Give This A Go: Tiny Bang Story Now £7

By John Walker on May 24th, 2011 at 9:55 pm.

Play it!

Gosh, this is excellent news. When I first wrote about indie puzzle/adventure The Tiny Bang Story I wanted only to sing its praises, but I was held back by what seemed just too high a fee for such a short game. I’m so delighted to say that the game has been relaunched on Steam, now at the perfect price of £7, and there’s even a demo. This is a lovely game that a genre description does not fairly summarise. While it’s a combination of casual adventure and hidden object, I want you to throw your preconceptions and prejudices aside. This thing is heartfelt and sweet. Have a read of my article about it here, but substitute the price concerns for, “BUY THIS IF YOU HAVE ROOM FOR LOVELINESS AND JIGSAWS IN YOUR LIFE.”

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41 Comments »

  1. trjp says:

    There are 2 sounds in this thread – even now I can hear, faintly, Cliffski banging his head on his desk chanting “indie prices – for fucks sake INDIE PRICES”

    Somewhat louder tho are the storming feet of the “this game plagarises art so much that it’s the plagarists plagarist from plagaristville and I’m throwing my dummy at that nawty nawty developer” crowd who are at this very moment careening towards this thread like a herd(*) of art students…

    (*) what is the collective noun for art students? A louche? A sophistry? A steaming heap?

    I liked the demo – for what it’s worth – not quite ‘Drawn’ quality, but well worth a peek.

    • Mistabashi says:

      *A clunge of art students.

    • trjp says:

      That’s a winner for me…

    • Tatourmi says:

      Actually, from my experience and as a general, thus blind, rule, art student are way less snobish and protective about art than “commoners”.
      The “can games be art” debate for example is usually held by some sort of people who worship blindly “classic art” without ever having been by their own will in a museum (You know, the kind for which going to the Louvre is a mandatory evil when going to Paris). I doubt that it changes much from country to country.

  2. Flameberge says:

    What happens if I only have room for jigsaws of pain and suffering, but not loveliness?

    • trjp says:

      and here they are, sweating from their run from the bar, clutching their portfolios in the way rural folks hold torches and pitchforks – eyes blinking in the daylight, wondering where best to lounge for maximum effect…

    • Tegl says:

      I know the artist doesn’t really care, as evident by their follow-up blog post, but it’s worth mentioning because they are profiting off of it and it’s pretty blatant.

    • John Walker says:

      Gosh, I’d quite forgotten about that. And it was me who told the artist, too.

    • Oak says:

      I’m not sure I understand what trjp’s point is. The original artists, erm….shouldn’t bring this up?

    • trjp says:

      In fairness, the follow-up blog post is just a bit of “I’m feeling superior” braggadocio because he knows there’s pretty-much fuck-all he can do about it – but he wants to bring his sycophantic followers closer to protect him from future abuses…

      “Patrol the internets my pretties – find those who steal from me without permission – find them and bring them to me”…

    • trjp says:

      @Oak I’m taking the piss out of the folks who’ve made a drama out of a very very small issue – treat it like it’s some sort of ‘crime of the century’ – obviously didn’t live through the Limbo of the Lost furore…
      As for the artist – if he feels he’s been stolen from (he used the term “thief” so I guess he does) he’s fully welcome to take action and I’d be interested to see where that goes for him.
      If all he’s going to do is write a couple of blog posts about how he’s “above” that sort of thing – polish his moral superiority and move on – then we can all move on too, can’t we?

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      @ trjp

      To be fair to the artist they don’t seem to be overly fussed, complained more about the style of the “theft” than the theft itself.

    • Lilliput King says:

      trjp: Maybe this is only such a big issue because in every thread concerning it you’ve first denied that it existed and then, when it was clear that wasn’t convincing anyone, mocked those who were pointing it out. In fact, I think if we did the maths we’d find that you’re the person who has commented about this the most by a wide margin.

      Why is this so important to you?

    • trjp says:

      Firstly, I’ve never said the art wasn’t similar – I just don’t think it’s the most obvious ‘steal’ ever (I’d love to see someone take the 2 pieces into court and argue that it was – it would be quite an achievement).

      I’m not defending the developer tho, I’m pointing out that people seem to have MASSIVELY overreacted to it (the artist seems to be doing the same – abeit after-the-fact).

      As I said in the last thread, I’ve been on the end of a few accusations of plagarism (or companies I’ve worked for have – to be more specific) and I know that even when they’re completely baseless, they can be pretty harmful.

      Ironically, it’s hard for an artist to take action against plagarists but it’s much easier for someone to take action against people who make allegations of it without proof.

      The comment which started the last discussion – in Lewie’s last bargain thread – effectively accused the entire game of being ‘stolen art’ – the developer could quite easily have taken that to court and won as it’s clearly a massive, massive overstatement which couldn’t be supported with evidence.

