TRON, Mike Bithell and Notes.
So many lovely games will be relased.
Hello, my friends!
I know, you did not receive an issue of this beautiful newsletter last week. Unfortunately, life happened and I was caught up in a thousand family commitments. But I'm back and with me comes, this week, a lot of great indie games.
Looking at the statistics, you seem to be enjoying the in-depth coverage of the indiegame designers, and so this week we return to talk about those who have contributed and are contributing, to the fantastic world of indiegames.
What kind of program is he?
Master Control Program:
He's not any kind of program, Sark. He's a user.
Master Control Program:
That's right, Sark. A User. He pushed me in the real world. And when someone pushes me, I push back, so I brought him down here! What's the matter, Sark? You look nervous.
Users... well, I mean... users wrote us. A user even wrote you!
Master Control Program:
No one user wrote me! I'm worth millions of their man-years!
I am a huge fan of TRON and its universe, I was hooked from the first moment I saw the first film in 1982, TRON. This was followed by the game developed by Monolith and released in 2003, which I played and finished with great pleasure and fond memories.
But it was in 2012 that the passion for TRON started burning inside me again thanks to the animation series TRON: Uprising. Incredible quality coupled with a beautifully written story, anyone who has seen and praised Arcane (and how can you not praise it?) cannot help but see TRON: Uprising, do it for me but above all for yourself.
Why all this stuttering about TRON? I'll get to that in a moment but first, let's talk about Mike Bithell.
If you are a fan of indie games, you have probably heard of Mike Bithell. He is a British video game designer, developer, and podcaster who has created some of the most innovative and captivating games in recent years. From a minimalist platformer about sentient rectangles to a stealth game inspired by Robin Hood, Bithell’s games are known for their originality, humour, and emotion. He is also a regular host of the Play, Watch, Listen podcast, where he discusses the art and craft of video games with other industry professionals. In this article, we will explore some of Bithell’s most notable games and what makes them stand out in the crowded and competitive indie game scene.
One of Bithell’s most acclaimed games is Thomas Was Alone, a minimalist platformer game that tells the story of a group of sentient rectangles who escape from a computer program. The game uses simple graphics, narration by Danny Wallace, and music by David Housden to create an emotional and immersive experience. The game challenges the player to guide the rectangles through various levels, each with its own personality and abilities. The game explores themes such as friendship, identity, and purpose, and makes the player care about the fate of the geometric characters. The game won a BAFTA award for Best Performer and received critical acclaim for its originality and storytelling.
Another game that showcases Bithell’s creativity and talent is Volume, a stealth game inspired by Robin Hood that challenges the player to sneak through various levels and broadcast their heists online. The game features voice acting by Charlie McDonnell, Andy Serkis, and Danny Wallace, as well as a level editor that allows players to create and share their own missions. The game is set in a futuristic version of England, where a rogue AI named Alan helps the player to steal from the rich and give to the poor. The game combines stealth mechanics, puzzle solving, and social commentary, and received positive reviews for its gameplay, visuals, and sound design.
A more recent game that demonstrates Bithell’s versatility and ambition is John Wick Hex, a tactical action game based on the John Wick film series that puts the player in the role of the legendary assassin. The game uses a timeline system that simulates the strategic thinking of John Wick, as well as a graphic novel style that captures the aesthetic of the movies. The game features voice acting by Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, and Troy Baker, as well as an original score by Austin Wintory. The game is a prequel to the films and follows John Wick as he tries to rescue his friends from a mysterious villain named Hex. The game received praise for its innovative gameplay, faithful adaptation, and cinematic presentation.
But the game that I truly enjoyed playing was Subsurface Circular, Another game that reflects Bithell’s passion for narrative and experimentation, a text-based adventure game that puts the player in the role of a robot detective who investigates a series of disappearances on a subway system. The game uses a graphical twist on the classic text-based format, as well as a vocabulary-based inventory system called “Focus Points”. The game features an original soundtrack by Dan Le Sac and a commentary mode by Bithell himself. The game is a short but engaging story that explores themes such as artificial intelligence, free will, and social justice. The game received overwhelmingly positive reviews for its writing, dialogue, and atmosphere.
And here we come to the hook with TRON because the latest Mike Bithell Games effort, TRON: Identity, has just been released. I still have to play it so I can’t tell you anything more than what you can read online, I will leave you my impressions of the game as soon as I will play it, I swear!
I said this week is full of interesting games, let's see which ones:
X4: Kingdom End: A game that is the fourth expansion for X4: Foundations, which introduces the Boron faction and their unique ships. Available for PC on April 12, 2023.
Sherlock Holmes The Awakened: A game that is a remastered version of the 2006 adventure game where you investigate a series of mysterious disappearances. Available for PC on April 12, 2023.
Wartales: A game that is a hardcore medieval role-playing game that mixes open-world mechanics with turn-based combat. Out from EA today.
Rusted Moss: A game that is a post-apocalyptic survival game set in a world where a deadly moss has taken over.
Now something completely different!
I just published my first note on Substack Notes, and would love for you to join me there!
Notes is a new space on Substack for us to share links, short posts, quotes, photos, and more. I plan to use it for things that don’t fit in the newsletter, like work-in-progress or quick questions.
How to join
Head to substack.com/notes or find the “Notes” tab in the Substack app. As a subscriber to Lukather's Trove 🕹, you’ll automatically see my notes. Feel free to like, reply, or share them around!
You can also share notes of your own. I hope this becomes a space where every reader of Lukather's Trove 🕹 can share thoughts, ideas, and interesting quotes from the things we're reading on Substack and beyond.
That’s all folks! See you next time XXX