RIOT. Managing a protest in a pixelised reality

The global riots are spreading everywhere since winter 2010. From Tunisie to Egypt, from Wall Street to Syria, everyone is revolting against a capitalistic and corrupted system0. Thanks to the italians (national proud) Leonard Menchiari, ex Valve editor & cinematographer and Mattia Traverso, a talentuos game designer, we can participate and manage a virtual protest. And in doing so, we are not phisically exposed to the violence of the police and the army (but after this tutorial we could organise one in our city). Splendid!

RIOT has been elaborated as a protest simulator in which the player can pick a side: the rioters finghting aginst a world of injustice or the cops following the orders of the corporations and annichilating the violent crowd. But the story is judging no one. the aim of the game is creating a “playable documentary” (quoting Menchiari in his interview at the Verge)explaining how the different sides are acting and understanding their organisation and logistics.

What would be interesting to see in this game will be the amount of reality that the designers are putting in the game. Since “part of the money raised through crowdfunding will go towards travel expenses, so that the team can document and experience live riots going on in Italy, Greece, Egypt“, I expect that they will reproduce (or be strongly influenced from) a factual reality in order to make the players feel the vibe of a real protest and not just assist without power to a video on Youtube.

An inseparable characteristic of the game is the beautiful Pixel Art with which the game is being presented. It is the trademark of the new wave of Indie games (Like Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery: just to mention a superb example).

The Game has been remarked since its first days on IndieGoGo, on which it easily reached the modest goal and greenlighed by the Steam community.  The developers are preparing a multiplatform publication. as written on IndiGogofrom the IndieGoGo campaign and will be released on PC, Mac, iOS, Android and OUYA.

The game isn’t ready yet and the developers haven’t announced any release date (luckily, for the end of the year) but, personally, I am excited to try this game out fighting brutally for your rights or trying to calm the violent crowd down for the sake of the nation(or the interests of the corporations).

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Pac-Mac & Super Mario meet Portal.

Developers sometimes have nothing to do. That’s a fact. But, since are developers, they always find something to do. This equation brings to the creation of two games which integrate the videogame Portal to the two most famous games of history: Super Mario Bros and Pac-Man.

The first one, called Mari0 is available to free download here and it enpowers Mario with a Portal gun adding puzzle game mechanisms. As you’ll see in the video presentation, this fusion remains fluid and gets a new fun dimension. The game allows to play in 4 (every player had his own portal gun) and, thanks to a map editor, you can modify some features (dowloading a map pack) enhancing the game experience.

Pac-Man: The Portal has been created by Russians developers and the introduction of a Portal Gun radically modifies the game. In a certain way it makes it easier allowing you to easily escape to phantoms. Everytime you shoot a portal, it shows you where you will appear in the map and the orientation of this one changes depending on where you shoot it. The longevity of this gameplay is really short (compared to the Super Mario Bros version) but it’s still worthed to give a try. It can be downloaded here.

Zynga and Farmville 2. A Death Spiral.

Yesterday Zynga launched the the sequel of its most important title. This time, the universe is entirely in 3D and the company promises an innovative farming experience through amazing visuals and beautiful animations.

Farmville 2 allows the players to improve quickly their farms thanks to a new kind of players called “Farm Helpers”. These minions will be your friends whom, after being invited, can control and manage one part of your farm.

The problem in all this is that, apart for the mandatory innovations(the 3D grafic and the more social environment cannot be considered innovations but a bad restyling of an old product, like DNF), Zynga is not really investing in new ways to attract users but just pushing the existing ones. The new features awards the hardcore users, requiring to disturb more and more their friends helping in a more direct way the building of the farm but it’s not tempting new users to play the game.

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Frankly, I was expecting more from Zynga, which, since  along time seems not able to produce good titles (preferring the acquisitions rather than the creation) and which cannot shift from these old facebook titles to good-quality and innovative games integrating Facebook and mobile use. At the moment I think Zynga is entering in the death spiral of Atari in the ’80s but I hope will understand the market and leave it before the final fall.

“Nintendo Power” will cease publication after 24 years.

I still remember the days, some years ago, when I discovered the magazine Nintendo Power. Since I am finicking like hell, I started reading from the first issue (july/august 1988) to the latest ones in order to understand the evolution of the editorial line. I was gladly surprised that, alike many gaming magazines owned by a gaming producer, after the 2007 it got independent (from an in-house publication to a licensing agreementure with the american editor Future Publishing) and, in many cases, it contradicted the point of view of the brand.
Probably, considering the decline in readers and the reliability of the online sources, Nintendo will focus on a more digital experience for its fans and is not anymore interested in a licensed publication.

A pity. Another masterpiece of the gaming old world that disappears (after GamePro last year). Many “aficionados” will remember you forever.

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