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22
Nov 16

Developer Interview: Thomas Brush

How did you first start out as a developer and go about creating your first game?
My first game was called Coma, and to this day it has a very special place in my heart. During development, there was never any thought about the project’s success. I simply wanted to make it, and never worried about what people would think. That feeling, I think, is what every game developer strives for.

Creating something for the sake of creating it is truly a beautiful thing, and that certainly was the case for Coma. Working on it sparingly through high school and my Senior year summer was pure, and required very little emotional effort.

Coma

Your games tend to have a very distinctive surreal and otherworldly feel. What sort of things inspire you, and how do you incorporate them into your games?
I’m super inspired by this one musician Anthony Green. His music is not really similar to Atmos’ games at all, but he has a very simple philosophy that kind of goes like this: only create when you feel. So, for the otherworldly aspects of my games, I think the inspiration comes from deep inside, as pretentious as that might sound.

The dreamy nature of Pinstripe, for example, is how I feel in my brain most of the time. I know, it’s silly, but that’s the only way I can describe it. Obviously, I take a ton of inspiration from plenty of artists. Tim Burton, M. Night Shyamalan (unashamed and proud of it), Koji Kondo, etc. But I think the value of actually building a story, game, and soundtrack inspired by an artist’s rawest emotions and passions is where it’s at. I like to think that’s the case for my work.

Pinstripe

Pinstripe, your first commercial release, is essentially a one man show developed entirely by you over the course of half a decade. What was that process like, and do you feel like your skills and methods have changed at all as a result?
The process was not great. Imagine telling yourself you’re going to build a car from scratch and not really knowing how to do it. I think that was the case with Pinstripe. I’ll admit, it feels like a house of cards in terms of the code, file structure, etc.

The positive is that I’ve learned how to build projects to scale efficiently, mainly through failure. That said, I’m happy with the results. I wouldn’t change a thing about the past 5 years. I’ve learned so much about pretty much every aspect of game development, and have grown emotionally through it all more than I thought possible.

Pinstripe is sort of a unique game in that it is often simultaneously creepy and “weird”. How did you go about creating the world, the story, and the characters in it?
Kind of like I was talking about before regarding inspiration, I just went with what I was feeling at any given time. This can be a terrible approach if you’ve got a set budget. But, for Pinstripe, prior to Kickstarter, etc., I just wrote dialogue I enjoyed, thought was personally funny or intriguing, and built the world and story on raw emotion without any real inhibition.

I guess Pinstripe is just a reflection of my personality. The intention behind the project has solidified here towards the end of the project, but to start, it was pretty much a stream of consciousness thing. Kind of like a dream. My dreams are a lot like Pinstripe.

Pinstripe

The gameplay in Pinstripe is sort of a mix of everything… puzzles, action, platforming, and so on. How did you decide to use them to build the game’s distinct areas so those elements felt cohesive?
I’m not sure they are. I guess we’ll see what players think on release. But, the decision process was pretty random. Honestly, if I could do it again, I’d be a bit more intentional about actual gameplay. Not my strong suit, but, hopefully, these elements work together in Pinstripe.

Pinstripe

In the process of making Pinstripe, you worked with both Kickstarter and a publisher for the first time. What was that like, and do you think it’s something you want to do again?
I’d do it exactly the same again. The benefit of Kickstarter is funding, obviously, and also a sense of direction. It’s kind of like an election campaign: you make a promise, and you keep your promise or get destroyed by your constituency. This is a beautiful thing. It keeps you on track. A publisher, on the other hand, is a shoulder to lean on. When the going’s get tough, or you don’t have enough time on your hands to handle marketing, networking, tradeshows, etc., a publisher is great to have.

My publisher Armor Games has been great. They are there for me pretty much whenever I need them. Good people. Obviously, if a developer signs with a crooked publisher, it’s pretty much the worst thing for creativity and your project. But I’m lucky I landed Armor Games when I did. Sometimes it feels like they are just my buddies helping out with the business side of things, which is an amazing feeling.

Once Pinstripe is released, do you have any plans for your next game in mind, or are you thinking of taking a break?
Yes, currently two projects are in pre-production. Announcement coming early 2017.

Pinstripe

For more from Thomas Brush, visit his official site, Atmos Games, and follow Thomas on Twitter. Play Thomas’s original Flash games Coma and Skinny free in your browser here at ArmorGames.com. Check out Pinstripe on Steam or pre-order Pinstripe on AtmosGames.com for its release in early 2017.

16
Nov 16

Five Sim Games

Hey friends. Did nobody ever tell you life was gonna be this way? Maybe your job’s a joke, or you’re broke, or your love life’s D.O.A.? Or maybe you just can’t stop making dated references in your professional life. Either way, the good news is, there’s a sim game out there for you. Sure you’re wearing two different socks today, and you accidentally “reply-all’d” everyone in the office that hilarious insulting meme about your boss, and you’re trying to convince yourself that Sour Patch Kids count as a vegetable. But as long as you have sim games, you’re on top of the world managing a much smoother life than yours!

