Friday, December 26, 2008

4k and Games and Passage

The Java 4k competition is where people submit game entries that take up 4kb of space or less. You can read more about it on the site's about page, or the rules, but there's not much more to it.

It's pretty amazing what people can do, using such little space.  Oftentimes, a full-sized game is emulated, and shrunk down to 4kb.  An example of this is Left 4k Dead.  It's pretty fun, but really hard.  I can't speak for how true it is to Left 4 Dead, since I haven't yet had the pleasure of playing it.

The winner from 2008 is a game called Spiderball4k, and your goal is to get the ball into the circle.  You control your 'arms' which you shoot out like Spiderman shoots out his webs.  If you touch any walls or objects you die.  Difficult, but fun.

Fkconflict is a fun version of Risk.  Instead of choosing which countries to attack and move from, they are randomly selected.  During a round, a random country is selected, and you can choose to attack from that country, move from that country or pass.  Another random country is selected, and this continues until all countries have been selected.  A pretty fun take on the game.

Another one that's not really worth a screen is Scr4mble.  It's fun, mostly cause I love word games.  It's a great example of how 4k or 4 is often cleverly inserted into the title.  Left 4k Dead is one of the best in that regard.

Passage isn't a 4k game, but it's graphics/simplicity remind me of it.  It is an artsy game which lasts 5 minutes.  Before you read any further, I suggest you go play it, since it's impossible to discuss without spoilers.

Last warning before I start talking about it...  I didn't get at first, which is to be expected, since it's on the weird/artsy side, but I liked it by the end of it.  Given that the end is only 5 minutes away, it doesn't take long to warm up to.  Your first choice, marriage or not?  You get more points by being married, but that damned woman holds you back.

If you avoid marriage, and live the single life, you get less points, but you have more manuevarbility.  You can go around hunting treasure in a maze, and don't have to worry about finding openings that you can both fit in.  (Not meant to sound dirty...)

It got pretty big coverage, here's a few articles on it.  I played through it twice, and don't feel like I've learned anything, (since I already knew to avoid women) but I feel a tear in my eye...  (But not really, I'm too manly for that.)



ultima301 said...

Wow seriously? I was just about to do a post on Passage. It's the best argument that video games can be an art form I've ever seen. It was really sad how if you choose marriage your spouse eventually dies and your speed gets halved for the rest of your life due to grief. And how with marriage is more rewarding to explore new things, but means it's harder to pursue challenges and reap their rewards. It's something any gamer should try out.

Richard R. said...

Neat. I did not know about this. And the best argument for video games as art is Shadow of the Colossus, hands down.

ultima301 said...

Shadow is good, but I think passage is much more of an art kind of experience. What makes it great is how it's relatable to any other art form, in that there's no real correct way to interpret it. Other than the basic control scheme you can do pretty much whatever you want and take from it whatever you think it's trying to say. The author had a purpose and intent but it's open enough that a lot of interpretations can come of it. You don't get that kind of thing from Shadow or many other games.

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