Welcome the the 21st century, Tale of Tales

So, I bought an iPod touch.
Which prompted one of my friends to say “Welcome to the 21st century! :p”
The implication of which being that he couldn’t believe I didn’t have one already.
Yeah, here at (ToT) we’re a *little* slow to accept new technology. Not dripping with ready cash, are we.

Anyway, I got it day before yesterday and have now spent some time figuring it out. And downloading some apps. And games, of course!
Here’s what I’m starting out with:

Top of my list was ZenBound. A good friend of mine, I stayed with in San Francisco during the last GDC, was OBSESSED with this game. She kept showing it to me and even made me get autographs from the team that made it when she found out I was going to be at the conference with them! With such a glowing reccomendation I knew it had to be the first game on my iPod.

ZenBound is indeed a very beautiful thing to look at and interact with. I’m finding it quite inspiring so far.

I guess i like the idea of slow contemplative games (go figure ;)) because I also picked up Ian Bogost’s Guru Meditation. A good deal at €0.79 and while I have not spent enough time with it to see what “happens”… I am willing to bet, based on its theme, that *nothing* happens and that is just exactly the point.

I wouldn’t dream of not having a paint program on the iPod touch. I chose Colors! from Jens Andersson because I had become addicted to his homebrew version on Nintendo DS. I am only too happy to finally be able to give him some money for this. It is a step up for sure from the DS version with the online gallery integrated into the app and several new options for the brush behaviour. Most interesting of which is the use of tilt controls to change the width and opacity in lieu of pressure sensitivity on the screen (which unlike the DS the iPod lacks). Brushes and PaintBook also look interesting. But I like how in Colors! you can calibrate an offset of the brush from your finger so you’re not right on top of where you’re painting. Still, it is going to take some getting used to.

MYST. I am playing MYST. I played it last in 1994, or something. I am surprised to say that I still really really enjoy playing MYST. I think this touch adaptation is very well done. I had forgotten how much of an open world the game is. Somehow even the “slideshow” presentation of it still feels immersive. Is that because of the small screen? I like how perplexing it is to be walking about in this world alone… not knowing exactly what I should do, and then figuring it out; No tutorial necessary, no intro movie. Maybe this game was more of an influence on me as a game designer than I imagined.

PhiLia is an artwork for iphone/ipod touch by lia, who rules. See here for a better description than I can write.

Lastly, finally Eliss. I love its graphical representation and its sound. I am a bit annoyed at its traditional GAME OVER type gameplay but I enjoy it while it lasts. I would recommend at least trying it (there is a free demo version available.) Because its fun to interact with and very well done of indie developer Stef Thirion.

ADDENDUM: Maybe the next version of the iPod touch, coming in September according to some sources, will have the camera and digital compass feature from the iPhone. Sure, I’ll upgrade for that.

Face It (working title..) from zach on Vimeo.

18 thoughts on “Welcome the the 21st century, Tale of Tales”

  1. I’ve been following Tale of Tales now since having gotten onto The Path. You’ve provided hope that I will not have to be ashamed of my history of gaming, that there is a culturally adequate future for gaming in its broadest sense to look forward to.

    And now you point me to ZenBound which brings some almost forgotten part philosophical part sexually (sic) feelings to surface stemming from not so long past first steps into the art of Shibari

    Damn, not dripping with any ready cash either here I am finally wanting one of those damn i-thingies after all. Thanks for that. 😉

  2. while I have not spent enough time with it to see what “happens”… I am willing to bet, based on its theme, that *nothing* happens and that is just exactly the point.


  3. these mobile iGadgets are destroying our planet! for no reason…

    toxic luxery.

    …i always thought you focus solely on the PC with good reason.

