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Friday, May 10, 2013

UCLA Game Arts Festival 2013 Review Part 2

Continuing the review of UCLA Game Arts Festival 2013

Developers Voice- Richard Hofmeier, UCLA Game Arts Festival Host, Curator, Game Maker
"My hope is that we broaden games, get them in front of folks who maybe, don't know or unfamiliar with games or they think there all Call of Duty or Super Mario Bros and that some really great things are being made by humans in the spirit of video games and that spirit of fine arts or cinema or poetry ... and called a game."
"My main concern, I think games are a great way of accomplishing this goal is taking the snakes tale out of it's mouth and introducing it to a new diet. Bring other people into the conversation"
"... I think this is the future, no matter your discipline... no matter what your discipline is interactive software is going to find it's way into your life and I think games are going to get there first, we're there now."


The name Space Nom Nom came to mind, but instead of a shooter how about a eater? Using the Kinect, use your mouth to eat up birds while dodging missiles. You control a polygon green cat head and must eat birds to gain points. A pleasure to watch others play as they look rather silly chomping away at thin air.
Sadly, with anything Kinect it didn't work right away. The Kinect camera had to be moved and faces aligned to get chomping away. When it did work it accurately captured people's head a mouth movements to chomp birds.
Stop copying me! It's even more creepy when a baby does it. Using the Kinect watch as baby mimic your facial movements. A friend suggested why not put it in a Haunted House? A novel idea. As with anything from Kinect some times it worked sometimes it didn't.

Based on Indian folklore you have to swat a ball into your opponents watery goal. You do this with both a number of jumps and fight moves. Take the ball with force or steal it. Don't run out of jumps and fall into the water, it will be your death. With minimal graphics this game pulls off being a delight to look at with multiple arenas to serve balls in, different stylized characters and  from Indian influence.
Playing against an opponent was tough and the game didn't have any problems, it should be on PSN or Xbox Live if more characters are added.
I talked to one of the Arcade Kids who now works at thatgamecompany, makers of Journey, about this student made game. He gave me some playful insight I'd say it's mostly similar to Jet Set Grind Radio, even though developer never played it. Wall grind and seemingly skate on an endless amount of Doritos (sand) to eventually try and get to the moon. It's basically a skate game with trying to get around, but with very colorful graphics. The reason your wearing a cowboy hat? At first the game was suppose to be a western where you ride a horse, but eventually that got tuned out, but the cowboy hat was kept.
Play a new version of Snake on a wooden cabinet using green lasers. The lasers are projected from inside the unit and the games get quite fast. A new way to play a classic from cell phones  and TI calculators.


This exploration title grabbed me with it's art style. The concept here is to learn to communicate with animals by matching the symbols they make. The game is still a little hard to follow, you have to do things in the right order and it's more of sound game that doesn't work well in the presence of a crowd and live music.

I got lost in this intriguing game that will never be on the 3DS, but would fit perfectly with it's separate screes. It's the 1980's, your immigration inspector at the border gate and you have to see whose trying to illegally get into your country. Old-school graphics with the bizarre idea and the way you have to look through people's paper leads to one of the most addictive games of the UCLA Game Art Festival.
I'm happy to report it was greenlit on Steam recently.
Now let's go over a final review of UCLA Game Arts Festival 2013 Edition.
Contributing a huge amount of games to get addicted too, plus an environment open and friendly for everyone  was a wonderful way to play and learn about games you might not hear of. The Hammer was an excellent choice of venue for it's connection to the art community and so close to UCLA.
The Negatives
-To  me, as always with these type of event games is the tacked on bands. I'm fine with some great music in the background, but put speakers away from one's head or incorporate head phones for the titles so people can enjoy game music.
-Space for lines and standing should be re-thought. There looked like there were plenty of  open areas left out that could have been used for game space.
-Invisible Call of Duty, wow...Not! Try something new, a video of errors would have been more entertaining.
This was still a success of an overall festival where people could try out new games in an open space and chat with other gamers and connect. How bad would outdoor arcades be? If they were only possible every day. Richard Hofmeier hosting the event made for nice breaks and great dialogue in-between games where you could learn about them on the big screen.
This is a game festival that grows each year and let's you see games you might miss with all the big companies out there. There's so many titles out there and so much you can miss. I still missed out a bunch of titles I wanted to try in the time alotted. Luckily, you can play many of them through the link below.

For the rest of the games go here and scroll down with links to what's playable
This years edition was a success and probably something I'll play again with the 2014 edition comes out, keep it up UCLA Game Lab, you'll beat USC one day. *They actually did lose in a competition, but it might have been at Call of Duty Black Ops.
Buy it now!
Oh, wait you can't it's not really a game!