Following on from my review of Monster Mind, I metaphorically sat down with Argon Vile to discuss the game. The conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and consistency. Let's jump straight into it!
Rakuen: In the credits, you say Monster Mind was pretty much just done by you, although you took various assets from others. How long did it take to put everything together and what kept you motivated through it all?
Argon Vile: Development of Monster Mind began in January 2016 and finished in April 2018. When I first started the project, I tried to strike a balance between working on the game and working on my art. But after six months, I realized the scope of what I was creating, how long it would take. I decided to fully focus on the game, but I was still dissatisfied with the amount of progress I was making. I eventually adopted a motivational technique Jerry Seinfeld popularized, which is to take a physical wall calendar (being physical is important) and set a daily goal for yourself. My goal was to work on my game for one hour. Every day that I worked on my game, I would put an X on the calendar for that day. And eventually I would accumulate a string of five or 10 Xs in a row, and it would feel good. And that was my goal; don't break the chain.
Monster Mind is a puzzle-solving, Pokémon-themed, flash game created by Argon Vile. It's available to play for free through Inkbunny or Fur Affinity. One might be tempted to immediately dismiss it as just another pornographic game, however not only is it very well-executed but it also contains deeper questions about sex and sexuality than you might expect.
A puzzling start
The main puzzles—as well as the title—are based on the board game Master Mind. In the classic version, you have to guess the colour and position of each peg in a row of four, usually with six colours to choose from for each slot. After each guess, you are told how many pegs have the correct colour and how many are in the correct position. Over multiple guesses, you can determine the correct pattern.
Monster Mind is slightly different. While you are still required to find the pattern, several guesses are already provided as clues. You must use those clues to determine the correct sequence; although in the most difficult puzzles it might be necessary to make assumptions about more than one peg at a time. You can choose between various difficulties starting from a pattern of just three pegs (although in this game they are adorable bugs instead of pegs) and going up to five pegs. There is also a secret 7-peg puzzle with some extra rules!
Ghost of a Tale is described as an action-RPG game with stealth elements, dialogues and quests. Of particular interest to furs is that you play as an anthropomorphic mouse character in a world that's very reminiscent of Brian Jacques' Redwall series. Impressively, it is primarily the work of a single developer, Seith, and was funded via IndieGoGo. Ghost of a Tale was available in early access for a long time, although I waited until after the full game was released, in March 2018, before buying a copy.
Backbone is a Kickstarter for an anthropomorphic computer adventure game featuring a raccoon detective, using pixel art and set in a dystopian retro-futuristic/Blade Runner-esque Vancouver. It's the first game by EggNut, a Canadian studio.
Crowdfunding started in April, aiming for $63,000 CAD (~ $50,000 USD) with a deadline of May 27th, 2018. As of May 4, with 23 days to go, they're at 46% of that goal.
A demo is planned for Summer 2018, and they hope to have the game released by mid-2019. It should be available for PC, Mac and Linux, with possible additional platforms depending on stretch goals.
Along with detective work, there will also be stealth sequences that use smell-based mechanics, for when you're trying to hide from (or follow) a suspect. Combat will be another game element, with "The Artifact", which looks like a giant metal claw. A dark jazz soundtrack will provide additional atmosphere.
CyberConnect2, a Japanese video game development studio best known outside the fandom for the .hack and Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series, is recruiting programmers, designers and artists for three new projects in its “Trilogy of Vengeance” as part of its 'Next Plan' strategy.
This trilogy is composed, as its name suggests, of three games themed around vengeance:
- Tokyo Ogre Gate, a high-speed action game about schoolgirls in a historical/fantasy setting.
- Cecile, a gory action game about Gothic Lolita witches trying to kill each other.
- Fuga, an action strategy RPG with the additional themes of “War” and “Animals”.
