Hungary :: Imperium Galactica II

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Back in time and still in the future..

When I asked a guy from Hungary what I should play, his first idea was the Rubik’s Cube. Since it would most probably take me 43 252 003 274 489 856 000 combinations to solve it and write my story to the game I’ve decided to go for the second choice. The video game several Hungarians mentioned immediately was Imperium Galactica II. I was pretty excited when the question was raised: “Can it be more than 10 years old?”. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR. But it was actually pretty hard to find the original version at or similar websites promoting old games. I was therefore all the more surprised that there is a neat version for the iPad (4€) available.

Wow. Playing Imperium Galactica II took me back, reviving the RTS trend of 2000. One of my favourite games was always Command & Conquer: Red Alert, so I was already pretty excited to play a rather old RTS game. Compared to many other RTS games, Imperium Galactica II comes with a nice story. The gameplay graphics (such as the starmap) remind of this very very old universe maps. However, in contrast to this, the cutscenes look extremely fancy and make the story alive.

Playing the campaign, you would choose between three races, with different skill sets. So it’s up to you to play with militaristic skills and strategies (brute force), diplomacy, or trading. It took me a while to get used to the controls, however, playing a RTS on a mobile device is still not the thing one is used to. First, I really had issues getting used to the game principles and the controls. Even though the game provides a nice video tutorial, the in-game tutorials of games are really appreciated. After a short time of frustration, however, it really gives you this feeling of playing one of these old, but futuristic RTS games. You could just play for hours and hours. Constantly new messages with new missions and encounters are waiting. These missions come with an interesting story by the way (a stolen virus will be spread at one of your planets…). After a short period of frustration, the excitement is overwhelming and I am definitely happy to have this game in my game collection on my iPad for traveling.






Release 2000
Genre RTS,
Developer Digital Reality
Publisher GT Interactive

Switzerland :: Feist


Feist – I’m a small, small thing in an evil, evil world.

The first game recommended by some guys from Switzerland was Feist. I was also pointed to the Steam Curator-List “Swiss Games”. Feist is a indie game developed by the Zurich studio Bits & Beasts. Looking at the website, this game won about 1000 awards. So I was also very excited to download the game. I was even more excited to see an offer at HumbleBundle for 7$.

At first glance the graphics and atmosphere of the game look very similar to Limbo. But I’ve loved Limbo, so – good for me. You start the game as .. a box. I didn’t see this coming, but ok. So I would make my way through the game as a box. After introducing the controls, and making the box swing, you get the idea that something might be inside the box. When I finally managed to destroy the box, I was super-excited to see this amazing small, fluffy creature, which somehow reminded me of this Austrian book for children “Swabidu”.

What immediately catches the attention is the intense and atmospheric background music. Also the graphics are very artistic and would give the game a very special ambience.

The first level is very smooth and gives a nice introduction to get used to the controls. And then.. the game already starts with its first tricky puzzles. And pretty soon it gets depressing. Your enemies are very uncomfortable and fast, and the puzzles definitely not easy. From this point you wouldn’t relate Feist to Limbo anymore. So suddenly the game principle is clear: fail to succeed. You have to learn from your failures. And you will fail a lot. This is actually a mechanic not a lot of AAA games would dare to use anymore. Early games, such as Zelda – Ocarina of Time were constantly challenging players with tricky puzzles and forcing players to actually restart levels several times (or look for level guides in the web – which was very slow back then). New games often give players hints really soon (if the player fails too often) in order not to frustrate them and lose their attention. Replaying Zelda on the Nintendo DS, for instance, was a shocking experience. They’ve included this “stone of wisdom”, which would give players hints to the solution – in form of video clips showing how to solve the puzzles.