A Goody Life

Goody Gameworks has made all sorts of games, but with A Goody Life, they give you the task of essentially creating a legacy… which might be a bit intimidating for those of us who consider their bed their best friend. The idea is that you’re trying to register your family’s name with the town by being as successful as possible during your characters’ lifespans, with each successive character’s start in life dependent on how well the previous did.

You’ll manage basic physical needs, as well as skills that impact your work performance, and of course, decorate your itty-bitty house. Of course, it’s not a realistic life sim since there’s no option to binge on pizza bagels until you can’t walk straight and stay up until 4AM reading Wikipedia articles about fruit, but hey, you can’t emulate perfection.

Papa's Pastaria

You can’t really talk about sim games without mentioning Flipline Studios’ Papa’s Series of restaurant management games, and while they’ve covered everything from cupcakes to pizza, we’re going to talk about Papa’s Pastaria because I love carbs and garlic bread and this is my article, dang it. Once again conned into doing all the work by the lazy owner, it’s up to you to serve the customers that come in each daily promptly and accurately by cooking each individual order.

It may seem simple at first, but keeping track of cooking times and carefully assembling each unique order before customers get impatient quickly turns into a juggling act. Don’t worry… you can count on me to eat all the evidence of your delicious failures. I gotchu.

Rogue Legend: Tame the Wild

Calling Lance Knifehand’s Rogue Legend: Tame the Wild ambitious is sort of an understatement. Originally developed in just a few months, it blends everything from Harvest Moon to Minecraft and even classic top-down action RPGs. As the game opens, you’re forced to flee your idyllic village when it comes under attack. I mean, I don’t know what else you expected. You’re a rosy-cheeked RPG protagonist. It’s practically law that you have a tragic childhood.

One year later, you’re trying to put your life back together, having just purchased a run-down piece of property for you to farm and build on as you please. The game is definitely rough around the edges, but still impressive given its short development time and scope. If you’re interested in keeping an eye out for the sequel, Rogue Legend 2, you can follow the development logs on the official site.

Corporation Inc

Most of us probably don’t spend a lot of time day-dreaming about cubicle jobs functioning as cogs in a giant soulless machine, but because none of us ever got our letters to Hogwarts, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Corporation Inc, by jmtb02 and our own Jimp, is all about building the biggest, most powerful corporation of (literal) button pushers in the world.

Just thinking about it kind of makes my soul shrivel a little. But, like… in a good way in the context of this game! You need IT people to keep things running smoothly, janitors to do repairs and cleaning, basic workers to, uh, work, and probably a really nice powersuit and business card. It’s simple, addictive, and cynical in a weirdly adorable way. Just keep an eye on your stapler.

Building Rush 2

Sure I’m barely able to take care of myself on a basic adult level, but after playing Barbarian Games’ Building Rush 2, I feel confident in saying I could totally run a city with a minimum amount of screaming, explosions, and blood. The goal is to make as much money as you can in the allotted time on each level by producing and delivering orders to buyers, which often means having to spend some cash yourself to build more factories and fleets.

You need to be as fast and efficient as possible, since buyers aren’t very patient and getting trucks there to deliver costs money itself. It’s an endless cycle of commerce that’s slightly less magical than your average Wonka factory, but only if you’re the type of person who wouldn’t also force their works to wear silly suspenders and novelty lederhosen. And I mean… why would you deny yourself that?

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Writer: Dora Breckinridge / Professional spline reticulator.

10
Nov 16

Sushi Cat iMessage Stickers and Giveaway

He’s squishy, he’s blue, and he wants to know why you and your friends have been hanging out without him for so long. Sushi Cat is now available in iMessage thanks to Sushi Cat Stickers! Lovingly illustrated by your one and only Jimp, this pack of 40 adorable stickers will pepper your chats with your friends with tasty cuteness and charm, and is available today through iTunes for the iMessage app.

Sushi Cat Stickers

To celebrate, we’re giving away five Sushi Cat plushie, and to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment telling us how you would hang out with Sushi Cat. One entry per person, gibberish will not be accepted. Winners will be selected at random, and need to be willing and able to provide Armor Games with a phone number, e-mail, and shipping address. Yes, we can ship world wide! Contest winners will be announced on Friday, November 18th 2016. Sushi Cat is polite, well kept, and gets along with all types of pets.

Sushi Cat Stickers

We hope you’ll help us spread the news, and maybe join us in a little Sushipalooza… after all, why not celebrate by playing Sushi Cat’s games or reading about his history?

Download Sushi Cat Stickers for iMessage through iTunes. Follow Armor Games on Twitter and Facebook.

1
Nov 16

Games that Didn’t Get Sequels

Have you ever read a story that didn’t have an ending? Or watched a television show that was cancelled just before anything was answered? Then these games are right up your alley. No sequels have been released in the last six years.

