It’s… An Update!

July 15th, 2010

I’m not going to start another post by saying that we’re returning from a brief hiatus, but things are coming back to normal in Slightly Deranged, seriously. The last few weeks have been truly insane (in many senses) so the blog had to be put on hold until now. If you somehow missed the news, my company Senscape revealed last week the name and nature of our upcoming horror game – Asylum – and all Hell broke lose. This was announced along with a trailer that has been making the rounds pretty much around the entire web and thus Asylum instantly became an anticipated title.

Not much is known about the game and, of course, we will be keeping the mystery on for a while, at least until things cool down a bit and we return with another striking blow. I will keep you readers updated about Asylum from time to time and, yes, I am intending to partly use Slightly Deranged as a developer’s diary of sorts (don’t worry, you will be able to filter these updates if you couldn’t care less about Asylum and want to stick to the cult movies and retro games).

Now, as I said, this announcement was huge and carefully planned, and we honestly couldn’t have made it without the invaluable help of many, many people. You might have heard about the viral marketing campaign involving a fake institution named the Hanwell Mental Institute accusing a fake character called Leonard Huntings of fabricating videos with yet another fake character by the name of Bertrand Laroche. This sort of meta-narration, as have been put by some, kept many folks on the edge of their seats wondering about the outcome. This all went for exactly one month and culminated with the Asylum trailer, allowing everybody to catch a glimpse of the Hanwell institute for the first time. The impact was huge: nearly 10.000 views on YouTube in less than one week, 25.000 views at GameTrailers and hot discussions everywhere. Therefore, I’m going to mention and thank all the people who helped us in this long path towards the announcement, each one of them in their own way.

(brace yourselves)

First of all, of course, the incredible team at Senscape who have been working non-stop on Asylum for countless months: Pablo Forsolloza, Juan Caratino and Pablo Palomeque, each taking care of the sinister and detailed environments of the Hanwell institute, the striking characters and the concept artwork that has held all of this together from the early stages.

Next is Daniel Pharos, our newcomer to the team that delivered an impressive soundtrack in record time and became the crowning jewel of this trailer. We can expect much more scary sounds from Daniel and in the meantime be sure to check out the incredible work at his homepage.

The omnipresent entity known as Vlad K. who has always been with us (you may remember him as Cellar Of Rats, who did the soundtrack for Scratches). Vlad assisted me in creating all these websites (the new www.Senscape.net, the fake www.Hanwell.org and the promotional www.FaceTheHorror.com) and I can’t thank him enough for that. There’s a reason why he got into web development with his new company, Haron Media.

And of course, all the people that helped to distribute the Subject E14 aka Bertrand viral videos and promote the game:

(in no particular order)

Randy Sluganski and Karla Munger from Just Adventure+

Ana, Carla, Becky and Marita from GameBoomers

Konstantinos Dimopoulos from the Gnome’s Lair

Sebastian Grünwald, Ingmar Böke and everybody else at Adventure-Treff

Jack Allin from Adventure Gamers

Sarah Crisman from the Retrochick Retroblog

Chiara Bagnoli from Join The Adventures

Igor Hardy from A Hardy Developer’s Journal

Jonathan Davies and Steve Owen from Games Press

Maximiliano Ferzzola from NeoTeo

Silviu Gheorghe from Gamershell

Barts from Barts News

Santiago Sanguinetti and Andy Nebular

And last, but not at all least, our dedicated group of beta testers, and they know that Senscape wouldn’t be the same without them:

Alkis Polyrakis, Andis Anastasis, Astrid Beulink, Eric Arevalo, Eva Forsom, Eric McConnell, Jeko-Bogoslov Bogoslovov, Michal Necasek, Panayotis Pantazis, Scott Clark, Susan Eder, Santiago De Matos Lima, Terje Kjensli, Tommy Joulin and Valerie Davis

I’m sorry I forgot anyone, but please do let me know if you believe your name should be here!

This is it for todays long post and remember that we will come back to normal next week with more movies, games and just plain deranged stuff as usual!

UPDATE: As it turns out, Asylum is enjoying over 35.000 views in YouTube thanks to an upload by IGN. Groovy!

The Most Eclectic Post You’ll Read Today

June 10th, 2010

We’re finally back today from a brief hiatus. I’m sorry that I took so long to deliver a new update but I’ve been working on stuff – very secretive and mysterious stuff – so you’ll have to bear with me until everything is back to normal. This should happen sometime in July when we announce the Unnamable Project at Senscape, that is, reveal its actual name and nature, and unleash unspeakable horrors into the highway of bits. It’s going to be so horrific that your monitor will tremble. And you’re possibly going to cry, so don’t say you haven’t been warned. Besides, we’re still coping with the notion of naming the unnamable… I still can’t get that concept into my head.

