Tag Archive: gaming


GlitchHiker

I promised that the next game I blogged about would be one where you kill things. Well, let me introduce you to glitchhiker.

The Glitchhiker game develops more glitches as it loses its lives

Glitchhiker was a game, but you can’t play it any more – because the game died.

Glitchhiker was an experimental game created for the Global Game Jam 2011. The theme was extinction.

The aim of the game is to collect coins and avoid glitches. If you manage to collect 200 coins then the game, Glitchhiker, gains a life. If you collect less that 100 coins then the game loses a life.

I imagine that now you might be thinking “Hang on a second though, the game gains and loses lives?” Yeah, that’s where the extinction part comes in. Each game is connected to a single central server, which monitors the games overall health. When the game loses all of it’s health the server shuts itself down and the game dies. The game is extinct.

I heard about Glitchhiker at a session at GDC, where one of the designers described their project. He described how people seemed to build a genuine emotional connection to the game. Some people refused to play the game. They were scared of the prospect of potentially harming the game, and were unwilling to take on the responsibility. Some players who failed to collect 100 coins were genuinely upset to the point of tears at having played a part in the game’s demise.

Glitchhiker died after just 6 hours of play.

You can find out more about it here.

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Zen Puzzle Garden

I’ve been playing a couple of spiritual puzzle games recently. The first is Zen Puzzle Garden.

In Zen Puzzle Garden you take on the role of a gardener in a Japanese rock garden. You have to figure out a way to rake all the sand so the rock garden looks nice. To solve the puzzle you have to make sure all the sand is raked. Once you start raking you travel in the same direction until you hit something; then you choose which direction to go next. You’re not allowed to re-rake any area and later on more elements are added, such as leaves that you have to pass in a particular order, or statues you can push.

A completed zen garden puzzle.

I think what I like most about this game is its simplicity. It’s rules are simple, The graphics are simple, the sound is simple, and despite being a puzzle game it really is quite relaxing to play. The gameplay seems somehow pure. I find if I’m stuck with whatever I’m working on a quick puzzle on zen garden helps me to refocus myself.

I also like the fact that and this sort of thing is well within the abilities of our students, if they can come up with that gem of an idea.

There’s also a fancier version, if you’re lucky enough to have an iPad.