So in Feist, you are living through this tiny, fluffy, hairy creature, which gets pushed around by all the other creatures in the forest and is either trapped or on the run. Your weapons are ridiculous powerless sticks and cones – your enemies giant thorny mosquitos, caterpillars, and moles (?). Often you would just run. Sometimes you would hide or look for ways out. And this game design works. I’ve definitely enjoyed playing Feist and would recommend it to everyone with a free evening, but don’t expect it to be stressless.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 22.22.13




Release 2015
Genre platformer, puzzle
Developer Bits & Beasts
Publisher Finji

Zambia :: SCND Genesis: Legends

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SCND Genesis: Legends – Handcrafted RTS meets a fistful of 2d fighting

Looking for a game from Zambia I first thought I would have a rather hard time. But after a very short period of research, my attention was drawn to Sithe Ncube. She is part of the GGJ (global game jam) organizers from the Zambia GGJ location, and part of She told me about the growing game development scene and pointed me to some games. One of them was SCND Genesis Legends by Ifunga Ndana. Seeing some screenshots of this game and knowing it is based on a web comic already convinced me that this is the kind of game I’d love to play today.

The game is a hybrid of a fighting and an RTS game. It combines an interesting comic-style with 2d “street fighter” fighting games and anime-inspired animations. The developer has created an entire story as environment for different fights. Every character has unique special skills and you would choose a chain of attacks for your next strike. The first fights were pretty frustrating. The game doesn’t explain any controls or the gameplay. I didn’t win any fight. Not one. Not even close. So I had to do something.. totally.. new to me: I’ve started the game tutorial from the main menu. Apparently I’ve missed the wonderful secret weapon – the FURY STRIKE. After learning this extremely helpful super-skill I was able to win some fights and concentrate on the main attraction of the game: the graphics.

The developer, who has also created a web-comic around this story, has created his own world with loving attention to details. Very nice hand-drawn graphics and animations make this game an extremely nice experience and one can feel how much effort and commitment the developer put into this game. Even though the game is not perfect and one would come across minor bugs, this game is a thoroughly piece of work, developed by a guy combining his love for stories, comics, and (fighting) games.

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Release 2011
Genre fighting, RTS
Developer Ifunga Ndana

Denmark :: Limbo


Limbo – The art of dying

Limbo, developed by the Danish studio Playdead, was one of the first games suggested I got from several Danish friends. Until then I was not even aware that Limbo, this well-known title, was actually made in Denmark.

I’ve already played Limbo before starting this list. However, Limbo was one of the games which immediately fascinated and inspired me. That’s why I’ve decided to add it to the list and just play it again.

Limbo is a very dark game. The entire environment, the character, the music, and the sounds create a very dark and gloomy atmosphere. You start as a boy lying on the ground in a dark forest. Neither the story, nor the controls are explained to the player. You would start this game alone and disoriented, without a clear goal or a sense of control.

After making the first few steps the game makes you aware of its game mechanics by letting you die. The main game mechanics are small puzzles, overcome different traps, and a precise timing. The main and unique elements of this game are definitely the dying animations. The game design requires the player actually to die at some points to understand how to solve the puzzle. However, just because of the variety of all the different dying animations at specific points one could spend hours just trying to find the most creative ways to let him die.

To the gloomy atmosphere, different and new kind of traps, and the constant dramatic sound of your footsteps keep the game exciting. In the second part of the game, the environment changes from the forest to a machinery environment. The puzzles become more challenging and additionally include smart physics elements.

This game was an amazing and intense experience with a surprisingly satisfying ending.





Release 2010
Genre platformer, puzzle
Developer Playdead
Publisher Microsoft Studios

A year of playing the world :: preparations

Every one has this idea at the beginning of a new year to start one of this … bla bla each day/week/{insert-time-span} .. projects. This year I tried to find a similar project (learn how to draw, get fit, read books), but as usual I stopped sometime between Jan 2-3. So I thought.. maybe I should do something daily, what I actually already do daily..

I play a lot of games. Also, as an instructor of game development I have to play a lot of game prototypes and students games. So usually at home I would fully focus only on AAA super-fancy-super-polished-megagames – as a kind of compensation. However, I always feel guilty, trying to support the indie game industry all the time, buying the games constantly, but never actually playing one…

So a couple of days I’ve read of this really inspiring project In 2012 the Ann Morgan read a story/book from 196 countries in one year. She has made the most interesting experiences while reading and also while trying to find material to read in this year. Her story and her idea inspired me to start a similar project. For the next year I’ll try to play a game from every (listed) country (197 at the moment?) of world. Or at least as many as possible in this timeframe.

My choices will be based on recommendations of people. If you would like to give me tips/recommendations for games for specific countries, please write a comment, email me, or tweet #ayearofplayingtheworld.