Link Dump Friday №214


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Link Dump Fridays

DoraHappy Friday! What are your plans for the weekend? Something fun and exciting, I hope, since this week's Link Dump Friday contains not one but two melancholy little art games that may make you want to lay down and stare bleakly at a blank wall for a while unless you've got something sufficiently cheerful to pick you up again afterwards. Also in attendance are imprisoned man-eating animals and sociopathic wizards, so... hm. Not... the friendliest Link Dump ever, I suppose. But, ohhh! Wait! I do have candy, and I won't even ask you to get into an unmarked van for it! (The van is in the shop and I can't fit two people on an unmarked skateboard, which just doesn't have the same vibe anyway.)

  • And Everything Started to FallAnd Everything Started to Fall - Life. Don't talk to me about life. This little interactive art piece blends platforming with don't-stop-now arcade gameplay to chronicle one person's journey from cradle to grave in a series of simple pixel pictures. The goal is to stay ahead of the bottom of the screen and keep climbing upwards as your life unfolds before you. The controls are a little awkward at times, and I wouldn't call it uplifting, but, hey! Ladders! Who doesn't like ladders, amirite?
  • Flying CandyFlying Candy - Candy! Gotta love it. Tooth-destroying, belly-bulging sweetie of my heart. And chain-reactions! Gotta love them too. This follow-up to Icy Gifts contains all the hypnotic, addictive gameplay of the original, with power-ups, flashy visuals, and bobble-eyed critters. It's not particularly deep or complex, but it will hold your brain safely and gently for you while you fill the screen with colourful explosions and your skill with gratifying sound-effects. Really, isn't that about all most of us need on a Friday morning anyway?
  • Running WizardRunning Wizard - Retromundi knows the real reason there are no more wizards around isn't because they're "made up", but rather because their natural predators finally caught up with them. You know what I'm talking about. Castles. I mean, think about it; how many castles do you see these days? And how many wizards? Mm-hm, that's what I thought. You can try to keep this wizard alive as long as possible by vaporising castles as they appear onscreen, but it's only a matter of time. It's actually kind of... inspiring. You go, wizard! You run! You run and you don't stop! Don't let THE MAN keep you down! You never stop! *sniffle* Never! *sob*
  • Royal BeastsRoyal Beasts - Did you know about the Tower of London? It turns out it wasn't just a horrible prison for misbehaving djinni, it also house the royal menagerie! Just think about it, all those majestic creatures locked up behind those walls, so far away from home!... Which is kind of sad, I guess, except for the part where all the animals have the best rap faces, which takes it right back around to being awesome. This collection of minigames features each iconic beastie and some edutainment facts, but mercifully does not include a section where you pay to see a dog or a cat fed to the lions. London, man.
  • Appy 1000MGAppy 1000MG - This beautiful but phenomenally depressing and unsettling bit of platforming gameplay meets interactive art was made for Ludum Dare 20 by Sébastien Bénard. You play an adorable robot in a colourful world, who wakes up on a ledge with no memories and sets out to explore and remember... or maybe not. I love art games as much as the next person, but sometimes I think all of these developers need more hugs on a daily basis because dang. The gameplay is potentially a little frustrating, and as one of my fetching coworkers points out it may be possible to actually wind up missing enough of the terrain past a certain point that you can't finish the game without reloading. Still, it's worth playing for how short it is and how effectively and shockingly it rips the rug out from under you. Just make sure you have some Spongebob Squarepants on hand or something afterwards.

33 Comments

Appy is... wow.

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Going to play Appy in the evening ( it's 7AM in France, right now ), it looks quite good.
I already played And Everything Started To Fall some days ago, I found it a bit depressive.
Well, everytime a game talks about Life ( Don't Look Back is a great example ), I'm being depressed !

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Wow, is Appy some kind of heart shattering allegory

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I agree that the developer of Appy definitely needs more hugs... or maybe a puppy. I really wish I hadn't played this right before needing to go to sleep...

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Holy crap! Play running wizard with a friend. One of you jumps while the other blows up castles with the mouse. It's so much fun!

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Wow. Appy is quite an impressive game. But here's the thing: I did not find it depressing. This is not to say it was not a sad story, but it did not *depress* me physiologically. Oh yes, I was touched, but I was not depressed.

