Over the last couple of months the Nuchallenger podcast launched, where I tackle race and inevitably gender issues in video games and other pop-culture at large. Check it out!
2014 for Nuchallenger was a great year! Our Kickstarter was supported by the industry and fans alike and with our kickstarter funded we were able to continue development for the rest of 2014 and into 2015 and we have to thank all of our backers again.
In the past year we have moved Treachery in Beatdown City out of the now defunct Playstation Mobile development platform into Unity and it already has more bells and whistles. Our new bigger, better and more refined build for Unity will be out for backers and previews within the next month. This includes creating kickstarter reward characters, tweaking the game’s UI and basic design, and getting the game running at 60FPS with current gen controller support so it already plays much better. We are looking to get community feedback to help us make the game the best it can be.
Shawn Alexander Allen, the head of Nuchallenger, has also continued to promote race and gender diversity in the games industry while discussing game design and inclusivity.
Preview + Interview Treachery in Beatdown City on Gamasutra by Leigh Alexander
Discussion of need for my diverse speakers Indie Games Soapbox with Shawn Alexander Allen
Treachery in Beatdown City Write up PAX Prime preview on Two Dash Stash
Most recent talk session Building Better Beat ‘Em Ups at SXSW
Manuel Marcano, programmer on Treachery in Beatdown City was featured on US Gamer
We are looking forward to sharing the game, previews, and the like with everyone as soon as we can.
The last few months have been the busiest I have experienced, and the last year has been a colossally hectic and productive year.Over the last two months we have been gearing up to finish the first title being made under Nuchallenger, Treachery in Beatdown City: Episode 1, for Playstation Mobile.
On top of that there have been a few events that I have attended. PAX Prime in Seattle was one, where I was able to show off TiBC to my friends at Devolver Digital, Mike McWhertor from Polygon (who wrote this preview here) and Patrick Klepek from Giant Bomb.
In the past Nuchallenger.com has been a host to critical analysis of games along with some harsh, rant heavy negative criticism of games and actions taken in the games scene in New York City as well as the games industry at large.
Nuchallenger, as a company has several key goals. First and foremost is to create great games that combine our passions of game design and understanding play throughout the decades, from physical to digital, while interweaving a bit of social commentary with well written narrative into the experience without necessarily taking over the title with text, cutscenes, or the like.
Our second key goal is to build on each success and work to create a company of many from current singular ownership and freelance work that fuels game creation. This means finding funding to produce each new game project while also finding innovative ways to market and make sure our titles do not disappear into the ever growing digital games sphere.
The third, just as important on many levels, is to be actively involved in advocacy for New Yorkers who do not have voices in the games industry to be able to gain experience and become empowered to create games themselves, with us or on their own. This of course features a heavy slant on women and minorities, but the ultimate goal is to be able to help as many people as possible on their way to success and creative freedom making games.
With those points in mind, I have found that rant heavy, negative criticism at its base just has no place here anymore. Constructive criticism that will of course include negatives will continue to be posted, though possibly in a different manner than before.
Currently I spoke about the importance of diversity in the games “industry” in New York at the New York Games Conference and spoke more closely about including cultures other than the status quo in the independent games movement at Indiecade 2013.
I also announced an initiative that I will be rolling out in the coming year aimed at encouraging games consumers to become creators themselves.
More on that will be announced soon.
Shawn Alexander Allen
CEO & Game Designer/Artist/Writer/etc. at Nuchallenger
I started with #1 earlier this year and will finally be continuing with this whole favorite games of 2013 thing counting down to #10. Each post will be an exploration of the games I played in 2013 and why they were remarkable in my eyes. Most of them will have not been talked about on any end of year lists by the mainstream, but heavily influence my creation process. Also be prepared to dive into some history leading up to my enjoyment of each game as well as I do not believe at looking at games in a void.
Spoiler Warning: The following post will contain some spoilers for Metal Gear Solid 2/4/Rising. Perhaps others in the series as well.
Modern First Person Shooters have dulled our senses. Instead of relying on quick reflexes and situational awareness we shoot wildly until our eyes go bloody or a glass overlay cracks in our face before running to hide behind a crate or some sandbags while our health regenerates. Rinse and repeat. FPS games in their disfigured, bloated, overly exaggerated state are the new defacto action games for the masses, and that’s a fucking shame.
