The Average Gamer
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Indie Rock: The Many Ways To Joust

There Shall Be Lancing
Someone hit me in the face Saturday night. I’m still sore over it, literally and figuratively. I had to hug him after and make a big show of how it was fine – I’d opted into a situation where that sort of thing can happen and there was a crowd amassed around us – but I’m still mad at the motherfucker.

It’s not so much the injury, it’s that he’d also managed to knock over a glowing ball I was holding.

Johann Sebastian Joust, maybe you all know by now, is a great game that uses a PA system and a couple Playstation Move controllers to create The Only Reason To Own Playstation Move Controllers. It’s a full contact sport that suggests, if not entirely expects, you to be fully up in someone’s grill like if you hit a deer at high-speed. Knock the controller the fuck out of other people’s hands, try not to let them anywhere near you, maybe get punched in your nose, have a great time.

It’s not the only way to joust, though. It’s the most high-contact and dangerous one, but it’s not the only show in town. We’re going through an Indie Game Jousting Epidemic and if you’re interested in coming up with a silly name for it as if it’s a type of flu I’d like to see it in the comments because I’ve been trying and haven’t personally succeeded. J5S7? That doesn’t sound like a thing at all. Jeez.

There Shall Be Lancing

Sophie Houlden’s game of stripped down spatial control might be the best thing I’ve ever played. I’ll admit that’s hyperbole as soon as someone can disprove me.

Two characters stand on either side of each other, floating in midair. They can either keep standing still or attempt to run into the other’s position through fixed movement along 8 dotted lines. If two players occupy the same space then the aggressor wins a point. Three points and you win the game.

Each player is constantly building up a meter. The more bars they fill the faster they move. If they get up to three bars they can fire a projectile. You can also defend against any incoming lance attacks.

What makes the game truly devious is that you use a block of meter to move, but you don’t use anything to hold up your shield. It’s a game about being defensive enough to control the other player’s meter use, but you can’t play too defensively because eventually they’ll move too fast for you to defend against or throw out a projective you’ll have to move to avoid.

What’s even more devious is that you could win in a single move. The game allows for all this complication, but right off the bat you could fly toward someone and they could mess up. Point to you. Congratulations.

It’s a game with so few mechanics, but yet it’s also so close to perfect… it’s as if fighting games that don’t have much complexity are actually the best? Someone should have noticed this by now.

StarwhalYou can’t technically download this right off the website, but she’s offered her contact details. Make your pitch worth reading. Mine’s this column. I’m going to link it to her and ask if I’m allowed to play more.

STARWHAL

Stupid. Just Stupid.

You’re a Narwhal In… Space? Electronic Space?

The instructions will suggest that you’re supposed to use your tusk (Not a horn! Common narwhal-based misconception!) to hit the other player’s Narwhal in the heart, but the controls suggest your job is to flail around and barely get anything done. If you actually succeed at hitting the other player it’s a miracle.

You’ll have a great time provided you understand the difference between purposefully limited controls and poorly implemented ones. The art design does a great job of conveying the game’s intentions not to be taken seriously, so don’t, yeah?

LAZA KNITEZ!!

I like to refrain from describing games by “it’s like X but” if possible. You can sometimes fall into a bit of a hole when you talk about games that way and never get out. You start seeing influences everywhere and forget to take in the sum of its parts.

Still, LAZA KNITEZ!! is a 4-player game of Asteroids but without the titular Asteroids. I guess the other players are the Asteroids. They don’t break apart into smaller players when they’re hit, they just die, so it goes.

Each of you is playing as a knight and you have to charge into the other players. You can shoot out a projectile, but they’re limited. You charge forward with some ability to sway slightly left or right, but you can also drift to quickly change direction but move slower.

LAZA KNITEZIt is a very fun video game.

Oh, Also:

Special thanks to the crew of the MS Stubnitz and the efforts of anyone involved in this weekend’s Bit Of Alright and Wild Rumpus. They were lovely! I liked being at both!

If you weren’t able to make it to either, I’m assured that many of the talks from the former are going to be made available via the “Internet”. If you missed any of the latter, well, I can’t help you.

Y’missed playing Tenya Wanya Teens. On a boat. You deserve everything you get.

Oh, Tenya Wanya Teens, I Guess:

I’d heard descriptions of what Tenya Wanya Teens with the anecdote that you’ll misunderstand what you’re supposed to do constantly to the extent where you’re trying to tell a girl you love her and instead might pee yourself, but no one talks about how that’s possible.

The game’s controlled with a 16 button pad and a directional stick. The buttons light up different colours when a new action is introduced. You’ll think you’ve got the hang of this, except the button layout is always changing and the controls aren’t defined effectively. There’ll be an on-screen reminder that you need to press a certain colour in order to perform an action, but there’ll be different shades of the same colour in front of you. It’s made all the more stressful by the player to the side of you trying to complete all the actions first to score the most points.

It truly describes what it’s like to be a teen. Not quite understanding anything and when you think you do, it’s thrown right out from under you.

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