 

dawnofsorcery

Dawn of Sorcery (2010) – Episode 1 of ?

Get swept up in the treachery and intrigue within the Sun Empire in this turn-based adventure. Make unlikely allies as you unravel the lies and mysteries that mask that goings-on around the Empire. The Imperium is missing. The Dree are attacking again. The Wraith have returned. Someone within is stealing the Empire’s Quicksilver. And the new Emperor is nearing ascension to the throne. Is this all a coincidence? Or are there greater things at play?

 

ge-ne-sis

Ge.Ne.Sis (2009) – Part 1 of ?

With the help of their Tarots, Nera, Gely, and Sisi adventure through a dream world trying to figure out why they’re there in this tile-based strategy game.  After stopping Reciful from destroying the alternate worlds, the trio find more questions than answers. Who is the mystery girl? Is Reciful gone for good? What is down the rabbit holes? We did get a spinoff in 2010, though.

 

neverendinglight

Neverending Light (2009) – Part 1 of 3

It’s your birthday. Your girlfriend takes you on a tour of the Cablad Caverns, but when the lights go out monsters in the cave eat your tour group, leaving you alone. Is your girlfriend okay? Where did these monsters come from? Will monsters invade the surface and devour everyone? What are those juvenile sprites? Collect the glowing sprite droppings and find out what was in store for Part 2.

 

sonny2

Sonny 2 (2008) – Part 2 of ?

Who is Sonny? What is the Seed? Where do zombies come from?

Just kidding. Sonny 3 is in production. We even interviewed Krin earlier this year. But it’s true that it’s been almost 8 years since the release of Sonny 2.

_____

Writer: Gantic has been on Armor Games since before Sonny 2. Those were some pretty dark times, because most people weren’t staring at their smartphones all the time. True story.

26
Oct 16

5 Tasty Zombie Games

Zombies, man. You can’t live with ’em, and you can’t live without… well, no, that’s it, really, because a zombie roommate would kind of suck, even apart from the whole “my flesh, my flesh, it’s eating my flesh” thing. I’m pretty sure they can’t pay rent, you’d be forever picking bits out of the furniture, and out of work C-list celebrities are forever dropping by to do “cameos”. But zombie games? Now, those I’m on board with. If you’re looking to put a little putrefaction in your day, here are five tasty zombie games to put some drag in your step. Feel free to share your favourites!

Lab of the Dead

Evil Dog and SickDeathFiend’s Lab of the Dead features a bit less pew pew pew grr argh BAAAAAAAAARBRA when it comes to the zombie apocalypse, and a lot more questionable science. In it, you play a scientist who’s holed up in an underground lab after the end of the world, performing experiments on the undead, and only kind of for kicks and giggles. See, your theory is you can interact with the restrained zombies and prompt reactions that will further your research and maybe, just maybe, work towards unlocking some hidden spark of humanity buried inside them… and a way to control them. Because THAT’S bound to turn out well.

Lab of the Dead is, bluntly put, a weird little game, but that’s why we like it. While you can whack away at your zombies with sticks and other weapons, there’s something strangely rewarding about coaxing out less animalistic responses to things like books, toys, and meat that didn’t come off of a person. Seeing your zombie look puzzled and vaguely sad when presented with a child’s teddy bear instead of shrieking in mad fury just may make you feel a little more kindly towards them… or maybe you’ll just keep beating them with sticks. I don’t know your life. Research new objects and reactions as the days progress to unlock more content, and presumably some extra “haha”s on your MUHAHAHA mad scientist laugh.

Rebuild 2

Look, I know the end of the world seems… bad. There’s no WiFi, pizza delivery is non-existent, and without the internet, you’re going to have to find new ways to express rude anonymous opinions to strangers. But that doesn’t mean we’re all going to sit around banging rocks on cave walls for all eternity! Sarah Northway is pretty sure you’re the right choice to lead humanity into this brave new world, and in her turn-based strategy sim Rebuild 2, your cup runneth over with choices and potential. You’ll start off with a small colony of survivors, whom you’ll need to keep happy and fed, and need to expand and explore the randomly generated city to find new allies, convert derelict buildings into useful structures, and more. Just make sure you have people on hand to defend the place if zombies get wind of you.

What makes Rebuild 2 stand out from other sims is how much freedom you’re given, and the wide variety of endings to unlock. Do you squash a strange new religion that begins to rise through your settlement? Maybe you keep the discovery of a shack in the woods to yourself. Or maybe you’ll devote precious resources to trying to find a cure. Scenarios frequently arise that require you to make choices that aren’t always cut and dry, and often have consequences beyond what you might expect. It’s that rare combination of simple to pick up, yet also compelling and complex, making it hard to tear yourself away from. All it’s missing is a wonky synthesized ’80s soundtrack and for you to choose who will betray you first… the weird, weathered, stoic survivalist who says things like “Everyone closes their eyes sometimes,” or the wise-cracking, disconcertingly smug everyday Joe Schmoe.