  4. 0rel – i don’t buy these things lightly. i know what you mean. but i have always seen digital media as a solution to the problem of there being too much stuff in the world. i started making art/design for computers because i didn’t want to kill so many trees to draw on paper, pump the water system full of photo chemicals, or clog the dumps with my failed attempts at sculpture!

    no matter what though, i value highly the creative community. not just those developing on the apple branded devices, of course, but all forms of. I made this post as a way to support and point out the different types of creation that is going on because what people make is important, not what they consume. consumption without creation that is a problem. when everything is taken for granted and disposable, yes, that is detrimental to the environment and to culture.

    our reluctance to embrace mobile devices has more to do with how anti-social people seem to become: always checking a phone (the person on the line more important than the person in the room with them), locked into a bubble of their own music, staring at the tiny screen, etc. I think those are the things that bother me most and why I previously had only one cheap-ass cell phone bought in 2006, which i turn on once a year when travelling.

    and while i did have a small mp3 player before (which my step-daughter now inherits) i see this new igadget as a solution for my upcoming travels. to not have to carry books, music on CDs, papers, buy an extra harddrive, etc, etc,…

    are they destroying the planet? perhaps. but looked at another way they are also saving it. and when making a list of whats destroying the planet i know of a few things i’d rate quite a bit higher than this.

    thank you for your comment though. it really made me think. maybe i will do another post on the pros and cons of toxic luxury.

  5. I don’t really know how the production of this kind of devices is bad for environment (this is what I understood of your discussion, but I could have not interpreted well what you said) but the truth is that if we are begining to have so much cuantity and cuality of non-comercial games seeking for new ways of interactivity it is because of the existence of all the online publishing platforms such as App Store, Steam or XBLA and the devices that make use of them.

    I don’t doubt this platforms have brought some bad things (such as the chance for developers of being able to sell unfinished products, which if you want to enjoy completely you have to pay for them twice) but if they weren’t for them, maybe games as The Path might not have had the big impact that in fact, it have had.

  6. Haha, thank you.

    The point of ZenBound is tying up things? It reminded me of bondage practices, although the game seems to keep itself more on a conceptual level. I’d like to try it.

  7. i hadn’t thought of the bondage thing but you are the second one to mention it :)

    it is about wrapping a rope around differently shaped wooden objects which are painted as you wrap them. you are told how much of the object you have painted and given rewards for wrapping the object completely. but that aspect is kept very low-key and never makes you feel like you HAVE to get 100%
    you can basically choose how ambitious you want to be with it.

    last night, i woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep. i played this game then for about an hour and found it just mentally stimulating enough to not fall asleep on it, but relaxing enough to allow me to fall asleep once i was done playing.

    plus++ its pretty. with nice music.
    i like it. :)

  8. It is interesting. For what you have said it reminds me of Flower, by Jenova Chan.

    I also find interesting the fact that tying up and “capturing” things it’s usually conceptualized as a bad thing, but it seems in this game “inmobilizing” objects is good for them, as long as it brings color to them. Haha, maybe I’m just overdoing it on my thoughts, but I like thinking this way :P.

  9. i really didn’t mean to offend you.
    but thank you for the long reply, Auriea.
    i’m just asking myself at the moment what’s the “right way” to make indie games…
    and, actually, i like the mentioned games above too…
    i have just an allergy about this huge mobile trend. not only because the direct environmental problems, but also because of the indirect pollution of “normal” daily life, like you described… the dangerous influence on the way we think, and act…
    however, that’s a personal thing…

    i totally share your view on the positive side about digital media too… it’s pretty idealistic though. facts tell that there’s more paper wasted than before computers were around. devices are made to have only a short lifespan. more as “fashion toys” than solid tools. cds become obsolete. dvds do. – digital data wouldn’t, but there’s so much data garbage flowing around, that the usage of most of bandwidth, energy and memory is simply wasted too. and computer games are part of this, which is worrying me more and more…

    that’s also why i’m so sceptical about gaming consoles today, and mobile devices in general. nobody really needs them (-> luxury). still, the hype is huge. imho, one normal personal computer/laptop would be absolutely enough for doing everything. communication, (soft) work, entertainment, games, art, reading, education and so on. computers are universal machines after all, and there’s no better, no worse computer. they only differ a little bit at the end… the rest is evil business :(.

    puhhh, i guess, i have just a bad day, so please don’t give this not too much weight…
    i really admire what you do!
    although i’m just small guy.., i still dare to say, that for me it comes very close to what i think is “the good way” of making indie games :). not only because of the actual games you’ve already made, but also because of your open-minded and critical view on things! – the ‘Tale of Tales’ project gives me hope, more as a whole, than simply as a “game factory”…

    (btw, there’s also a free PC version of ‘Zen Bound’, called
    ‘Zen Bondage’)

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