Although the modern video game industry is perceived by mass markets as a platform exhibiting violence, destruction, drugs and suggestive themes – there remains something very special lurking beyond this popular perspective.
Spirited individuals have long struggled in finding a conduit for communicating their passions, dreams and emotions to others. In fact, this is a struggle some claim still exists in today’s world. In an attempt to bridge this distance existing between artist and viewer, a few poetic souls have shifted their attention away from many traditional forms of art, to the fledgling platform of video game development.
It is from this newfound connection that fresh examples of fellowship and understanding have been growing progressively over the last two decades. As the expense of technology and licenses necessary for software development have lessened, so too have the barriers keeping aspiring artists and consumers away from the medium – widening the veritably of experiences available to this platform considerably. Each month of the year, online marketplaces strive to take these ideas to heart, and introduce a bevy of highly discounted titles. It seems that as costs shrink, so too do the retail prices for these games!
Priding itself as a project faithful to reanimating early Japanese calligraphy and oil-based painting; this title brings the wonders of a rich culture back into the modern world. With visible brush strokes and fading tapestries, the detail of Okami gives the player control of what feels to be an authentic masterpiece.
This month, the prices for the downloadable version of this title on most online marketplaces are 50% off, bringing Okami’s price down to a tasty $6.99 price point.
Following the voyage of a young boy’s soul as it passes into the great beyond, players accompany the spirit of this child and his trek through a mysterious land that is both haunting and peaceful. This simple art direction of black silhouettes is especially striking in its ability to keep an atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding the player’s actions. This also gives practical context to the 2D nature of Limbo’s traditional platforming mechanics.
Due to Limbo’s identity as a download only title, the price of this gem can be picked up online for a killer $5.99 – making it a must buy for February’s deals.
The days of hand drawn animation have faded away with the advent of powerful computerized animation programs. Try telling that to Studio MDHR, the developer responsible for constructing an entirely hand drawn interactive experience.
— Studio MDHR (@StudioMDHR) December 5, 2016
Despite the long hours of toiling over how to get something as simple as a walking animation to not look terrible, these ambitious folks are taking on a task that is as unique as it is challenging to create.
Development on this title is quickly wrapping up, with a likely release in the last week of this month for a $29.99 price point – easily one of February’s biggest contenders.
Sometimes when a perfect combination of style and genre pair with each other, they create something entirely separate than what either component would have done individually. Neverending Nightmares is a 2D side-scrolling horror game that takes advantage of what would otherwise be an elegant approach to illustration. Although similar to Limbo in that the title manages to make the most out of its small pool of resources, the two differ in that this game manages to capture a visually disturbing feeling. This is likely accomplished in the way the game constructs these line based drawings to display familiar everyday objects to the viewer, then they are slightly tweaked in a way that feels out of the ordinary. This odd displacement method is extremely unique and effective in progressively breaking down the player’s psyche over time.
During the week of February 20-27, all registered platforms hosting this title have given full access to consumers for free, making this a must try for February. Although, you may as well purchase this beauty, as it is only a whopping $8.00.
Journey is a game that reminds players of how beautiful the experience of first meeting someone can actually be. The player assumes the role of a cloaked wanderer traveling across a vast desert landscape in search of whatever the desert might have to offer them. Along your journey, players will come in contact with other anonymous players and establish non-verbal relationships that are formed around helping one another past obstacles and challenges. What makes Journey an especially gripping work is the inevitable goodbye that players will inevitably be forced to accept with their newfound friends, as anonymity is a hallmark of the experience. This means that establishing contact outside of the game isn’t possible. In other words, when you and your new friend finally part ways in Journey, chances are you will never interact with that person again, neither in game, nor in life.
For February, this title has a special promotional event for the Valentine’s Day holiday week. From February 14-21, a trial version of the game is bring offered to those who wish to test the waters as to whether or not this is the game for them. On a regular basis, Journey is often sold around $13.00 in most online marketplaces.
Fans of Journey’s art direction love giving credence to the way in which the game has inspired them, exemplifying the emotional impact that this video game is capable of.
— Jeffrey Moss (@jeffreyreidmoss) January 29, 2017
Katan! is a daily newsletter that reaches deeply within the video game industry, bringing attention toward works and subjects that deserve to be acknowledged. Follow Katan! now for more wholesome game development stories and editorials.