Slovenia :: Line Rider

“A toy, not a game”

Today’s Slovenian games industry is mostly known for its mobile games and PC games. One key player is undoubtedly the company Outfit7, the mobile game creator, especially well known for the web series around Talking Tom. With an annual conference ( and a vivid association, the community is eager to grow and connect. With a population of around 2 million people (2020) it is impressive to see that the Slovenian games industry is so vivid and active. This is probably also because the Slovenian game industry has an interesting history in game development.

One of the first games published in Slovenia was in 1984 by Žiga Turk and Matevž Kmet. “Kontrabant” is a text adventure with the goal that the player needs to smuggle computer parts into Yugoslavia to build an own PC. The game did cost around $9 (700 Yugoslavian dinars) and was for this time quite popular. In 1986, the game Zakladi Slovenije (Treasures of Slovenia) was released and is known as the first self-published indie title from Slovenia. It comes with a strong cultural aspect and enables the player to explore landmarks from Slovenia. Slovenian game studios also contributed to famous international titles such as the Panzer Elite Action series or adventure games such as Faust, The Legend of the Prophet and the Assassin, or Hitchcock: The Final Cut, all developed by Arxel Tribe, founded by Slovene architect in 1991, which started with TV production and ended making games in the early 2000s. Their breakthrough game was “Ring: The Legend of the Nibelungen, which sold 700.000 copies. After that, they became a video game publisher and was bought by Italy’s largest distributor. Another game company that developed a couple of popular games was ZootFly., founded in 2002 by team members of Arxel Tribe They were known for productions around the Panzer Elite series. Other important games include the action-adventure Marlow Briggs , co-developed with Microsoft Studios ($5 Mio budget with $45 Mio revenue). ZootFly was also known for experiments with a psychometrics engine. They would analyze the player input and adapt the game based on psychological profiles (e.g. to avoid unwanted endings, add more challenges or reduce violence during the play through). In 2013 the company was merged with a casino and gambling company utilizing their psychometrics research. (Read More About the Slovenian Game Dev History)  

When I asked the community for recommendations for Slovenia games, one of the first apparent answers was Line Rider

Line rider is an internet game developed in 2006 by the student Boštjan Čadež and was and still is an internet phenomenon. As a player, you simply draw lines on the play screen, which are then used by a small guy on a sled and with a red scarf to ride on. Once a track is created, the player can start the ride, which is simulating the physics of the ride. Created tracks can be saved and shared, and loaded. It is described as more of a toy than a game, as it does not come with any clear goals or winning/losing conditions. It is up to the player to create interesting tracks with cool loops, jumps, or stunts. The game got more and more popular also thanks to popular videos made on YouTube, often using this game/tool to create, for example, a game track that fits the sequence and rhythm of a music title. The original version did not come with erasing and zooming features, which were added in an update in 2006.          

To develop this game the creator learned physics and vector mathematics through tutorials. Erasing was not part of the first version of the game, as the developer wanted to make players aware of their mistakes and that you cannot just erase them (“like life”).

The game starts with an empty canvas and simply provides a list of editing and drawing tools. This immediately invites the player to get active and creative. After a couple of attempts to at least get a working starting base and ending up with the knowledge that it is not as easy as it might look like, one can finally get creative and use this game as a creative toy as it was designed for. Still, the number of possible dying poses still reminds me a bit of Limbo. One of the most amazing elements of this game is all the created sophisticated tracks out there by really motivated people. It is often used in combination with music tracks aligned with the movements of the little guy. This includes full-fledged music videos to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody., William Tell Overture, or Beethoven’s 5th. The latter has more than 122Mio views on YouTube to date. This certainly also contributed to the game being hyped as the Internet phenomenon and still is.

GenreSandbox Game, Physics Simulation
DeveloperBoštjan Čadež (
Publisherself-published (original version)

New Zealand :: Path of Exile

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A lot of splatter, stories, … and 1320 skills

The first game from New Zealand recommended to me was Path of Exile (POE). Shortly after reading some first keywords related to this game such as “hack-and-slay”, “similar to Diablo”, and “Fantasy+Action heaven” I was already happily immersed into the POE universe. Path of Exile is a giant, multi-user online free-to-play action hack-and-slay splatter roleplaying game with a GIANT skill tree. Seriously – after playing so many games, I thought I’ve seen everything. But this skill tree is just.. overwhelming. According to the website the skill tree/web/forest contains about 1320 skills. So I’ve decided I would fight my desire for achieving the 100% and would just do some first missions to write this text. The game was developed by a relatively small team of developers, who all have a passion for ARPs. So they had the mission to create an ARP game, which they always wanted play and succeeded. It was successfully co-funded by the crowd with a crowdfunding campaign run on their own website.  

You start the game on a boat and can choose from different classes (witch, ranger, shadow, templar, marauder, or duelist). You cannot change appearance or sex (witch and ranger are female). After choosing your class you would start the game waking up on a shore. You’d pick up your weapon and start your first nice conversation with another survivor – who immediately gets killed by a zombie thing. And this is already a preview for the entire scene and story of POE. It’s pretty dark and full of splatter with a nice story.

As in most multi-user games, the first sentences in the chatbox you’d read happen to be full of trolling. So I started to discover the island with my pretty weak witch girl. After fighting the first zombie it felt like I was the queen of world. Just a few seconds later I discovered the first horde of undead and found myself right back at the first spawn point. So I was pretty happy finding my first piece of armor – a mighty pot to keep my head save. This is also the point where you realize that you will be more dependent on your skills than your armor. And levelling and levelling. Even though I only wanted to get a first idea of the gameplay, I just wanted to “complete this last small quest to level one level up..”. The gameplay is similar to Diablo, but the environment and the story immerse players into an entirely new world. To me, playing the first few quests of this game felt like this typical wonderful after-work-hack-and-slack-meditation. And the most wonderful fact – it’s totally free so you can also use is for after-not-work-meditation. And it’s worth every penny you don’t have to pay.

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Release 2013
Genre ARP
Developer Grinding Gear Games
Publisher Grinding Gear Games