Official 2013 Gamercamp Selections

2013 Gamercamp Official Selections

From selections across the globe, the Official Selections represent some of the most interesting, innovative, and fun games in the industry—many showing in Canada for the first time.

The Official Selections are part of the Exhibitions & Arcades at Gamercamp.

 

A Fishing Game With Actual Water (Francis Sheridan ParÉ, 2013)

A Fishing Game With Actual Water (Francis Sheridan ParÉ, 2013)

Competitive interactive game with a unique controller: bowls of water

“In videogames, very rarely does the action on screen get mirrored by the controllers that create said action. A Fishing Game With Actual Water is one that does to pleasant effect. A sort of Dance Dance Revolution but for fishing, players watch a display for falling fish and must tap the water from the corresponding bowls in front of them. While some games require manual dexterity and a tolerance for hand cramping, the joy of Fishing is that competing requires strong reflexes and a desire to get one’s hands a little wet.”

Captain Astronaut’s Last Hurrah (Popcannibal, 2014)

Captain Astronaut’s Last Hurrah (Popcannibal, 2014)

Multiplayer tower-defense game for skilled laser pointer users

Captain Astronaut’s Last Hurrah is deceptively easy to learn. In a world presented in friendly, beautiful graphics, players draw a line from their home base to guide orbs to either build up shields, attack opponents, or collect resources (in the form of gold orbs). Thoughtful management of the different paths separate the winners from the losers. The experience is brought to a new level though through the use of a Wii or Move controller so that players control the action not just with their fingers, but with their whole bodies. As the action frantically builds, it becomes obvious that although easy to pick up, Hurrah becomes difficult to put down.”

Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games, 2013)

Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games, 2013)

Rhythm-based roguelike turns dungeon crawling into a party

“Music can be described as the pulse of life. This idea is taken to an interesting place by the roguelike game Crypt Of The NecroDancer. Roguelikes are epitomized by uncertainty and death: after all, the style of role-playing game is typically signified by both randomized levels and permanent death. Crypt sets the pulse of the player’s life to the rhythm of a beat-astic soundtrack: excelling means working along to the music whether it be moving or fighting. The game with its spot-on pixel art and contemporary music creates a surreal experience, one where past and present converge to great effect.”

Huskerball (KPD Games, 2013)

Huskerball (KPD Games, 2013)

Space-age sports game treats players to competitive action

Huskerball pits players against one another in a space-age sports game that will please not just science-fiction fans (the designer was inspired after reading Ender’s Game) but anyone with a competitive hunger. Situated within a zero-gravity play field, Huskerball has players repelling off platforms to guide a ball back to their net. The spark that lies in the game is that rather than directly attacking one another, the game requires purposefully movement that is not unlike billiards. The strategy deepens the game beyond an arcade sports title, while maintaining that sense of fevered fun.”

Jazzpunk (Necrophone Games, 2014)

Jazzpunk (Necrophone Games, 2014)

Puzzle-adventure game that dances to its own quirky beat

“Charming. That’s the best word to describe the humorous, odd Jazzpunk, an puzzle-adventure game that has players exploring levels filled with delightfully deranged encounters. It is one of those experiences where there is pleasure in discovering the quirky interactions the designers have sewn into its fabric, where you don’t mind diverging off the main path because the tangents, like annoying cinema patrons at an old-timey film, make you happy to be spending time in its world. Naturally, you’ll want to solve the main puzzles still, because how else will you see what’s next?”

 

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (Asteroid Base, 2014)

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (Asteroid Base, 2014)

Co-op controlling a pink Death Star is addictive fun

“Saving planets and its inhabitants isn’t new for videogames, but controlling a well-equipped Death Star-esque spaceship in a bright shade of pink is—and that it is so much fun to race within the vessel deploying weapons, harnessing shields, and zipping around space in Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime helps explain why this hometown game has rapidly gained adoring fans. The best co-op games force and forge a relationship between the collaborating players and Spacetime easily falls within this tradition.”

Puzzle Axe (Trinome, 2013)

Puzzle Axe (Trinome, 2013)

Joyous puzzle game with an adventurous spirit

Puzzle Axe is a game that sneaks up on you by continuously riffing on its central jigsaw puzzle mechanic. What starts out as familiar becomes a remarkable vehicle to move the story and the game along as the developers craft new and novel ways to present jigsaw puzzles. That Axe is matched by winning cartoon graphics and a jaunty adventurous vibe makes it that much more irresistible. A stand-out case for understanding the cohesion between platform and game, Puzzle Axe is perfect for touchscreen devices and its portability means it’ll be a favourite for sneaking in a round or two while en route.”