Anyway…

Interesting stuff happened recently which I couldn’t share with you before. A couple of weeks ago I was invited (read: I shamelessly invited myself) to the official presentation of Blizzard in Buenos Aires. You know, the makers of Blackthorne. Well, apparently they’re looking to market their new titles locally so they’re setting up an office and doing PR like most evil corporations do (note: the paragraph above this one does not qualify as PR). Obviously, the focus of the presentation was the upcoming Starcraft game which has been under development for… I don’t know, maybe centuries. Now, attending this event was a real challenge for me since it forced me to socialize, which means acting like a normal human being and talking to other people. There were lots of people in fact, and the place was big and there were shiny lights and, oh yeah, food. The whole joint felt like a night club, actually. This all made me feel very nervous but I switched to my cool blogger self and attempted to look friendly and un-nerd-like. So there was this odd-looking guy with curly hair nearby ravaging the bar and I thought like he was the perfect specimen to socialize. As a result, I spent most of the night at the side of the bar eating more than I care to remember while this guy spoke me in tongues. In the meantime, I believe I drank two glasses of wine, one double whisky, champagne and two screwdrivers. And I somehow lived to tell the rest…

Next thing I remember I was talking to a PR chick very cheerfully who fortunately didn’t notice my breath (at least I don’t think she did because she was smiling all the time) while an American dude from Blizzard was bumbling some Spanish on stage. They eventually said something about a game called Starcraft 2 and showed some videos and screens. The videos were very loud and showed big things moving on screen. Then they showed us gameplay which consisted in small things constantly moving on screen (“Zergs”, I believe) and some more stuff. Finally, they gave us a Press Kit and I was annoyed to find out that it didn’t include a playable beta. My mind may be playing tricks on me now but I believe that I punched someone next and they had to drag me outside as I was screaming like all Hell broke lose.

All in all, Starcraft 2 looks a bit boring and I still prefer Blackthorne which was like Prince Of Persia with guns. Now THAT is what I call a great concept!

Anyway, anyway…

To round up todays rather acid update, did you know that Slightly Deranged is becoming wildly popular in Croatia? Last time I checked it was one of the top 5000 sites in the country which, in world wide web terms, is really, really high. Either you people have very low standards or you’re obsessed with me and the blog — I still can’t figure out which one I prefer. Right, and don’t forget to check out my picks for this week: the grossly underappreciated and misunderstood 90’s movie Motorama, and a really cool and masochistic Amiga game called Risky Woods, just the way we like ‘em.

It Never Is Too Late

May 10th, 2010

Years ago (at the beginning of the new millenium to be more precise) I promised that I would write about two underdog adventures that very few people know about. They were Igor: Objective Uikokahonia and Maupiti Island. I reviewed Igor back in 2004. Today, nearly a decade later, older and bitter, I’m posting my review of Maupiti Island which I really began typing (if I must believe the creation date of the file) in 2004 as well. Picture me flabbergasted. I sincerely hope that you enjoy the read because I feel like I have accomplished a truly legendary task. Maybe I can die in peace now…

Of course, our Movie Of The Week is up as usual and today is the turn of The Story Of Ricky. Hands down, the best Asian horror film I’ve ever seen.

In Space No One Can Hear You Type…

April 21st, 2010

We have a mega-update today with a theme based on “space” — yes, the site can get that kind of creative from time to time. And when I say space, I mean of course all the stuff that us Sci-Fi lovers want to hear about: distant planets, outrageous creatures, intergalactic swashbuckling heroes… not that modern thing referred to as “SyFy”. Phu-lease. But to understand what I’m talking about, you will have to read this wonderful and massive interview with the team behind Darkstar, the upcoming adventure game that is looking jaw-droppingly good and features the original cast from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Jeff Williams, the producer and mastermind behind the game, tell us all about it and even the MSTK3 folks chimed in with comments! So go and grab some popcorn, coffee or beer depending on your time zone and give it a read.

You know, when I created the blog I was worried that the concept of merging videogames and cult movies would be too eclectic for the audiences but then Darkstar comes along, a game with the experts on the subject of cult cinema no less. Thank you — you gave the site some purpose.

In addition to this huge article, we have our usual weekly picks as well: Dead Space (aka Marc Singer vs. Alien) and Rex Nebular And The Cosmic Gender Bender. One of them is a lousy yet charming piece of filmmaking and the other a brilliant adventure that is a prime example of great game design. Go get them too while they’re still warm!

NOW We’re Back With A Bang!

April 14th, 2010

Gee, I must be the most irresponsible blogger ever. Another week passed by in the utmost silence here at Slightly Deranged but there is a pretty good excuse this time: my new company Senscape Interactive was officially announced last week after months of teasing. This meant deploying a whole new website with many sections and content to try and make it look professional. And a forum as well… I swear it’s the last time I ever skin one of those things. Trust me, I’ve been dreaming of terms such as CSS, PHP and FTP for the past two months. Fortunately, everything went smoothly and we could say that the launch has been a success. There’s a lot of interest about what we’re doing already – which is amazing considering that there’s practically nothing to show. I promise that faith in us will be greatly rewarded. You can have a look and be amazed, intrigued and maybe aroused right over here: www.senscape.net

