Most Original Concept of the Year (Posted Dec 24, 2003)

Concept

The name of the game in independent is having new and different ideas (or maybe strange like RTSofts Teenage Lawnmower).  This year we came to the conclusion that there at least 6 games whose concepts were extremely innovative.  So instead of the normal 5 finalists for a category, this category got six! 

 

6th Place  

Orbz [by 21-6 Productions published by GarageGames]

Price: $19.95

Our Review

Windows System Requirements (also available for Mac & Linux):
Windows, Pentium II® 400 mhz, 64 MB RAM, OpenGL or DirectX® Compatible Video Card, DirectX® compatible Soundcard

It has been said that Orbz isn't really an original concept, but instead just a modification of Golf.  If that is the case, then this is one heck of a modification.  For one thing there aren't any holes.  For another you can shoot your ball any direction, including straight up.

Probably the most fun aspect of the game is that you are playing a free-for-all, which certainly doesn't match up with the game of Golf very well.

Orbz is a simple but great idea.  Control your targeting by height and direction, and then choose the velocity of the shot as you try to hit floating stars all over multiple and interesting landscapes.  Hard to describe, easy to play, and a lot of fun, Orbz is a wonderful concept!

Score:  4.5



5th  Place

Dungeon Scroll [by RT Soft]

Price: $8.00

Review Coming!

System Requirements: DirectX 7.0

Depending on how you look at it, Dungeon Scroll either takes adventuring/RPG games or Puzzle games where they haven't been before. 

This clever game pits you against a hoard of enemies such as spiders and dragons.  Your only ability lies in spelling out words that you then cast as spells against the evil forces of darkness.  Larger words will hurt the enemies more than smaller words, but if you take too long to decide what you are going to say, you are likely to be killed by the creature that will continually attack you each moment of the game.

Dungeon Scroll has already won the Game Tunnel Puzzle Game of the year, and the original concept certainly played a large part in that.

Score:  4.0



4th Place

Triptych [by Chronic Logic]

Price: $14.95

Our Review

System Requirements: Pentium II 466mhz, 32MB RAM, Windows or Linux

Chronic Logic is probably best known for their bridge building games Pontifex and Bridge Construction Set, which use complex physics to determine if a player designed bridge will collapse or be successful. Now the developers have used their knack for physics effects and applied it to a Tetris-styled game.

This game goes places that we hope all puzzle games will go in the future.  The real fun in the game is controlling the pieces, while attempting to deal with the physics.  When a piece drops in this game, it really falls.  You can increase the velocity and watch the pieces smash into each other, trying to get them to line up and create sets.  Definitely a game that everyone, especially puzzle game haters, should play as it sets a new standard for puzzle games.

Score:  3.75



3RD Place

Notrium [by Ville Mönkkönen]

Price: Freeware!

Our Review

System Requirements:
Win98/ME/2K/XP  300mhz, 64 MB RAM, Direct3D compatible Video Card, DX 8.1+

Just because a game is freeware and made by a single person doesn't mean it isn't a great game.  Notrium by Ville Monkkonen is the perfect example of perfection in a freeware game. 

Notrium features a random generator and multiple winning paths that makes each game a new adventure in every way. The game ranges from day to night, with the height of the day requiring that you get plenty of shade, and the night-time requiring that you hand out near the fire. 

The idea behind the game is to find various things, including wreckage of your old ship, and put the pieces together to make items, such as weapons, so that you can get off of the planet.  The items and even the way they are put together is quite inventive.  Definitely a game worth checking out if you want to do more than just blast away at enemies.  Of course you get to do plenty of alien blasting as well.

Score:  3.5


2ND Place

Paint Defense [by Gradient Studios]

Price: $14.95

Review 

System Requirements: Pentium III 600MHz, 64M RAM, Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, DX3 compatible Sound Card

Creating what was one of the more interesting concepts of the year, Paint Defense is a game that everyone in the family can easily pick up and play.

In Paint Defense, your only weapon is a paintbrush.  Everywhere you move on the screen, you leave a trail of paint, just as you would do in a paint program. 

The idea is to use the brush to paint over various shapes on the screen, such as circles and stars.  Once you have painted over all of the shapes, you win the game. 

However, it isn't that easy to paint over the shapes.  Continually accosting you from every side are vehicles that move across the screen.  Everywhere they move, they leave a paint trail of their own, and if they move over the top of any of the the shapes you are supposed to paint over, it erases the paint that you have painted on top of the shape. 

This game is certainly different on a number of fronts, making it one of the best concept games of the year.

Score:  2.75


1st Place

Train Tracking [by Demonstar]

Price: UK £10

Our Review

System Requirements:
PII300+, 32Mb, 16Mb Video Card, DirectX 7, 800x600 Full screen

Train Tracking shows how a simple concept can create a very interesting game.  The idea actually comes from the culture in England.  There is a "national past time" of trying to spot the different trains.  (Probably something similar to trying to find a license plate from every state while traveling in the US)

Train Tracking brings the train spotting concept over amazingly well.  It is one thing for it to be a casual pastime game, it is another to create a video game based on that pastime and make it fun to play. 

The team at Demonstar did a wonderful job with this game, and with the variety of trains, the fun of finding out what the names and occupations of the different people hanging out at the station are, and the speed and intensity of the game, Train Tracking is a game that definitely hits the mark, and it is the Game Tunnel 2003 Concept Game of the Year!

Score:  1.75





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