Like a baby bird emerging from within the fragile shell of the week gone by, the Dreamview Weekly Roundup comes cautiously tippy-tappy-tipping - breaking through into the light of another Friday. How beautiful, the miracle of life. How precious.
Will you nurture this baby bird? Will you allow it to twitter tales to you - tales of five excellent creations to check out in Dreams this weekend - and allow it to take flight in your heart? Or will you put it between two slices of bread and call it a day? I think we both know what the correct and moral answer is, don't we. Read on if you're not a monster.
Tomb of the Pixel King#
Estimated playtime: Replayable
Games didn’t always tell you everything you needed to know. Sometimes, they couldn’t! And their technical limitations would sometimes be their greatest asset: who among us doesn’t have fond memories of obscure RPGs that took hours to decode with the help of game manuals, tip hotlines and patient older siblings? There was a sense of adventure to it all - a sense that Magawaan captures beautifully with retro Roguelike dungeon crawler Tomb of the Pixel King. The game itself is simple enough: you must move hero Barbara through randomly generated levels, picking up daggers to slay monsters and shovels to dig for treasure, while collecting helpful trinkets and dodging traps and curses.
But it’s the framework it’s set in that’s truly magical. The first phase of each dungeon is a ‘Fantasy’ phase, during which you as the player decide exactly what each pixel represents, manifesting the contents of each dungeon - sometimes with the help of a full in-game manual - before beginning the ‘Play’ phase. It’s wonderful for two reasons: firstly, it introduces a level of puzzle-like intrigue, as you make choices to set up each stage in an optimal way, working with or fighting against RNG. But secondly, and no less importantly, is what this mechanic represents emotionally: that feeling of being a giddy kid to which just 15 levels feels an unclimbable mountain, and everything is a mystery partially revealed with the help of a manual or simply by your own interpretation. Play it in VR to further increase the nostalgic effect of it all - physically looking down at the paper on which you’re tracking health, coins and items, or off to the left as you look up in the manual which blasted curse has killed you this time, is utterly transportive.
Estimated playtime: 5 mins
Tapio_X’s growth as an environment artist continues apace, as evidenced by this haunting and exquisitely formed playable concept for their upcoming project, RAD. An abandoned neighbourhood washed in green tones and littered with burnt-out cars sets the scene; motionless mechs stand like statues as we walk by. There’s a softness, a blurriness to this place, in which the ragged edges of nature bleed into the rubble of mankind. Happily, the creator plays on this by introducing a zoom with auto-focus, allowing us to peer at each tiny, heart-rending detail as the chaos around us swims dreamily in our peripheral vision.
Fishing with an Internet#
Estimated runtime: 2 mins
Feeling disillusioned with creating capital-C Content on the Internet? [No comment. - Ed] Then we may have just found your new personal theme tune. Fishing with an Internet is a wonderfully grungy ode to the exhaustion of trying to make it big online, all grumbling punk guitar and trashy drums as moonpawg croons a humorous, melodic alt-manifesto over the top of this wall of sound and apathy. The track is a standout all on its own, but WileyisCOOL’s visual support only elevates it, conjuring up the curiously expressive stick figures of the early web art scene as a full band. If only those Flash-era characters could see the Internet now, they might write a song just like this one.
Estimated playtime: N/A
In Voyage, artist RAGENOIRE777777 plays with shade and scale to create a portrait with real dimensionality. It’s an exploration of someone’s mind: dark, twisting lines snake along the face and down the neck, suggesting both tunnels and veins. In the space at the top of the head, waves crash under a glowing moon, while shadowy figures dance in the eyes. The camera is your friend here, automatically zooming into the tiny scenes taking place within this strange soul and entirely changing your perspective on each part of the painting. If we had one suggestion for the artist, though, it’d be to update the cover image, which is slightly unclear without the context of the full, mesmerising piece of art (if anyone’s curious about marketing their creations effectively, check out our tips and tools for making a great cover image).
Estimated runtime: 2 mins
Look, it’s been a chaotic week. We’re mere days away from the start of our 4th Annual Impys festival, and we’re flat-out getting everything prepared for the biggest coMmunity celebration of the year. All praise to the ever-brilliant musician mikineko, then, for releasing what is surely the most accurate - and catchy - representation of our mental state right now. The melody lollops along at a ridiculous pace: rhythm, cowbells, cosmic clarinets and 808 synths playing their hearts out while raucous laughter (accompanied by bodacious screen-shake) peals in the background, occasionally punctuated by the odd scream of terror. It might sound frenzied and disorderly, but it all makes a compelling, harmonic, euphoric kind of sense when it comes together. Here’s hoping the same can be said about the Impys, eh?
Check out the playable edition of this week's Dreamview Weekly Roundup right here in Dreams!
Which creations caught your eye in the Dreamiverse this week, and why? Tell us about your personal picks over on the official Dreams forums!(opens in new tab)
The Dreams User Guide is a work-in-progress. Keep an eye out for updates as we add more learning resources and articles over time.