Fuga will join such games as Solatorobo (Nintendo DS; Flayrah review) and Tail Concerto (PS1) as an instalment in the Little Tail Bronx series, focusing on what happens when children enter the battlefield. Its plot features eleven orphans, crewing a tank with a soul-fueled cannon – fighting the fascist Berman Empire, which attacked their village and imprisoned their parents.
Back in the year 2000, a game broached shelves that became a social phenomenon. Maxis’s The Sims took the doll house that many, stereotypically girls, played with in their youth and put it onto the computer screen. In the shadow of popular “virtual pet” games like tamagotchi it took the idea of the animal pet and made them a bit more human. The result was not only a simulator where you could take your virtual human and help them climb the ladder of success, it was a game where the more creatively sadistic could torture the poor souls in ways that would make Edgar Allen Poe blush.
For those who are not into the whole torture thing, the game is pretty simple and addictive. You give your Sims stuff so that they can become more skilled so that they can acquire more stuff. There is a kind of cyclonic, capitalistic story behind it all, but the game does cut one thing out for the first iteration. The work part. While at home you need to keep your Sim’s bars full to keep them happy. Their sleepiness, hunger, bladder, hygiene, and such all have to be kept in check. However, the grungy and grindy part of the day, the effort done to make the money to improve the ever expanding home life, is cut out.
Get a writer, an artist, a musician, and a programmer in the same room and what can you make? Well a video game, obviously. However, you need to remember you only have one of each, so you’re not going to be making the next Skyrim in your lifetime. So what do you do? Well, use the visual medium of gaming to tell the story you want to tell in a slightly more interactive way. You’re now on your way to creating a visual novel.
While most visual novels could barely qualify as games to some, these literary heavy games are the go to for the more well-read, and perhaps more ‘casual’ gamer, that doesn’t mind letting the words immerse them in their worlds.
The genre has already had notoriety in Japan for awhile, but just like the anime craze heading to the West in the 1990s, this storytelling medium is starting to get recognition in other parts of the world. Digital platforms, such as Steam, are allowing for niche games to find a market where one may not have existed before. And if furries know anything, for better or worse, is what happens when niches connect by wire (or wireless these day).
Our fandom, in the past couple of years, has shown that it too has caught onto the rising genre and has jumped in with both paws, and for the lack of a better term— are leaving their mark upon it.
This week, the furry world was rattled by news from the fandom’s bidding site of Dealer’s Den when a record setting bid closed out a battle to acquire a fursuit from the highly in demand Made Fur You. The final bid came in at $13,500 dollars by Desafinado, a fursuit collector who already has two to their name made by Mischief Makers, dropped the wad of cash to secure their third. They plan on making a horned cat character named Sage with it. They have done an interview over the transaction with Dog Patch Press that can be found here.
If anyone was curious as to what the suit will be. This is the character I am looking to get done. I was debating between this one and my bunny; but there are some other makers I would prefer to have my bunny done by, so Sage is the choice. pic.twitter.com/fzy1kzto55— Desafinado (@DezziFae) January 30, 2018
The transaction has brought up many critical statements. In those they note that the amount of money is the amount of a car, or a sizable down payment on a mortgage. Of course, such comparisons to practical commodities overlook the fact that the purchaser in question may already have shelter and a mode of transportation that they are secure and happy with. Finances are a very personal thing, and it takes some perspective to realize that there is always someone out there who will make a less practical financial decisions in the world when they are secure in the needs department. In fact many furry artists bank on this.
Night in the Woods (trailer) is an adventure game by Infinite Fall, a joint venture between game designer Alec Holowka, co-writer Bethany Hockenberry and animator Scott Benson. Kickstarted in October 2013 in the hopes of getting $50,000 USD, it not only reached its goal within 26 hours, it raised over $200,000 within a month!
This was probably helped by Howolka's credibility from making Aquaria in 2007 with Derek Yu. Although Night in the Woods (NITW for short) took longer to develop than initially expected, it was released in February 2017 to very positive reviews.
