2013 – a retrospect

27

When I look back at 2013 I lose my breath. It has been a tremendously great year for us. Not in the sense of releasing professional games (albeit some of us have had some success in our companies with that. Read: KnapNok Games’ Spin the bottle and Cloud Chamber). But more in the sense of building community and experimenting with games and last but not least, just getting new experiences and meeting new people. Read more »

Excessive stimulation: GO NUTS!! at Wild Rumpus.

Almost 2 months ago, one of my games was selected for the Wild Rumpus party in London. I was lucky enough to be able to attend, and it was everything I had hoped for. I consider myself a rookie in the Copenhagen game scene, not to mention globally, and I only found out about Wild Rumpus a year ago. For those of you who have no idea:

The Wild Rumpus brings together the best of indie mutliplayer videogames for the most unique events of crazy, exuberant, social and sometimes physical gameplay. Our games line ups turn conventional videogame culture on its head. Closer in spirit to party, playground, or even drinking games, these are all games that you can’t play at home on your own. So come along and LET THE WILD RUMPUS START! – thewildrumpus.co.uk

When we made LAZA KNITEZ!!, we designed our video game to mimick some of the affordances of a foosball table, where the social situation and space are a key part of what makes the game compelling for a broad audience. Then when we built the Buttfighter, we asked ourselves: Can we get players of our game to stand around our video game in a public space, and can we get other people to pay attention to it?” This being our first video game, we started Googling so hard we almost poked a hole in the back of the internet. What we found was an emerging scene of independent developers feeling the same vibes. The Wild Rumpus seemed to be years ahead of anything else in terms of bringing these types of games to actual people, which is what they were intended for. They lift the burden of finding a space for people like you and me to go, where we can, at least for one night, pick up a controller and play a game of Samurai Gunn instead of a round of darts or foosball.

Not only do they provide you with the space, they do a marvelous job of curating and selecting games based on their accessibility, innovation, spectatorship, and the likelihood you’ll end up craving more.


Wild Rumpus – On a F**king Boat from Niall Henn on Vimeo.

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w00t w00t

The weekend has passed and so has the festival. We have had great response and a lot of fun running this festival. There were so many cool game talks people, boardgame people and cool game designers running their street games.

Playground

Festival area right before opening

I even had a friend not usually associating with games being there with his two little daughters having a lot of fun spying on people for speed guerilla gardening and creating hummingbirdmen. Great to see this kind of involvement too.

Image credit: Chad Toprak 2013 - mr-chad.com

Image credit: Chad Toprak 2013 – mr-chad.com

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We’re going to the Maldives – The games

Read about the background of this trip here.

We got the move controllers water-proofed and were excited to try our underwater idea. We thought of having an underwater minefield of floating move controllers. If you touched one, a chain reaction would start, and you would hear sounds played from above the water.

Ready to get wet

However, as soon as the move controllers were submerged, just a bit, they stopped working. Apparently the Bluetooth signal from the controllers is not strong enough to send through water. The medium is of course tougher than air to propagate in, but we did not think this would be an issue. Apparently it is. There went all under water ideas!

Luckily we made two new findings.

  1. The move controllers float and work while floating
  2. They start working again as soon as they emerge from the water! (As long as they have not been under for more than 5 sec, where the built in hardware disconnect kicks in)

These two findings together we thought was really cool and could be turned around from a bug to a feature. We figured out that we could count for updates in the code, where no there was no activity from the controller. If the duration is longer than a prescribed threshold (for us 0.5 second), then the controller had been submerged.
This got us to think about the games in another way, and even though an under water game would have been beautiful and atmospheric to play, being above water is more fun, since you can communicate and interact more with the other players.
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We’re going to the Maldives – Boat, water and island games

Read about the background of this trip here.

At our third day here we wanted to get to know the local culture more. We wanted to hear some local fairytales and folk stories. That’s why we arranged a get-together with some of the locals at a café on a Malé suburb – Villingili (it’s on another island, and you have to take a ferry to get there, but yes, it’s a “suburb”).

