Machinarium Articles RSS Feed | Machinarium RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Visual Novels: What are they? Wed, 11 May 2016 09:44:03 -0400 Sagger Khraishi

If you remember the old Goosebumps choose-your-own-adventure books, you can probably think of Visual Novels as something like that. With interactive elements, they are closer to video games than e-books, but are still cut up into series. These novels can either be flat images put together or little interactive bits. But the general idea is that it is a halfway point between media.

An example of the Visual Novel Fate/Stay Night

One of the more notable companies that were built around Visual Novels would be Telltale Games. Known for games like Monkey Island, or Tales from the Borderlands, the company uses the storytelling of novels to create an episodic animated adventure that could be played in multiple ways.

Source: Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck's Revenge

Something that is important to note is that while visual novels can count as point-and-click games, that does not mean all point-and-click games are visual novels. For games like Machinarium, there is little to no text in the game. Instead it relies on visuals that the player is used to, in order to explain the story.

While you can argue that the game would work as a visual novel (in some artsy way that it goes past the need for words to get the point across), the game itself is closer to a video game than an actual novel. But as American audiences for these games grow, we would be expecting a difference between visual novels from Asia and Western versions to grow.

If you are interested in learning more about these things, check out our top 5 Visual Novels on the Steam store here.

[Interview] "Bulb Boy" The Cutest Grotesque Horror Game Tue, 08 Jul 2014 07:12:50 -0400 Angelina Bonilla

You wake up in the middle of the night, startled by the dream you just had. No, not a dream, more like a nightmare. A horrible nightmare woke you from you peaceful slumber. It seems childish but you have a distinctive feeling that someone or something might be watching you. The night outside is dark and gloomy but your room is suddenly a lot darker than you remember...

It looks like your real nightmare is just beginning.

Bulb Boy is a Kickstarter game that has gotten quite a lot of notice from many YouTubers such as PewDiePie, Markiplier, and Andrew Dickman. The demo is just the first part of the uniquely-styled point and click horror game. Bulb Boy is our protagonist, a little boy with a lightbulb for a head who lived a happy life until his nightmares became a reality. The game shows horrifying monsters trying to murder our cute and expressive main character, giving gamers the urge to protect the little guy. 

With horror being one of the more subjective genres of gaming it’s nice to see a game like Bulb Boy mix the cartoony style of its artwork with the unsettling designs of it’s monsters. Bulb Boy is on Kickstarter now and I had a chance to ask a few questions to The Bulb Boy Team in order to ask a little bit about this grotesque yet adorable game.


How did the Bulb Boy Team get together?

Bulb Boy Team: We're all from Krakow, Poland. Artur and Szymon met for the first in 2000, during high school and tried to work on their first game. We tried to make an adventure game (horror of course) about a murder in a haunted house. But because we were novice game devs at the time the project did not get very far. After this Artur learnt a lot about programming while working at a  gamedev company and Szymon improved his drawing and animations skills while studying art. We decided a year ago to give our game another chance. Szymon came up with the Bulb Boy character and thats how it all began. We started to look for sound designer and Bartosz was the best contender.        

Do you find yourself taking inspiration from previous point and click games? If so which ones?

Bulb Boy Team: We are both fans of Machinarium and Limbo. The story and mood of these games is hilarious. We are inspired strongly by Amanita Design games but we want to go further and improve the old-school point and click mechanics. As for classics: Another World, Gobliiins are our favorites.

For being a horror game, Bulb Boy is very cute. What made you decide to go with this particular art style with a game like this?

Bulb Boy Team: We wanted to create a protagonist, who is emotional and likeable. The art style used is particular to Szymon’s style. You can see this in his first student movies, like Daddy made in 2006.

Bulb Boy is a unique looking character, where did you come up with the idea for his design?

Bulb Boy Team: Main concept appeared accidentally. Szymon was drawing concept art for a game and friend of us walk next to him and said that main character looks like he is glowing. It was that moment when idea of bulb headed character was born. We both contribute to the ideas for the puzzles and discuss the process of making them as playable as possible.

What is the story of Bulb Boy?

