We are halfway through the year and our Mid-Year Sale is here. Find new games to hold dear between June 1 to 11.
And don't forget to review games you try. You can do it on the specific product pages for the games.
Interview with Julia Minamata
We did an interview with Julia Minamata, the creator of the upcoming game The Crimson Diamond (you can find the demo here), about her game, game development and games in general. Here's what she said:
1. Hi, tell us a bit about you:
Hi! I’m Julia Minamata! I was born, raised, and am still based in Toronto, Ontario Canada. I was a freelance illustrator for about ten years before I started making The Crimson Diamond. I went to college for art and I have a Bachelor of Applied Arts: Illustration. I created illustrations for magazines and newspapers, then started getting interested in pixel art and indie game development in my own time. The Crimson Diamond started from there!
2. What were your favorite game or games when growing up?
My favourite genre has always been adventure games (the King’s Quest series, the Quest for Glory series, Secret of Monkey Island, The Colonel’s Bequest, Day of the Tentacle), followed by roleplaying games (Wizardry 7, Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, Fallout). Though I have a lot of love for PC-ports of console games and DOS-based arcade games like Rampage, Gauntlet, Double Dragon, Golden Axe, Xenon 2, Loderunner, stuff like that.
3. When did you start making games?
The very first game I made was in high school, but it wasn’t much of a game. It was called “Boxar” and I programmed it in Turing (a computer language designed for students to learn basic programming). It was barely anything, all the player did was move a square around on a screen. I started a rudimentary adventure game using an engine with a flow-chart organization system too, but I don’t remember much about that, or even the name of the engine. That was also while at high school. I didn’t try making games until many years later, after college, and after I’d been freelancing for illustration gigs. I started watching Let’s Plays on Youtube of Francisco González’s “Ben Jordan” series, and Yahtzee Croshaw’s “Chzo Mythos”. That’s when I first learned about Adventure Game Studio.
4. What made you start developing games?
Seeing Francisco’s and Yathzee’s games was a huge inspiration for me! I saw that it was now possible to make adventure games as a solo developer, thanks to Adventure Game Studio. And thanks to digital distribution, sharing one’s games with others was also easier. I didn’t set out to make a game when I started The Crimson Diamond. I was only interested in recreating the pixel art look of Sierra’s SCI0 adventure games. The pixel art rooms I made eventually became Crimson Lodge, the setting for a story that then became my game.
5. Why did you decide to make this particular game (The Crimson Diamond), what was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea and story?
The Crimson Diamond started as a collection of rooms that I’d stitched together in Adventure Game studio. That setting was my jumping off point when I started thinking about who lived there, who would visit, why they would visit, and the types of conflicts that could arise. I drew from my existing interests of mineralogy and local history. I was happy to learn more about those topics to flesh out the setting and story for The Crimson Diamond, as well as the characters. I’m also a huge fan of mystery books, tv shows, and movies! I knew I wanted a “cozy mystery” type of tone, much the same as The Colonel’s Bequest and Agatha Christie mysteries.
Ontario has lots of mineral and ore deposits that drove the development of towns. Nickel mines, silver, amethyst, and even diamonds, though diamonds were a relatively recent discovery. Diamonds have truly been found in northern Ontario, and mines were opened there, which makes it quite feasible for this to occur in the world of The Crimson Diamond.
6. Who/what are your characters based on?
The characters started as roles that needed to be fulfilled to drive the story. There had to be conflict, alliances, and history between the characters, those were the foremost considerations. Though the character of Kimi Kishiro is loosely based on my own family! My father’s side of the family has a long history in Canada, having emigrated here from Japan in the early 1900s. A fair number of Japanese people did the same at that time, and I wanted my setting to reflect the reality of history, not what is commonly depicted. Kimi is an avid birder (someone who likes birdwatching), the same as my Mom! If I was in my game, I’d most likely behave like Kimi. She just wants to do her own thing and avoid all the drama!
7. How would you describe the style of your game?
The style of The Crimson Diamond is very much “cozy mystery”. It’s a genre of mystery story that doesn’t depict grisly scenes or involve extreme violence. It’s meant to be a relaxing experience, similar to curling up by a fire with a mug of tea and a good book. There is conflict and bad things can happen, but it’s not overly shocking or disturbing. The style of the art is bright, colourful, and detailed. Even the gameplay has been designed so that the player doesn’t feel rushed or stressed by the way the game progresses. The in-game notebook explicitly states what needs to be done to progress the story; the player is welcome to explore and converse with characters, without worrying about accidentally moving forward in the game. There is some beautiful music in the game (composed by Dan Policar), but it’s not a constant presence. It accentuates certain events and sets the tone, but most of the game is quiet. It’s a style of game music that back in the late 80s and early 90s was more a result of technical limitations than a choice (disk space was at a premium and music needed to be sparse to limit file sizes), but I enjoyed the meditative nature of playing adventure games of that era. I’m striving to create a similar atmosphere in The Crimson Diamond!
