By Bastien Silty and translated by Maia Sefton.
During the past year we have had the chance to approach a great number of subjects, which include a huge number of independent video games.We studied these games by taking them out of the authors’ ludography. A ludography is a study of an author’s games as a whole. This year i will specify the stories of these creators and the studios. I will start with a main actor in the independent video game scene: Edmund McMillen.
Last year started with GREY, his fairy univers with colorful landscapes. But let us dare to stray away from that and to take more of an interest in the gross and muddy, meat, boogers and childhood traumas. In this very particular university of McMillen uncontested and unmatched we are going to take an interest in a few of his games such as: Super Meat Boy (2010 PC), Binding of Isaac (2011 PC and the different extensions like Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and Afterbirth), The End is Nigh(2017, PC and Switch) and The Legend of Bum-bo (2019, PC, Iphone, Switch).
To give you a quick rundown of the games we find 2 genres: The platform games with Gish, Super Meat Boy and The End is Nigh, but also Role Playing Games (RPG) with the different opuses of The Binding of Isaac and The Legend of Bum-bo. The platform games, here they are in two dimension, are games that consist of moving a character forward from a point A to a point B like the Mario games. The RPG gathers up all the games where the player becomes the character whose abilities evolve during the game. Even though a plethora of sous categories, we are going to specify 2 of them: Roguelike for Isaac and puzzles for Bum-bo. The term roguelike refers to games similar to Rogue (1980, PC and consoles). The player is a character moving from room to room collecting objects and experience that will allow him to become strong enough to defeat the final boss. The RPG puzzles consist of solving puzzles to unlock rewards that will make solving the next puzzle or fighting the next boss easier.
Going back to Edmund, born in California in 1980, he grew with his grandmother and his drawings of monsters. He abandonnes his career as a comic artist to throw himself into video games at the start of the 2000s. So it’s time to do a quick tour of his univers to understand just how the gross is obscured by the fun of the game?
McMillen strays from the recent watered down productions of video games, the most popular reason to explain the Fortnite (2017, PC) phenomenon is it’s gentleness and it’s childish design. Our independent creator starts his production by coding a huge heap of mud squishing his enemies, he then created a story around a boy made of meat saving the princess of plasters from the hands of the evil Dr.Foetus. What followed was a sketch of a child who cries to defend himself from a mother who is possessed by Christ, who is trying to kill him, so he must insert himself into her uterus to destroy her heart. On a nicer note, you have to collect human limbs to build a friend while a baby throws his teeth, poop, boogers and tears at cardboard enemies. If all this seems very pictorial, it isn’t, that is literal the description of the game.
In the Tack n°9 and the study of the revolution of a genre with Celestewe have seen that a successful gameplay is necessary for a game to be recognised by its peers. McMillen had a stellar gameplay to be recognised as an excellent game creator. He handles the curve progression brilliantly. Thus, the game gets harder and harder the more and more you play it.