I find it paradoxical to call something such as Appy "depressing," then tiptoe around the word as if it were a criticism nobody wants to voice. Most works of art are indeed "depressing," as they deal with truth. But I type the word in air quotes because I do not want to stain the work with a feeling that is not only subjective, but imposes limited expectations on a complex work.

Some of the best works of art inspire an unclassifiable spectrum of emotions. And once one moves beyond the initial, premature emotion of "depressing," it can become rather beautiful. Take that both as a defense of the work and as a reassurance.

Wanna know what's really depressing? When you can only see one color of a rainbow.

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Solatoral Author Profile Page May 6, 2011 5:41 AM

Appy was. Well. I'll be honest I don't really understand the plot beyond the ending, but the game itself was "fun" and had great potential.

Just a question. Was the creator the person who made KOLM? Because the style is so similar.

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Appy is high octane nightmare fuel.

The animals' expressions were full of epic in Royal Beasts, especially when the lion doesn't get his food. Also, squeee at Bartimaeus Trilogy reference!

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So, is this the "bad gameplay decisions" LDF? Because almost all of these games have some crippling flaw that just makes them more frustration than fun.

Started to Fall: interesting concept let down by the game only giving really one true branching, then not showing much of the results at the end. Understood, the point is we all end up etc., etc. But I've seen it handled much better.

Appy: not only is it possible, but incredibly easy to end up with an unwinnable game. Incredible way to share a message, but denying half of it to anyone who doesn't play four or five times.

Running Wizard: impossible with trackpad. Which many folks have. Makes essentially what is a reflex test game into a fight with our technology.

Royal Beasts: a series of awkward minigames with an award of a seemingly arbitrary score at the end, and text that I just skipped through and, in all reality, may have been interesting were it not paired with nicely-drawn but blasé games.

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I enjoyed the irony in the choices in AESF--to study or not--and how they both led to the same place anyway.

Appy didn't elicit any emotion from me, however, I found it amusing that at the end, there's a small message on the bottom saying "Thanks for playing :)" lol XD

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Flying Candy is a real good boomshine-type game. Rather easy, but that's just not a problem :)

bio

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I have to agree with, um, ellipsis regarding Wizard -- playing it with a track-pad borders on impossible.

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Anonymous May 6, 2011 12:14 PM

Just a tip, if you've blown up a chunk of ground up in Appy, and you can't get to the other side by jump/jetpacking alone, try tapping the up button. You sorta 'glide' over. Well, not really, but it helps when you're lazy to restart the whole game =)

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Played Appy.
Almost cried.
Now I'm going to play Club Penguin for the first time in years to distract myself with bright colours and music.

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Anonymous May 6, 2011 2:25 PM

Great link dump today!

Flying Candy -- sooooo mindlessly addictive. LOVE IT!

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Vertigobee Author Profile Page May 6, 2011 2:36 PM

Did not like Appy. The graphics are beautiful, and the gameplay is glitchy but kind of fun. But there are a lot of games that try to be "art" games but are actually so ridiculously dramatic that you can't even take them seriously. I didn't find Appy depressing - I thought it was emo.

I thought The Company of Myself suffered for the same reason.

But I did enjoy playing - Link Dumps are my favorites! :D

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Anonymous May 6, 2011 3:29 PM

Hey, Dora -- you asked "how many castles do you see these days?"

Those of us who play from Europe see castles all the time -- there's thousands of 'em over here.

Wizards, not so much.

Flying Candy is a really good game for those days when you need to beat SOMETHING. (Seriously -- you can earn all the upgrades and achievements on one round. But it's amusing.)

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Is Appy bad for spreading the thoughts that the world is sad, or is it teaching us that happiness is veil to awareness, food for thought.
It's graphics simply blew me away, I am Appy. Now I have a handful of downloadable games to decide for "The Best of 2011".

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canadadian May 6, 2011 7:42 PM

For the Bartimaeus Trilogy reference, you have just risen to the status of most freakishly-like-me stranger on the Internet ever, Dora. Also you are awesome.

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Wildbreeze May 6, 2011 7:53 PM

Royal Beasts was rather enjoyable, and I liked the facts about the animals. I also love the look the lion shoots at the other one when he misses the food.

Appy... Wow. I just... wow. Depressing, enlightening, ...I don't know.
So, um... Don't do drugs, kids. And don't jump off cliffs.
I've decided that I want a blooby as a pet. Um, not the creepy, zombie-ish, blow-up ones. The pink, shapeless, awesomeness creatures.