8. What has been hardest so far in the development process?
The hardest aspect of development has been simply how long it takes to make a game! Everything seems to take longer than I think it will. And there’s just so much to do. Which leads to another difficulty; when making a game for commercial release, it’s not just about game development! I’m hoping my game will sell well, and in order to give it the best chance at that as possible, I need to promote it and market it to spread the word. That includes being fairly active on social media, livestreaming game development, writing a monthly newsletter, being a guest on podcasts, and interviews like this! I’m passionate about my game so it’s a pleasure for me to talk about it, but these things do take time away from development. However, these things are just as important as making the game if I want to realize my dream of making a living as a game developer. I’m always grateful for these opportunities! Thanks, Fireflower!
9. When do you expect the game to be finished?
I’m still hoping to release the game in 2023, but please refer to my above response about how things always take longer than I think they will! Heh!
Try the demo here.
Interview with Abigail Corfman
We did an interview with Abigail Corfman, the creator of Open Sorcery and Open Sorcery: Sea++, about her games (mainly Sea++), game development and games in general. Here's what she said:
1. Tell us a bit about you:
I am Abigail Corfman! I'm a white cis woman. I'm queer and polyamorous. I wrestle fairly effectively with anxiety and depression. I was born in New York City, my family is affluent, and I come from privilege. I freelance write and consult for larger game companies and sell my own games.
2. What were your favorite game or games when growing up?
I used to play King's Quest with my dad. I used my first brick of a laptop to play ZORK ZERO by myself.
3. When did you start making games?
About a decade ago. When I was a software engineer working in NYC.
4. What made you start developing games?
I found the game-making utility Twine and I fell absolutely in love. I've always been a writer I adore how it lets you blend words and gameplay seamlessly. So elegant.
5. Why did you decide to make this particular game (Open Sorcery: Sea++, or both games), what was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea and story?
I made Sea++ as a follow up to Open Sorcery because I had such fun with the first game and I wanted to explore the medium more. Do more puzzles with words. Make environments suffused with feeling.
I enjoy games about identity and so Sea++ is an inverse of my first game--instead of creating an identity you are recovering a broken identity. It's a classic 'amnesia protagonist' situation with a slight twist in that your memories are physical collectables suffused with magic that can be assembled into spells.
6. What are your characters based on? For example real life experiences, movies etc. Who would you be in your game?
The protagonist of Sea++ is very close to me, but through a glass darkly. She has a more severe version of my own disability - Osteogenesis Imperfecta. We break bones very easily. A lot of her personality is wound around how she deals with feeling fragile and broken. The pain of slow recovery. The choices we make about how to deal with that pain, and what it turns us into.
7. How would you describe the style of your game(s) (art, story etc)?
It's Interactive Fiction, on the cusp of becoming a Visual Novel. I had an artist friend who did a lot of gorgeous illustrations for me. Most of the art is watercolor, which fits the aquatic theme of the game.
8. What are you most proud of about your game(s)/what do you like most about the game(s)?
I like the through-line puzzle I came up with where you have to recover broken memories and reassemble them by figuring out what order the words go in. I wanted to make puzzles with poetry, and I think in that I succeeded.
9. Is there anything you think could have been better?
Yes - parts of the game could be more intuitive. If I ever revisit it I'm going to add a mini-map and redo the Troll area.
10. Are you planning on making more games? What will your next game be about in that case?
Yes! I'm playing with an idea called 'That Terrible Brightness', which is cosmic horror centered around extremes of positive emotion. Bleed red petals on the altar of Joy. Cry wine as an offering for the Most Beloved.
But I'm currently focusing my energies on a game called 'Hearth & Holmes'--a game where John Watson desperately tries to cajole his dear, work-obsessed, reckless friend into exercising some level of self-care. Sherlock Holmes as an eccentric and uncooperative tamagotchi.
Check out our Sci-fi weekend (May 4-7). No Star Wars games in the sale but there might be some Star Wars references in some of the games... May the 4th be with you!
Interview with Pontus Wittenmark
We did an interview with Pontus Wittenmark, the creator of Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack, about his game, game development and games in general. Here's what he said:
1. What were your favorite game or games when growing up?
The first game I ever saw (at my father’s workplace) was King's Quest I. Upon seeing it, I couldn’t believe anybody would choose to do anything else with their time other than to play this game.
