Monday, April 7, 2014

Amnesia Fortnight 2014

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Double Fine's Amnesia Fortnight is a two-week period where they drop everything they are working on, get into small teams, and make four or five prototype games. Last year's Amnesia Fortnight resulted in a couple of games that will have full releases: Spacebase DF-9 and Hack n' Slash.

This year they made four prototypes: Dear Leader, Mnemonic, Steed, and Little Pink Best Buds. By contributing through Humble I got access to those prototypes when they were completed, as well as their soundtracks.
Dear Leader sets the player as the new dictator of a soviet nation that has just gone through a revolution. You have to make decisions and hand down edicts as you see fit. The game was created in the same engine as Broken Age, which makes a lot of sense because the art played a big role in the inspiration for the game and everything that you do is accomplished by clicking on things on your desk. I had a lot of fun with the prototype, spending over an hour leading my country and giving them slogans like "having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card" to support my five-year plan for education. I could definitely see this getting made into a full game.
Mnemonic deals with memories in a curious fashion; you start in a hub with doors leading to different memories. Each memory will pause at a particular point because your character cannot remember what happened next. In order to progress you find items in other memories that allow him to remember what happened next. It is an interesting concept, but I got stuck for a long time, which was frustrating because the game only took half an hour. It is an interesting idea, but it would need to be handled carefully if they made a game out of it.
Steed takes the trope of a boy and his horse and flips it around: you play as the horse, and the human is mostly along for the ride. Pun intended. I was really curious to see what kinds of interesting stories they could explore this way, but unfortunately the demo was extremely short; it only took me 10 minutes to play through it. With an idea as unique as this I was hoping to have a more interesting control scheme than "you can kick backwards as well as forwards!" I did amuse myself by pooping a few times though.
Little Pink Best Buds is easily the strangest of the bunch, which isn't too surprising considering it comes straight from the mind of Pendleton Ward. Actually I think the best way for you to get a sense of what the game is about would be to watch his pitch video:

I was definitely expecting to be able to pick which Little Pink Dude becomes my best friend, but apparently they didn't have enough time to implement all of that. The only one you can choose is Big Leg, and the whole thing is pretty scripted. This idea would require a lot of work to become fully realized in a game, but I really want to see it happen because it was hilarious. Oh, and the voice acting was simply the best.