      I’m also not keen on the idea that people will no scrutinise every game for any trace of similarlity to their, or their favourite artists, work – because I suspect if they do that, they’ll find a LOT of it and it will get really, really tiresome listening to it.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Again—what is wrong with using someone else’s art as a reference? Why, when seeing that inspiration and aid has been taken from his work, is the first artist’s reaction to cry theft?

      Bizarre.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Are you guys fucking serious?

      Look at the bottles on the top right. This is not “inspiration”. It’s wholesale copying. It’s the equivalent of sampling/remix in music. It’s copyright violation.

      There’s an interesting ethical debate to be had, but let’s at least acknowledge the facts.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      It seems to me he’s taken two different pictures and copied them—by redrawing, though I don’t think my opinion would change were it a photoshop job—to make a new work. As artists have done since literally the beginning of painting.

      Again, I say: this reaction is bizarre. And undesirable.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      OK, phew. Facts acknowledged.

      Look, I tape concerts of a certain band and distribute them to a small group of friends who are also crazy hardcore fans. I have no ethical qualms about it, because I know full well it’s not harming the artist in any way. It remains, however, illegal copyright violation.

      And so is this. It’s a derivative work. Where this crosses the line, IMO, is that it’s part of a commercial product. If this were some little hobby project, I say go nuts; try to play nice with the artists you’re ripping off, but whatever, it’s not a particularly big deal. But now they’re profiting partly off someone else’s work, which is a little icky.

    • trjp says:

      @TillEulenspiegel – I’m pleased you’ve decided, in your own mind that it’s clearly copyright violation – I’m sorry to have to tell you that what you think is worth very little in the scale of things and in reality I doubt he could make a case for it – even before you consider what a TINY part of the game we’re talking about.

      I’m a bit disappointed it seems the artist hasn’t even contacted the developers?? That’s the least I’d expect someone to do – esp if he’s going to call them thieves!!

    • Tatourmi says:

      There is hardly any copyright violation here and what he did can pretty much be considered the nature of art itself. If something it should be a matter of pride for the copied artist.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Sigh. I’m not aware of the intricacies of UK or European copyright law. Maybe it’s completely different, and that’s the disconnect here. (Germany, at least, seems to rule similarly) But I can assure you that from an American copyright perspective, tracing over someone’s artwork is creating a derivative work, and if you have inserted any fraction of someone else’s work into your own, you are guilty of copyright violation. Fair use exceptions, etc etc. They don’t apply here. The relative insignificance of the copied work in relation to the whole would limit damages in case of a lawsuit, but it doesn’t make it any less illegal. (again, Germany agrees: “Both courts held that the quality or quantity of sampled material is irrelevant in the determination of whether there has been an infringement of a party’s exclusive right to reproduce and distribute their sound recording.”)

      The artist would be 100% within his rights to send a DMCA takedown notice to Valve and any other distributor of this game in the US. That should be incentive enough to not take the risk of copying someone else’s work. Exact same thing if they had copied one tiny little sound effect without permission. Don’t believe me, fine. Consult your lawyer or read up on derivative works.

      But putting aside legality for a moment. Why do you think this is ethical, if indeed you do?

    • qrter says:

      I agree with kobzon here. It’s not about lawsuits – this business comes across as unprofessional and it’s all just sort of sad, really.

    • thehollowman says:

      I think the problem is the double standard. If a game takes elements from another game to create something new, everyone loves it – see WoW. Is stealing ideas better than direct work?

    • bill says:

      There’s a difference between taking inspiration and outright copying.
      This seems to fall clearly into the latter category, and while the original artist is being cool about it, so lawsuits aren’t the issue, it’s still unprofessional and cheeky. (and mystifying, as they seem to have talent themselves).
      If there was a lawsuit, which there won’t be, I think they’d lose.

    • dadioflex says:

      Anyone made an animated GIF overlaying the two images (which, ironically, would be copyright infringement)?

    • Wulf says:

      So, what about respect?

      I know I might be talking to the anti-choir here, so not many people are going to accept what I have to say, but there’s a point that’s being glossed over. What about respect? I’ve worked on a few open source projects before under various names – sometimes an original, and sometimes a branch, and what I did learn is that sharing is important, it’s the greatest thing there is, but respect, too, must be valued.

      I think that sharing is being valued here, and that’s fantastic, I support that. But in the same breath I don’t think that respect is being valued. Are you familiar with licenses like the GPL and the Creative Commons? A big part of those is that whilst you can share, attribution is a necessary aspect of that sharing, it’s respectful to note where you got the art from that you began with.

      Many artists across various sites will say the same thing (I can assure you right here and right now that they’re not all frothing egomaniacs and I don’t think that this guy is either): You can use my art if you like, but if you do then credit me, and I’d appreciate it if you’d tell me – but that’s not necessary. In the first blog, there, one thing that’s worth noting is that what bothers the artist the most, in my opinion, was that there was no credit of attribution anywhere.