Zombotron

Zombotron sounds like some Daft Punk/Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” tribute brand, but actually it’s a clever physics-based platformer by Ant Karlov that will make all your dreams of offing zombies using an assortment of flaming barrels, precarious crates, bottomless pits, and of course, the gentleman’s choice, the gears of a heavily descending elevator. As you explore the levels, tracking down secrets and coins to upgrade your arsenal, you’ll quickly learn that there are a wide variety of ways to kill zombies aside from mere bullets, and the game will pop up with a description of each one as it happens.

Unlike a lot of other zombie games, Zombotron isn’t particularly gory or explicitly violent. There’s a weird, Looney Tunes-esque vibe to everything that sort of makes one wish it had some sort of madcap, Benny Hill-style soundtrack. Trying to figure out how to meet each level’s optional objectives usually takes a bit of thought and planning, though blasting your way through the destructible bits of scenery to crush your enemies beneath an avalanche of rubble is always satisfying on its own. I mean, you get me when I say that, right? That’s why I love you guys. You’re way more understanding than my therapist.

The Last Stand 2

Con Artists Studios has been making sweet zombie games for years, but if the MMO aspects of The Last Stand – Dead Zone don’t tickle your proverbial fancy, then The Last Stand 2 might just have coyly dropped its kerchief at your feet. In it, an escape attempt from an apocalyptic zombie scenario goes awry, and you find yourself stranded with 40 days to reach Union City before all boats and aircraft leave for good. Playing the game means fending off the zombies that sprint at you to try and tear apart your shelter during the night, then spending a few precious hours trying to figure out where you should scavenge for more weapons and the supplies needed to travel. The clock is always ticking, after all.

The Last Stand 2 blends a lot of different elements, like gentle supply and time management, but its core gameplay boils down to defending your wall each night against the undead. Most of the useful things you scavenge are traps to impede the zombies’ progress, but you can also find better weapons, and even survivors who you can arm to fight alongside you when night falls. Unlike some defense game, your wall is not automatically repaired between levels, so you’ll need to choose when to allocate some time to fix that up if you don’t want to be torn to shreds. Don’t forget to allot time to create your rockin’ zombie road trip mix tape. I recommend Party in the USA and Bad Romance.

Decision 3

You know a game isn’t messing around when it sets its logo on fire. FlyAnvil’s Decision 3 is set, like most zombie games, after the end of the world. You control a grizzled fellow who’s set off trying to find a place to start over and exist in a world where everyone has come down with a bad case of dead. He winds up working for a small band of survivors in a crumbling city, doing odd jobs for the military presence that calls the shots there. And everybody knows you can always count on the military in a post-apocalyptic scenario where they represent the only law! All we’re missing is Danny Trejo and an unscrupulous businessman played by John Malkovich or Dennis Hopper.

Decision 3, like the first two titles in the series, is essentially a top-down shooter with some town-building elements. You explore dangerous areas filled with zombies, complete objectives, and find survivors, all while trying to keep your face firmly attached to your skull despite what the local monster population would prefer. As you clean out locales, you can capture them for your own use and build helpful structures, and even improve your own abilities and arsenal. Why, it’s like you’re the Johnny Appleseed of the wastes, dispensing stoic justice and headshots across the land! It’s practically a bedtime story.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Writer: Dora Breckinridge / Itchy. Tasty.

7
Oct 16

Hot Dog Extravaganza Part 1

Everyone loves hot dogs! Giraffes, pet rocks, the secret hot dog mafia who have in no way forced me to write this article under duress. In fact, if someone tells you they don’t, they’re probably a pod person, or at the very least somebody you should keep a close eye on. A while back we ran a contest asking you talented chefs-in-waiting to come up with your favourite hot dog recipes to celebrate The Adventure Pals, the upcoming action-adventure platformer by your friend and mine, Massive Monster.

While we wait for a special-ordered ingredient to arrive for one of the top-rated recipes for our grand prize winner dog-off next week, our very own Tasselfoot and his lady fair were kind and brave enough to step up to the bat and try out some of the more eclectic ‘dawgs. How did they rate on the patented Tass-Taste-o-Meter?

Hot Dog Extravaganza Part 1
jimmycarlos’ Pizza Dog: Hot dog buns, classic American hot dogs, grated mozzarella, pre-made tomato marinara, sriracha sauce (ideally Huy Fong Sriracha), Italian pepperoni/salami.
Grill your hot dog, and add some sriracha to your pre-made marinara. Add a little or add a lot. Put your Hot Dog in the bun, then top it with a generous helping of spicy marinara, then some grated mozzarella and some slices of pepperoni. Put in a baking tray and then put in a pre-heated oven at Gas Mark 5 for 10 minutes or until the bread is crispy and brown.

