Molyneux Magic: The Games of Molyjam 2013
The second Peter Molyneux-inspired game jam event took place last weekend and, as expected, generated a wealth of magnificent PC titles to explore. Too many, in fact, for us to look at all of them. Instead, we allowed our EMOTIONS to guide us to the games that looked most likely to astound and amaze. It’s what Peter would want.
Don’t fret if you’re not featured here. You’re all winners. Except for you. Your game was awful.
For a truly enlightening glimpse into the world of wonder that is Peter Molyneux, read on. We’ve given every game a special rating, and noted the prevailing emotion experienced while playing.
Mind of Molyneux by Simon Davis and Peter Underwood
Peter (not Molyneux): Where better to begin than with a look inside the sensational mind of the man himself? Mind of Molyneux is a bold, some may say foolhardy, attempt to recreate the thought processes behind Molyneux’s games. You have a limited amount of time to mash inspiration cubes together in order to prevent the unthinkable from happening: Peter Molyneux running out of ideas.
The mechanics are simple, but enhanced by the hypnotic beat of the Moly-synapses and periodic bursts of soothing wisdom from the man himself. I’d question whether the Moly-mind is dominated purely by Curiosity cubes, however. He seems like a man who’d have at least a couple of trapezoids floating around in there. Also, the abrupt ending forced me to contemplate a world without fresh Molyneux concepts and that experience almost drove me mad with grief.
Emotion-o-meter: Relative calm, followed by horror.
Rating: 12 Curiosity cubes out of 5
The Molyneux Experience by Shish
Tim (not Peter, Molyneux or otherwise): I, too, started off with a look into what it’s like to be Peter Molyneux, but unlike Mind of Molyneux, The Molyneux Experience is a Peter Molyneux simulator. It’s your job to complete seemingly mundane tasks – flipping pancakes, driving to work, kissing your wife – but a constant stream of ideas obscures the screen, and to get rid of them you have to write them down (by clicking on them). I can honestly say I’ve never before appreciated how hard it must be to be Peter Molyneux, having to survive on a day-to-day basis while your brain continually throws out world-changing ideas.
Emotion-o-meter: Profound respect for Peter Molyneux.
Rating: 1 Richard Madoc out of The Sandman: Dream Country.
Molynews by Nick Zhang and Jonathan Zungre
Peter (still not Molyneux): In Molynews, you get to experience the unbridled glee of conducting an interview as Peter Molyneux. Selecting from chopped up pieces of real Moly-quotes within a tight time limit, it’s your task to sell an eager games journalist on Fable 3. Will you wow him with tales of dog emotion and thrilling man-hugs, or baffle him by claiming to be a pint of bitter in a contract dispute. The choice is yours! But obviously it’s funnier to do the latter thing.
Molynews features excellent use of the source material and, as a games writer myself, offered a liberating view of the other side of the microphone. I’d love to see a deluxe edition with fully voiced Molyneux cut-ups, though. The silence is a bit eerie.
Rating: 29 exasperated PR handlers out of 30.
DOGus by Dafydd and @Afal
Peter: I was drawn to this entry by a picture of a dog in a hat and the following developer quote: “I didn’t think a lot when making this game. I’m sorry.” Don’t worry guys, that’s the case for a lot of games I review professionally! And most of them don’t have the decency to apologise up front.
I’d hoped DOGus would be a hacked ROM version of Populous with dogs in place of people, but instead it’s a dating sim in which a videogame-obsessed Peter “Molly” Molyneux attempts to chat you up. He’s either in drag or a woman for some reason, it’s hard to say. Anyway, your main role in this title is to attempt to swing the conversation back towards dogs instead of games. It seems quite hard because I could only ever get the ‘Bad’ ending (talking all night about videogames.)
What’s the good ending? Buying Molly a puppy? Fleeing for your life? I don’t know.
Emotion-o-meter: Fear. Confusion. More fear. Laughter. Dogs.
Rating: 1 Hatoful Boyfriend out of 3.
QWOPassage: The Marathon of Life by Ezra Schrage, Andy Wallace, Jane Friedhoff and Ben Johnson
Tim: Life, Peter Molyneux tells us, is a marathon that you have to push your way through. If this is true, the developers of QWOPassage presumably reasoned, then QWOP is less a slapstick comedy game and more of a metaphor for our very existence – only without enough emotion. Enter QWOPassage, which intersperses your groping, desperate attempts to stumble through your life with truly poignant messages that expose the real, beating heart of man’s day-to-day struggle with the world – and with him (or her) self.
Emotion-o-meter: All of them.
Rating: 1 perfect tear landing on the wing of a butterfly. Forever.
Freedom Isn’t Free by James Hofmann, Scott R. Looney and Brandon Sheffield
Peter: As everybody who lives in America knows, freedom is a very important commodity. Therefore, a game in which freedom continually ticks upwards towards infinity must be the best one ever. But, shockingly, freedom is not free. This is demonstrated by … dropping a cube under a floating tower and then running into benches at high speeds to bounce them over the horizon. The only possible explanation? Art.
Rating: All the freedoms.
Moly Dog by Stephane Cocquereaumont, Marcin Polakowski, Antoine Goursolas, France Quiquere and Nicolas Signat
Peter: Moly Dog is a French entry. Not only does it feature abstract nudity, but one of the people who made it is literally named “France.” That’s really French.
As an unruly canine, it is your mission to run around the local neighbourhood making a nuisance of yourself. And by that I mean biting people. It’s an exhilarating look inside the mind of a vicious animal, driven to levels of rage that can only be explained by a lack of love. Unfortunately, the existence of Rise of the Triad means this game has narrowly missed being the original first-person dog-em-up by nine years.
Rating: Woofenstein 3 out of D.