February 26th, 2013 NYC Gaming' Demo Night
On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, OLC attended NYC Gaming's Demo Night, which featured seven developers, each showcasing their unique and exciting games. Alec Andronikov of Just Sing It, Julian Volyn of Tin Man Can, Jim Babb of Bout, Vikram Subramanian of Tossers, Josh Raab of Nika, Nikhil Sinha of Spell or Die and Jon Stokes of Whiskers all pitched and demoed their games.
Justin Raab demoed his game, Nika, first. Nika is a board game based on ancient Greek warfare. Its design was done by Chris Hernandez, a “local game designer based in New York City,” according to Raab. The game is played with cities placed across from each other posing as allies. The goal is to take over the city of the opponent. The player gets two actions and while doing so, can move more than one unit. The units, called phalanxes, can move dynamically. “Your units are routed when a piece is attacked from the side or from behind,” Raab said. “Pieces can also push the opponent as long as there is more units pushing on the opponent then there is.” If the user's piece gets pushed off the board, Raab considers that as getting routed as well. The game ends with someone calling “Nika,” almost like a checkmate in chess.
Jim Babb introduced Bout, a photo-taking game “as fun as Apples to Apples and as cool as Instagram.” Babb revealed that the game was a “long time in the making.” There are two ways of playing Bout. One is as the judge, the other, contender. “You play these roles asynchronously,” Babb said. The user picks the best photo out of the submissions — and there are only five to choose from. “The judge picks from the set of photos, which are anonymous. You don't know who sent them until you judge the winner.” There is also a feed, which is half social and half game. “You can play custom bouts and there are bouts for people without friends, which are Global Bouts.” Users can create custom groups as well. The game locks down at five submissions, which creates a sense of urgency. The feed also prioritizes the amount of Bout participants, placing bouts with one spot left at the top.
Alec Andronikov demoed Just Sing It with a mission to “make the world sing.” Just Sing It is a multiplayer asynchronous game. It uses Facebook to gather friends, but also uses email and the phone's address book to gather users as well. Using the aforementioned contacts, the app can quickly find friends to play the game with. The game also has the option to find any user to play with using the search bar. “When you start, you pick a person to play with and on the next screen, you choose what genre of music you will be singing.” To change the genre of music, the user must use a Lightning Bolt, which is the in-game currency. The user proceeds by choosing a genre and is given a set of three songs to choose from, ordered in easiest to hardest, determined by its rank on the Top 100 Billboard in the past decade. Again, there is an option to change the song selection using the Lightning Bolt. The app provides lyrics and can add filter to the voice when sending the song to the opponent. The opponent's purpose is to guess the song within the set time limit. Once the song is guessed, coins are given to the user who solves the song. The users take turns singing and solving what song they have just heard.
Whiskers was demoed by Jon Stokes, who had started the game three years ago. “I didn't know any programming at all when I started this project,” Stokes said. “I took one programming course and never used Photoshop.” He quickly launched into describing the game, which he said was, “for all demographics. The goal was to make an extremely approachable game for everyone.” The game characters are all cats and they have mustaches that the user can choose from on the character selection screen. All of the cats are named after someone from Stokes' life. “Keeping stuff personal is a great motivator,” he said. Regarding gameplay, it is incredibly simple. The cats grow in size as they travel across the screen, navigated by the user. Food pellets are consumed for the cats to grow in size. “This is a scale game, the bigger you get, the better chance you have of winning.” Stokes also had some helpful pointers for aspiring game developers and current developers in the gaming space: “You can't do everything by yourself.”
Vikram Subramanian and his partner, Ben demoed Tossers, a game made for OUYA. “The game started out as a game about curling,” they said. “But it evolved to a game that revolved around the user grabbing the partner and flinging them towards marbles to score points. Points are scored when the marbles are hit out of the circle. “If you touch a marble as you throw, you get points, but if not, you lose points. Players also come at each other at the beginning, to grab their partner, but as they fling each other, they run away from each other. It's an interesting gameplay to work with.”
Nikhil Sinha demoed Spell or Die, a Facebook platform game similar to Words With Friends and Scrabble. "There are people who cheat in these games," Sinha began. "Spell or Die aims to destroy that." Sinha's game incorporates a myriad of weapons to destroy words that might cripple the user's advantage. The user could place traps on triple word scores or quadruple word scores and even detonate nukes and bombs to destroy words and get the points for themselves. Spell or Die also features scanners to scan the field to see if there are traps around before placing word tiles. "There's a maximum play of two items per turn and the way you get them is randomized—or you can go to the online store," Sinha said.
Tin Man Can was the last game to be demoed. Julian Volyn presented the game as already being socialized and mobilized and partnered with Chillingo. Tin Man Can uses simple one-touch controls and utilizes a hover mechanism, which recharges as the Tin Man collects red orbs that are placed throughout the map. "We wanted to make the game as simple and as approachable as possible," Volyn said. The game currently has over 200,000 downloads and is popular in China. Tin Man Can monetizes through its one-time purchase fee at $0.99 and offering over 60 types of wheels available for purchase. There is also a real-time multiplayer feature, which makes the customizable feature of the app very enticing.