Monster Garden Demo on itch.io

I finished a demo of the first seedling of my RPG Maker game “Monster Garden” and put it on itch.io. You can download it (for free, obviously) or play it in the comfort of your own browser.

“No battle, no action, no story, no strategy, just monster love & friendship…”
-the irresistible tagline

post_seedling_funny(feb)

I’m just going hog wild on drawing monsters and writing whatever silly, off-the-wall dialogue I want, no holds barred, so it’s a blast. And always looking for feedback.😀

It somehow got picked up by a YouTuber/Twitch streamer right away. You can see his streamed playthrough starting at 45:30 in this video.

And another “Let’s Play” by iwanplays here.

Posted in American, Characters, European, Game Design, General, Japanese, PC/Mac, RPG, RPG Maker, SNES, Western | 2 Comments

Liveblogging LABOURGAMES this weekend

I know I haven’t been posting much, but I’m excited to announce that I’ll be liveblogging an “unconference” about play, games and work that’s happening in Berlin this Saturday called LABOURGAMES.

I also have some ideas for game design blog posts that I think I’ll do in a series called “games that inspired Monster Garden,” starting next year. So there should be some more activity here in the near future.🙂

Thanks to everyone who has been checking out the blog in the meantime over the past few months despite the lack of activity! (I can see that you exist thanks to Google Analytics, mwahaha.)

Posted in European, Festival, Game Design, General, Physical, Western | 1 Comment

Play Festivals Chapter

The book with my chapter on festivals of games and play finally came out! It was super interesting to do all the interviews, try to figure out what was going on with the festivals, and write about it.

The book is called “Examining the Evolution of Gaming and Its Impact on Social, Cultural, and Political Perspectives,” and my chapter is “Games Beyond the Screen: Festivals of Play.” You can read my chapter here on academia.edu if you’re interested. Sorry for the dry methodology section I had to include!😄

So, now I’m finally all out of excuses for the lack of posts, besides working on Monster Garden in preparation for IndieCade Europe in November. But I’m planning to do some posts along the way about games that inspired Monster GardenーHarvest Moon 64, Ecco the Dolphin, Breath of Fire IV and Wiz ‘n’ Liz, to be exact. Hoping to get those up (and the game finished) by the end of the year!

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“Play & Energy of the Unknown”

I recently had the chance to write about “energy and play” for The Gradient, an online magazine about alternative perspectives on energy. The process of writing it was a great opportunity to figure out my thoughts on a lot of things, including Awa Odori, a festival dance I got to learn in Japan that I always felt was a really valuable experience but wasn’t sure exactly how.

There’s also a section on creating a video game at a game jam, so it covers a lot of territory but is somewhat game-related. You can find it here if you would like to check it out.

 

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The Monster Garden is Coming

My good old-fashioned posts were delayed once again by another article I was working on for an online magazine about energy and play, which will come out later this month.

But I’ve also fallen head-over-heels for RPG Maker MV lately, which was released for Macs last year. I’ve been using it to make a game called Monster Garden, and the hours just keep flying right by as I animate monsters walking around.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 2.25.15 PM

It’s basically just the RPG I always wanted to play, with lots of monster friends and alien locales. Maybe a battle system or two, but I’m still working on the details…

I’ll be posting more pics & GIFs at @_monstergarden if you’re interested.😀

I’m applying to work on it this summer at a game accelerator in Stugan. It looks like a great opportunity, and they take applicants from all over the world.😀 (You have to pay for travel expenses but food and living while you’re there is covered. :D)

And a Harvest Moon 64 post will be here eventually, too. Some day… some day!!!

Posted in American, Characters, Game Design, General, RPG, RPG Maker, Western | 2 Comments

Book Chapter on Game Festivals!

Alright, time for the big reveal after months and months of silence.

For the past year I’ve been interviewing people involved in game and play festivals (Indiecade, Come Out & Play, Playpublik, w00t, Playful Arts Festival, etc.) and writing about them. The festivals usually involve indie video games, but also all kinds of other physical / street games, which I think is really exciting. And they all appeared seemingly out of the blue in the past ten years, so I was wondering what the heck was going on.

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Me and others playing a game in Krakow, Poland at Playpublik in 2014.

I started out thinking it could be an article for Gamasutra, like my other one about characters and worldbuilding in Japanese game design, but through a series of unlikely events it turned into a chapter for a book called Examining the Evolution of Gaming and Its Impact on Social, Cultural, and Political Perspectives.

My chapter recently got final approval for publication, so you can check it out in print some time next year! (No details on the exact date yet…)

And NOW I can finally get back to some other writing…like this blog for example! I’ve been wanting to write about Harvest Moon 64, Ecco the Dolphin, and Wiz ‘n’ Liz for awhile, so I’ll get on those ASAP in the coming months.

Sorry again for the silence lately, but I hope the chapter makes up for it. And now I look forward to some shorter and more focused blog writing.🙂

Posted in American, Console, European, Game Design, General, Physical, Site-related, Social Gaming, Western | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weird and Wildest RPG Maker Games

Hi! I am still here, existing in Berlin, and still working on the big secret article that is now finished and I’m waiting to find out what will happen to it next before I say anything.🙂

In the meantime, in preparation for the release of the new RPG Maker MV (available for the first time for Macs!) later this month, I’ve been playing a bunch of RPG Maker games.

About half the games I wanted to play didn’t run in my simulated PC environment for some reason, but here are the ones that really stuck with me:

SPACE FUNERAL
If you only play one RPG Maker game, check out this one. Spookily enough it has a similar pallette to my beloved Paladin’s Quest, with lots of unearthly yellow, blue and purple. Also similarly, it is sometimes hard to figure out what’s going on visually, “hard on the eyes” as some might say. But one thing’s for sure, you’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s a bit gross and violent, and the battles are simple, but check THIS out:
space funeral lake
Space-Funeral town
spacefuneral
I mean, it kinda looks like you’re trapped in the mind of an insane eight-year-old, but the game is short, full of personality, and has some great music. Like actual songs with instruments and sung in Japanese, that sound like they were recorded a long time ago. No clue what the deal really is. But I likey.

And judging by the massive amount of fan art online, I’m not the only one who liked it.🙂

LISA
For some reason there are a lot of horror/disturbing RPG Maker games. This one makes you the daughter of an abusive alcoholic father, escaping into/trapped in a scary fantasy world. I couldn’t really handle playing it for an extended time and had to stop, which I guess means it’s well done. That’s all I can say, but it’s worth trying.
lisa screenshot
lisa

HALLOWEEN FLOP
On a lighter note, this was the most downright fun game I played. It only has a few battles and each one is unique. I liked the minimal style with really expressive character designs. It’s also short, so you might as well just play it!
halloween flop battle
halloween flop chars
halloween flop dungeon

KILLER BEAR
This one reminded me of the sci-fi section of Live-a-Live where you play as the robot Cube and just wander around as people get killed. There’s something nice about the atmosphere, and it is the shortest of all the games posted on here, with like nine different endings, so you may as well give it a playthrough.
killer bear party
killer bear

So now I’m really looking’ forward to when RPG Maker comes out on the 23rd. And it’s on sale now (10% off, big big savings!), so if you’re like me, get it now and then explore the world of pixel art and simplified programming.

I know I’m looking forward to making a cute & creepy world of monsters with an unearthly color scheme!

Posted in American, Characters, European, Game Design, General, Japanese, RPG, RPG Maker, Site-related | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment