Saturday, October 22, 2016

IndieCade 2016: Part 5 Night Games

The end of our time at IndieCade, Night Games. It did look magical out in the open space on the grass. Far from the confines inside of a building were a series of games to try out. All in the embrace of the night. Everyone kind of came together from earlier that day to try out these games from murder to a form of Tetris.

Clue House from Wise Guy Events, they do the games for Survivor, had us murdering each other in the way of a mansion murder mystery game akin to Clue. Props to the two men behind it as they talked like British butlers throughout the night, never breaking character.

The game had you deducing if your weapon, only words on a piece of paper, was in a room and if you could kill the other person in the room without a witness.

Sadly, I never got to murder anyone.

On the grass there were tents like a circus, one sending people on a quest the other showing off some ideas.

Block Party had anyone with a phone playing a form of Tetris on the big screen. Colorful, fun? I liked last year's multiplayer games more. It made me wish Jackbox Party Pack applied for night games.

Kismet VR had a tarot card reading in virtual reality while Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things had people trying to figure out mysteries with tape outlines of bodies.

The magic of the night wasn't lost on me. The experience, should be an experience that happens more often. I would love to see more game nights in LA, the only thing that comes close are the one's at Giant Robot and they might have one or two games per night.

I hope IndieCade inspired more gamers and gamemakers to make more, to find new ways to tell stories, to entertain. In the end, it's the community that makes IndieCade stand out and it continues to, no matter where it is.

IndieCade 2016: Part 4 Digital Selects

Bo-ba-bo (imagine rock music playing)

Probably our favorite part of of IndieCade was this year's Digital Selects, they didn't quite make "nominee", but we love them anyway. A mighty collection of strange, weird, wacky and just even relaxing games to get lost in.

The first one I got lost in deep was one I scoffed at online, until I played it.

Kingdom: New Lands

This engrossing title had me watching a civilization I create be built right before my eyes with the simplest of actions, spending coins. You earn coins by finding treasure chests, being paid by your people and maybe being a nice B&B. Now it's simple at first, you drop some coins and you have unconnected peasants start doing your bidding and over time you can have them build a castle, build defenses.

You need defenses for monsters from some sort of a mystical portal. The monsters come out at night and you better have defenses up to stop the masked creeps. The game ends if these creeps knock off your crown and pick it up before you do. They'll also take down your defenses over time and turn your people back into poor hobo masses asking for some coin to be restored.

This is all fairly simple as you're doing this all from your horse that you never get off of.

The simple  8bit/ 16bit looks let's you just get lost in the game as you watch your civilization grow out from a simple fire. It's accompanied by some nice mellow music.

Truly, I got lost in the game, I didn't want to get up. I just wanted to play it for the rest of the cade.

Check out the game here.

Another game we wish we had more time with was
Zack Johnson

West of Loathing

This game was silly from it's doodles to it's writing, from the same people who made the internet favorite of The Kingdom of Loathing. It's creator, of both, Zack Johnson was on hand to tell us about his game that we hope comes out early next year. "So, "West of Loathing" is a cowboy stick figure's the same sort of art style and set in the same universe as The Kingdom of Loathing, the art of which was what I was capable of drawing at the time." He continued, "It's basically about leaving the farm and going through a weird version of the wild west." And it is weird. When I played the demo a cactus man asked me for something to read because he was so bored.

I asked why he kept his doodle style. Zack told me, "I like doing it, it's a thing where I can do all of the assets myself. I still just draw everything by pen." That's right, no digital writing boards, no Wacom boards here.

Zack then told me how whatever he draws gets animated with silly results. In fact, because there was really no time to make weapons for the trailer the animator simply made the characters headbutt their attacks for lack of guns or swords.

He told me animation was such a key part of the game that there's even a book of silly walks you can unlock in the game somewhere.

Look for details for the game as it comes out early next year. Here.

The Average Everyday Adventures of Samantha Browne

This free download game, here, has you playing as a girl who just has high anxiety and just wants to make some oatmeal in her communal dorm kitchen. Just a fun short title going over the social issues of someone who just gets afraid of being around people.


You are a cruel mistress DOBOTONE, a Hell console created to look like it came out of the early 80's with four player games with one player being the cruel master. Looking like a number crunching machine from a steampunk sci-fi movie the console has multiple mini games that can be manipulated to be messes on screen. The master, who plays with the console itself, can manipulate zoom, length and other features which all affect gameplay in horrendous ways.

When I was playing a platforming section with swinging ropes and swimming the cruel game master kept making the track longer for me to finish.

The design of DOTOBONE as a console is eye-catching, the games themselves looking like strange art pieces sometimes. I did not get the meaning behind the mini-game of putting the most skeletons in a toilet.

It's not smash or Jackbox it's DOTOBONE.

Read more about it here.

Friday, October 21, 2016

USC Arcade

Not really part of IndieCade; we found this while looking for the VR games to play during the convention. USC's game making department has its own arcade machine, USC Arcade. From what we tried out the machine plays multiple games that we assume are made at USC, It even has a photo grab button, something we wish modern arcade machine would have and sync to our phones.

Also rather funny was seeing a wall diagram of the "Origins of VR@ USC" with it a glass cabinet of early VR headsets, including one from NASA. We kind of wonder how old that diagram was as the field has only gotten big in recent years.

Go to love a plaque that says Oculus VR Student Lounge, to which we saw no Oculus devices.

IndieCade 2016: Part 3 PlayStation

PlayStation satiated a craving for multiple indie titles that we'll all be seeing on the console one day. While, I'll wait for Night in the Woods and GNOG-with still no confirmed release dates-I look forward to a number of other titles that we'll be going over.

First, let's just get it over with and talk about GNOG and Night in the Woods. Night in the Woods, this game I've played so much at cons and events that I'm afraid I'll beat the game one day at one before it gets released. It got Kickstarted in 2013 and hopefully we'll see it early next year. An adventure game about a college drop-out with anthropomorphic animals chilling and dealing with their town. It's fun to just watch the slow burning slowly and connect to this story.

GNOG, the puzzle game about heads is now in VR!!!!! I really don't care!!!!!! As that means it'll take longer to come out to make sure it works on Sony's new headset. The game wasn't designed for it, but it plays fine on it. If you want to solve puzzles and have your head in-cased outside of reality go ahead. So many meta and bad jokes in that last statement.

What's not bad was trying three new heads. Each with they're own intricate puzzles to figure out. It was like eating a fine meal for your brain. The feeling of figuring it out the ending result of a head opening up.

I love this game so much I had to correct one of the people showing it that the game has no release date yet.

It was one of four titles PlayStation shared in PSVR.

The rest of the gaming floor had many new games to try...except Chasm. Damn, Chasm hasn't come out yet?


Yes, the wonderful looking Metroidvania game is still not out yet, no release date either. The game has the Spelunky factor going for it as the worlds, six in all, come about new, they're procedurally-generated, and do we need to come up with a better word for that, like, random dunge. Anyway still looking fine, it was looking fine a year ago at IndieCade.

100ft Robot Golf

Playing the game, perhaps not in VR wasn't as fun as I believed it to be, I became much more enthralled by the look and style of the characters that riff anime like a team of Cowyboy Bebop like corgis that have a Voltron like robot. If giant robots are on a screen they need to be kicking butt, not putt. I would, however, watch others play as the look for this game is just pure candy. It's like a Capcom game, great look, but sometimes I don't want to play it.


Couldn't get my head around this one. You could be a gazelle to a universe trying to gather thoughts. It looks funny to watch others  play as animals don't run as much as the look like they're clipping through their animations. From the mind of David O'Reilly, the guy who gave us the fully CGI episode of Adventure Time.


What's with shovels, not sure if it was inspired by Shovel Knight or just a coincidence, in either case I need a Shovel Knight cameo in this game.  Another beautiful looking Metroidvania game to get goose pimples over. When I played it all I had was shovel to fight monsters.


Maybe I just needed to have most of my body be a gun. A 2d shooter where you take on big bosses and a bevy of bullets in a robot ship hybrid. For those who want some old-school new-school style of shooter.

Viking Squad

A very beloved by the masses local co-op fighter in a viking theme. Oddly, only up to three players, but worth it if you have an odd number of friends into Norse mythology.

 Cosmic Star Heroine 

From the people who made the Penny Arcade RPG's comes their own sci-fi RPG title. It seems rather basic and just might have done better with some jokes or a fun theme, in looks like any generic RPG from the 80's early 90's.

Those were just some of the many fine titles I want to put on my PS4 and play...sigh, whenever they come out.

IndieCade 2016: Part 2 Table Games with Ghost Court and Pitch Fight!

Out there on the grass and on tables under columns people played games. Games without electricity, without social status updates, without sprites and without pixels. They played them in the maximum HD, real life.

It was the backbone of IndieCade, the table games.

Card games, board games, role-playing games and more were out on the campus quad in all their glory.

TTDILA went out of its way to play two that caught our attention since they appeared on the IndieCade guide online. First of which was Ghost Court. How could we pass up a game that came from the history of Poland where a ghost sued a woman and won. Oh, Poland. That paranormal case inspired a man, Jason Morningstar, to invent a game now up on Kickstarter, look it up here. It already reached its goal with 18 days to go.

Ghost Court plays like a sitcom of which it was based on, it was based on dumb 80's and 90's sitcoms and you'll be able to tell. We got to play out the game thanks to David Hertz, a gaming enthusiast and designer of his own accord helping the makers of Ghost Court share their game. He wrangled up some games and soon we were playing utterly nonsensical trials.

My trial was #19. When given the game you'll be given the option to choose your part from audience to judge, plaintiff or defendant and even bailiff. I was the lawyer of the defendant and I was an ol' country boy, if  I do say. I tried to butter up the judge with my Southern hospitality and style and it worked. I got my ghostly client to get to his eternal resting place by having an iron fence taken down by some no good living people.

The trials last only a few minutes making it a great party game and letting a slew of people take on different roles and characters either dead or alive.

It's like if "Judge Judy" involved ghosts and sometimes you're the ghost or suing the ghost is the best way to explain it. If you've ever been stuck home sick and watched the show like I have, it's almost the same thing, but now with ghosts.

You'll get your cases via the cards include telling you your roles, from there it's up to you to create your own sitcom. Our trials went the extra mile with ghostly rags, judge cosplay and our very own gavel to bang.

Forget getting it for Christmas, but it'll be the game you want to play in 2017.

Now let me pitch you something, he put his hands together with his fingers up toward his face. Then he titled his hands, still clasped together towards you. "It's called Pitch Fight!," he said, clip-on yellow tie on his chest.

Earlier in the day we got a chance to play Pitch Fight! And boy do I love Pitch Fight! As I was just writing the game has you pitching just like that, on every point your hand has to point out, technically you get to make three points while wearing a tie. Green or yellow. Don't worry it's a clip on. You pass them around to whose pitching each other. Either green or yellow always goes first. Another part of the game is what your pitches have to be about. It comes from two randomly drawn cards with words on them.

Now the rest of the players, those who aren't pitching at the time, vote on who had the best pitch. The one with the most votes wins. The winner gets two pitch bucks and everyone who voted for the winner wins a pitch buck. So in the end, it's not only who pitches the best, but can guess who has the best pitches.

TTDILA team member Andrew tried his game at the last pitch! Andrew's topic: robust, social media.
His pitch, "You take a circle, of friends, and add another circle." To which we all laughed. Someone pointed out he just made a Venn diagram of friends, but what took the cake was what he said next, "It's an infinite loop of friends." He won that pitch. The game already won my heart.

The game comes from Cow&Duck Studios composed of Katie Khau and Jess Chu who I got to talk to after the game. Katie tole me of her inspiration of for the game by talking to a group of game makers from two IndieCades ago. " They told of a game about pitching video games, you get three bullet points to pitch the next big video game. Whatever it is.  Jess continued, "And so from that we wanted to pitch more things and a lot of times we were just talking with friends and getting ideas. We would do it in pitch form."

I asked about their favorite pitch so far at IndieCade. Their answer, "It's a sitcom, with a laugh track, no actors." Yes, someone pitched Garfield Minus Garfield as a series essentially.

As of right now Pitch Fight! just has a explanation page online, no details on if it'll come out to be played, but more than likely a future Kickstarter. Right now Katie and Jess have another game for Kickstarter, Windup War: the Cutest Combat Card Game.

We'll wait for Pitch Fight!

These games would never have come up on our radar if not for IndieCade, that's what IndieCade does, shows you games you want to play and the fun of playing them.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

RE CREO vs GODZILLA: A Godzilla Themed Menu

Check out the menu for the special Godzilla-themed dinner for Oct 21st/Friday night's Re Creo Supper Club here in LA. At $95 per person it's no Baby-Godzilla meal. For G-Fans, the names really do fit.

Only 3 seats left while writing this.

Godzilla's Atomic Breath


Shiso-infused Sake, Japanese Gin, Kaffir Lime Syrup

Godzilla Vs The Sea Monster

Small Plate

Octopus Ceviche, Smoked Pee Wee Potatoes, Yuzu Pearls, Jalapeno Aioli

Kaiju Nest

Small Plate

Miso-Ricotta Gnocchi, Japanese Pumpkin Puree, Wasabi Salsa Verde

Godzilla Under The Sea

Small Plate

Golden Beet Tartare, Toasted Nori Chips, Grapefruit Foam

Ghidorah's Braised Shank


Shaoxing-Braised Pork Shank, Nasi Lemak Coconut Grits, Cilantro Slaw, Poached Egg

Godzilla Vs Hedorah


Tamarind Caramel Ice Cream, Green Tea Cake, Quinoa Crumble

Please Don't Bother Seeing Ouija: Origin of Evil

Now I'll start off by saying I want to see Boo! A Madea Halloween, I want to see it drunk, high or more than likely with a bad crowd who will make fun of it, because I myself don't drink or get high, but I could understand with that one. It's going to be a generic piece of work with jokes that are almost two decades old, ex, "I see white people."

Ouija: Origin of Evil will just be so bad it won't be able to be made fun of. At the cost of $6 mill, it's projected to make 15 mill opening weekend.I don't want it to make a penny.

Please don't bother seeing it, you have so many other options in the LA area and nationwide. Here's our own list of every other horror film screening.

Halloween 2016: Horror Festivals, Screenings & Entertainment

You have special screenings of classics and other new horror films to see. Each and every one of them is a better use of your money and time than this generic waste of a horror film.

The latest commercial for it  that we saw, well, it  used the same source for both its quotes, it was Culture Crypt which, as we look online writing this, doesn't even have the review up because it's been embargoed. 10/14/16

You'll also be lining the pockets of Micheal Bay, whose producing with his company Platinum Dunes. If you see Platinum Dunes going up before your movie, leave the theater.

Don't waste your Halloween on seeing something so predictable and thrown together that you'll be griping about it to your friends. Go out and see some serial killers you can trust.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

AkibaFest Little Tokyo's New Anime Convention

AkibaFest, Little Tokyo's own anime convention had it's first run last weekend. It showcased a number of booths from major anime and video game companies, showed off anime films and had special panels from voice actors.

For my sake, it was a few hours to walk around enjoy a few cosplayers and the anime community come out a look around Little Tokyo.

Mainly, it was located outside in the JACCC Plaza in tents.

You could stop by Bandai Namco to try Dragonball Xenoverse or head over to Marvelous XSeed's booth for Akiba's Beat, even hear a panel about the game coming.

Goodies were given out by Sentai Filmworks and Viz and you could have your picture taken with some tank girls from Girls Under Panzer.

If you wanted to watch something you had multiple screenings at the underutilized Aratani theater and the soon to be dead Downtown Independent, seriously how is that place still open?

One of the more strange booths- I wish there were more of them- was the Sony Music Communications booth showcasing an app where you can ask an anime girl, Asuna, to be your alarm and just random questions. You can get it here.
Fun to play with and total otaku material to have on your phone when bored. The giant HDTV's showcasing the app and Asuna in different costumes with microphones sharing any "question" you might ask made it the stand out booth of the show.

Nothing more than freebies made me hunger for more booths selling all sorts of anime goods at Anime Expo and other anime conventions. Only Anime Jungle, which you can just walk into-and it's get hard to miss with its domination of the first floor of the Village Plaza mall, was selling goods other than Aniplex.

As an anime fan, I think Aniplex needs to grow with some more community events. Yes, there was a Gunpla tournament and a cosplay contest, but I would like to see some more fun fan run panels. The schedule was more than open to fill in more.

I would like to see maybe NinjaCon, the first Little Tokyo anime convention I know about maybe helping out or being absorbed into AkibaFest for some more fan events. Aniplex could stop anything they didn't really like, but fans might create some more fulfilling events.

AkiaFest's name still bugs me as it really doesn't seem to have a solid connection to Akihabara, the Japanese otaku mecca. Same goes for the mascot that was suppose to be named, but never was.

The shirts for it were named Akibafest mascot.

The event felt more like a very nice selling event for Aniplex products.

The films chosen, well, many were already screened or have been in theaters. I would have liked to see a wider selection of anime on the big screen or even some video games, which the theaters nearby are more than capable of.

In the end it was a nice new attraction for Little Tokyo to have and celebrate anime. There's room for improvement and I hope sincerely to see it come back next year, with sold out days online it should.

Now some cosplay and more photos
more photos after jump