Electron Dance
6Mar/12Off

Fotonica Astonishca

Close Your Eyes, Child

Legend tells of the urban sprite Wally (also known as "Waldo" in North America, "Willy" in Norway and "Holger" in Denmark) who wears a distinctive red-and-white striped hat and jumper. He has a penchant for lurking in crowds but only becomes visible if captured on camera. Many self-proclaimed "Wally Watchers" scour Flickr for photos of the spirit.

Children are warned that the sprite is easily angered. To dress up as Wally is to mock Wally. And Wally takes away those naughty children who mock him and they are never seen again.

In 2012, no one believes these stories.

Two indie games won a highly-prized Electron Dance badge at last year's Eurogamer Expo. One of them was Waves. The other was Santa Ragione's Fotonica.

Somehow it has taken me six months to do something on Fotonica. Today, I present a video that proves I shouldn't shoot film at 2am when I'm sick and exhausted. But at least you get to learn something about this wonderful game and another title called Mirrormoon.

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  1. How delightfully demented a video!

  2. “I hav PHD” *coffee through nose*

    Brilliant, Harbour Master, from beginning to end! This might be my favorite of your videos. :)

    And, of course, Fotonica. An amazing aesthetic. Good on the developers for trusting the vision… though I admit, I didn’t see much future in the prototype either.

  3. The fear of Waldo made me want to run away… and Fotonica is ALL ABOUT RUNNING. GENIUS!

    Please continue making videos at 2am when you’re sick and exhausted. Never get healthy again and you’ll be the biggest internet celebrity this side of the Yangtze River.

    It’s also nice to see someone taking advantage of how creepy some of Ladytron’s music is.

  4. You’re quite mad, of course.

  5. @Gnome: Thank you, I’m hoping people will I notice Fotonica as well =)

    @Steerpike: I don’t know why but I love admitting when I get things wrong like this. That despite all the “vidyagam xprt” knowledge in the world, you’re always going to be surprised. Even if you’re Raph Koster, you’re going to be surprised.

    Also, it’s awesome being a parent – you have all this “children’s stuff” lying around which can be used for making insane videos. On the downside, when you creep up your stairs at 2am with a knife, you are actually panicking like shit that your son doesn’t come out of his room to go to the toilet.

    @BeamSplashX: Yeah the original idea was to go running through a field but that required me to go outdoors. So then I thought I’d just do the stairs and then Wally entered the picture and the point was totally lost. I’m glad you rescued some meaning from it!

    Ladytron-wise… I’m scared about putting too much commercial music on the videos, because YouTube gets a bit antsy with it (the 3 mins/23 days NP video from last year has just been banned in Japan). But I do love my Ladytron. Actually the sinister music at the window is Ladytron’s “Laughing Cavalier” slowed down. I hope they don’t notice.

    @Jonas: Absolutely! It’s interesting that while I had a rough script lodged in my head for this since last October, the Wally ending only occurred to me in the last week. And I have no idea where that come from. That, probably, is the scariest admission.

    God damn, I forgot to add a link to Mirrormoon to the article. Adding now…

  6. That was awesome. Nice work, HM. It actually, er, reminded me of consolevania quite a bit, what with the mish-mash of videogam xprtise (actual!), buffoonery and skits, style of editing and so forth. But with, of course, that distinct Joel Goodwin flavour and focus.

    I am still reading everything you post but lately it has been my turn to have my arse kicked by work, so commenting has been minimal. But I couldn’t not spare a few words for this!

  7. Thanks for watching Shaun. Not exactly sure how I’m supposed to advertise this piece, it’s not doing well so far! Maybe I’ll just chuck in a Consolevania reference on Twitter and be done with it =)

    Next week, Shaun, is your game. And it’s going to be a two-parter.

  8. This is lovely. That’s the point where you should start thinking “maybe I should be making them gams, not just playing and blogging them”. You have the soul of a gam makr.

  9. Maybe I do have the soul of a game maker, Nicolau, but can I get the body to do what the soul wishes? Now there’s a question.


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