by Chantelle Bronkhorst
Sydney’s Fringe Festival once again pushed the boundaries of artistic expression when it hosted Brain Soup, the free indie video game showcase. The project called on the talents of some of Sydney’s emerging writers, artists, and musicians to work in teams to create three video computer games. Sydney bands Polyfox And The Union Of The Most Ghosts , B-L-T and Siesta performed on stage during the event.
The project was created to see what it takes to create a good video game, whether there is more to a popular video game than just an aesthetically designed interactive visual narrative.
The three games that made up Brain Soup were You Don’t Know About Space created by Alli Sebastian Wolf, Meg O’Shea, Tim Smith, Dan Holmes and Michael Wickens, Pariah-Assassin Butterfly From Hell created by Douglas Kean and Max Frickel, and Backus The Cat created by Sam Henning and Jack Latimer. Luke Pasquale Calarco managed the production of all three games.
Lena Klabukova, an avid video gamer, played all three games on the night. She said You Don’t Know About Space “was a lot like Super Mario, is very sweet but very slow to play”, Pariah- Assassin Butterfly From Hell “is very surreal and not very playable” and Backus The Cat is “very glitchy and but still fun to play”.
During the event, the three games were each set up on separate laptops to be played by one player at a time. The computers were connected to a projector that displayed the live play on a wall.
Janelle Hatch, of Newtown said “it’s a bit intimidating having the screen at the front of the room so that everyone will see you play”.
The event was held for just one day because Luke Calarco wanted to keep it simple and create “a feeling of urgency so more people would make the effort to come out and play the games”.
Sean Johnson is an avid video gamer and a big supporter of the indie scene. When asked if the experiment proved that gamers did not need any programming skills to create video games, he said “no, a good, popular and successful video game has to have a balance between many different factors including well technically programmed game design”. He added, “it’s good to see Indie Games being part of an event in Fringe”.