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July 2015 Retro Gaming Article


July 23, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Duke War demonstrates that fun can erupt from a simple game created in a 24 hour jam

Monument Valley by UsTwo I had heard a lot of positive clamor over Ustwo's Monument Valley game and I decided to give it a shot. It was regaled as a "beautiful" game. I saw a lot of beauty in Lollipop Chainsaw, so I was certain my taste in games might not jibe with this title. I'm also not a fan of puzzle games, but I quickly became infatuated with Monument Valley and let my son play through it. He too was mesmerized and delighted.

I heard similar praise for thatgamecompany's Journey and bought the Journey Collectors Edition for PS3. When my son came to visit, I told him it was reminiscent of Monument Valley in terms of it's artistic styling. Upon installing flOw, we were stunned by it's simple beauty, elegant control, and how different it was from any game we'd ever played. He quickly figured out the mechanics and I dabbled along trying to catch up. We soon installed Flower and Journey and found them very enjoyable too, although we both really bonded with flOw.

Duke War - thatgamecompany's game jam project These 3 games were the main features of this collectors edition of Journey. It contained a lot of additional content which we were eager to navigate. The PS3 disc seemed filled with various mini games, so we dug right in and launched Duke War.

I wasn't fond of it's stick-figure art against what looked like a whiteboard, but my son seemed drawn to it. After giving it a few minutes, I lost interest and took a break. My son insisted on sticking with it to see what it could do.

To my amazement, he'd figured out large hunks of the game play and strategy in about 10 minutes. I'm horrible at figuring things out and discerning patterns. This may be why I adore games with single-button joysticks! :)

Video games needn't be overtly complex. Even a simple game can deliver a lifetime of epic fun!
Once he explained it to me, we sat there for 3 hours playing Duke War! It supports up to 4 players and lets you build a kingdom of multiple castles, collect gold, forage for resources, and wage war on other players.

The best part is Duke War's backstory. It was created in a 24-hour game jam! It's a pretty cool game with a lot of features, so it's astounding that it could be the result of one day's work.

It really put game development in perspective for me. We hear of the massive budgets and epic timelines that often result in release dates being pushed back. So how can such epic fun evolve from a black & white game created in 24 hours?

There are all kinds of things one can say about AAA games and the colossal effort to get them completed (or completed enough to sell with a few gigs of downloadable patches).

However, rather than get snarled in arguments about big budgets, high prices, and epic fails - I encourage everyone to do some research and find an unknown indie game that speaks to you. There really are a lot of great games made by hard-working developers who put their heart and soul into their games. It's a privilege to find one of these games and be able to share in their hard work.

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