At 11:00 today (and repeating each day to 8:pm until the 23rd) Fantastic Arcade made a chaotic bang with developer commentaries from indie videogame luminaries and tournaments with prizes from AMD. First up today was a glimpse into the working method of Terry Cavanagh, creator of the runaway action game Super Hexagon- a game so difficult that it is usually heralded with (respectfully exasperated) obscenities, but which Terry routinely calls 'easy'.
we were treated to a sight that virtually no human eyes have seen: the completion of the game in "hyper hexagonest" mode- a feat of human hand-eye coordination that people don't tend to witness outside of the air force.
Following commentaries only ramped up from there, Stoic Studio's eagerly anticipated strategy game The Banner Saga turned heads with its stylized animation and thoughtful story and gameplay, and Banner Saga's composer Austin Wintory stayed on to give a solo panel that cruised through the anthropological origins of music and how it has changed in the service of each new modality of art. In case anyone thought that the talk had gone too academic, fellow musician and Proteus co-creator David Kanaga engaged Austin in a lively debate about whether music depends on linearity for its emotional impact, and how much control in the music-making act can be handed over to a player without handing over authorship, and well, minds continued to get blown left and right.
Local startup White Whale (God of Blades) got similarly heady when they phrased their run-and-slash pulp fantasy homage as a treatise on the loss of memories and the inevitable decay of media, but the show got plenty gutsy once they started their head to head tournament, and rotty moster-flesh was cleaved apart by oversized swords, and a good time was had by all.
At the halfway mark in the day was a fabulous half stream-of-consciousness gun advertisement, half philosophical treatise by POP Methodology: Experiment 1 developer Rob Lach. We'll be sure to post videos of the talk on our new youtube channel as soon as they come down the pipeline.
Outside of the ballroom, Sony treated us to rows of glistening Playstation 3 and Vita kiosks, with sought-after gems like the Japanese post-human oddity Tokyo Jungle, Frobisher Says, and the incredible Sound Shapes. Sony PlayStation will be sponsoring throughout the event, showing games that were selected by the Fantastic Arcade curators, We really feel like this is going to be Sony's watershed year as a gateway to indies, and we're happy to have them back at Arcade. In the console space, Sony is the most open and flexible platform for self-publishing, and we wanted to shine a light on some of the best upcoming independent games in the world.