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Screenshot features

garpaGARPA – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

by Dan Pinkham and Lloyd Sabin

Dodging a hurricane and now a snowstorm, while battling power outages, election lines, hockey withdrawal, and roving packs of ninja zombie chicken ranchers, the boys somehow managed to piece something together for us.

This week’s GARPA has been smacked around a bit by the elements that recently hit the US coastline. Please be gentle with it. We hope to return to our usual, copiously detailed and vitamin-fortified GARPA in the next installment. For now, enjoy these bits.


PC Games

Sui Generis by Bare Mettle Entertainment, UK

$29,615 raised of $240,000 goal, funding ends Thursday, November 29

suiSui Generis sounds ambitious right from the intro: an open world, PC-based RPG set in a dark fantasy world with detailed histories and cultures. Many similar games promise the same thing but not that many pull it off well enough to be remembered very long after launch.

Sui Generis is not planned to be a hack and slash, action-oriented game…from its Kickstarter description it sounds like the exact opposite. Although the developer is promising fast-paced combat, they also insist that players will not be constantly fighting, but when they are, they will know exactly what they are fighting for.

The developers (five friends who hope to quit their day jobs to work on the game full time – stop me if you heard this one before) also promise a classless player-character system, and a hostile, Western European-styled medieval world that will kick the player’s butt until he gets enough skill under his belt to really take care of business. From the few available screenshots, the game looks to be top-down, with an isometric view. Beyond that the one description from the developers that caught my eye was this: “We believe that making games should be a craft, not a business.”

I agree, and I eagerly wait to see what comes of the ambitious Sui Generis.


Circus of Light by Shift-P, London, UK

$1,276 raised of $24,000 goal, funding ends Friday, November 30

circusDo you enjoy running around Nordic forests during thunderstorms? I know, I know…”if I am asked that question one more time I am going to lose it.” But bear with me. If you do enjoy Nordic forests, or at least thunderstorms, you may be very interested in Circus of Light.

Designed as a hand-drawn point and click adventure game for the PC, Circus of Light has the player taking the role of circus-manager Aska. As Aska, the player runs the circus mentioned in the title, which also only happens during lightning flashes in stormy weather. The energy in the lightning, along with ‘circus shines,’ run Aska’s Syncronor machine, and Aska also must fight off an anti-magic faction that does not want to see the circus show go on.

Bizarre enough for you? No? Then check out some of the hand drawn artwork that the creators have posted. If you’re looking for a game that is off the beaten path, I dare you to do better than Circus of Light. I hope that Kickstarter is kind to this title…it’s never a good thing to see creativity like this crushed by the real world.


Interstellar Marines: Prologue by Zero Point Software, Copenhagen, Denmark

$88,000 raised of $600,000 goal, funding ends Tuesday, November 27

marinesIt is great to see another indie title attempting to break the barriers between genres. Interstellar Marines: Prologue is a hybrid game that hopes to blend FPS elements with RPG elements, set in the near future in a non-linear, sci-fi world.

The difference between Interstellar Marines: Prologue and other Kickstarter projects is that there are demos of gameplay available right now: prototype gameplay samples are now posted for the general game concept, shooting, movement and multiplayer. The developers also promise a competent AI as well as realistic physical representations of running, walking, breathing, etc. and the different effects that these activities have on other processes like shooting.

The multiplayer component of Interstellar Marines: Prologue with be tactical co-op that will encourage the use of teamwork and reward experience points in the category of “solidarity,” an interesting concept and one that I personally have not seen before. It’s a game convention that seems so simple but makes me wonder why it hasn’t been done yet. Along with the multiplayer component there are also the customizable arsenal and role-playing elements.

As the title implies, Interstellar Marines: Prologue is only the first of three planned games. This is ambitious, because on the Kickstarter site, the posted video is labeled “from 2008.” Can Zero Point take a project that has possibly been in the pipeline for five years and make it new and fresh enough to compete with heavy-hitters from mainstream publishers like Valve? We’ll know in 20 days.


Board/Card Games

Democracy: Majority Rules by Mark Rein-Hagen

$48,468 raised of a $32,000 goal, funding ended Tuesday, November 6, 2012

democracyA card game about democratic political machinations emerging from Tbilisi, Georgia? Look at the possibilities that Kickstarter has produced for us!

Democracy is billed as a game of “deal-making, debate and diplomacy,” with the player cast as a power-broker trying to put his candidate in the driver’s seat of a country in crisis. As I read the game’s description I could not help but be reminded of films like ‘Wag the Dog’ more than “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Democracy promises the player a taste of the seedy inner-workings of politics that so many people regularly discuss, but few ever get to see firsthand.

Card-driven, Democracy will be fast-paced with decisions required at a fast clip. Will you lead or counter the revolution brewing in the streets? Draft or tear up a new constitution? Sweep out the halls of power of the old and out of touch or be swept out? No pressure.

Democracy will include all aspects of modern Western-style politics: money, bureaucracy, justice, the media, and oh yes…voters. All points on the political spectrum are also portrayed, from progressives to conservatives, free-marketers to market-regulators, and everything in between.

If you happen to live in the US and already miss the minute-by-minute political updates provided during the last 18 months of electrioneering, Democracy should fill that void. Just remember to listen to your trusted advisor, don’t say anything stupid to the press and hide that stained blue dress.


And that’s it for this round of GARPA. We look forward to sharing more with you in a fortnight when the other half of this duo isn’t lighting his house by candle.


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