A Seattle-based podcast about games, comics, superheroes, zombies, robots, wizards, dinosaurs, and other things relevant to your interests. We're SJW FTW, and we’ve been nerding out about nerd stuff since way before everybody was a nerd.
Sorry, guys! At the start of the show, we promised spooky piano music, and Mary’s neighbor failed to deliver. Next time we’ll be sure to record at the cabin in the woods.
In this episode, Paul tells us all about Alto’s Adventure, a sweet little endless runner with snow and llamas. Then Mary nerds out on iZombie, the new comedy-action-WTF from Veronica Mars‘ own Rob Thomas. (She thinks you will like it.) Finally, we take a super-brief look at the upcoming Emerald City Comicon.
P.S. We were hoping to get this out before episode 2 of iZombie dropped, but logistics failed us (or vice versa). You’re resourceful, and we believe in you. You’ll find a way.
This short interview with TellTale Games CEO Kevin Bruner highlights a fascinating development in the evolution of video games and visual media. Lionsgate is investing a sizable chunk of cash money to develop hybrid interactive media they’re calling “Super Shows.*” This feels like a no-brainer; TellTale’s episodic games based on The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are highly regarded enhancements of those properties. It stands to reason that building a game and video series together from the ground up could be the start of something new and more deeply engaging.
But something about this deal is bugging me. It’s not the partners or the mystery property they’re starting out with – I expect they’ll do just fine, based on past performance. It’s that I can’t think of a single collaboration like this between indie game devs and indie filmmakers. That’s not to say it hasn’t happened before – please, please let me know if you’ve got details – but this seems like the sort of idea that big players would poach from indies rather than dream up on their own.
It could be that the resources involved in an endeavor like this are just too much for most indies. They’d have to invest fat loot in development before they ever got to shooting or coding, and since it would have to be a labor of love (at first), finding enough artists willing to submit to one shared vision may be too much to ask. I do hope that once the concept has been proven (if it is), that indies will look to each other to build their own hybrids and find new ways to keep the media evolving.
* I would be happy to help them rename (and I’m quite affordable).
My extremely generous sister and brother-in-law gave me Galaxy Trucker: Anniversary Edition for Xmas, but I failed a bunch of saves since then and haven’t been able to play the damn thing. Another frustrating achievement unlocked!
But a $5 investment on Google Play has given me hours of solo galaxy trucking fun while I’ve been sick. (It’s also $5 for iPhones, but $8 for iPads.) The app is gorgeous and well thought out — not just a flat port of the tabletop game. It adds a great tutorial and campaign mode, plus interesting multiplayer and other modes. Best of all, it makes me hungry to play the damn tabletop game, so it’s firing on all cylinders.
Galaxy Trucker is played in two phases: Building and Hauling. The first phase is more immediately competitive, as players draw on a shared pool of tiles to construct spaceships out of components like engines, cabins, shields, cannons, and more. Each tile has 1-4 connectors, which makes finishing a ship without exposed connectors challenging. The second phase starts at launch, and each ship handles a set of challenges drawn randomly from an Adventure deck. These include fighting pirates (which requires plenty of firepower), landing on planets to acquire trade goods (which requires plenty of cargo space), and exploring abandoned spacecraft (which requires plenty of crew). All the while, players jockey for position in an effort to reach their destination first and in one piece.
It’s great fun, and while I haven’t yet explored the multiplayer options, they look just as well designed as the rest of the app. I still haven’t finished the campaign, but I’m sure that I’ll keep playing long after I do.
Two Dots‘ gameplay is pretty straightforward: connect two dots horizontally or vertically to collect them. Each level provides a goal (20 red and 20 yellow dots in 33 moves, for example) which you complete using this method. You can collect as many dots of the same color in a row, or if you create a square with your path it will collect all the dots of the same color from the board. It’s a basic, fun time-waster to occupy yourself in line at the bank or on the bus.
The real draws of Two Dots are the adorable graphics and subtle color palette which feel fairly unique in the world of mobile gaming. Perhaps they’re a bit twee or hipster for some folks, but for me they’re a welcome change from clashing colors and over-the-top wacky characters popular in say, Candy Crush. (I’m sorry, Candy Crush, I know I pick on you, but your graphics are just ugly.) Two Dots is currently available on iOS. The developers are working on an Android version, and you can sign up to be notified when it’s available. Below you can see a gallery of screenshots.