Gamma 256, the Kokoromi Collective

Gamma 256 - photo by Simon Law
Photo by Simon Law from the Gamma 256 set

I was at Gamma 256, an event organized by the Kokoromi collective, a Montreal-based group of game developers. Gaming and the industry of gaming is definitely a big thing in this city.

It was essentially a gig of electronic music inspired from the 8-bit era. Not of actually NES era music, but rather the use of retro means of music production to compose music suited to today's tastes. It was also a stage for independent game designers to showcase their various games that had to fit the 8-bit ambiance (without necessarily being of 8-bit stock), and a 256 by 256 screen (thus the name of the event / contest).

Most of the games did not have instructions, and most were very intriguing. This is probably the nostalgic / conservative Me showing, but I always liked low-tech games with a cool, original and imaginative concept. For instance, there was this game called "Passage", which was played on a narrow horizontal screen. The very roughly-pixelized characters walk along the corridor, with the camera view following them. You can walk up and down to find a way rightwards between obstacles of various kind. Slowly, the characters drift from one end of the corridor, and finally die off.

In most cases, it is the simplicity of the games, although made with today's means, that is disconcerting. One of the games w/o instructions was this one where you were a pixel dot that moved in an environment of square-based shapes that sometimes resembled a factory, subterranean cave or macroscopic organism, populated with other dots (or more complex amalgams of dots) set to defeat you.

Among minimalistic reinterpretation of gaming, some other games decided instead to poke fun at classics. One zombie platform had the character run and jump around with a lawnmower transforming enemies into waves (literally) of blood or zombie jello, on which he could surf to reach the higher platform.

Gamma 256 - photo by Simon Law
Photo by Simon Law from the Gamma 256 set

Games showcased at Gamma 256 will be available on their website for download.



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This page contains a single entry by Cedric published on December 1, 2007 4:08 PM.

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