DID YOU READ

What Makes a Game Indie? “Rochard” Blurs the Line

What Makes a Game Indie? “Rochard” Blurs the Line (photo)

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In 2008, the new European developer Recoil Games was creating an ambitious first-person shooter called “Earth No More.” The team was large and the product was larger. In 2009, the financial crisis struck, and the project was postponed indefinitely. Yesterday, we met with a smaller, but equally hopeful Recoil team to discuss their new game, “Rochard,” a downloadable exclusive for PlayStation Network. What happens when a major studio tightens the belt like this? Can a once traditional developer be indie?

“Rochard” is a tough title to define. Like “Metroid” and “Shadow Complex,” the titular hero (voiced by Jon St. John, the throat of Duke Nukem) navigates a 2D plane, blasting enemies, solving puzzles and exploring a sci-fi world.

The pot-bellied, mustachioed engineer has two unique methods for manipulating gravity — the crux of the game. The first, the G-Lifter, is Rochard’s go-to weapon and puzzle solver. With a click, the gun lifts a nearby crate with ease. Another click launches the crate like a deadly projectile. The second trick, initiated by holding a shoulder button, shifts the room’s earth-like gravity to moon-like gravity.

Combing the two, Rochard bounds two or three stories high, gliding boxes across the screen like their trapped in transparent molasses.

It feels like a small game compared to the boxed shooters with which it will compete. But it also feels like a passion project. There’s wholeness to the game’s vision: the ultimate redneck space opera.

A steel guitar tune introduces the world, Rochard skimming through the stars, piloting with one hand, emptying a “root beer” can with the other. He’s less perverse than Duke Nukem, despite sounding quite similar. This is the 80s movie everyman with a gold-dipped, artery-clotted heart.

The developers gabbed enthusiastically about everything during our preview: The talented musicians that crafted the soundtrack; Jon St. John’s hilarious line readings; Hopes to make “Rochard” a recognizable character – the sort you want to befriend and welcome into your home again and again.

None of this felt disingenuous. They love “Rochard.” The character. The game. The opportunity.

At the hotel room where we all watched the unlikely hero jump from platform to platform in an alien mine, the Recoil team didn’t feel like a development giant. They felt like human beings doing what they love.

“Rochard” is no epic first-person shooter or mainstream blockbuster, but it looks to be a humble, well-realized downloadable game. The game and the people behind it feel so similar: humble, genuine and perhaps a little more ambitious than you’d guess at first blush. An old habit, perhaps, from a different time.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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