Something Retro, Something New at the Prince of Arcade Indie Game Festival

Myriad by Erlend Grefsrud

Myriad by Erlend Grefsrud

For four years in a row, the Mount Royal Gaming Society and Eastern Bloc has offered up The Prince of Arcade.  The goal of this one-night festival is to showcase unreleased games from independent designers. Beverages are, of course, available.

Of the many games on offer, London based Erlend Grefsrud took a moment to tell us about his game Myriad. In the game, the player controls nearly all aspects of the world’s space. As developer Grefsrud says, “Make the world, then break the world.”

“It’s not a power-fantasy level control, like stealing cars or shooting foreigners,” he says. “It’s control over the structure of the game world and the flow of the game system. Myriad is a game about  building, changing and tearing down what you’ve built. It’s about what happens when you give the player total control over the game world.”

A player has the ability to dictate even the encounters made with so-called enemies. “Everything that happens in Myriad, apart from the very first enemy appearing, happens because you made a choice and turned it into an action that grew into consequences,” he says.

Further, the game is kept simple in many respects. “There is no fiction,” he says. Instead, the game comes down to the way choices lead to results that in turn effect the player’s choices. “Every choice you make changes the world in a substantial, significant way,” he says. “The goal is to compound your decisions, build them into a world, shape the game whether consciously or unconsciously, and then break it all apart only to do it again.”

Myriad has been touring around and appeared at VMGS (Virgin Media Game Space) in Shoreditch, London and the 2013 Eurogamer Expo.

Aside from Myraid, a number of other games are appearing. The team at Canadian unit breakfall put together Starwahl, a 2-4 person, competitive game that takes place in retro-space. Players assume identity as narwahls (those whales with horns) and must pierce other players’ hearts while protecting their own.  The game appeared at Fantastic Arcade in Austin.

Another fighting game is Sophie Houlden’s  There Shall be Lancing. This game pits two characters wearing jetpacks against one another in a duel. Only, instead of having complete freedom of movement with the packs, the characters are locked on a sphere. The game moves quickly, emphasizing both strategy and quick reflexes. The game was originally produced as part of NYU Game Center’s No Quarter event.

Finally, Particle Mace by Andy Wallace looks like a retro space shooter (think Asteroids). Rather than having guns, the player controls a tiny ship that has “trash particles” tethered on. By swinging the trash particles, the ship defends itself against asteroids and enemy ships.

Toto Temple

Toto Temple

Other games include Eleven by Swedish programmer Christoffer Hedborg. Juicy Beast Studio brings Gentlemen Dispute, a game that has two men squaring off by use of their top hats. Juicy Beast also brings forward Toto Temple, in which players fight over a goat in a temple. Other games new on the scene include Lava Launchers, Super Punchball, and Capsize. Old games will be reappearing as well. These include:  Fuzzer, Space Dastards, SWOOOORDS!, Greedy Piggy Chase, Pax Britannica, Vokenessen, and Verteidiger

The Prince of Arcade is at Eastern Bloc (7240 Clark) on November 11, 2013 from 8 pm-1 am. Tickets $10. 

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