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Posts Tagged ‘Free Software

Trilby and Knytt sitting in a tree: I.N.D.I.E.G.A.M.I.N.G

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Trilby: Art of Theft and Knytt Stories are two games I’ve been playing extensively lately. Both share an exceptional game experience. Trilby: Art of Theft reminds the player of those good old games from the 90′s – addictive and challenging. Knytt Stories takes the player to a dreamworld that reminded me of listening to Death Cab for Cutie, but then in a gaming package.

Trilby

What makes Trilby such a great game to play then? It aren’t really Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s graphics that blow you away, they’re straight from the 90′s. But the game’s architecture is very well done, everything seems logical and flows over into the next. The purchasing of abilities to make you a better crook (better safecracker, lockpicker) or new moves (roll, hide in shadows) all seem very intiutive and more importantly: I haven’t seen this kind of gameplay in any game, ever. Not convinced? Check out the Trilby: Art of Theft Walkthrough / Rankthrough, which includes video to check out the gameplay, here.

Yes, finally the message has been returned to the medium after the tsunami of bad first person shooters and 3D action adventures in the last years. Repetition of a genre, however, is not something that is “evil” per se. Exceptional narrative in gaming has developed over the past years, with some of my top games being Max Payne, Deus EX and recently Assasins’ Creed. However these games do not, in my opinion, excell in an exceptional game experience. Much like Hollywood productions they share a good story, but are essentially the same format.

Knytt Stories is something totally different. French arthouse movie Amelie is to Hollywood productions as is Knytt Stories to big budget gaming. Under the influence of mood strengthening music, this game has you travelling the beautiful lands of protagonist Knytt, a “small guy with long hair”, and providing you with an experience that is different from so many similar experiences. And yes, it is free! And yes! You can create your own levels! After playing Knytt on my laptop in the train, I found myself thinking about what level I would create with Knytt Stories. It feeds personal creative process outside of virtual space. But even without this, the works of Knytt creator Nifflas are so original and really fuel the imagination, and not just in the sense of narrative… Check out the gameplay in this Knytt Stories Walkthrough of the The Machine level at YouTube.

Knytt Stories

Written by newmw

January 8, 2008 at 12:52 pm

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mScape: Building Narrative Spaces for Locative Media

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Volunteering for Waag Society’s Come Out And Play 2007 during the Picnic festival in Amsterdam was a great experience. Although I haven’t had the time to write about it yet, mostly because of my work nowadays at Virtueel Platform, it is very relevant for my MA Thesis which I’m finishing as we speak.

In my thesis, as you might have read in some of my previous posts, I examine narrative spaces created by existing locative media, more specifically the navigation system and its deterministic algorithms causing havoc to environments without the users really knowing the consequences. In another strand, shaping narrative instead of algorithm, I recently stumbled upon mScape, the new Hewlett Packard software, which allows you to create generative locative media experience. It really allows you to tailor a virtual space to the territory and give new meaning to it. A toolkit for the locative future? This YouTube presentation video gives you a sense of what the tool can do.

The website offers users the ability to share and discuss their mediascapes. The software however does require an HP iPaq. If anyone has experience with this software, just drop me a line because I’m very interested in the narrative capabilities this can offer to locative media. Super Mario GPS anyone?

Written by newmw

December 27, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Vers Geperst: Fresh juice for the brains

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Last week I attended the Vers Geperst meeting at Club 11 to tell the audience about the Masters of Media weblog project. Based on the Pecha Kucha presentation idea, all the presenters had only 11 slides of 12 seconds each to propagate their views.

fidel twan

Besides the Masters of Media blog, some other interesting ideas were pitched. What about the already famous ‘Whatever’ button? Are you tired of all the times you have to agree to useless legal information? Just install the Whatever button Firefox extension and you don’t have to worry about all the nonsense anymore! Although I had already installed it before the presentation, Michael Stevenson’s talk and imagery still gave me stomach cramps from laughing.

Another idea came from the guys from ToxTox TV. According to the creators ‘ToxTox is the next generation internet television platform. It allows you to watch video content from your couch, on your tv, using only open software.’ An ambitious idea with lots of opportunities and I’m anxious to see how this works on my television.

The Open-Search project, presented by Erik Borra, focusses on the role of privacy and search engines. The Open-Search project steers away from the centralized powers of the corporate search engine and provides ‘an exemplary peer to peer, collaborative event, whereby people mutually form a search engine without the intervention of central servers or a central actor.’ Definitely worth checking out.

The last presenter I want to mention is Anne Helmond, who is responsible for the lovely Fidel Castroian picture of myself in this post. She presented her photography and also a project she did on drapes and windows. More photographs of the meeting are available on Anne’s Flickr account.

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