Tass: 8.5
It’s pizza and a hot dog together. What isn’t to love? Shockingly, the pepperoni flavor wound up getting a bit lost amongst the hot dog and spicy marinara. It was also a bit taxing to have to use both a grill and an oven.

Lady Tass: 8
I enjoyed the pizza and hot dog combination, especially with the toasted buns. It wasn’t spicy to me. I felt that the pepperoni should have been on the top of the hot dog, per the instructions, but Tass put it under the cheese, so now I will never really know what a pizza hot dog tastes like. I did make a mess eating it which took off a point, as I can neatly eat pizza and a hot dog separately.

Hot Dog Extravaganza Part 1
Welltell’s Soy Sauce Dog: Soya Sauce, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper, paprika, garlic powder.
Mix that all up and then pour it into a frying pan, add hot dogs, and roll around in that sauce until it is nice and cooked.

Tass: 4
I think I needed more precise amounts to use for the base… it wound up tasting very salty from the salt and soy sauce, but the soy and olive oil cooked off in the pan, leaving almost a dry rub behind. It didn’t taste very good in that form. The instructions were also unclear about any toppings, so we went au naturale with just the pan sauce.

Lady Tass: 3
The flavor was very odd, and it made me want to stop eating. I felt this hot dog was marred by the sauce, although that may just be Tass’ cooking.

Hot Dog Extravaganza Part 1
Hectichermit’s Mexican Dog: Refried beans, tortilla chips, chorizo, Mexican blend queso, sour cream, cilantro.
Toast the inside of the bun golden brown, spread hot refried beans as a base in the bun. Put in sliced chorizo that has been pan fried and tortilla chips, topping with cheese. Nuke the dog for a few seconds until the cheese melts. Chop some cilantro, blend it with sour cream, then use it top off the dog.

Tass: 7
I was concerned about the beans and the sour cream, but the chorizo was really delicious by itself. I could have gone for just chorizo and cheese. The tortilla chips were fairly large and solid, which made eating it somewhat tricky.

Lady Tass: 5.5
I had read hesitation about the sour cream & cilantro but it was pretty good. I didn’t love the chorizo. It was also messy to eat. Very messy. I might like this combo on a hot dog more.

Hot Dog Extravaganza Part 1
Chubbycheek’s Dessert Dog: Hot dog, hot dog bun, one strawberry Pop-Tart, premium vanilla ice cream, Hershey chocolate syrup, and Smucker’s strawberry jam.
Cook the hot dog and toast the bun as you prefer. Get a strawberry Pop-Tart and break it in half lengthwise. Place each of the halves of the Pop-Tarts at the sides of the hot dog within the bun. Put two scoops of vanilla ice cream on the hot dog, then some strawberry jam on the ice cream, and finally some Hershey chocolate syrup on all of it.

Tass: 1
This was awful. It looked awful from the ingredients, and it somehow tasted even worse. None of these flavors work together. I think I dry heaved a little while swallowing. I managed to eat the entire dog of the other 3, but I could barely make it through a small bite of this. No. No, no, no, no. This should be served as dessert at Guantanamo Bay.

Lady Tass: 1
The pop tart in the bun dissolved into a carbohydrate muck while chewing. The hog dog made the ice cream sad, which made me sad. These ingredients do not belong together for any reason.

Hot Dog Extravaganza Part 1

Want to stay up to date with The Adventure Pals? Check out the official website to sign up for updates, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

3
Oct 16

Sentry Knight Tactics on Steam!

Baddies beware! Evil from beyond our world may stalk the land, but while the peasants quiver in their homes, three heroes set out to set things right, one glorious battle at a time. Armor Games is pleased to announce the release of Sentry Knight Tactics, a challenging and charming real-time indie strategy game from Tyler Myers and Justin Wolf, available on Steam. Together with the Marksman, Priestess, and a few new powerful allies, the Knight is ready to save the kingdom. Craft and upgrade legendary equipment, smash your foes in challenging combat, and journey across a vibrant, colourful world full of secrets and danger.

Sentry Knight Tactics is the first commercial release in the Sentry Knight series of online games enjoyed by millions of players. Thanks to the support of fans, this is the biggest Sentry Knight title yet, and we hope you’ll support its release by picking it up on Steam, or just sharing the news. For the first week, the game will be 10% off to thank the fans who made it possible.

To celebrate, we’re giving away ten copies to ten lucky winners. For a chance to win, just leave a comment on this article telling us which of the original three Sentry Knight games is your favourite and why. Winners will be chosen at random on Wednesday, October 5th. Only one entry per person will be accepted. Players attempting to spam entries will be disqualified.

For more about Sentry Knight Tactics, check it out on Steam, visit the official website, view the official Presskit, and follow Sentry Knight Tactics and Armor Games on Twitter. Play the original Sentry Knight, Sentry Knight 2, and Sentry Knight: Conquest right here free on Armor Games.

