Last Friday, I went to Playup Perth After Dark #4, latest in a series of events for playtesting in-development electronic and tabletop games. Playup is organised by FTI and this particular event was held at SK Games, the main interests of which seem to be 1) local multiplayer and 2) beer. Can’t speak for the latter, but here are my thoughts on the former:
Broken Sounds: A tiny tent covered with fairy lights and stashed at the unused end of a hallway, containing a pair of headphones and a box with a Playstation Move controller inside. The first impression people had of this was that it was some kind of radio-tuning game where you had to hold up the Move controller in different places within the tent to receive particular stations, but it’s more of a toy (* word not used here in disparaging sense) using the controller’s accelerometer. You move and shake the controller to change the sounds and listen to… well, it varies from person to person. Someone else described it as Star Wars spliced with a gay porno–I got bagpipes. (Story of my life.)
I overheard someone (whom I’m certain I should know but I’m awful with faces/names, sorry!!!) saying it would be great to adapt as a toy for children on the autism spectrum, with sensory processing issues etc, using sounds like trains and cats purring. The whole thing gave me the impression of a child’s cot as it was–even if that was coincidence or irony, I think such a ‘stimming station’ would be fantastic.
Flaps: Smash Bros-esque battle between two self-propelled hotdog stand umbrellas. Controls are the joystick and a single trigger button to open/close your umbrella and propel through the air. Ridiculously fun, lots of yelling in disbelief at from-off-screen umbrella impalement.
Valiant: An Oculus Rift game about jousting. The virtual reality and relatively realistic graphics contrast with the hilarious flying-thirty-feet death animation. It was the first Oculus Rift game I’ve played, so I spent some time admiring the inside of my own helmet and staring up at the castle walls, before being decapitated by Jon, who I heard say ‘sorry!’
I got motion sick rather quickly, but a) this is apparently normal with newcomers to Oculus + this style of game, and b) I’ve nearly thrown up playing Jazzpunk so… yeah, it’s just a thing I do. It was interesting to listen to Liam, the developer present, talking about the challenges of developing such a game for technically-unreleased technology.
BrambleLash: This is great! It’s a cooperative game where two characters form a tether between them and use this to clothesline monsters, or the other players in the fantastic four-player mode. Even in its alpha state (the dev in charge said they only finished four player mode just in time for that night) there was much merriment and good-natured chaos, compounded by previous players occasionally leaving controllers in seats not corresponding with the player number…
The two-player ‘story mode’ is the crux of the game and looks pretty fun, though I didn’t play it–in fact part of me is slightly worried now that the four-player mode will overshadow the main mode a la Goldeneye 64, but it’s early days yet, and as far as problems go, that’s a pretty good one to have. 😀 The player character models have a great creepy vibe to them, too.
I didn’t play the tabletop games, unfortunately, as in the state I was in I’d only be a suitable playtester for the ‘people with random debuffs to basic mathematical ability’ factor (you should have seen me trying to play Super Munchkin the previous weekend, oy). But these games were constantly busy, which is a good sign in itself!
I really enjoyed the night, and I’ll be looking forward to the next one. I had a good time playing games and talking to people, and it even made me reconsider my own ‘single player games only’ approach.
Bonus: Met someone who is making a manatee dating sim. I got incredibly HYPE and recommended they play Benthic Love. I feel as though I did a good deed.