Posts Tagged ‘indie games’

Exploring Glitchy Atmospheric Landscapes

These are a couple of free independent computer games that I came across some time ago and found interesting. Both feature a glitchy aesthetic and neither offers much explanation.

 

Icefishing V

Icefishing is a series of projects by Nate Gallardo. Icefishing I-IV are sound-only, and can be found on this Bandcamp page. The fifth is the game, and can be found here:

http://nategallardo.com/works/icefishing-v/

In each area of the game, you’re to find and enter an object that resembles a telephone booth. How to do this in each area is up to the player to figure out. At one point, I thought I had exposed an unintentional glitch and become stuck, but after a sort of detour I was able to continue.

 

 

Memory of a Broken Dimension

For this one, even reaching the main part of the game can be a challenge, unless you are familiar with command line interfaces.

Here’s a hint (highlight to reveal): dir

And here’s the solution, if you need that:

1. remote
2. voidscan
3. dive

These are direct download links for the game:

Alternatively, you can play it in your Web browser here:
http://www.datatragedy.com/wipmoabd/


 

Césure

Here’s one more that I happened to discover the day after I originally made this post. Unlike the other two, this one doesn’t appear to have any goals other than exploring the nightmarish landscape. (I could be mistaken about that, however.)

These are direct download links for the game:

 

Belbury Poly and “Hauntology”

I wasn’t aware of “hauntology” as a musical term (or any other sort of term) until I came across Belbury Poly. Philosopher Jacques Derrida coined the term to describe the relationship between the past and the present. The music that falls under the label is a mixture of old and new electronic sounds. It’s generally quiet music, with occasional vaguely sinister undertones.

Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) described his own music in this way in a 2009 interview:

Part of a theme that’s ongoing in all the Belbury Poly records . . . is a tradition of British science fiction, where you’ve got on the one hand the setting of a very traditional background, with very ancient things, but you’ve got this weird, cosmic stuff happening [at the same time]. A lot of old British sci-fi books – John Wyndham, for instance – have these really mundane, quaint little village settings, but all of a sudden something really freaky and cosmic appears in the middle of it.

What is freakish is not necessarily overt – a nuclear war, or a sudden landing of carnivorous aliens – but a more subtle, unsettling sensation that the ordinary world is lying side-by-side with any number of other, stranger ones. It might only take turning a street corner at the right (or wrong) moment; opening a door that you’d never noticed before; switching on the television in time to catch a sinister glitch in the broadcast: any momentary gap in the border between here and elsewhere might thrust you into a new – or an old – reality.

I like all of the Belbury Poly albums, but if I had to choose one to recommend starting with, it would probably be From an Ancient Star.

A couple samples (Youtube links):

The Advisory Circle is another artist in the same genre and on the same record label. As the Crow Flies would also make for a good introduction to this type of music.

A couple samples (Youtube links):

A heavy influence on hauntology music is library music of the type produced by BBC Radiophonic Workshop. One example of their work that I like a lot is Fourth Dimension by Paddy Kingsland.

A couple samples (Youtube links):

I happened to discover Kingsland’s music through a independent game called Space Funeral. It’s quite an interesting game, and I recommend trying it if you think a very short, very unusual RPG sounds like fun. You can get it for free here.
 

 

The Music of Tomáš Dvořák (Floex)

When I played Machinarium, I was impressed by many aspects of the game. One of those aspects was the soundtrack. The song “Clockwise Operetta” especially stood out to me the first time I heard it.

You can listen to the game’s soundtrack here, and you can download some additional music from the game for free here. (My favorite song from the bonus EP is “By the Wall.”)

When I went looking for more music by Tomáš Dvořák, the Czech composer of the Machinarium soundtrack, I found his 2001 album Pocustone. I was happy to discover that it is just as good as the music in Machinarium (and in fact, it was the reason Amanita Design asked him to work on Machinarium).

Dvořák released another Floex album called Zorya ten years later in 2011. It is also excellent. You can download the song “Casanova” from it for free here.

From an interview with Gamikia:

My studio it is really laboratory with different components what I am trying to mix up together. I am originally clarinetist so this is my main acoustic instrument. However you can also find piano, metalophones, pianet, kalimba, melodica, acordeon, shakuhachi and several other instruments in my studio. And then there is computer, synths, effects – sound design and mix is maybe 70% of the time I spent over the song when I work on it.