29
Sep 16

5 Spook-Lite Games

October approaches. Time of chilly breezes (so brisk!), many layers (so cozy!), sneering at people for enjoying pumpkin spice beverages (so condescending!), and of course, mainlining everything even remotely spooky straight into your eyeballs at all times. For a lot of folks, Halloween lasts all month long, and the scarier the better. But what’s a gamer to do when the idea of spending any nights with Freddy is awful, or the last thing they want to do is visit a hill, Silent or otherwise?

I speak, of course, of those tender lumplings everywhere unkindly dubbed “‘fraidy-cats”. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy the season without having to endure a jumpscare around every corner! That’s why we’ve put together this list of spooky-themed games that aim to delight rather than make fright. If you’re looking for a ghoulish game that isn’t out to haunt your dreams or dump buckets of blood into your lap, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let’s get freaky!… ish!

Haunt the House

I want you to close your eyes and imagine you’re a ghost. Not, like, one of the ones that spends all its time aggressively tormenting pretty people and crab-walking down the walls in an unsettling manner. Just a little ghost who wants to get some sleep, which is kind of impossible given that your house is packed with annoying fleshy partiers. Zoinks! What’s a ghoul to do?

The goal in Haunt the House, this fun and oh-so-adorable blend of puzzle and arcade-style action from Super Flash Bros. is to possess objects around the house to scare people into running out the door, without frightening them so much that they panic. Hop into a bathtub and stampede around the room, maybe make a lightbulb sway in a very scary manner, or chase after people’s ankles as a teddy bear… the options are bountiful! Or should I say… boo-ountiful?!… nah.

Headless Zombie

The star of MeowBeast’s physics puzzle platformer Headless Zombie doesn’t want your brains. In fact, Carl just wants to save his kingdom from the greedy and jealous sorcerer who had him murdered… though it’s hard to be a dashing hero when you’re a zombie and your head doesn’t even want to stay on.

Fortunately, Carl’s a “look on the bright side” type of guy, and he’s going to use his detachable dome to save the day. To get through each level, you can toss or drop Carl’s head around to hit levers or hold down switches, while still controlling his body to move around. All of which is pretty impressive for perseverance given that I can state with confidence that most of us have probably given up trying to change the channel because the TV remote was an inch out of comfortable reach at least once.

i saw her standing there

Speaking of zombies, who says they only want to devour people anyway? Maybe if we got close enough, gave them a chance, we’d see that, yes, okay, they do kind of want to gnaw on our flesh a little, but they also just want to be loved. In krangGAMES’ unexpectedly sweet puzzle platformer i saw her standing there, your dearly beloved might be coming down with rigor mortis and really, really want to take a bite out of your hide, but you love her anyway.

The goal is to find a way to safely contain her in each level without letting her get hurt, or, you know, murdering you just a bit. It may sound freaky, but the game is so strangely cute and even kind of romantic that you can’t help but root for our two star-crossed love birds. And hey, proving that love never dies, there are two other games to continue the story too!

A Ghostly Journey

TinSleeves’ A Ghostly Journey is about a not-so-spooky specter who’s bored of lounging around the graveyard and decides to explore the world beyond the iron gates. The catch, in this tricky platformer, is that our ghostly buddy needs to avoid light sources, since too much direct light will banish him, even if in a human body at the time. Hey, a little unholy possession never hurt anyone.

The game can be a bit more difficult than you’d expect given its tendency to be unforgiving, so you can expect to restart levels a lot if you’re not careful. Luckily, different people have different abilities, like being able to move faster or jump farther, so a little thought will go a long way into bringing our green ghoul safely to the exit at the end of each level. All of this sounds like a lot of work when you could probably just hop into someone with a Netflix subscription and spend the rest of eternity mainlining old Digimon episodes, but hey, you do you, over-achieving ghost bro.

Lilith - A Friend at Hallows Eve

Lastly but definitely not leastly when it comes to cuteness, Lilith – A Friend at Hallows Eve by DifferenceGames may be simple, but it’s cornered the market when it comes to sweetness. The story follows our itty-bitty vampire leading lady as she heads out one evening and winds up tagging along with a trick-or-treater who doesn’t know those are real fangs. Don’t worry, Lilith is out to make friends, not lunch, and what follows is as wholesome as it gets.

In each of the game’s twelve scenes, you find and click on the differences between the two images… some are obvious, while others are very well hidden. It’s not exactly what you’d call challenging or complex, but it is, and I can’t stress this enough, so freakin’ adorable, and sometimes that’s exactly what you want. Hey, who says vampires always need to be moping about after boring teenagers? Even the undead need to party, so don’t skimp the candy!

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Writer: Dora Breckinridge / Dora has been writing about games for the better part of a decade, and playing them for even longer, using the glow of the monitor to keep her warm in the frozen wilds of her native Canada.

