Young Horses GOTY’s 2011 Pt. 1
With what little free time we have we still love to play games. We may be slightly late on this due to the holidays, but I figured it would be fun to have each developer at Young Horses share their own personal GOTY selections with a bit of an explanation behind them. Seeing as some of them ended up being a little long I’m going to post the first half today and the second tomorrow. So make sure to check back!
Keep going after the break to find out what they are…
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP
Back when I still liked my ipad, I desperately just wanted to play Sierra’s old adventure game/action rpg hybrid Quest for Glory on it. Or anything that was pretty and relaxing and didn’t look like angry birdsville horror-flash art nipple people. Also I love artsy fantasy and pixel art? And ridiculous post-pretense wordplay in titles. I think I just made up post-pretense, but it probably is a thing somewhere in England or Portland or Africa. Oh and I like bears and winking spiritual philosophy and Twin Peaks. And the best music evar. So the only thing holding back this game from being my wife is that I don’t care about Zelda. At all. Really. But seriously, WHY DIDN’T ANYONE MENTION QUEST FOR GLORY WHEN THIS GAME CAME OUT. S:S&S EP IS SO SO THE HIPSTER OLDER BROTHER OF IT IN EVERY WAY. And as a hipster older brother, I enjoy the snot out of it.
Runner Ups: KDFW and Skyrim
Ms. Splosion Man
Combusting scientists into meaty chunks while babbling incoherently and collecting designer footwear has become a passion of mine since last summer! Oh, and I guess I played Ms. Splosion Man, too. It’s so well designed, and it squeezes every ounce of fun out of its central exploding mechanic. Not to mention the great music, vocals, environments, unlockable videos, etc. When I tried out the multiplayer and found that it was a whole new campaign, I whooped with joy, ran in circles, and probably set fire to some mailboxes in Arizona (I blacked out so I can’t remember much, but I have some mysterious postcards). Multiplayer Ms. Splosion Man is like synchronized swimming but less deadly, and by the end of it you and your partner will have to think in perfect unison. It’s a great game and more people should play it! Anyway, this method of favorite-picking always leaves me feeling off since I’m a man of multitudes. So while I’m at it, I’ll just throw out the other games I enjoyed most from 2011: The Binding of Isaac, Cthulhu Saves the World, Mortal Kombat, Portal 2, and Skyward Sword! Here’s hoping I catch up on all those other games I missed.
Johann Sebastian Joust
I’m going to share a secret with you. I only like social games. And by social games I mean games that put me in a room with other people who I then interact with while playing a game. In my opinion, playing a board game, a split screen FPS session, or switching off playing levels of a single player game with a friend are all fine social gaming experiences. But the games that Doug Wilson and the Copenhagen Game Collective create some of my favorite social gaming experiences. Back in October I went to IndieCade, where I had my first opportunity to play Johann Sebastian Joust.
Here’s a stolen description from the game’s website:
“Johann Sebastian Joust is a no-graphics, digitally-enabled folk game for 2 to 7 players, designed for motion controllers(such as the PlayStation Move). The goal is to be the last player remaining. When the music — selections from J.S. Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos” — plays in slow-motion, the controllers are extremely sensitive to movement. When the music speeds up, this threshold becomes less strict, giving the players a small window to dash at their opponents. If your controller is ever moved beyond the allowable threshold, you’re out! Channel the power of J.S. Bach, and try to jostle your opponents’ controllers while protecting your own.”
It’s basically a big weird pretend knife fight. I like that it’s almost as fun to watch people play as it is to play it. I like that it is more fun if you allow yourself to look foolish, but that you look foolish in a different way if you try to avoid looking foolish. I like that it gets players moving around. I like that there are awkward grey areas regarding how physical players should get, interesting house rules, etc.. I like that it can be played on mountaintops and beaches. I like that the people, environment, and music all influence the experience to make something unique to the situation. I think that the description of JS Joust as a “folk game” is totally accurate, though I don’t know how to define a folk game quite yet. In any case, the folkiness of JS Joust inspires me to want to create weird, fun, social games.
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP
Oh hey, it’s the sound and music guy! His favorite game must be a game with good sound and music!
I first heard about Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP from one of my friends. He said something like, “Hey, there’s this really crazy game coming out for ios with awesome art and audio!” Needless to say, I was intrigued. We sought out the trailer immediately.
What I loved most about this game was its quirky humor. It really struck a, uh, chord (heh), so to speak, with me. Chuckling occurred quite often while I played. The funniest thing to me was that Dogfella would talk to me, but mostly only say “bark bark bark.”
I loved that—while it is a game with a story and ending and boss battles—Superbrothers is mostly a game about exploring. I loved wandering around for hours and letting the soothing sounds of the Jim Guthrie’s beautiful score wash over me (through my absurdly large headphones, of course). Music has always been a very personal experience for me, and this entire game was an incredibly personal experience. It took me a while to finish it, simply because I had to find a time where I could lock myself in my room in the dark and enjoy it. In fact, as I am writing this, I am sitting in the dark and listening to the score from the game. Before this gets too much longer, in the words of teen girl squad, this game is “SOOOO GOOOOODD.”
p.s. The lowest octave A didn’t work on my piano for 16 years. I opened it one day and found a cookie sitting on it. True story.
Check back tomorrow for the rest!