I liked this game a lot, and the tricky part with this review is that the less you know about the story, the better. It takes place in Possum Springs, a mid-sized (possibly Rust Belt) town with a struggling economy. You play a 20-year-old cat named Mae who's dropped out of college and returned home, trying to deal with (or avoid) some personal issues. Then a couple of… worrying things start to happen.
In comparison to many forms of media, furry as a fandom as a concept is relatively young. Likewise, in the world of competitive sports, the once fledgling video game sports community is witnessing a major growth in popularity. Over the weekend of September 16th, these two world eclipsed as a furry by the name of SonicFox took the grand prize in the Injustice 2 Pro Series tournament: $120,000. You could get a very nice fursuit with that kinda scratch, or you know, college or mortgage money if you want to be responsible adult I suppose.
However, this isn’t a Cinderella story coming out of nowhere, SonicFox is a record holder in Guinness for his many Injustice tournament wins. His adapt and flexible style in the fighting game genre is well respected.
But in case you missed the blue furry fury outfoxing his competition, you can watch the full event at Twitch. The grand final starts at the 8 hour and 48 minute mark.
Every dog has its day, but since the setting for this game takes place in a confined lab for the most part one wonders; was it ever really day and did this dog have it?
It's hard to say. On one hand, One Dog Story was a successfully-developed independent game that has a complete, playable, and coherent story. Coming in with no outside expectations, this game accomplishes what it set out to do. If played on its own, you may enjoy what it has to offer. Unfortunately, the game wears its inspiration upon its sleeve with how it was named. If you played Cave Story before this, you will come to realize that this spiritual successor did not add anything or modify the formula in any way that improves on its inspiration. In fact, the modifications seemed to make the game less enjoyable.
"Augmented reality" mobile game and worldwide phenomenon Pokémon Go was released to the public July 6, 2016, meaning the game has just passed its first year anniversary. To celebrate, the game has released versions of series mascot Pikachu wearing a hat based on anime protagonist Ash Ketchum's into the wild (Ash hat versions of pre-evolved Pichu and evolution Raichu are also available).
The anniversary event featuring the hat-bedecked Pikachus is expected to run through July 24, and also features an "Anniversary Box" in the game shop, which six Incubators (allowing players to hatch eggs), six Max Revives (items that heal Pokémon "fainted" during the Gym battle portion of the game), 20 Ultra Balls (needed to capture Pokémon) and two Raid Passes (allowing players to participate in Raids). The box is 1200 Pokécoins (currency that can be bought for real money or earned by battling at gyms).
The final days of the event coincide with the first days of Pokemon Go Fest, an event scheduled to be held in Chicago, Illinois, USA's Grant Park starting July 22. According to the event website, attendance is already sold out.
At the time of release, the game, which allowed players to track down and capture Pokémon "in real life" using smart phones, was a major hit, though opinions were divided as to whether it was the best thing (outside of Zootopia) to happen in 2016 or just another strike against the year. At one point, U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton encouraged voters to "Pokémon Go to the polls"; she was not elected president. Players searching for elusive Pokémon managed to stumble across bodies so frequently that articles were written assuring people stumbling across dead bodies is normal.
Despite all this, Nintendo and Niantic have claimed over 750 million downloads of the game, with over 250 billion Pokémon caught, all over the world.
On May 16, a trailer for the upcoming Sonic Forces revealed a surprising direction for the hedgehog’s latest 3D venture. The new character that will be joining the blue blur in his adventure would not be just another Sonic Team-crafted sidekick. Instead, it will be a character you yourself develop that will team up to take down the meddling Eggman.
That’s right, the infamous Sonic "Original Character" is now canon. But how much can you customize to bring your dream character to life? Let's take a look at what's known so far.
It's time to return to the Lylat System and step into the Arwing cockpit as the latest Star Fox game, Star Fox: Zero comes out for the Wii U system. After a decade absence from the Nintendo console game lineup, will this reboot of the franchise give new hope to the fans, or will disappointment strike it back? Here are my thoughts on the latest adventure of the space faring mercenaries.