Aug 25, 2010

I'm Back! + New Feature

Hey there internets! I know I kind of just started this blog then left it alone, but I do intend to keep up with it, things are just off to a rocky start. I'm taking the time now though to do the first installment of another recurring theme I have planned for this blog: the Link Dump.

Instead of just showing my art I want to provide links to resources and inspirations that I'm currently looking to in the hope that any other art interested person sees this then maybe they too can get inspired.

So without further ado, the theme for today's link dump is...flash games!

I know what you're thinking but these don't exist for the sole purpose of distracting you when you should be working on more important things! Many now a days have become works of art in their own right, existing as a medium that combines somewhat basic video game foundations, animations that take limited tools and stretches them to their limits, some of the best atmospheric music I've heard, and a community of independent artists, programmers, and storytellers that's very nurturing to the concept of trying new things. And one thing I've always loved about any form of videogame that is approached as an art form, is that the format creates for a rather unique experience that cannot be translated to other mediums.

Here are some examples that have recently succeeded in sparking artistic inspiration in me within even the first few seconds of playing:

1.) Vox Populi, Vox Dei

This platform game uses a very detailed low-bit graphic style to tell a basic story about a heartbroken hero risking his life to save the girl who dumped him from an invading army of alien werewolf like creatures.

While this sounds like a cheesy B-movie, this game brings a lot of interesting twists to the field. The grey color palette of the scenery is splattered in dripping pixels of blood the second you attack an enemy, and not just in a basic punch, shoot, or jump on their head kind of attack, you the hero are more monster than these shadow beasts as you leap upon them and savagely tear at their faces. This alone was enough to get my mind rolling as one subject I have been thoroughly interested in since I was young is the archetype of the beast or monster in stories, and this game really plays with the norms in an interesting and visceral way. There is also no dialogue, instead any of the character's feelings are acted out in a sort of pantomime or iconographic word bubble.

2.) Coma

A puzzle solving game that really lays on the creepy factor. I really enjoyed this game even with all its vagueness because it really had some unique scenes in it that I won't even bother to describe. It's pretty short so play through it, don't try too hard to make sense of it at first though, allow yourself to just soak in the visuals and atmosphere of this mini-world that's been created and soon you'll find yourself submerged in what seems like an incredibly direct visual representation of another persons haunting and lingering dream.

3.) The Company of Myself

I'll admit, I never actually beat this one. It's another puzzle platformer that really lays the sorrowful, isolated, and down right depressing vibe on thick. Besides having some of the best atmospheric music on a flash game I've heard lately and bringing a rather poetically simple style of writing to the genre, the game also plays with the mechanics of the puzzles. To solve things you must literally rely on yourself, planning things ahead you walk the character to where he needs to be, then hit a button to start back at the level entrance while a ghost of yourself repeats what you last did. You then have to use these ghosts as platforms or in other ways to complete the area and move on. Don't spoil the ending for me! I need to go back and finish it.

4.) Icycle

Another one I didn't quite finish as it got crazy stupid hard by the end. But this one, out of all these, had the most intersting and dynamic visuals. The concept is really basic as well, you awake after being frozen in cryostasis to find that the whole world has been frozen in an apocalyptic ice age. The only other thing to emerge from the other cryo-tubes that you can see is a small bicycle. Your only other hint of life is a trail of frozen bubbles coming from another open cryo-tube that you decide to follow. The gameplay is fun, you control the speed of your peddling and timing of your jumps, which starts off as pretty easy but quickly gets intense as you progress. And like I said earlier, I've never seen a desolate, lonely, frozen world look so good.

That's a few for now, I'll hopefully be back before another couple of months pass in order to post some more sketch dumps!

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