This is going to be a rather interesting version of the Indie Round Up, as I plan on tackling an event that was more or less a complete wash and a game that has proven itself incredible upon release on XBOX 360. Let’s roll!
NYU’s No Quarter Exhibition was something I was looking forward to. I had eagerly awaited the event, put a plan together to take my buddy Ty with me, got our registration in early, did my homework on the developers who were going to be in attendance. Basically, I did what any writer or journalist would do. I did my damn homework.
What a waste of time. With the exception of Noah Sasso’s BaraBariBall (a riff on Super Smash Brothers de-rezzed to 8-bit), the games were all incredibly flat. Even BaraBariBall grew tiresome after a few rounds. The game is basically 4-player co-op where ninja-like characters are pitted in battle over a ball. They fight for the ball in the air, on the ground, etc, until one team slams the ball into the other team’s scoring zone, which is basically a colored water pit. Fun for a bit, but in the end, why not just play Smash Brothers?
The strange thing was that Sasso mentioned how he was eyeing Steam for potential release. A terrible idea if there ever was one. This is a game made for WiiWare, however; with the Wii’s popularity waning, and the lack of any true local co-op fans, its hard to imagine what kind of fan base will grow foe BaraBariBall.
The rest of the garbage on display included a Dungeons and Dragons parody distilled to a barely cohesive drinking game. I’m not a huge drinker (though I’m in development on a tabletop board game that involves heavy drinking at the moment), so I don’t particularly get the drive to be a wizard vanquishing beasts while slamming Bud Light, but whatever floats one’s boat. There was also a Pong clone from Jan Willem Nijman called Tennes. See what he did there?
Even Tennes was presented in tiresome 8-bit, same as BaraBariBall. I don’t really understand this whole concept of “8-bit retro is IN, guys!” I really would love to see it vanish from the face of the Earth. And that’s saying a lot. I’ve only ever wished to see Pink Floyd’s entire discography disappear from the face of the Earth, but now I add the “8-bit retro revolution” (a term I’ll be trademarking in moments) to the list.
I was awash in a sea of beards and plaid shirts. I understand its NYU and the whole “hipster” scene is big right now, but I was the only person with hair gel. Seriously. It was like something out of a Bergman nightmare sequence, only I couldn’t wake up.
The best part of the evening was mainlining chicken sandwiches from the Arby’s on Utopia Parkway in Queens while listening to The Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place”.
Minecraft. I promised a look at Minecraft and damn it, I deliver on my promises, folks. I must say, I was not a convert to the Minecraft cult on the PC, however; with the 360 release, I can see myself becoming obsessed. Brilliantly fun, beautiful visuals, relaxing atmosphere (until besieged by Zombies of Creepers). The game is more or less the same as its PC counterpart, so if you’re familiar (and really, if you’re into indie gaming or PC gaming, then you should be), I won’t bore you with the details.
The game is essentially about hunting, gathering and constructing things using materials crafted or found in the world. Building a stone structure requires rock, wooden planks require, you guessed it, wood, and so on. You can fish, harvest wool, collect feathers, collect meat from various critters in the world, etc. I found the game similar to an Elder Scrolls title in this way, in that there just seems to be such an emphasis on foraging and crafting (one of my favorite aspects of the Elder Scrolls series).
I look forward to more time with Minecraft, knowing how people have invested days and weeks into their digital world-building. I quit after my second encounter with a zombie, which occurred while I was attempting to dig down into center of my Minecraft world. I wanted to see lava or Hell or whatever was down there. I heard the telltale moaning of zombies, but upon breaking through the stone beneath me, I was in a dark cavern, nothing to illuminate the situation. Though I struck with my pickaxe frantically, I was dead in moments.
There you have it! The No Quarter Exhibition was a complete farce and Mineceraft is still great on 360!