14
Sep 16

Developer Interview: Krin

He’s dead. He’s green. He’s got abs you could wash your tattered post-apocalyptic gear on. For nearly a decade, Krin Juangbhanich’s Sonny has been one of Armor Games’ most instantly recogniseable zombie icons as the titular hero in Sonny and Sonny 2, a popular pair of turn-based Flash RPGs. With over ten million plays on Sonny since its release in 2007, and a whopping twenty four million plays on its sequel Sonny 2 since 2009, its clear that the series is packing some serious fan firepower. With Sonny due out later this year with an initial launch on iPhone and iPad, we snuck into Krin’s secret lair to talk to him about what it’s been like working on the series, and what’s in store for fans next.

Sonny 3

The Sonny series is arguably one of the most popular titles on Armor Games. What’s it like to be responsible for that?

Krin: I’m really happy and feel lucky to be ‘responsible’ for something that a lot of people can enjoy. It gives me a lot of energy and motivation. Seeing people talk about ColdHydro builds, or share a strategy to beat the Baron, is really fun for me! At the same time, it is also a bit scary and nerve-racking too, especially when I’m working on a sequel. I feel in some ways I can never live up to everyone’s expectations. Now, I even have the players’ feedback and criticisms of the original games to help guide my work. It should be easy to impress everyone then, right? They basically already told me what to do.

But I think there’s more to it than that. I think people also want something else. Something unexpected, something they didn’t know to ask for. Essentially, I think the pressure of working on sequels comes from the hunt for this ‘thing.’

Sonny 3

Working on a game more or less by yourself for most of your early development must have been a challenge. What is your process like when you start to work on a new game?

Krin: When I first started making games, I did work by myself for most of the development. But as time went on, more and more people started to get involved. I didn’t like it at first, that I had to put my trust in other people to execute my ideas. But now I realize, these people are far more capable and talented than I am, and I feel extremely lucky to have the chance to be working with and learning from them.

As for the process of starting work on a game, the first step is to get an empty notebook. You need a blank slate! I try to identify what it is I’m trying to do with the game. What kind of gameplay I want to express. At this stage I’m writing down all the things I enjoy from games I play, and all the things I’ve read about. I never try to design too closely to an already existing game. You’ll never match the original! Once I have some notes, I gradually begin to make playable prototypes to see how it all feels. Overall, I think this is the most exciting part of development!

Sonny 3

Sonny 3 is probably one of the most requested and anticipated games in Armor Games history, even after seven years since Sonny 2. What sorts of things can fans look forward to in Sonny, and are there any big changes?

Krin: For me, the Sonny games have always been about the combat system. That was my primary focus for this game too. It’s not about exploring, or grinding up your level repetitively. It’s all about picking the right items, the right skills, the right teammates, and then making the right decisions in a fight to progress.

I’ve tried to keep it feeling similar to the original games, but I actually redesigned everything from scratch. Got rid of archaic elements that didn’t give me much value. Simplified other features, and added some new mechanics completely. I also wanted to use all the new things I’ve learnt, and push the gameplay to be worthy of a 2016 RPG. I don’t want to reveal too much about the gameplay and mechanics at this point. All I can say is that at the start, the game will feel very similar. But a few new elements will begin to unlock a couple of zones in, which will change the nature of the combat (and boss fights especially) quite significantly.

Sonny 3

Unlike other games in the series, Sonny is at least initially going to be on mobile devices only. Were there any significant challenges or benefits in developing the game for touch screens instead of browsers?

Krin: Yes! The screen is so small, and I can no longer rely on a hover mouse to reveal information. There two things actually had a massive impact on how I thought about the game. I had to show information a lot more efficiently. I had to be more economical with both space and time.

This had cascading impact on EVERYTHING in the game! For example, I could no longer use paragraphs of text to explain a complicated skill, so I had to design a skill anyone could understand in 23 lines. But in order to maintain a good depth of gameplay, I had to make the combat mechanics a lot more intuitive and creative to compensate.

Now that Sonny is finally being finished off, what’s next for you? Do you have anything specific planned, or is there anything you might want to work on next?

Krin: I don’t have anything specific planned, but that’s not to say I’m short on ideas! I’m a huge fan of simulation and strategy games which I haven’t done in a while, so that might be the next thing. Also, I feel really excited about VR technology and would love to develop something for that platform as well.

Keep your eyes open for Sonny when it smashes onto iPhones and iPads later this year. Watch the Armor Games official Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates, and let us know what other platforms you think Sonny should potentially come to.

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Writer: Dora Breckinridge / Dora has been writing about games for the better part of a decade, and playing them for even longer, using the glow of the monitor to keep her warm in the frozen wilds of her native Canada.

7
Sep 16

Jimp: Artist Interview

The world is grey. Everything is grey. There you are, lying on the cold, grey ground, feeling nothing, while Portishead warbles in the background. All there is for anyone to eat are fistfuls of shredded iceberg lettuce and sugar-free peanut butter. It is very sad, if sad were something you could muster yourself to even feel.

