Salt Fest 2014: Day Two

Posted May 19, 2014 in
Gaming Cuisine Competitive League Halo 4 finals, Organized Confusion vs. Utah Noobs.
Gaming Cuisine Competitive League Halo 4 finals, Organized Confusion vs. Utah Noobs. Utah Noobs won in the final game! Photo: Matt Brunk (unlifephotography.com)

The first game I played was called Together, developed by Mount Olympus Games. The concept for the game was simple–two players teamed up to solve puzzles as mother and son. The art in Together really set it apart, featuring unconventional character designs and smooth animations. Lyle Cox, the lead designer, joked that gamers are used to playing as a white dude with a gun. It’s not too often they get to play as a little middle-eastern boy and his hijab-wearing mother. The gameplay was really solid, and I found myself picking up on the core concepts pretty quickly with my partner. Before long, we were learning from our mistakes and coordinating strategies to nail timing-based puzzles that felt reasonably challenging, but also lightweight enough to appeal to the casual crowd.

Cox says that Mount Olympus Games wants to benefit society through gaming, and that the main attraction to making a cooperative game was to encourage people to work with and learn from each other as they play. He wants Together to be approachable enough that parents will be able to play it with their kids, giving them some common ground to interact in. While the game is still in the early-mid stage of its development, that core element of its design shines through, and I genuinely enjoyed my time playing it. Keep an eye out for the company’s upcoming Kickstarter for the game, and check out Cox’s blog. After putting down the controller, my partner introduced himself as David Hurst–engineer, composer, and game developer for Tripleslash Studios. He invited me to check out Magnetic by Nature, which Megan Kennedy covered in her day one coverage. I was definitely impressed with the game, and I especially enjoyed how he and Paige Ashlynn discussed the various level designs as I stumbled through them.

Then, Matt Brunk came to endure his second day of disappointment. Poor guy. We joked about the depressing turnout and the utter lack of enthusiasm we were getting from all the events going on around us. We decided to subject ourselves to a The Sims panel, wandering into the same empty conference room I had just narrowly escaped. Sure enough, the same girl was lingering at the microphone, completely alone. We strode in and sat in the front row.

Nobody else came. The three of us sat and joked about how The Sims really is just an elaborate murder-torture simulator, and discussed optimal strategies for ruining the lives of those poor, poor sims. Apparently, your sims can die by being devoured by fruit flies. How did I miss that? Just lock them in a room with a bunch of dirty dishes and wait a few agonizing days before they get swarmed to death by a cloud of ravenous flies. We talked about future iterations of the series and mused a bit about features we’d like to see in The Sims 4, but in the end it felt like we were all just bullshitting and trying to pass the time.