      This raises the question: If it’s good enough for open source, then why, to ask the question, is it not good enough for art?

      Contrary to this idea, many artists I’ve known and continue to know feel that this is good enough for art. In fact, a lot of the artists I know across various topics, including science-fantasy, sci-fi, the various *punks, and even furry think that it’s perfectly okay for people to do this. Some even go so far as to license their own art under the creative commons. You’ll see this happening a lot on deviantART, there’s an undercurrent of this that’s taking hold.

      People are becoming more and more okay with sharing, and I think we should value that, but at the same time, to say it again, respect is a valid part of sharing. If someone shares something with you, or someone provides for you in a tangible way, then in turn you should have respect for them.

      All of this could have been avoided by having an ‘Artistic References’ section in the credits.

      Artistic References

      Grandmother and Grandson
      Sam Nielson
      Kevin Keele

      And that would’ve put an end to all of this before it even begun, because attribution is there, and it’s cited as a reference. I don’t see anything wrong with what the artist did, that must be understood, but the part that bothers me is, again, the lack of respect for the people they’ve referenced. And then, how much more work is referenced in the game but not attributed? Personally, I’d like to see the work of the people they’ve referenced, I’m a curious sort.

      If they’d done that, then people like myself could’ve seen the original work by Sam Nielson, and I don’t think that there would’ve been any problem there. It all would’ve balanced out because that way we’d be able to see the original work and the referenced work.

      I know this won’t be a popular opinion with RPS, as I frequently have unpopular opinions with RPS and while I weathered that out for a while… it does get tiresome, but I wanted to share this one to provide a fresh perspective on this particular problem, since art is something that matters to me. I suspect that this is another viewpoint that will be unpopular, but it’s one that’s actually popular with artists themselves.

      Borrow, yes, but borrow respectfully. Honour those whom you’ve borrowed from.

  3. trjp says:

    My god, how didn’t I hear the rhino of cynicism thundering towards the thread?

    Wearing slippers on your cynical hooves there??

  4. Deano2099 says:

    Not my pick of the hidden object games to be honest. There’s pretty much zero story, and while there is a logic to what you are searching for, there isn’t to where they’re hidden.

    There’s a couple of interesting puzzles, and some other dull puzzles, and some ridiculously slow-moving arcade games. It IS pretty, but even though I like jigsaws, when you can’t even rotate the pieces it’s a bit too simple.

    When it’s on sale for half this price I’d maybe suggest it solely for the pretties, but I’d easily go with the Drawn games over this if you want to try something of this ilk.

  5. TotalBiscuit says:

    You haven’t actually played it.

  6. Pemptus says:

    It’s quite pretty, all art theft aside, but the amount of silly pixelhunting is just way too huge. The poor mouse almost got a broken button…

  7. qrter says:

    Has anyone actually played it?

  8. Fwiffo says:

    Mr. Biscuit has played it, unless Youtube is now projecting his game playing nightmares.

  9. JohnnyMaverik says:

    I played the demo… it’s cool but it’s no Drawn, and I’m not a massive fan of hidden object games, but I most certainly wouldn’t call it a “typical calculated minimum effort casual clickfest”.

    Trust me this game is hard, or at least the bits I played were, harder than Drawn, sometimes bordering on the unfair. Harder than your average point and click adventure, harder than all of the other hidden object games I’ve tried out, and certainly harder than your average calculated minimum effort casual clickfest facebook game, and any attempt to claim in falls into that sort of category of game would be frankly ridiculous.

    Not saying it’s amazing, from what I’ve played I’d say it’s ok, maybe worth a try if you can find any enjoyment in that kind of game and aren’t expecting to be blown away, but it’s certainly not aimed at a purely or even largely casual audience despite the genre, or at least if it is then they’ve grossly miscalculated.

  10. Freud says:

    Watched a few minutes of TotalBiscuits video of this game and got bored very quickly. I simply don’t get the point of hidden object games. I guess for some they can be meditative but not me.

    Considering how many of them there are they must be fairly cheap to make and also have a surprisingly large audience.

    • Flint says:

      TotalBiscuit’s video made me actually want the game. And I could have easily watched several hours more of him losing his nerves with it!

  11. Ridnarhtim says:

    I played the demo and, though I enjoyed it, it somehow made me feel slightly dizzy and sick. I don’t know if it was staring at the screen scanning every pixel looking for things to click on or something else, but it definitely didn’t agree with me (though nowhere near as badly as Bit.Trip Beat).

  12. amandachen says:

    I played it. It’s a bit short, I felt, but it filled that time in a pleasant way (except for the 2 or 3 tedious arcade game segments).

  13. AdamK117 says:

    Awesome £7 games, might make me forget the £30 I spend on the unsatisfying blockbusters *necks another spoonfull of ice cream while reflecting in a dark room*

  14. trjp says:

    I think we need Mr Walker to repent by covering the Drawn games – (again???) :)