November of 2016 seemed a long way off when I kicked in my $50. Now, alas, it seems like we’ll have to wait another stretch after that before we get our hands on Ice-Pick Lodge’s anticipated Pathologic remake. The new target release is Fall 2017. That delay, while disappointing, isn’t much of a surprise.
Have you ever had a dream, Neo, you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How could you distinguish between the dream world and the real world?
Most children have a monster or two – under the bed, in the closet. One of mine lurked in the huge attic fan that cooled our home during the Time Before Air Conditioning. I never walked underneath when the slats were open. The creature was up there, perched above the rumbling mechanism. Go under and it might drop down and bury its claws in you. It could pass right through the spinning blades. I knew this. But I never saw it. Because there are no fan-monsters.
This month’s Culture Clash column is inspired in part by a chronic affliction of mine: every twelve months or so, I undergo a strange frenzy of attention-paying to the work of Ice-Pick Lodge, the inscrutable Russian developer of Pathologic, Cargo!, and The Void. The studio’s website rarely sees substantive updates, but nevertheless I always tend to find something new there – though it rarely is anything about their activities. This time around I found a series of papers and lectures on game development, the translation quality of which was… quite poor.
Still! I like that stuff and it formed the basis of what I have to say in this month’s column. Despite it making complete sense to me, I have a feeling this is one of those installments that will make the eyes of other readers cross. Like Penny Arcade’s Twisp & Catsby comics, I try to only do that once a year or so. Enjoy!
I’m finally getting back on track with my monthly International Game Developers Association column, thanks mostly to the patience of the organization and my editor, Cat Wendt. IGDA Board of Directors elections were held a while ago. Sadly my personal favorite pick – the awesome Kate Edwards of Englobe Inc – won’t be joining the IGDA board, but I have a lot of confidence in those who did win, and lots of optimism for the future of the organization.
This month I write about the uniqueness of how games relate to their consumers, and how developers are inventing some clever new approaches to authorial control that ensures players see and experience what the developers want them to, despite gaming’s inherent affordance. Enjoy!
Normally this would be filed under First Impressions, because that’s what we use when we’re talking about our first impressions of stuff. Clever, huh?
But these aren’t my first impressions of The Void. They are my eleventh impressions. And we don’t have a category for that.
So here are my eleventh impressions of The Void, a game by Russian studio Ice-Pick Lodge, creator of Pathologic and one of the great underappreciated art houses of development. Bear with me, as we’re about to talk about one of the oddest, smartest, hardest, and… dare I say it? Sexiest games I’ve ever played.
In lieu of having the time to actually write anything of my usual length, or the two reviews I have cooking, I’ll announce news of a game that’s fallen off the radars of most: The Void, from Russian developer Ice-Pick Lodge. Formerly called Tension, it’s been available for ages in Russia and Germany, and is coming to English-speakers in a couple weeks.
Never heard of Ice-Pick? Your loss. They made one of the best and most important games in history. Only it’s not really your loss, because it was also one of the most broken and FUBARed games in history, as so eloquently told by John Walker. With this, their second outing, early noises suggest that Ice-Pick has done it again, only this time without the FUBARing.