Now, as remedy for playing Appy, I'll play Flying Candy. It looks bright and happy. And... um... destructo-blooby-free...

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Wildbreeze May 6, 2011 8:23 PM

I don't understand Flying Candy at all... But it's fun. :)

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spoiler
was the ending of appy

at the edge of a cliff with a tomb stone?

cause thats where i got the first time i played, but everyone is saying it takes a lot of tries?

or was i the only one to find the

jet pack that lets u jump almost 5 times higher

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SkylerF Author Profile Page May 6, 2011 11:03 PM

I understand the end of Appy:

The "Appy" (Happy) drug makes you forget where you are and live in a nice, pretty world. When it wears off, you are forced back into bleak reality, where Pixelle (your female friend) is dead. In bleak despair, you throw yourself off a cliff.

So what point are the "Bloobies"? You have *friends* in the Appy-induced haze that turn into Appy-craving exploding zombified versions of yourself. They ask for the drug, say they won't hurt you, tell you you aren't alone, and ask you to come closer to them.
But they blow up if you touch them.
........................?

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Appy is great, except that I had to play it 4 times since bits of the level kept blowing up, making it impossible to complete.

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TheMusicGirl Author Profile Page May 7, 2011 3:32 PM

@emmie TV TROPES FTW! ...sorry. I don't know a lot of people who go on there. But I don't think I'm gonna try Appy, based on the comments...I don't like a sad game! But "And Everything Started To Fall" was a little sad too...but I tried to put it in a positive light!

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citrustang May 7, 2011 3:45 PM

@SkylerF

The meaning of game is up for interpretation (obviously). But I saw it as saying something along the lines of: in reality, all the people we love are dead, and our "friends" are just those who lie to us, hurt us, and ultimately want to escape from the nightmare as much as we do. We are locked in competition with them for the limited opportunities to enjoy happiness (even if it's fleeting). And life is, otherwise, nasty, brutish and short, with death being the only way out.

Pretty bleak (although I certainly don't agree with it).

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Spunik2 May 7, 2011 3:59 PM

Was Appy supposed to have sound? I didn't have any and it made the game not as good as it should have been.

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Briguy May 7, 2011 6:22 PM

@Spunik2
I was also wondering about the lack of sound; it would help a lot.

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Royal Beasts: What. The. Hell. Why is the ostrich supposed to eat nails? Why is the ghost lion going around and killing people? Why is the baboon throwing things at people and killing them? I don't really know if that website is supposed to glorify the Royal Castle and the like, but if it is, it's failed. And if it's supposed to shock people, why present these facts in such a casual, bland manner? Boring minigames. Huh.

Oh yeah, and it's awesome that Dora likes things that I like. The Bartimaeus trilogy is really brilliant. Snarky djinns win.

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Guys, I didn't find Appy sad at all. However, I did play it doing commentary like Raocow if you've heard of him and saying things like

I know your lab partner just transmorgified into a gravestone but now we need to go find the cake on the other side of this chasm!

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I think there are two ways to look at Appy.

It depends on what you think the drug does.

If you think it's a narcotic then it shows how drugs destroy your life. You feel great when you're on them but when they wear off you realize how bad your life is. People pretend to be your friends to try to steal from you. The positive world is the normal life you used to have, but now can only see when you're high.

If you think it's an anti-depressant then the positive world is real and the negative one is just how you perceive it. You see the worst in things no matter how small: A field of flowers and animals are going to die in the winter. You isolate yourself from people when they try to get close. When you do try to get close to someone it doesn't last for long before things end badly. Maybe the death of your girlfriend triggered this. Or maybe you had a relationship with her before, but now that you've stopped taking your medication you can't stand to be around her and wish that you still could.

Maybe I'm finding meaning where there is none, but it got me thinking and that's the point. Loved it.

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citrustang Author Profile Page May 8, 2011 12:56 AM

Running Wizard *can* be kind of challenging on a trackpad, but I was able to get to 1574m fairly easily just by employing a few simple tricks:

> keep the cursor close to the wizard (about 1/4 screen away) rather than trying to click on castles the second they appear.
> shift the cursor down slightly when the next platform is much lower than the current platform, but otherwise keep the cursor level with the wizard.
> let the castle come to the cursor rather than the other way around. You can just focus on jumping and clicking, rather than fumbling with the trackpad.

Hope that helps!

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I wonder if the fact that in the end of Appy

the "dead" character looks like a small syringe

is intentional.

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