I'm sure you're all busy ticky-tacking away at your magical developmental tools for our 10th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, but let's take a moment to appreciate everything that's coming our way. Like prizes. And airships. And pyromania. (No, not that kind.) And ponies. And freeware. You guys. You guys. You're so talented and creative, I just wanna pinch your little cheeks and lock you in my basement and force you to toil for my enjoyment! It renders the frames and releases the game or else it gets the hose again... kidding! I'm kidding. I would never kidnap a developer! At least, not while I was still in the public eye.
CONTEST: Sports and Heart and Soul You look like you could use a little motivation. Fortunately, that's where Michael Molinari's surreal sports odyssey BasketBelle comes in. The game follows a young boy and the relationships he has with his family, documented in strange style as he squares off on the court against a series of beasts and platform puzzles in his quest to bring home something precious. To enter for your chance to win one of five free copies, just leave a comment on this entry telling us what your most inspiring video game moment was. Rules: Entries must be submitted by July 20th, 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT-5). Winners will be notified by e-mail shortly thereafter. Winners are selected randomly. One entry per person only. You must be at least 13 years of age or older to enter. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Update: Congratulations to these winners: wakamo, Shudog, rockydennis, AlbinWesley, limivu! Thanks for playing with us. :)
Playing With Fire is A-OK Get ready to be intrigued yet creeped out when you watch the trailer for the upcoming title Little Inferno from the newly formed Tomorrow Corporation. Due out this winter for PC, Mac, and Linux (as well as Wii U!), the game is about... well... burning things. Details are sketchy on gameplay at the moment, though the site promises "an adventure that takes place almost entirely in front of a fireplace", and seems to be about burning things to stay warm in a world where the snow hasn't stopped falling in years. It definitely has a strange vibe to it, and if you're a fan of World of Goo you might recognise Kyle Gabler's influence, since he along with Allan Blomquist and Kyle Gray have combined their Planeteer powers for this one. If you're a PC user and you'd like to have access to an early beta, you can purchase the game now for 15.00 USD and learn its secrets, as well as gain access to the final build when its released. Fire, kids, and creepy implied dystopian futures? Sounds like a winner to me!
Lucy in the Sky With Monster Jellyfish Freeware, you say? Sounds good to me... and even better when coupled with airships, gods, monsters, and floating islands! In Jameson Wilkins' shooter/real-time strategy game, A Nation of Wind you'll set sail for unfamiliar skies as you commandeer an airship and attempt to both establish and defend colonies in the sky, appeasing deities and battling enormous monsters that will rise up to challenge you. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and digging through the archives of screenshots should definitely serve to get you excited, especially if you're a fan of big monster battles... don't you think this one looks and sounds like it has a sort of Skies of Arcadia vibe to it? The game is currently playable, and is nearing a public release now while it's being worked on in closed alpha, but hopefully we won't have to wait too much longer before we get to explore and unit this strange new realm.
Green With Indie If you're an indie developer, getting the bigger digital distribution platforms to pick up your game can be frustrating and difficult, but Steam is aiming to put the decision in the hands of consumers with the upcoming Steam Greenlight. Soon, developers will be able to post screenshots and other information to the service, which customers will then vote on, allowing Steam to, theoretically, use their community to decide what gets released based on the positive response. Scheduled to launch at the end of August of this year, this could be a great thing for indie developers struggling to get noticed by the company, as well as allow us, the players and loud mouth reviewers, to see and support some awesome content we might not otherwise get to. The details are still being hammered out, but Greenlight could mean some very good things for us.
The Console is Dead, Long Live the Console! It's easy to regard Kickstarter projects with a certain degree of jaded skepticism, especially ever since, after Double Fine's smash success, gaming projects pleading for funding have been cropping up left and right. Well, now it's time for hardware to take the plunge, and it seems like for one company it's succeeding beyond their wildest dreams. The upcoming Android-powered Ouya Console has made a whopping $4,000,000.00 USD at the time of this writing... in under 48 hours. The Ouya console could potentially change the way gaming works for your television, allowing developers to create for it as they see fit as long as some portion of whatever they are making is free. This means that you could eventually be playing all sorts of indie games you already love in your living room on a big screen. To say that people are excited is a bit of an understatement, though Ben Kuchera has offered this cautionary editorial. What do you think? Are you excited or wary for the Ouya? Or, like me, are you just disappointed upon finding out that Ouya isn't a new Hatoful Boyfriend?
My Little Platformer Comic Con is in the air, and the fine folks over at the Hub, generous purveyor of colourful cartoon equines that they are, have a little something special for you. Unlocked by inputting the code HUBMLP8BIT, Adventure Ponies is a retro action platformer where you control each of the six stars of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in turn while they track down the Elements of Harmony one at a time. Gameplay is pretty simplistic and consists of bouncing through levels until you find the element you're looking for, and then doing tiny 8-bit battle with a baddie from the show. The controls and jumping feel sort of fiddly and unresponsive at times, and it's definitely repetitive, but as a special thank you to the fans who helped make the series the massive success it is and turned my bookshelf into a tiny pony playground, it's a pretty nifty thing. Though of course I'm forced to ask... WHERE'S MY LYRA?! (And which one of you folks is sending me the Comic Con wall-eyed, muffin-loving pegasus you know I need?)
Do you know an upcoming indie project or some community gaming related news you think deserves some attention? Send me an e-mail with LINK DUMP FRIDAY in the subject line at dora AT casualgameplay DOT com with the info, and we'll judge it with the all-seeing glare of our own self-importance for inclusion in a future Link Dump Friday article!