PEGBRJE: SilverQuest Gaiden and Astæria

Time to delve into the dungeon — of the 80S PROBABLY

SilverQuest Gaiden is a retro dungeon crawling title made by Wolfgame, an American studio that I previously heard from their work on the PS Vita port of VA-11 Hall-A (odd thing to remember, I’m aware). In this alpha version, players take control of a dungeoneer in the form of a wizard, warrior or rogue as they move throughout a 1-bit retro dungeon.

It’s hard to feel nostalgic for an era that I personally never experienced, but SilverQuest Gaiden does a great job of setting the scene. There are only two colours to create the world, so detail is necessary for each tile to distinguish itself from the others. Each icon and tile is fairly distinguishable from the rest as exploration through the dungeon continues, with the only moving characters being the player and any enemies. Interesting note, enemies only move when the player does; meaning that to get the jump on enemies, players need to initiate combat rather than being initiated upon. Positioning is more important than I initially thought, but it’s super easy to pick up on.

What makes SilverQuest Gaiden stand out is in its approach to modding, as in to say that it was made to be modded. All of the assets are exposed to the player in the game files, so anything can be altered at the player’s whim. Want new colours instead of the grey/black and white? Boom the game is now in pink and purple. Looking to add new enemies, or alter the map tiles? That is complete available and encouraged. The developers explicitly wish that the final product will encourage hobbyist modders and first time gamers to learn of a game’s inner workings and have fun tinkering, which is a nice addition. As the title is also in a 1bit style, it could also serve as a small history lesson on the limitations of the past — although this may be slightly skewed as we of the modern era have a few too many tools at our disposal to make old development practices seem easy and streamlined.

I wish I had more to talk of for SilverQuest Gaiden, and there may be in the future. The game is on Alpha v.12 currently, with the developer hoping to return to it in the future. Currently the title has a simple system in place to adventure through a 1bit dungeon, find items and fight enemies and animals alike in your quest to… well, that’s up to you. If you are nostalgic for a bygone era of 1bit games, this may be a title worth looking into. For those wanting to get into modding, this is definitely a title to look at for internal workings being easily and readily available to learn. Happy modding.

Even after rereading it numerous times, the words used as still really hard to explain to any kid under the age of 12.

Astaeria is a visual experience made by the solo dev prophetgoddess, whom some may remember from nullpointer earlier on in the bundle. Players enter a generated world based around a poem either pre-packaged or fed into the game and explore the world generated. To keep with the theme, the musical arrangement by Matt Read is procedurally generated as well.

Upon loading the game, Astaeria gives the option for a dozen different poems that have come pre-loaded. I didn’t recognize all of them, so I selected the one most familiar to me: Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. Upon selection, the neon world was built, the cubes were created, the piano began to play and the words of the poem visualized. For the next two minutes, I was in a bizarre trance, reading the words in the centre of the screen while maneuvering across a landscape of cubes and colours as they swirled around me. I don’t know how else to describe it other than surreal, having the world seemingly rotate around me as I read about the Jabberwocky.

There’s an interesting idea of displaying text as visual arts done within Astaeria that isn’t easily explainable, as indicated by just how little I had to say. Generating images and music based on words isn’t something that makes sense, nor does it need to. What it does do, however, is give a fantastic way of reaching those who may not enjoy reading poems a way of discovering some classics. Getting to explore a surrealist world while expanding the brain with books is never a bad thing, and if there is anyone in your life that may benefit from this practice I encourage utilizing this game for said purpose. Or if you just want to read a poem yourself, explore this world and enjoy it at your own pace.

Links to both:

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Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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