Then suddenly, colour. Streaking across the sky like a bolt of candy-coated wonder, filling the universe with joy and sunshine. You’re confused, but… happy? Is that what this feeling is, or is it just dehydration from all the peanut butter? Actually, dear reader, it’s Jimp, one of the most beloved, prolific, and vibrant game artists around. His work in Flash gaming has been bringing sunshine to people’s faces for years, and as his career moves forward with even bigger titles, we sit down to talk with him a bit about his work, his inspirations, and the future.

Rocket Pets

You have one of the most instantly recognizeable art styles in online gaming. What would you say some of your biggest influences are, and why have you gravitated towards your particular sunny style?

Jimp: Wow thats a big compliment, thanks so much! One of the biggest influences on my style has to be Nintendo. I remember getting my first ever console – an N64 with Mario 64 – when I was 8 years old. That game pretty much defined video games for me at that age, and I’ve been attracted to that bright, colourful, rounded aesthetic ever since. I spent a lot of my teenage years hanging around on Newgrounds, watching the animations and playing games there. Artists like Dan Paladin, Super Flash Bros and Johnny Utah all helped influence me to start making games of my own. These days I watch cartoons like Adventure Time and Steven Universe, play games and listen to music to find inspiration. I live in Bristol, UK which is covered in amazing, ever changing street art, which is another great source of inspiration for me!

Sushi Cat-a-Pult

What sorts of challenges are there in creating artwork for a game versus more traditional illustrations?

Jimp: You definitely have to think about things a little differently when making art for games. With traditional illustration you are given a blank canvas, which can be filled with any image imaginable. With games, you’re more limited by the technology and the games design. For example the game might be built using a tile based engine, which limits the way you can draw the level art quite drastically.

Players also have preconceived ideas of how things should act going into new games, which pushes design in certain directions. If you make barrels red, most players will recognise that they’re likely to explode if you shoot one, so this informs your design. Enemies need to look dangerous so players know to avoid them – a snail with a smiley face isn’t very threatening, but if you put spikes on the snails shell and make its face angry, players will be much more likely to try and avoid it.

We are however seeing a lot of art games today that are trying to break free from these boundaries and limitations, which is wonderful to see and helping to push the medium forward!

Sushi Cat is probably Armor Games’ most well known icon thanks to your work. How did you got about designing him, and were there any designs for him you wound up scrapping?

Jimp: Going back to the previous question, Sushi Cat is a great example of how the art was very much informed by the games design. Joey Betz made a demo in which you drop a green blob from the top of the screen, and it gets bigger as you collect other smaller blobs. I was asked to do the art for the game, so came up with a bunch of different ideas like YumBees (bees collecting pollen!), Drunk Pirates (pirates bouncing around collecting grog!), and Sushi Cat! Sushi Cat was a clear favourite in the Armor offices so we went with that. The sushi concept made the bright, colourful, japanese art style an obvious choice and the game came together really well. I guess the rest is history!

Zombinsanity

Your studio Massive Monster has done some great games, and has some very highly anticipated titles coming soon as well. How did the formation of that studio happen?

Jimp: After working on Flash games for many years, it started becoming harder and harder to make a good living. A lot of the people playing Flash games had moved to playing games on mobile and tablets instead. I had worked with Jay Armstrong on a few different Flash games, Rocket Pets, Zombinsanity and The Last Dinosaurs. We get on really well and work really well together, so decided to set up a company making bigger, better games aimed at Steam and console! We always dreamed of making bigger games like the ones we grew up playing, and felt we were finally experienced enough to do it, so this felt like a natural step forward for us. We did a few more Flash games as Massive Monster, Sushi Catapult and Give Up 2, which both did really well. Currently we are working on our first two major releases, The Adventure Pals and Never Give Up!

Give Up 2

What sort of advice would you give artists looking to get into game development, or alternately, yourself if you could travel back in time and talk to Junior Jimp?

Jimp: If you really want to be a game artist (or programmer or musician or designer etc), my advice would be to throw yourself into it with everything you have. The games industry can be pretty brutal, especially as an indie developer, so you really need to be passionate and hard working if you want to succeed. Draw every day, start making games with your friends and keep pushing yourself forward and strive to be better, in everything you do. You could say this for any profession, but as soon as you feel comfortable and content with your work, then you stop learning and pushing yourself… Its important to always stay critical of your own work, thats how you get as good as you possibly be. I know I’m not even nearly there yet!

For more from Jimp, check out his personal website, keep up with his studio Massive Monster, or follow Jimp on Twitter.

Jimp

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Writer: Dora Breckinridge / Dora has been writing about games for the better part of a decade, and playing them for even longer, using the glow of the monitor to keep her warm in the frozen wilds of her native Canada.