Epic Gumdrop Ep 3: Spiel des EMP

EMP Indie Game Revolution

This week on Epic Gumdrop we talk about the 2015 Spiel des Jahres nominees, a trip to the EMP and more:

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Spiel des Jahres nominees have been announced. And they are…

Colt Express
Machi Koro
The Game: Spiel…so lange du kannst

We both love Colt Express. But I thought it was aimed at the kid market, so assumed this was a Kinderspiel nominee. It’s not!

And we just picked up Machi Koro this past weekend and so far the family has been loving it. My daughter, who just turned five (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!), was really enjoying this. It will take a few more plays before she fully gets it but it’s a great math exercise buried under a cute, fun game. This is exactly the kind of thing educational gamemakers should strive for. We touch on that a bit this episode, but that’s a whole conversation unto itself.

Have not played The Game, although W. Eric Martin over at Board Game Geek gives it high praise so it’ll have to be added to the Endless List of Fantastic Games Not Yet Bought.


EMP Indie Game Revolution

Since we took a family trip to Seattle we stopped in at the EMP and checked out the Indie Game Revolution space they’ve set up. The pitch they give is:

Learn how a new breed of gamers are leaving their mark on gaming history at EMP’s Indie Game Revolution. Featuring the stories of more than forty independent video game developers, designers, coders, composers, and critics, EMP presents a dynamic, immersive space inviting you to witness the present and future of gaming as it unfolds.

And we had loads of fun. Far more than viewing the Star Wars costumes they had, which only the five year old appreciated. Because she loves Vader. And Daleks. I think I’m going to have to worry about her teenage years.

The games we really enjoyed were Nidhogg which the 7 year old LOVED. Maybe it’s because he got to chase me around with a sword and make me spurt 8-bit blood all over. Maybe because it seemed so senseless and silly and it appealed to the absurdist in him. Either way, it was his favourite.

EMP Indie Game Revolution

My favourite, which we all enjoyed quite a lot, was Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime which will be put out by Toronto-based Asteroid Base games. It’s not out yet, but it is such great co-op fun that we’re really looking forward to it. Here’s their blurb, check out their website for video:

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a frantic 1- or 2-player couch co-op action game coming to Xbox One and Steam (PC + Mac). Explore a colourful galaxy in a massive neon battleship that you control together by manning turrets, lasers, shields and thrusters. Only through teamwork can you triumph over evil robots, rescue kidnapped space bunnies, and avoid a vacuumy demise. Deep space is a dangerous place, but you don’t have to face it alone!

And one of the most impressive that my daughter and wife were engrossed by is Never Alone. It is simply gorgeous and the minute you get into it you are absorbed. On their site they say:

We paired world class game makers with Alaska Native storytellers and elders to create a game which delves deeply into the traditional lore of the Iñupiat people to present an experience like no other. Never Alone is our first title in an exciting new genre of “World Games” that draw fully upon the richness of unique cultures to create complex and fascinating game worlds for a global audience.

The gameplay is simple, but having your characters perform actions like bracing against the oncoming wind really sucks you in. This is a game that makes you think a lot about the potential for games to communicate bigger ideas, to bridge cultures and make us think outside of ourselves. We loved it and want more like this.

EMP Indie Game Revolution

A few others I’m looking forward to trying more of include The Floor is Jelly which is basically what it sounds like but with great sounds and lovely graphics and less rats than you’d imagine because of all the jelly everywhere, as well as The Bridge which is a sketchy looking puzzly game (as in the drawing style is sketch-like). There were a bunch of other games, all worth checking out.

There was also conversation about the idea of Indie Gaming, the development process, etc etc etc which I wanted to get into but my kids couldn’t care less about that when there is fun to be had. At the end of it there are amazing games being made by tiny studios and this is the joyous age of gaming we live in. And if it all goes well our kids will never know it was any other way. So if you’re around the Seattle area check that out, and if not check out their site to watch videos and learn more.


This episode we also chat about Evolution, which neither of us have played but which gave James a knee-jerk response and got us thinking about education and gaming.


We also talk about Friedemann Friese’s Friday, which is helping my son practice negative number math. Learning buried in games!

And Jeff is looking forward to some competitive Dice Masters and D&D: Attack Wing which we’ll hopefully hear about next episode, if he doesn’t die from the deep, deep cold while waiting for Arctic Scavengers.