A few years later me and my brother got a Commodore 64 which is when I really lost myself in games. Last Ninja 2 was my favorite, until I finally got a disk drive at which point Maniac Mansion probably grabbed that number 1 spot.
2. When did you start making games?
I recall making “choose your own adventure game” style games on the Commodore 64 as early as maybe a 10 or so. The theme of the game was The Simpsons – I remember drawing Marge’s hair ascii art parenthesis – good times…
3. What made you start developing games?
I think seeing the first “Meanwhile” cutscene in Maniac Mansion is what set me off – I couldn’t believe you could not only make cool action games, but also tell actual stories.
4. Why did you decide to make this particular game (Justin Wack), what was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea and story?
I always wanted to do story driven games, and to an extent I felt Lucasfilm/LucasArt kind of perfected that type of storytelling back in the 90s, so obviously I was very inspired from games like Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle.
I was playing around with a bunch of ideas, but the time traveling nature of the Justin Wack story felt like the one that could result in the most interesting puzzles, so I got busy with that one (even though it clearly stood out as the least original of the ideas).
5. What are your characters based on in Justin Wack? For example real life experiences, movies etc. Who would you be in your game?
Well Justin and Kloot (the caveman) are both loosely based on myself. I guess Justin represents the more neurotic side of myself, while Kloot represents a more carefree lust-for-life. Or something along those lines – maybe I should have a psychiatrist look into it at some point…
6. Are you planning on making more games? What will your next game be about in that case?
I’m currently working on porting Justin Wack to more platforms, but yes – after that I’ll definitely plan on making more games. I have a few more or less sketched out ideas of more story-driven games, and even one more action-based – I’m looking forward to seeing in what order they pop out of me.
Try Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack here.
New Arrival: Open Sorcery: Sea++
Open Sorcery: Sea++ is now available.
Open Sorcery: Sea++ is an aquatic text-based adventure-puzzle game about dreams, technology and magic.
Shattered memories all around you. Do your magic or the consequences might be tragic, you know, like Titanic.
New Arrival: Powers in the Basement
Powers in the Basement is now available.
The game is about Will and he plans to go out, but he badly needs his favorite t-shirt. Experience his struggles, in this witty adventure, as he searches for it. But be on the alert as you will encounter lazy grandparents, mischievous rats and carnivorous plants, that you might have to avert...
Comment from the developer: PitB is our first point & click adventure, and the first game featuring Will Phail, a clumsy, light-hearted teenager with hypertrophic self-esteem.
This game is a sort of prequel for a full-length adventure starring Will as a young adult. PitB is not a demo or a short version though: it is a game on its own, with a smaller scope and a story that is only mildly related to the next installment. Before embarking on Yet Another Unreleased Wide-Scope Adventure Game we decided to chew something smaller, learning along the road and introducing our beloved main character to the public.
To us, this game is like a dream come true. We grew up in the golden age of Point & Click games and we have always dreamed of reviving the spirit, humor, and brain-squeezing of the good ol' days, bringing something new to the table as well.
New Arrival: Blood Nova
Blood Nova is now available.
Blood Nova is a modern point and click adventure game set in a unique and original science fantasy galaxy. It tells a story of adventure and conspiracy. Stranded at an interstellar lighthouse, you have to try to get things back to normality.
Comment from the developer: We wanted to create a space opera adventure with an epic tale and a badass princess. :)
The Easter hare is here and will take you on an adventure, do you know where? Maybe to a distant kingdom or a haunted house, where you will hear someone shout? Check out our Easter Sale and find out, you will at least find a good discount.
New Arrival: Menial: a Utopian Bagel Simulator
Menial: a Utopian Bagel Simulator is now available.
Menial: a Utopian Bagel Simulator is a restaurant simulator and a visual novel, with some light point 'n' click puzzling in a comic pixel art style very much inspired by the NES. Set in the City State of Ineria, a fully automated utopia.
Comment from the developer: At the onset of developement of Menial I had been unemployed for about two years after dropping out of university, so that very much dictated the subject matter of the game which revolves around work and ambition, but also on idleness and the meaningfulness of life. It was quite reasonable to get excited over such themes as a basic income and absolute freedom from bureaucracy, a socialist redistribution of wealth and the end of the cult of wage labor.
I also adore the tradition of philosophical dialogues and Menial is in a sense a project to write one, although it lacks the severity and consistency of serious philosophical works. Menial leans more towards an absurd theater in that regard; that it doesn’t present a doctrine or give any real answers, but rather the dialogues drift on the whims of the speakers and end in an interruption, an unresolved conflict or aporia.
