Daryl Hornsby is a friendly guy with a mission. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Daryl Hornsby is an affable guy. As the lead designer of the independent educational game, Machineers, he was on hand at the Game Developers Conference in March to give us a quick tour of the team’s puzzle adventure game that aims to teach programming logic to 10 to 15-year-olds.
The founder and CEO of Lohika Games, Henrike Lode, started making this game as a thesis project in school, but didn’t want to fall for any of the cliched edutainment tropes that kids sincerely hate. Hornsby came on to the team last year, and loves making a game he believes in.
“When you say you want to target 10 to 15 year-olds, you’re told you have to make it overly colorful and bubbly, and that no kids read text,” Hornsby told us on the show floor. “We’ve been able to prove that this is not quite the case. We’ve found that kids want to be treated like adults, but it still has to be approachable.”
The power of the Apple can be a crazy thing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Getting your game featured by Apple is the best way to jumpstart your indie game success. Sometimes, even games that seem rather basic at first glance can become powerhouses.
Mr. Jump is seeing some phenomenal success with five million downloads in the last five days since its release. It’s shaping up to be another Crossy Road-style success story, and the developers at 1Button games attribute the game’s instant success to Apple.
“I think that being featured by Apple in most countries has initiated the buzz,” says Jérémie Francone, one of the co-founders at the studio. “That’s what really launched the game.”
Nathalie Lawhead makes art that you can buy (and play for free). Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Nathalie Lawhead speaks swiftly, a gentle European lilt in her accent. On the screen behind her is a random-seeming collection of internet memes rendered in outsider art chic. At first glance, her games look absolutely absurd, random, and ridiculous.
“If Monty Python made games, the Orange County-based developer told Cult of Mac at the Game Developers conference last month, “this is what they would look like.”
Could this be 2015’s most atmospheric game? Photo: RAC7 Games
Although the App Store is still full of freemium games like Angry Birds, Apple is pretty great when it comes to highlighting some of the more unusual titles that pop up on iOS — from the M.C. Escher gorgeousness of Monument Valley to the nihilistic weirdness of Sometimes You Die.
The company continues that trend with its latest pick for App of the Week, which would normally set you back a couple of bucks, but can be downloaded completely free of charge for the next seven days. It’s Dark Echo, a uniquely twisted puzzle game by RAC7 Games — and I’m here to tell you it’s excellent.
Check out the trailer and a description below. Trust me, if you like unusually minimalist puzzlers, you won’t be disappointed.
Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong and other popular franchises could soon be coming to Android and iOS after the Japanese company confirmed it will be developing new titles for smart devices with the help of game developer DeNA.
Lat Ware is quite the character, and his game reflects his humor. Photo: Jim Merithew, Cult of Mac
Lat Ware is a pretty loquacious dude, without a bit of shyness in his persona. We came across Ware at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco the first week of March and tried out his upcoming game, Throw Trucks With Your Mind. He was strapping headsets onto conference attendees and keeping up a steady stream of patter to keep them off balance when trying to manage their character in-game.
You see, Throw Trucks With Your Mind uses an $80 headset from NeuroSky to actually read your brainwaves. Ware has set it up in the game to track opposite parameters: focus and relaxation. When you focus intensely, the onscreen red bar will fill up, allowing you to do things like jump, push, and toss heavy in-game objects. When you relax, a blue bar fills up and lets you do four other cool things for a total of eight different ways to interact with the game using your mind.
Try that while some chatty indie dev is all up in your ear, trying to distract you.
Buzz Aldrin was one of the first humans to step foot on the moon. Now he’s trying to make the big leap toward becoming an iOS developer, but Apple keeps rejecting his app, Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager, because of one tiny problem: It features too much Buzz Aldrin.
The App Store admissions team reportedly told Aldrin’s development team that the his game “contains well-known third parties.” What?!
Peter Dijkstra (right) and Jeroen Van Hasselt, two of the devs of creepy arena game, The Flock. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — When I went to meet Peter Dijkstra, the business guy at Dutch game developer Vogelsap, I had to wait in line to see the small, indie team’s new horror game, The Flock. I wasn’t too upset, though, as the guy in front of my was none other than famed Doom and Quake developer, John Romero.
Dijkstra’s The Flock is an upcoming horror multiplayer game that takes place in one of three different arenas. Playing the game with three other people Monday at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco brought back memories of those long-ago sessions of Quake Arena, as well as more modern examples of asymmetric multiplayer like Left 4 Dead and Evolve.
République Remastered is the gorgeously rebooted Mac and PC version of Seattle-based Camoflaj’s intriguing episodic stealth video game that originally came out for iPad and iPhone in December of 2013.
The development team took the opportunity to completely revamp the game within the updated game engine, Unity, moving the entire project from Unity 4 to Unity 5. By making this the first game release ever with the Unity 5 engine, they got early access to the engine in return for documenting their process.
“When Unity 5 was announced we saw our chance to make good on our two-year old promise to make a PC and Mac version of République,” writes the team on the Unity blog. “In addition to spending months completely reworking the game’s controls and UI, we knew we’d benefit from an increased wow factor on this new platform. From our dumpy office in downtown Bellevue (surrounded by industry titans like Bungie and Valve), we’ve put our heart and soul into this ambitious and at times, difficult, project.”
Check out the official game trailer below to see how they succeeded in making this already stunning game even more gorgeous.
Get ready to watch the epic slow burn in the official trailer for the upcoming conclusion to Rocksteady’s Arkham video game series, Batman: Arkham Knight. Scarecrow is uniting all of Batman’s enemies — Penguin, Two-Face, the Riddler, Harley Quinn, Poison, Ivy, and the Arkham Knight — to take Gotham City and take down The Bat.
Sure, there’s a little bit of Bane-like incomprehensibility in the Scarecrow’s voice-over, and (barring a miracle) the Joker won’t be in town this time around, but this game is looking pretty amazing. The in-game shots of Batman plunging down the skyscrapers of Gotham City, the brutal combat animations, and the just plain high-resolution glory of the fictional city and it’s lone hero make us want to play Batman: Arkham Knight right now.
Check out the epic trailer for the June 2, 2015 game below.