Monday, February 23, 2009

Noby Noby Boy

Katamari Damacy was the greatest $20 I've ever spent on a video game. It is completely deserving of its praise and the little niche its carved for itself in the gaming community. When the sequel came about, the creator didn't want to make any more games, but was forced, and We Love Katamari (despite being a really excellent sequel) was built on spite. When asked about Noby Noby Boy, he said he "didn't really know why he made it", which was a little concerning. I was worried they were going to force him to make something again and that it would be even more spiteful. I was very wrong.

Noby Noby Boy is the best $5 I've ever spent on a video game. It absolutely has the same spirit as Katamari, and while Katamari is more of a game than it is art, Noby Noby Boy is more art than it is a game.

There are no objectives in Noby Noby Boy, there's nothing to stop you from stretching any length you want, and there's no heads up display at all. You play as Boy (there is also Girl, Sun, and Fairy as supporting cast). One analog stick controls the front section of the body, and one the back. The shoulder buttons control camera and allow you to jump (and eat and poop, repectivley). You can eat objects of certain size, and in order to eat and store more you have to stretch (which you do by pulling both ends away from each other), otherwise you fire objects out of your back end like a cannon. So while that's really all you do, whatever you want, if you go into the menu you can "report length" of your Boy, which is then added to Girl, who sits on top of the earth. At the moment, Girl is trying to reach the Moon, and since the game is online, people all over the world contribute, and Girl gets longer, pretty much like a communal Katamari. When Girl reaches the Moon, we get a new stage, as well as all the rest of the planets in the solar system.

That's about all there is to it. You pretty much just do whatever the hell you want. (As of writing this, Girl reached the moon, and indeed, the moon stages are populated with different kinds of weird shit)

Noby Noby Boy's graphics are excellent, everything looks either perfectly square or perfectly round, and on an HD set, it's sharp enough to cut tomatoes. It's not quite physics based in the same way as Little Big Planet, but Boy's rope like animations are ridiculously convincing. watching food travel through his brightly colored segments is one of the most hypnotic things I've ever found in a video game. The sound design is equally pacifying, with weird baritones and bass to accompany both stretching and eating, as well as a gentle acoustic guitar soundtrack, put you in a real Zen state. This is easily one of the most beautiful games ever made, and up there with Wind Waker, Team Fortress 2, and Okami.

So bottom line is, it's totally unprecedented. This game has never been seen before. And it's great. I've thrown it on a bunch already even though I've only had it for 5 days. I'm as engaged by it as any other video game, and oh yeah, it's five fucking dollars. It's really hard to find fault in a game that costs $5. The controls aren't perfect, but honestly Katamari's are kind of awkward at times too. The biggest problem is the camera, which relies on the six axis too much and can be tough to wrestle into position.

This would be the part where I tell you to go buy it but that's actually kind of hard. It's exclusive to the PS3 for now, (and a bargain title on the PS3 is pretty ironic), which effectively keeps it out of the hands of millions of people. True, the graphics might not look as good if it were on the Wii, but it would be identical on the 360, and I doubt that Microsoft would care enough to fight for the right to make it available. Which is really a shame, because this is one of those games the whole world should play. If you know someone with a PS3, please check it out, I emplore you. I'm guessing if you're reading this that person is probably me, so you're welcome anytime to play it at my house.

The last game I played like this was fl0w, which is actually less of a game than Noby Noby Boy (and I think more expensive) and was also on the PS3. fl0w was pretty cool, but Noby Noby Boy is much more. It should be at the Guggenheim. There's something about playing it that's like being patted on the head by God.

It's a poem, a little playable poem.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Builders and The Butchers

Parker took me to the Murder by Death concert at the Bluebird in Denver today (yesterday?) and it was really fantastic. The first band, Fake Problems, was ok and seemed like pretty cool guys (and also had a shirt for sale with a polar bear on it... like ours, but not as good), but the second band, The Builders and the Butchers, was amazing. If you like Rock Plaza Central, which you should, you will love these guys. They had a singer with an acoustic guitar, two drummers that traded off and did other things like mandolin, an acoustic bass player (with an excellent, excellent mustache) and a mandolin/ banjo player who looked enough like Brian Posehn to make me very happy (I GOT TO SHAKE HIS HAND AND TELL HIM HOW AWESOME HE WAS AFTER THE SHOW). My favorites so far are Bottom of the Well and Coal Mine Fall. Give them a listen.

Needless to say, Murder by Death was extremely good, despite Denver's weird aversion to...showing any emotion at all towards music really. One of the best Valentine's Days in recent memory, which is good because it's usually miserable. I also played D&D for about 7 and a half hours today (which reminds me: Murder by Death mentioned a drinking game called Wizard's Death. You keep drinking beers until you have enough cans to stack up and make a staff, the lead singer informed us that he's a level 21 Wizard) which was also incredible cool.

Happy fake holidays people! I certainly hope you were not miserable, but if you were, listen to some Builders and the Butchers and cheer up, or revel in Murder by Death's incredible stark look at American life. Or drink.

You hold the keys to your future!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tea Pot Watch '09 Part II



Holy hell it actually worked! Both pots are doing splendidly only a week after their inception. The sprouts are actually uprooting some of the soil in layers which is not something I expected. I'm still really surprised this actually worked.
Still has a week and a half to go before it's due, so that means I don't have anything to do in 3D design expect fuck around (yay?) and hang out with Marina (yay!). Guess I'll just have to start doing Crow logos or something.