The first major project that we’re presenting at Senscape is the so-called Unnamable Project because we’re not ready to tell you what it is about yet and, yes, the incredibly subtle Lovecraft reference was very intentional, so there’s some food for thought. The game is going to be a horror adventure alright and very, very large. Sometimes I sit back, look at all those blueprints and firmly believe that we have gone out of our minds. The scare factor is a whole other issue and I also think that we may have crossed the line there as well. But, we’ll have plenty of time to discuss about Unnamable and I expect to share further interesting tidbits about it within the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned! In the meantime, we have this lovely teaser online with all kinds of cryptic things: www.facethehorror.com

Of course, I haven’t forgot about my blogging weekly duties, so today I present to you The Deadly Spawn, a remarkable piece of indie filmmaking from our most favorite decade ever, the 80’s (I’m certain) and The Immortal, another arcade that made a few waves on our most favorite system ever, the Amiga (I’m positive). Hope you enjoy the write-ups and be ready for more and more. For real this time — I mean, the third or fourth time.

Back With A Bang!

March 30th, 2010

We return to our regular program with yet another Movie Of The Week / Review combo, this time the much maligned (or so they say) Troll 2. You know what? It isn’t half as bad as it’s popularly believed to be – in fact, it might be one of the most misunderstood comedies ever. Think I’m delusional? Read my writeup and make you sure you watch the clip in our YouTube channel. If you don’t laugh, they gave you a lobotomy.

There’s something that has been bothering me recently. So this is a blog about cult movies and games… then why would I post a Movie Of The Week and not a Game Of The Week? I have been pondering about this for the past four months and couldn’t arrive at any reasonable conclusion, so I simply decided to post a Game Of The Week as well. Yes, I can barely cope with writing about one movie each single week and I’m putting yet another burden on my back. I think they must have given me a lobotomy.

So, we start this exciting and unexpected feature with D/Generation, a very old favorite of mine from the golden era of the Amiga. The Movie Of The Week feature is becoming notorious for being wildly eclectic and this is going to be no different. Be sure to stay tuned for a nostalgic trip down the memory lane, as usual!

Apologies

March 24th, 2010

Folks, I won’t be updating the blog this week because I’m mutating into another creature. Next one we’ll be returning to our regular schedule with a bunch of surprises!

It’s Manos!

March 17th, 2010

THIS is Torgo.

Talking about Torgo made me feel nostalgic so I thought about preparing my small tribute for Manos The Hands Of Fate. Regardless what you might think of my… umm… harsh words, I am somewhat fond of the movie and sat through the original and unadulterated version three times. Really. As you may know, Manos was catapulted to dubious fame in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 show and the constant riffs by Joel and the bots certainly helped to relieve most of the pain and boredom (I stress most). But looking at the movie in perspective, experiencing its raw nature and taking into account the circumstances behind its fateful conception, one comes to realize just how weird and deranged can be this world we’re living in. It was indeed a revealing experience.

Hhmmm, Viper. Better than grog!

March 9th, 2010

No, that’s not Torgo, he’s the protagonist of this week’s movie pick. A movie that does justice to the title of this blog and the mere act of watching it will officially turn you into a weird person. Folks, today I introduce you to Street Trash, one hell of a crazy journey to the dark side of the 80’s.

Sam Suede Returns? Yawn.

March 4th, 2010

If by chance you were on Twitter today you probably heard about the relaunch of the Sam Suede project because, honestly, I hardly saw the news anywhere else. Those of you with good memory will surely recall this game that was previously announced back in 2006 and would have meant Al Lowe’s big comeback to the game industry. By the way, if you don’t who Al Lowe is or never heard about Leisure Suit Larry you should probably stop reading this blog. Like right now.

So, Al was a co-founder of iBase, the former company in charge of Sam Suede which went bankruptcy shortly after its announcement. The game was billed at the time as an “action comedy” title and, while it wasn’t the flaming return to the adventure genre we were all expecting, it was simply good enough to hear that Al was back in game development. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be involved with this new incarnation of Sam Suede, which is kind of disheartening to say the least. Four years ago the sole mention of Al’s involvement with this project was huge publicity – in fact, it was the biggest selling point of the game. However, Icarus Studios, the new developer behind Sam Suede, is not even crediting him as one of its original creators. You’re not supposed to do that kind of thing.

But don’t fret! You can still get your share of good ol’ Al Lowe — sort of. He’s been running for years the Cyberjoke 3000 mailing list which is more or less the ultimate collection of jokes ever. I swear, he’s shared more than 5,000 jokes over a decade without a single repetition. Even better, his iPhone app is a must if you happen to own the ubiquitous device. It’s basically the funniest Cyberjokes condensed into this handy app with a slick interface and told by a professional comedian. I often have some business to attend and find myself stuck in long waiting lines. Since I can’t play games in those situations and the mood isn’t proper to listen music (yes, I’m weird) I fire up Cyberjoke 3000 and listen to a few ones. There’s well over a hundred and I still have a long way to go. It’s like having this tiny secret friend in your pocket that you can ask to whisper funny jokes in your ear whenever you need to. In the end, this app has become as useful as the maps or the calculator.

Anyway, this bitter news was a huge letdown. What seemed like a great morning turned into a really lousy day. I sometimes hate this industry.