New Arrival: Grandma Badass
Grandma Badass is now available.
Grandma Badass is a 2D cartoon adventure game. This point and click video game puts you in the shoes of GrandMa, an old woman who is going to work to find her black cat Marius, who has disappeared and probably been kidnapped.
General inspiration for the game comes from the story / Canteen of mother Michel who lost her cat… - https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%27est_la_m%C3%A8re_Michel
The game is also partly and loosely based on the developer's experiences of crime and criminals in his home town in southern France. He had a drug dealer dealing outside his bedroom window and he had some experiences with him and his gang.
He then drew a drug dealer and started to imagine what Mother Michel would be like in the middle of this environment... and it all started from there. The genesis of GrandMa badass was born...
Black Cube Anniversary
ASA: A Space Adventure - Remastered Edition is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. We have a limited amount of copies to give away for free. Contact us through the contact form if you're interested and you might be able to get a free copy, if they are not all gone already.
It is 90% off however, for a limited time, so even if all the giveaway copies would be gone, you would be able to get it at a really good price.
Top Sellers 2022
These are the top 10 best selling commercial games in the store in 2022:
- Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack
- The Perfidious Petrol Station
- Mechanic 8230: Escape from Ilgrot
- Reversion 1 & 2
- SOL 705
- The Charnel House Trilogy
- Captain Disaster in: Death Has A Million Stomping Boots
- The Corruption Within
- RHEM I SE: The Mysterious Land
Top 10 non-commercial games:
- I Want Out!
- Lucy Dreaming Demo
- A Landlord's Dream
- Hair of the Dog
- Stellar Mess Episode 1: The Princess Conundrum (Demo)
- Betrayed Alliance - Book 1
- Tales from the Outer Zone: The Goat Crone
- Outscore: Prologue
Have you tried any of them?
Happy New Year!
Christmas is closing in and video game santa is bringing some early gifts in the form of discounts. Check it out here. Ends December 30.
New Arrival: BROK the InvestiGator
BROK the InvestiGator is now available.
BROK the InvestiGator is an innovative adventure mixed with beat 'em up and RPG elements. In a grim world where animals have replaced mankind, what kind of detective will you be?
Some words from the developer about why he made this specific game:
"Even before starting work on Demetrios in 2014 (which actually is a remake of a game I developed when I was a teenager) I knew that the indie market was crowded and I needed my next project to stand out.
My first idea was to blend two « niche » genres I love but which are diametrically opposed : point & click adventure game (à la Broken Sword) and beat’em up (à la Streets of Rage)
Then I built the gameplay, the characters and the story around it. Everything in the game is linked to this contrast between brain and muscles and the main character is the best example of it."
Read more here: https://gamemaker.io/fr/blog/brok-the-investigator-interview
New Arrival: The Stuff Fairy Tales Are Made Of
The Stuff Fairy Tales Are Made Of is now available.
The Stuff Fairy Tales Are Made Of is a retro fantasy RPG, in which you take the main character on a quest to save his country from eternal darkness, make friends along the way, and learn new skills.
The background story why the developer made this specific game:
"As a long time player of games, when I found out there are tools that allow even amateurs to have a go at game creation, I decided to do just that. I didn’t have any grand story I wanted to share with the world in mind, so I looked for inspiration to folk tales from my country of origin. The person who collected the tales and published them ended up being the hero of the game, which takes events, places and people from history and places them in a fantasy world with magic and monsters. Besides the fact that I enjoyed making the game immensely, the reason why I made it was that I greatly appreciate the joy entertainment brings me (be it games, books, or films) and I was hoping my creation can do the same for players who decide to try it out.
(I keep saying I, but Entangled Pear is actually a duo, and I couldn’t have made this game without my partner, who contributed with graphics expertise, testing, and many many ideas.)"
New Arrival: Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack
Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack is now available.
Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack is a cozy 2D Point & Click adventure featuring multiple playable characters and plenty of silliness. Oh, and there's time travel and relationship stuff going down too. And robots – lots of robots...
New Arrival: Mechanic 8230: Escape from Ilgrot
Mechanic 8230: Escape from Ilgrot is now available.
Mechanic 8230 is an adventure game in the point-and-click genre. Help the mechanic find his robot friend RO-2 and together unveil the secrets of the world destroyed by the Cataclysm.
New Arrival: Perfect Tides
Perfect Tides is now available.
Perfect Tides is a point and click adventure game about the agony and anticipation of being a teen. Set in the year 2000, you follow Mara, an internet-obsessed young writer who lives on a so-called island paradise.