Secrets of Raetikon (Broken Rules, 2013)

Secrets of Raetikon (Broken Rules, 2013)

Sensuous and gorgeous game has players soaring through the skies

“The feel of Secrets of Rætikon is what you’ll take away most from a play experience. Yes, there is the colourful and refined art style. Sure, there is the ambient and engaging sound. But even stronger than those two already strong elements is the sensation a player receives while soaring and diving as the main character, a bird, through the game’s world. Ostensibly players will want to collect golden shards and evade deadly predator birds, and yet the brilliant feel of Rætikon will also compel them to fly around, perhaps even loop around a few times, just for the sake of it.”

SoundSelf (Robin Arnott and Evan Balster, 2014)

SoundSelf (Robin Arnott and Evan Balster, 2014)

Experimental interactive experience that enchants through chanting

“Videogames in the beginning, because of graphical limitations, were relatively abstract. However, over time, games moved away from that abstraction with a focus on realism. The missed opportunity then is a chance to explore through interactivity concepts in abstraction. SoundSelf is a compelling case for working in abstraction: players are enveloped in sound and light that react to their chants. Randomly generated patterns swell and shrink. A mechanized chant switches pitch. What emerges is a deeply personal, dream-like experience that meditates on our connectivity between our senses and the world around us.”

Stanley Parable (Galactic Cafe, 2014)

Stanley Parable (Galactic Cafe, 2014)

Witty, narrative-driven game suggests the journey is more fun than the destination

“Games are defined and shaped by their rules. This makes sense as rules reinforce the experience, and yet when not crafted thoughtfully they can also becoming stifling and overly restrictive. The Stanley Parable is a game about breaking those rules, bringing up questions of authority and agency not just in games but also in society—even when, of course, it has rules of its own to follow. Players navigate the main protagonist Stanley through an ever-shifting environment while a narrator guides the action… as long as you allow him to do so. Parable is an alluring, witty experience that plays by its own rules.”

STARWHAL: Just the Tip (Breakfall, 2013)

STARWHAL: Just the Tip (Breakfall, 2013)

Multiplayer jousting game — with whales

“The first thing you notice with Starwhal is its pleasing neon-flavoured, futuristic aesthetic — that you control narwhals each with a cartoon heart only adds to the impression. This crowd-pleasing multiplayer game is an engaging balletic joust match, where each narwhal attempts to touch opponents’ hearts while guarding its own. Players swim through the air jabbing and dodging and with sports-like engagement, every hit and miss is accompanied by energetic hollers and oohs. Success brings not just heartbreak to opponents, but eventually a cartoon-y shattering: for the defeated, fear not, if you are like us you will be ready for another round immediately.”

Super TIME Force (Capy Games, 2013)

Super TIME Force (Capy Games, 2013)

Contra-like game with an inspired time-travelling twist

“Lives in videogames are generally disposable, especially in the genre of run and gun games. You didn’t want to lose a life carelessly in Contra or Gunstar Heroes, but if you did, you just moved along. Super TIME Force ingeniously upends this convention by making every life count: in the game, when you die, time rewinds and you get to try again, except your actions as past characters happen alongside your current character. In fact, sometimes you will have to use this to your strategic advantage to beat some enemies. It’s no wonder this smart, contemporary take on the genre is already drawing accolades.”

See Super TIME Force in action.

Toto Temple (Juicy Beast, 2013)

Toto Temple (Juicy Beast, 2013)

Competitive multiplayer game is a polished, frenzied experience

“In Toto Temple, up to four players compete inside a temple to hold onto a goat on a pole for as long as possible, while the others work to steal it by soaring across the screen Superman-style. The longer a player holds onto the goat the higher the score. (For the uninitiated, the goat on a pole acts as a mascot for the Toronto Independent Game Jam, where Temple was created.) The game quickly becomes a series of cat-and-mouse encounters as players weave through the temple’s levels. Accessible and engaging, the game is a great example of a work that can speak to bringing players casual and hardcore, young and old together.”

Without Question (Damian Sommer and Dom2D, 2013)

Without Question (Damian Sommer and Dom2D, 2013)

Entertaining party card game bust social conventions in favour of fun

“Social interactions are rife with conventions, signalling and rules. Successful navigation requires an understanding of the right things to do and say and at the right time. Yet it can also make things incredibly dull. Without Question is a hilarious card game that grants players the power to enforce new and seemingly random rules upon one another challenging one another to best conform to the absurdity. Games can often act as a way to break down barriers between people, and Without Question does not just that but it builds relationships too through survival of the surreal.”

Originally commissioned for the Vector Game + Art Convergence Festival, 2013.

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