Prague-based Amanita Design, creators of the award-winning Mechinarium, recently released what may be their best game yet: Samorost 3. This deeply immersive puzzle game spans the ecosystems of 9 unusual planets as you encounter strange inhabitants and unlock increasingly complex secrets to advance to the next level. Amanita Design’s approach to creating completely non-verbal/non-textual games relies heavily on intuition, sound design, and symbolism to create environments that are practically interactive artworks. Samorost 3 is a long-awaited sequel in a series of first released in 2003 and 2005.
The music and sound design specifically are fantastic, and Amita provides all kinds of behind-the-scenes videos showing how they developed the quirky voices for each character and composed the accompanying soundtrack. I’ve only been playing for about two hours or so, but this game is truly wonderful. You can get it from the Apple App Store or download it from their website for your desktops.
Before old circuit boards find their way to the landfill, Portsmouth, UK-based artist Julie Alice Chappell gives them new life as winged insects. Tearing the boards from old computers and video game systems she cuts and sculpts them into crawly creatures that resemble butterflies, dragonflies and even cockroaches. The upcycled bugs are further adorned with other electrical components that form various appendages. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and she sells them through her Etsy shop.
For their latest video game INKS, London-based State of Play Games have created a new spin on classic pinball by turning the background of a pinball game into a piece of interactive art. As the ball traverses the course, the bright lights and clanking sounds of traditional pinball are replaced with pockets of watercolor paint that explode into flourishes. The ball in turn leaves trails of color as you solve each level.
State of Play are no strangers to turning a more tactile world into a digital game. You might remember their groundbreaking work in Lumino City (which won a BAFTA award) where real paper sets and characters were filmed and photographed as components of an immersive digital puzzle game. INKS has much of the same polish a detail, though allows for quicker gameplay. One of my favorite details is that every time you complete a level, the game board complete with paint trails is saved as a thumbnail like an artwork. You can even print and share them.
Inspired by artists like Miro, Matisse, Jackson Pollock and Bridget Riley, each table becomes a unique work of art in its own right, sculpted by the player as they fire an ink covered ball around the canvas. The player is encouraged to share their final work of art on social media with the iOS share function. They can even print them out if they like – with the story of their perfect game literally drawn on the canvas in front of them, something to be proud of and share.
Luke Whittaker from State of Play tells us they were partly inspired by Sam van Doom’s ink-based pinball game from 2012. It’s a visually stunning game with some pretty innovative ideas, even if you don’t particularly enjoy pinball. You can download INKS for iOS here.
Portsmouth, UK-based artist Julie Alice Chappell works with components salvaged from old computers and video game systems to make an entire taxonomic order of circuit-based insects. From used Nintendos to DVD players, any device is fair game for her winged assemblages which she sells online via Etsy. You can read a bit more about their origins on My Modern Met. (via Permaculture)
First off: language warning for the kiddos. Stop-motion animator Dillon Markey works on projects for animation powerhouses like Robot Chicken and PES. While on set three years ago Markey tired of moving back and forth between the set, camera, and computers for each shot and conceived of a numerical keypad he could use to help control some, if not all, of the devices he uses for animating.
In a stroke of nostalgic brilliance, he realized Nintendo’s failed 1980 Power Glove—a wearable device that was supposed to offer novel ways of controlling video games—possessed the form factor he needed. While the Power Glove itself was a commercial flop because of imprecise and awkward controls (not to mention crummy games), Markey teamed up with an electrical engineer to completely rewire the device so it could interact with his stop-motion software via Bluetooth. In a move that would make Inspector Gadget proud, he further modified the glove to incorporate animation tools like retractable tweezers and special sensors that emit the perfect phrase when you use the glove for a fist-bump.
One would think such modifications would be interesting for the purpose of making a quick concept video like this, but that in practical application it might not really work. Not the case: he’s now used it for over 1.5 years on projects like this. It makes you wonder what other outmoded technology had the right form factor but wrong application? Film by Ava Benjamin.