The Stacks: Boston Stacks Up at the WIG Demo Night!
The Boston Stack Joins Women in Games to Support Local Developers!
Women in Games is a meetup group based in the Boston area dedicated to supporting women in the gaming industry. Their regular monthly meetings are a great place to learn about the local game developers, network with some leaders in the industry, and have a little fun while you’re doing it! As the name suggests, the purpose of the group is to focus on women in games, but it is not now nor has it never been a women-only group: men are more than welcome to join, as are transgender and gender-fluid individuals. As part of their endeavor to make Stack-Up a familiar name in the local gaming community, the Boston Stack attended last Monday’s party, where rookie and veteran developers alike presented their latest projects in a Women in Games demo night.
Unfortunately, the Boston Stack was stretched a little thin during the event. While the Stack members caught glimpses of a few tabletop games (including a complicated Warhammer-esque project), the video games out in Intrepid’s main space caught the lion’s share of the Stack’s attention. Two games in particular caught the Stack’s eye: Francine, and Wildermyth.
Francine is a historical horror mystery based in the peak of the United States’ Abolitionist movement. In the game, a young woman must navigate through an abandoned mansion searching for clues about her missing mother. Too bad the house is only “abandoned” by the living: as she travels through the estate, Francine will be ambushed, attacked, and occasionally assisted by the tortured spirits of slaves and slave-owners who once lived there. With limited supplies and weapons to defend herself, will Francine be able to learn what happened to her mother before the spirits catch her?
The Boston Stack got a chance to talk to the game’s creator, Vincent Bibule, about the project. Bibule heavily researched the Abolitionist movement before starting the project, so the names, journal entries, and even the portraits on the walls are based on real events! Francine is currently in early-development, and won’t be in alpha for some time. However, the demo available at the WIG event shows that this historical horror game has promise.
This article is not the first time Wildermyth has appeared on stackup.org: the procedurally-generated fantasy RPG was one of the booths the Stack visited at last year’s Boston Festival of Indie Games. Back then, the creator Tim Crosby had little more than a presentation to illustrate what Wildermyth might look like. Last Monday, Crosby presented an enjoyable alpha to offer the attendees.
The game’s story opens with the standard “burning village filled with bad guys” opening level, but the formatting for that story is quite unique. Instead of a cinematic route or a full text-based presentation, cutscenes are presented as part of a graphic novel with dialogue choices displayed as branching panels that lead further into the story. The gameplay also plays up the literary theme with a pop-up storybook feel to the action. Your five heroes are flat figures like the player pieces in Candyland, and they hop from square to square as you make your way across the board.
While the game has entered a solid alpha stage, Crosby feels reluctant to present Wildermyth to a larger convention like Boston FIG before it’s further along in development. He states that the project has been “promoted from a good prototype to a bad game,” and he’s more interested in investing the time to turn Wildermyth into a “good game” beta before reserving a booth at a convention.
Two and a half hours passed away like two and a half minutes, and once the event leaders stared pointing at the clock, the Boston Stack was struggling to figure out just where all that time had gone! Women in Games has a reputation for holding great events, and the purpose of the group is undoubtedly worthy of support; one of the subtler signs that the local gaming industry is growing more women-friendly is the fact that the event’s creator–Shea Rossi–is the writer for Wildermyth!
So with a few new games to look forward to, the Boston Stack left Cambridge to prepare for their next event later this month: the third VA LAN party!