Video Games Come to the Big Screen at Sie This Saturday

Categories: Games

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Adam Roy
Casey Elliot tries out the Durovis Dive 3D system at the Denver Indie Game Expo.
No matter how big the TV your Xbox is plugged into, it can't compete with the grandeur of a full-sized movie theater. But from noon to 6 p.m. this Saturday, Denver gamers will have the chance to play their favorite titles on Sie FilmCenter's larger-than-life screen at the Colorado Video Game Holiday Party.

"The idea behind what we're doing is to celebrate video games, Colorado game development, and the whole Colorado video game scene," says Jet Ternlund, the event's organizer and president of the Colorado chapter of the International Game Developers Association. "That's everything from the guys who are playing professionally to people who are doing it in a studio, to independent game developers. Anyone who's interested in video games is welcome to come out."

See also: New Colorado Video Games Got a Chance to Shine at the Denver Indie Games Expo

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Blasting Off From Colorado, High Frontier Aims to Be the Most Realistic Space Game Ever

Categories: Games

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Courtesy of Joe Strout
Building a colony in High Frontier.
When the European Space Agency's Philae lander touched down on Comet 67P on November 12, millions of people were watching. For one day, the washing-machine-sized robot was the world's biggest celebrity, spawning a Google doodle and making the home page of the New York Times.

From his house in Fort Collins, software developer Joe Strout followed the probe's journey with special interest."It's a very encouraging step, for sure," Strout says. "Someday we'll be using the resources of asteroids and comets to build our own worlds, and this will be remembered as a very important day -- the first time any artifact landed on a comet."

You could say that space colonization is Strout's hobby, but that would be selling his obsession short. A software developer by profession, Strout is a self-taught student of physics who has co-authored papers on space-colony design and construction with a member of NASA's Ames Research Center. Now he's hoping to give gamers a crash course in what it takes to settle the stars.

See also: New Colorado Video Games Got a Chance to Shine at the Denver Indie Games Expo

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New Colorado Video Games Got a Chance to Shine at the Denver Indie Games Expo

Categories: Games

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Adam Roy
Casey Elliot tries out the 3D Durovis Dive.
Curling up in front of a screen on a cold, snowy day is one of winter's underrated pleasures, and it's one that wasn't lost on the crowd at the Denver Indie Games Expo at Clutch Gaming Arena in Arvada on Saturday. Players and creators who had braved the slippery roads milled about, schmoozing and trying their hands at local games on the computers arranged around the room.

In one corner, Brad Schumacher fiddled with the knobs on a cluster of homemade synthesizers, one of them constructed out of a jewelry box. Schumacher, who performs under the name Night Grinder, makes noisy, atmospheric music using everything from stringed instruments to recordings of light bulbs and concrete being crushed in a vise. (Westword's sister paper Riverfront Times named Schumacher, a recent transplant from St. Louis, the city's best noise musician in 2013). He said he came to the Indie Games Expo hoping to find local developers in need of someone to soundtrack their games.

See also: Fritz, a World War I Video Game, Explores the Darker Side of Conflict

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Puzzah Takes Puzzle Gaming Off the Screen and Into Real-Life LoDo

Categories: Games

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Adam Roy
Derek Anderson and Sarah Cai hope Puzzah will make a dent in Denver.
The mad composer's voice cuts in over the intercom, taunting us. He's placed a time bomb somewhere backstage at the performing arts center, and I and two other detectives have just an hour to find and disarm it. A clock in the corner of the room ticks down the time as we scour the room for clues, anything that might help us survive.

It sounds like a scene from a video game, but we're nowhere near a TV. Instead, the mystery is unfolding at Puzzah, a new business in LoDo offering an unusual twist on the live escape-the-room games just beginning to establish themselves on America's shores.

As the name suggests, live escape-the-room games are a type of problem-solving challenge in which players attempt to piece together a way out of a locked chamber. The games originated in Asia and Europe, and are increasing in number and popularity in the United States; Puzzah, which opens on Halloween with its first room, "Tick Tock," is the second venue in metro Denver, after Centennial's Clue Room. A third business, Trapped in a Room With a Zombie, is scheduled to open its doors in November.

See also: Aurora Steampunk Board Game Clockwork Kingdom Raises Funding on Second Try

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Rush 'Hower iPhone Game Simulates Out-Of-Control Semi Roaring Down I-70 Mountain Pass

Categories: Games

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Ever wondered what would happen to an out-of-control truck speeding down the pass from the Eisenhower Tunnel in a snowstorm? Rather than finding out in real life, local game developer Ryan Seabury has just released Rush 'Hower on the iTunes App Store and Google Play. It's a free "endless runner" style game with a distinct Colorado flavor.

