A Loving Look at the Narrative Themes in Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises
[Warning: there are spoilers in this]
The last film from Miyazaki is not a fantastical action-adventure tale that joins the ranks of Porco Rosso, Laputa and Princess Mononoke. It is not a touching, coming-of-age journey to join Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service. The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu) is an entirely realistic, historically-inspired, fictional biography of Jiro Horikoshi, the acclaimed Japanese aircraft engineer during World War II. While it may be partially regrettable that another entry in either of those two aforementioned Miyazaki-mastered genres is not likely to be made, this film is not in any way a disappointment, rather it is a radical triumph and potentially his most narratively complex work.
While masterful in the many ways expected of a Miyzaki feature, the film’s most unique strength is that it manages to convey deeply complex themes through a series of narratives that are elegant in their pacing, touching in their melodrama, but heavily haunted by their context. It’s an eerie, heartbreaking, and wonderful movie. Continue reading
Here are some games that I enjoyed playing quite a bit and were either released or updated in some form in 2013.
League of Legends
Far and away my personal game of the year was League of Legends. If you want to get specific to 2013, then “Season 3″ of League of Legends. I truly identified as a League player during 2013 and it’s where the vast majority of my video game playing time was devoted. In addition to that I spent countless hours watching professional play and reading the forums and subreddit. I went from a new player to a Silver I rank and that profound, painful, hilarious, rewarding mess of an experience was something I’ll never forget. I’ve taken a break from the game since Season 3, but I hope to return shortly.
A picture I took from the League of Legends Season 3 World Championships
This post is a bit late, but I got to show two games at this year’s awesome Indiecade festival in L.A.
Color Zen was shown in the Digital Selects: Reflection curation in the Indiecade Village.
I am super excited to announce that Color Zen, a mobile game I designed with the team at Large Animal Games, launched on the iOS App Store and Android Google Play Store today. Get more info here.
The game I worked on in collaboration with artist Shiho Pate, and with background music by Nathaniel Chambers, was lucky enough to win not only the Juror’s Prize for Best Game, but also 2nd Place in the Audience Choice Award at this years Global Game Jam at NYU.
I had a lot of fun making the game and am really proud of it. Check out more info here.
I just ‘ported’ Thawed, the first digital game I ever worked on, to an HTML page thanks to the awesome tool Twine.
Check it out here, or by clicking the image.
Recently, as requested by a few students and alums of the NYU Game Center, I created a sample project based off of a 2D platformer I made so that other students could work and learn from it. Beyond just creating and distributing the code, I wanted to make a brief Beginner’s Guide for anyone looking to start making games – specifically, 2D games using Flixel. This requires almost no programming knowledge really, rather just an interest to open up some code and poke around in it.
What is Flixel, you ask? Well the Flixel site answers it like this:
“Flixel is an open source game-making library that is completely free for personal or commercial use. Written entirely in Actionscript 3, and designed to be used with free development tools, Flixel is easy to learn, extend and customize.”
Basically, it’s a library of classes you include in your ActionScript3 project to make a lot of things easier for you. To get started, try to follow this guide to get setup with FlashDevelop or FlashBuilder (hint: you can get a free license of FlashBuilder from Adobe if you’re a student). Once installed, try to follow parts of this Hello, World guide here. However, with that one, about halfway down a ton of the images are currently missing due to some problems with FlashGameDojo. Continue reading
Sometime in 2010 a professor recommended I look into the Flixel library for Flash when I expressed to him both my interest in making a game and my complete lack of technical skills. I had almost no programming experience whatsoever.
However, given that piece of advice I decided to dive in. Below is a quick overview of the process that ensued before I ended up with this game Chip that I recently “released.”
After installing FlashBuilder (as I work on a Mac this was my only option), I started with the Flixel Hello World tutorial. This great resource talks you through setting up your Flixel Project for the first time, which can be overly intimidating due to small annoyances such as the need for a blank Default.css file and the additional compiler arguments you need to go with it in order to get the Flixel Preloader to run. (This may be fixed in a new version, but I still use flixel 2.34).
This past weekend I participated in the 2012 Global Game Jam. I worked for ~36 hours in Flash/Flixel to come up with this prototype I named “Pursuing the Infinite,” after a talk by Flixel-creator Adam Saltsman at this past year’s Indiecade. The theme of the jam was the Ouroboros, and I wanted to encapsulate that through a sense of infinity, inevitability and a blurring of the lines between helping and hurting.
I think the system of the game is fairly interesting: blue gives you points, but speeds you out of control, while red slows you down, but takes away a big chunk of life. It definitely needs something further – some overarching goal or strategy on top of this. Yet as a 2-day work, it’s not a terrible arcade-style game. Anyways, enjoy!
Click the picture to play!
Very excited to announce that as of this week I’ll be working as a Game Designer at Large Animal Games!
Best logo in the Games industry.