Bulb Boy Team: In the Electric Forest, lived a boy with a glowing head who was called Bulb Boy. He grew up in a big old house with his GRANDPAraffin and Mothdog. It was a time of fun, friendship and love. One gloomy night, Bulb wakes suddenly from a frightening nightmare to discover that darkness has overshadowed the old family house. You have to help your family and solve the mystery and discover what happened.

How did you come up with all the ideas for the different puzzles and quirky little ways to get out of tough situations in Bulb Boy?

Bulb Boy Team: Artur & Szymon use to meet once a week (every thursday) and discuss different aspects of the game. During this meeting we try to help one another to find the best idea.

In your own opinion, how scary does Bulb Boy get? Is it a game for the faint of heart?

Bulb Boy Team: It can get very scary, but it's rather feeling of overwhelming terror than jump-out-of-the-closet style scare.

You have had quite a few famous YouTubers play the demo for the game, such as do you have a favorite playthrough of your demo?

Bulb Boy Team: We like them all. These guys are very friendly and helpful. They write to us how to support Bulb Boy because they think that is worth of it. It is very motivating and assuring to see them getting behind our campaign. Hopefully their support will see that we make a great game.

In my own playthrough of the demo and in the YouTubers playthroughs I noticed a few Easter eggs in the game. How many Easter Eggs are in this game total?

Bulb Boy Team: The game is full of them. About 5,620 eggs in total ;) We can not give the details away, because it will spoil the fun. We like adding easter eggs to the game and expect lots more in the full game.

How has the reception from the gaming community been for the game overall?

Bulb Boy Team: Reception is wonderful and overwhelming. We receive tons of positive emails and messages everyday. This positive support is great, as we need as much as possible to complete the project as it is still under development.

Which one of the monsters you’ve created so far would you be most afraid of?

Bulb Boy Team: In whole game it would be like 20-30 monsters and 4-5 bosses. We think the last one would be the most horrific, however we don't want to spoil the game.

If released what platforms will this be available on?

Bulb Boy Team: We are going to make the game in Unity 3D and there is a possibility to release it on all main platforms. But we need to reach higher stretch goals to be able to achieve this. We are thinking about platforms such as: Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Wii U and maybe in future PS4 and Xbox One :-)

Light your head or you will be dead.

Bulb Boy is a adorably terrifying point and click adventure game that glows brightly in a darkened sea. It isn't jump scare horror that you find in many AAA titles that you find in present day. The monsters here are nightmarish not because they are just a bunch of other monsters slapped together but because they are a day-to-day part of this characters life. Everything he thought was safe is now trying to annihilate him off the face of the earth and the only thing standing in the way of that is the player. That is true build up of suspense.

It was truly a pleasure to find out more about this pleasantly spine-chilling game. Thank you to the Bulb Boy team for allowing me to interview you More information is available on the Kickstarter page.

Humble Bundle X Features Joe Danger 2 and To the Moon Tue, 07 Jan 2014 11:12:39 -0500 Amanda Wallace

Humble Bundle has always been known for offering quality games at a low cost, with proceeds going towards charity. This Limited Edition Bundle features some indie favorites, as well as their amazing soundtracks. 

Like any other Humble Bundle, purchasers can name their price and how they would like the money dispensed (either to charities, the game designers, or Humble Bundle itself). If you pay over the average, which at press time is about $7, you can also get a few other games and any other games that are added to the bundle later. 

The games (and soundtracks) included in this Humble Bundle are: 

  • To the Moon
  • Joe Danger 2: The Movie
  • Papo & Yo
  • Runner 2 

If you spend more than the average, you can also pick up Reus and Surgeon Simulator 2013. There's a good mix of story-heavy games, quirky runners and QWOP-like simulators to be had in this bundle, and all of them are highly regarded games.

Humble Bundle will be adding more games over the next two weeks that the sale runs, so keep an eye out for additional features. 

If none of that is striking your fancy, Amanita Designs is participating in a concurrent Humble Weekly Sale along with some other unique indie developers. That bundle is currently going for about the same cost, and includes fan favorites like MachinariumBotanicula, and Shelter

You can check out all these games, as well as the Humble Store at the Humble Bundle Website.