ProtoPlay 2011: Aftermath

The problem with nice events is that they’re always over too soon, and so it is with ProtoPlay now. What an amazing visitor count it had as well!

And now Dare to be Digital is almost over as well; there’s only the BAFTAs left and that’s some time away. The three nominees presented a nice variety of games: a Kinect jousting game, an iPad game of toys and light puzzles and an action-y PC puzzle platformer, which had some quite cinematic moments in it, I must admit. Congratulations to Digital Knights, Team Swallowtail and Evolved Ape for their amazing work!

(Our former Media Monkey, Mr. Baglow, also did a very entertaining job of hosting the awards.)

Having gotten to know all the 15 games, I knew I had to form some sort of preferential list for the Internet people to see, so here’s my personal Top 3:

Carne Carne

Carne Carne

There’s a definite taste of Twang! (a previous Dare BAFTA winning game) in Carne Carne, but it brings added spice of destructible and more varied environments plus tongues instead of grappling hooks (ermm…). Anyway, it’s about meatballs that race, eat and smash stuff! That the team had time to make three (at least seemingly) polished multiplayer levels and two single-player ones is very commendable. I know from experience that finishing even one is more complicated than you’d expect. I only had short go, but I would’ve love to play more (hint: release it pls).

Sometimes it felt like there were maybe even too many mechanics in there, so scaling it down to a more focused experience could help it become more appealing for mainstream “I don’t have time to think!” audiences. But I liked it just as it is – felt like I could gain an extra edge by mastering all these different strategies and mechanics.

Plus my meatball had a top hat. Top hats always win <3 Scorcher

Scorcher

Kinect makes most games fun just by the sheer fact that you know you look like a complete fool jumping and flailing in front of the TV. However, I felt less like a fool and more like an awesome monster when playing Scorcher. It was just viscerally fun to punch out fireballs and sweep the landscape with a good long flaming jet. Destroying stuff was just fun, even though there were times when I wasn’t sure what I was destroying. Perhaps I would’ve enjoyed a single-player experience even more because of the horizontal split-screen was kind of… split-screeny, but you can’t get everything.

And my inner teenage fantasy geek squeals at the joy of pretending to be a dragon ^^

Aida

Aida

I practically had to elbow an old Indian lady from the iPad to get a chance to play this game; it just seemed like there was always a queue, so I had to resort to drastic measures. The idea of controlling the environment instead of the character has been an idea I’ve often entertained myself, but it runs in danger of taking away too much interactivity and sense of agency from player. But Aida‘s approach of making it more of a cute storybook kind of game, it seems to fit just nicely. I can see definite appeal and market for it as a very relaxed, family-oriented iPad game.

And Full English Fusion gets a special mention for props (I’m still waiting for that picture of me wearing the swan hat!)

There was good in every game, and bringing something finished to ProtoPlay is already a feat many would fail at. So all teams did a great job!

I look forward to seeing you all some time in the future! We’ll surely bump into each other in a glamorous game development conference while we’re sipping champagne and dusting off all those screaming fans and the money they’re trying to throw at us. It’s going to be fab 🙂

Eevi