Telling stories to a crowd can be a bit daunting if you’re not used to it. I remembered a classic danish parlour game that my friend Anders Børup taught me. It is a collaborative storytelling game where people take turns at saying a word that is attached to the current sentence and then it goes around in a circle. Anyone can always end the sentence by saying “full stop” instead of a word, which then changes the direction and begins a new sentence. It is best played fast and to a specific rhythm. This forces people to not over-think and makes it more silly and fun.

Here is a sentence we built that I really love. It’s a bit non-sensical and aaaalmost poetic:

“Malé is unpleasantly humid, yes, this will destroy mother earth if we want all the passionfruit all in one mouthful.”

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NGIN 2013 Finalists

We are happy to announce this years finalists for the Nordic Game Indie Night Showcase. Our jury of Copenhagen Game Collective members, as well as previous finalists have selected eight games representing the breadth and quality of the Nordic Indie Scene:

Badland, By Frogmind [Finland]

Clairvoyance, By Erik Svedang, Johannes Gotlen, Niklas Akerblad and Oscar Rydelious [Sweden]

Flowstorm, By Neat Corporation [Sweden]

The Mission, By Xavier V Lafont, [Denmark]

The Plan, By Krillbite Studio, [Norway]

Rymdkapsel, By Grapefrukt Games, [Sweden]

The Silent Age, By House on Fire [Denmark]

Stikbold, By Team Stikbold, [Denmark]

The eight selected games will be showcased Wednesday May 22nd from 18.00 at Slagthuset, Malmö. The evening is free and open to the public and will features inspirational and experimental speakers and party all night. We will release more information about the program for the evening in the following weeks, stay tuned.

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We’re going to the Maldives – first days

Read about the background of this trip here.

The last couple of days we have been settling in. Getting to know the “island time” and meeting local people and Amani’s family. All very nice people.

I got to play a game with the locals that they claim is the predecessor of the other games in the same variant. The game is called Ohlvalhu Gondi and is a type of Kalaha/Mancala and is played sea shells called cowrie. The cowrie used to be their currency, so playing this game would have an element of gambling involved. The cowrie is also depicted on their really beautiful paper money as a legacy of their history.


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We’re going to the Maldives – day 0

Yay! We got invited to participate in this cool game design trip to the Maldives.

Amani Naseem of the Collective has invited a group of international game designers to go and design games and make playful events in the capital city of the Maldives, Malé. We will work with key artists, thinkers and organizers in the Maldives and create a playful event in the public spaces of Malé.

Image courtesy of Ida Marie Toft

There are more reasons why we go to the Maldives of all places in the world. Firstly; Amani is from there. She has family there.and knows a lot of the local community. Secondly, Amani was invited to join the Maldivian pavilion for this year’s Venice Biennale and decided to invite designers to do collaborative game design events in the Maldives and in Venice.

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ERVAX for 2 nominated for A MAZE!

So, our little game / compositional tool ERVAX for 2 has been nominated for the Most Amazing Indie Game of 2013. We are, of course, very honoured and find it a bit daunting to see the quality and scope of the other nominees.

The competition

Before this, I only knew of three of the other nominees. I’ve played (and bought) Dear Esther and was vaguely aware that David Kanaga (of Proteus fame) had been working on some MIDI-hardware controlled project. And I’ve played Space Team once, when I happened to be in a room with enough iDevices.

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Urban Games Festivals; Puddle Peddler and the Idiot’s game

Last weekend we were at the PlayPublik festival in Berlin, hosted by the amazing Invisible Playground. It was a blast, and we got to showcase a new version of Idiots attack the Top Noodle! We also tried to showcase one of our new creations: The Puddle Peddler. I say “tried” because we just could not get it running. Like with any other technology; when you add layers of complexity, the risk of failure increases. But though we didn’t get to showcase it at this Festival, we are making it ‘sturdier’ for the next. Still, read the concept description; it’s quite an interesting game.
[galleryview id=24]

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