall into disrepair and who he is. The gameplay is a combination of platformer and action rpg, taking inspiration from games like Metroid, Megaman and Devil may cry. An interesting combination that mixes hack and slash combat with exploration and 16-bit pixel art as an homage to those old classics. Beyond Human boasts a new game plus mode, six areas, 8 boss battles and 20+ minibosses with apparently 40 or more unlockable gun modes and attacks. Backers pledging $15 or more will get access to the game via a download code for any platform they choose, as well as exclusive skins for Adam of other loved game characters Samus Aran, Megaman and Zero. They will also get their name put in the game credits, a digital art book and more the higher the pledges go. As of writing this, Beyond Human has only managed to accrue $3,455 of it's goal of $20,000.
[caption id="attachment_16103" align="alignnone" width="618"] From left to right. Samus Aran, Megaman and Zero inspired skins for Adam.[/caption]
Beyond Human looks set to take players back to a simpler time when games were about fun, and ot all narrative driven. Where exploration reigned supreme, and it was all about finding exploits to break the game and learn enemies patterns. The type of gameplay that gems like Dark souls and the upcoming Bloodborne serve to remind us of. As it stands I can't wait for Beyond Human to be released. I'm hoping it will succeed at revitalising the Metroidvania genre much in the way that the recent Mighty No.9 failed to garner a favourable response. I actually plan to , if our code of ethics allow me to, back this myself. I shan't be reviewing it in that case but it's a small price to pay I feel. With 16 days to go I advise any readers to go support this developer that still recalls the golden ages of vidya.
The last project, Elegy for a Dead World has been hanging around for a while. I haven't seen it get much press so far, which is a shame as it seems like another inspirational media to help bring games further into the status of art. Developed by Dejoban games, this kickstarter has been kicking around for 21 days. This idea excites me!
The concept for Elegy of a dead Poet is very simple. You travel to distant planets, creating stories about the people who lived there once. Three portals have opened to unexplored worlds and Earth sends a team to investigate these rifts. Something not yet specified happens and you are left as the sole survivor. Despite this setback you must still carry out your mission to survey the worlds behind these portals and document their existence for future generations.
The idea behind Elegy for A Dead World is to allow everyone to be able to write a story regardless of skill. Exploring the game helps you to create the narrative. As you explore the game, the game elements will cue you with a series of writing prompts to help you along. Each world offers multiple sets of prompts intended to inspire different stories about it. The game might ask you to write a short story a particular characters last days or a poem discussing war. More advanced levels of the game will allow new information to supersede old information which will force the writer to change their story to a new direction. You can then share these stories you have created via steam's Workshop, read others and even print them out to read.
The artwork for the game is very beautiful and it's nice from my standpoint to see the world of games being brought further into the realm of art. I myself am an avid writer with several book ideas so who knows? This might finally give me the motivation to start and finish several novel ideas I've had in my brain for years. As of writing this the kickstarter page for Elegy of a Dead world seems to be going fairly well with $30,464 of the initial $48,000 already funded. This project is by far one of the most original concepts I have seen in gaming history and I will likely check it out once it is released, based just on its concept. It looks very promising and I urge fellow Raptors to give it a close look.
To cap off we will also look at two tech pieces this week. The Mad Genius and the Microduino-Joypad.
Its easy to dismiss motion controls as a gimmick. After all, a few button presses are often quicker than waving your arm around. But what if you could have it both ways? That's precisely what the Mad Genius Controller aims to do.
The controller can work as a universal gaming controller that is compatible with all four PlayStation consoles, all three XBOX consoles, Windows PC, and Nintendo through the use of adaptors. The controller is connected by magnets and can be split in half to allow more motion control options and modes. Each half is tracked through an Absolute Positioning System that follows the location of each half of the controller in a 12ft by 15ft three dimensional space. Sensors on the controller are tracked by receivers attached to the television frame that then connect to the console. While split apart, all buttons and control sticks are still functional.
Since there is no tinkering with the consoles or games themselves, the controller maps motion controls through game profiles that can be edited and uploaded through PCs or other browser enabled devices. Development kits for game developers and tech hobbyists are part of the final plan, as is Oculus Rift compatibility.
I'm still skeptical of motion controls in general, but this project has been in development since 2012 and the demonstration videos, such as precision bow shooting in Skyrim, are very impressive. I'm also curious how far they intend to go with console compatibility. It would be interesting to play something like Duck Hunt on a controller like this. If successful, this controller looks incredibly promising.
Last year, Microduino Studio successfully kickstarted development of the Microduino development board. A stackable, modular, tiny, low-cost microcontroller compatible with the already small Arduino single-board microncontroller. This year they are kickstarting a multifunctional 8-bit console, the Microduino-Joypad.
What sets the Microduino-Joypad apart from just being an open-source console that can play 8-bit versions of Tetris and Snake is its multifunctionality. The Joypad is supposed to be compatible with over 30 Microduino modules. It can operate as a remote control for mini robots and quadcopters as well as acting as a controller for PC and TV games. The standard kit looks like it will sell for $60 with more sophisticated packages increasing in price.
My take is that while the core system is not that impressive (lots of devices can play 8-bit games), as a tech hobbyist and programmer's plaything it looks incredibly versatile. It's an 8-bit console that can also control a quadcopter remote and can connect to a PC as a controller.