In the early part of the millenium things were very different. First person shooter design was going through growing pains, trying out different interfaces and experimenting with ways to present info to the player. Through this time we were given games like The Chronicles of Riddick, Timeshift, Halo and Call of Duty 2. There was a lot more space on the market in the action genre in terms of what would be made and what could be popular. Character Action games were born out of the need to revive the floundering action brawler genre and would see games like Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania Lament of Innocence. Stealth/action saw the biggest case for its existence, relatively early on, with the sequel to the biggest stealth game of all time, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
Enter First Person Shooting
MGS2 was heavily advertised as a high intensity action game that also ratcheted up the stealth to the 10th degree. I’d say it wasn’t coincidental that it was the first entry in the traditionally third person Metal Gear series to implement first person shooting as a standard practice and that the game’s trailers would focus on the shootout potential this brought. Keeping with its stealth roots, though, the player was also given a tranquilizer gun to promote the use of the new feature while keeping the game in line with stealth.
Just a few weeks ago Treachery in Beatdown City was funded on Kickstarter, thanks to a warm outpouring of support by the industry and an incredible rally by people wanted to see the game get made. I am very thankful for all of the support that was shown during that time, and we are working toward getting into the full swing of things.
In other news, I (Shawn) am still working toward spreading the word about getting more black and Latino people (and hopefully even more underrepresented people) into the games space, or at least encouraging them that it is a thing they can do.
In April I spoke at NYU GameCenter about the topic, and will continue visiting other events such as NXNE & GaymerX to spread the word among as many people as possible. Continue reading
Hello everyone, after a long and stressful month doing crowdfunding, our first ever, we will be bringing Treachery in Beatdown City BACK to Kickstarter.
Details here, but the long and short of it is we learned a great deal about communication, and had a lot of articles written about the game during the campaign. We also had a lot of good things said about it at GDC, the Game Developers Conference, this past week.
Also, at PAX East we will be demoing the game, to not only get exposure for the awesome brawler mechanics, but also the diverse & socially conscious dialog and characters. I will also be speaking on a Panel. Details are below.
Hello everyone. After a long year of promoting, reworking, fine tuning and demoing Treachery in Beatdown City, we are now kickstarting!
We are just two days in, and have a lot of work to do. On that page you can find a load of new media from art, music, and other in game assets.
We are still working on the Playstation Mobile Episode 1 release, which will be the 1st level of the game, and priced accordingly. We actually have a great set of features that will make that release alone be infinitely replayable. That should be done and out within the next couple of months.
Now we are also targeting PC/Mac for a full length campaign with additions that will be made possible by this kickstarter. We will hopefully be able to release on consoles/native handheld platforms as well.
So please, if you can, back us and tell your friends/family/enemies/congressman/corrupt billionaire mayor/cyborg ninjas. I can guarantee they will all love Treachery in Beatdown City.
I’m going to be doing this whole favorite games of the year thing in reverse, starting with my number one and counting down. Each post will be an exploration of the games I have played this year and why they are remarkable in my eyes. Most of them will not be talked about on any end of year lists by the mainstream, but heavily influence my creation process. Also be prepared to dive into some history leading up to my enjoyment of each game as well as I do not believe at looking at games in a void.
It’s 2013 and the beat ‘em up genre is on life support. There are a number of reasons why that it is, far too many for me to list here. A key problem with the genre is that at best it is usually misunderstood for what makes it great, both in people’s gap filled recollections of the games of old and overly simplistic comparisons between those games and others that bare basic resemblance. In many ways people don’t really know why they like the genre, they just know they liked it at one time and when some of them go out to create a new one, they fail on fundamental levels.
The independent games uprising of the last decade has seen a resurgence in interest in creating the brawler to some extent. At least a few games have come out and were lauded almost simply for being new brawlers that people could play with their friends on new consoles or PC. The two biggest titles, recognition wise, were Scott Pilgrim, a game that was positioned as being a lot like the legendary title River City Ransom, and Castle Crashers.
When we look at side scrolling brawlers for what makes them great at a deeper level, the classic River City Ransom holds up quite well while most newer releases, of which Castle Crashers & Scott Pilgrim are included, don’t, mostly because they seem to leave out things that made the genre great in the first place without infusing enough new ideas that actually add, and not detract, from the overall experience. That isn’t surprising to me though, as RCR was created by Technos, the team that pretty much set the standards for the beat ‘em up genre (but also made Combatribes so…). Continue reading