The idea of a high-score game on the slippery slopes of I-70 came to Seabury on a skiing trip with his kids. "My kids were asking what the runaway truck ramps were for, and so I was telling them about it, and we were talking about how how a truck could get out of control on the highway. And then the idea popped into my head from that."

See also: Fritz, a World War I Video Game, Explores the Darker Side of Conflict


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Clockwork Kingdom is a Steampunk Game of Thrones

Categories: Games

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Chris Hershburger/Mr. B Games
Box art from Clockwork Kingdom.
Update: Clockwork Kingdom successfully met its goal with a revamped Kickstarter campaign this week, after failing to raise funding in its original effort.

"I can only speculate possibly going back to school, returning from Gencon and all the summer hoopla, that perhaps we were overlooked?" Mr. B founder Sean Brown wrote in an email to Westword. "Data would suggest all Late August projects were down across the board, so it could be just a slow time [of] year."

The new version of the Kickstarter expanded the game to five players and lowered the game's funding goal, from $20,000 to just over $13,000.

Original post: If you read fantasy or watch HBO, the story of upcoming board game Clockwork Kingdom will be instantly familiar. The king is dead, and without a successor, the nobility of the titular realm has begun to fight over the throne. But instead of dragons, these lord and ladies duke it out with Victorian-style robots.

"For me, theme is very important to a game, almost as much as it's mechanics and fun," says Sean Brown, founder of Clockwork Kingdom's Aurora-based publisher, Mr. B Games. "I want to feel immersed in the universe I am simulating."

See also: Ophir Publisher Terra Nova Aims to Bring an Ancient Economy to Tabletops

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Fritz, a World War I Video Game, Explores the Darker Side of Conflict

Categories: Games

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Daniel Tschanz/Truceful Entertainment
Art from Fritz, currently in development.
Most war games begin and end with combat, and in upcoming indie release Fritz, players get to do their fair share. They control the titular German soldier as he charges across the battlefields of World War I and grapples with the French army in the trenches. But it's in between battles that the game's real action happens.

During those lulls, Fritz visits wounded friends in the hospital, and kills time on guard duty. He reads letters from home, and struggles with the trauma of life and death on the front. By putting the player in a soldier's shoes, developers Truceful Entertainment hope to do something few games have aspired to: put a human face on one of the world's most dehumanizing practices.

See also: Hot Tin Roof May Be Colorado's Best -- and Last -- Try at Video Games

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Photos: The Modern Mythologists of MALCon

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There's a cosplay convention for everyone, it seems, from those obsessed with the world of anime to furry folk who dress up in shaggy animal suits. And then there's the Myths and Legends Con, which changes its overriding themes each year to include different sectors of mythology old and new. This past weekend, the con convened at the Ramada Plaza in Northglenn to hit the gaming tables and celebrate the characters of Harry Potter, Firefly, The Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who and My Little Pony. Photographer Danielle Lirette was there, and brought back these flights of fancy from MALCon.

See also: Meet the Furries of Rocky Mountain FurCon 2014

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See Video Games: The Movie with Colorado's game development community Sunday

Categories: Film and TV, Games

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Video games have come a long way since Space Invaders and Pong. These days, games are both a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry and a genuine cultural force, enjoyed by people of all ages across platforms ranging from dedicated gaming consoles to Facebook.

"The average age of a gamer is like 31 now. People all over the world play games competitively," says Jet Ternlund, a local game developer and board member of the Colorado branch of the International Game Developers Association. "The gaming industry has passed up movies -- it's billions of dollars in sales. Something like 56 percent of Americans play video games -- more than half. It's huge."

See also: Five games that changed my life -- from Halo to Sorry!

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Ophir publisher Terra Nova aims to bring an ancient economy to tabletops

Categories: Games

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Courtesy of Terra Nova
Art from Ophir.
Ophir, the upcoming board game from Denver-based publisher Terra Nova, is a battle of commerce. Players take the roles of merchants in an ancient civilization, amassing trading fortunes by outwitting and outmaneuvering their opponents on the high seas.

Thematically, it's like Monopoly or Steam, but with an interesting twist: Building up your own personal fortune isn't enough to win. Instead, players have to give back to the community by contributing to the construction of the Temple of Ophir, which rises in three dimensions on the board in front of them.

See also: Super Dungeon Explore creators Soda Pop Miniatures see a future for gaming in Denver

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