Euro art-games

It’s heartening to see the revival, over the last 18 months, of the old-style “point-and click” adventure games for the PC. These small indie games, usually from northern European developers, follow in the grand tradition of Zork, Monkey Island, Myst/Riven, Jan Pienkowski’s Haunted House, Longest Journey, etc. And these new games come with gorgeous hand-painted art or 3D worlds which simulate the hand-painted look. Here are four of them…

The Prague-developed Machinarium (out now: £8 on Amazon) has a free playable online demo…

The German-developed and very polished The Whispered World (out now: £13 on Amazon, £17 on Steam). There’s an impressive screenshot gallery on Flickr

The Book of Unwritten Tales (due June 2010) isn’t out yet but looks fabulous, although it’s only in German for now — until the English release which is pencilled in for the mid-summer slot which the recent remake of Monkey Island found to be so profitable…

There’s also the forthcoming Danish-developed Limbo, a game which seemed forever lost to development-hell until it was recently announced for Xbox Live and a screening at the Nordic Game Festival 2010…

One wouldn’t dare use any of them as machinima backdrops, of course. But the art certainly is inspirational for set-design.

A trip to the Muvizu

If you’re anywhere near the city of Glasgow, Scotland (UK), then the Muvizu team is having a local showcase evening on 13th May 2010, in association with the Scottish Animation Group and the Glasgow Media Access Centre. Their animators and developers — Kevin McDade, Navis Binu and Martyn Gutteridge — will be…

“presenting and demoing the beta application, and talking about the challenges and the fun they had working on the project. [ … ] Gorgeous goody bags available for attendees while supplies last.”

Hopefully they’ll put out a podcast of the event. Out-of-towners should be warned, though, that the Glasgow accent can be difficult…

Recent machinima coverage

Animation Magazine‘s April 2010 issue has a short article suggesting that “Machinima Moves to the Next Level”

“Since its release in early February, the [machinima] short, which was made for less than $500, has generated over 3.5 million views on YouTube. Meanwhile, it looks like the Purchase Brothers will have to leave their gaming tools aside for a while as they were snapped to direct a hush-hush feature movie…”

I’d hoped to find some intelligent comments on the article, but it seems Animation Magazine has a major comment-spam infestation instead.

And USA Today‘s Game Hunters blog makes a quick journalistic fly-by of the current growth of Machinima.com.

Meanwhile, the substantial GamePolitics.com blog ponders the significance of an academic analysis of Red vs. Blue as an anti-war protest film. Unfortunately the academic’s paper is to be locked away from the world in a expensive subscription-only Routledge academic journal. Talking of Red vs. Blue, some interesting academic research (described here) looked into the influence of colour on videogame team success in one of my favourite games…

“In an analysis [ in the journal Cyberpsychology & Behavior ] of 1,347 matches between elite teams playing Unreal Tournament 2004, researchers at the University of Denmark in Copenhagen found that the red team won 55 percent of the time.”

Durn. I always play the blue team.

New month, new look

May’s a comin’ in, and it’s spring-cleaning time. Out with the old (nice but a bit glaringly white, in terms of watching videos and looking at stills) and in with the new darker look…

The body font (Droid Serif) is not quite so easy to read as before, but since MyClone is mostly about short-form posts + pictures blogging I hope it won’t inconvenience too many people. And I assume that many readers will be keeping abreast of the posts via their RSS readers and/or Machinifeed.