Yahtzee’s Rabid Rabbits: Poacher

By Adam Smith on January 12th, 2012 at 10:49 am.

Ayup

It’s been a good while since Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw released a game of his own, although he’s hardly been idle in that time, with Zero Punctuation and other projects continuing to devour his time. Now, through the magic of moving images, his newest game has been revealed to the world. It’s called Poacher and its star is a stoical Yorkshireman (tautology intended) who finds himself caught in a battle between giant faces and killer bunnies. That’s what I reckon anyway. Take a look for yourself.

Apparently it’s influenced by Cave Story.

Let it never be said that I am a man who will waste minutes of his life over-analysing a trailer for a computer game about a Yorkshireman killing rabbits. Never say it. BUT! What of the presence of what must be one of the most trailer-friendly pieces of music in recent years as well as the cute world turns menacing idea that I swear I’ve seen too many times since Eversion? Yahtzee is rarely easy on cliche in gaming, nor of pre-release trailers if memory serves, though more forgiving if they contain gameplay footage as this one clearly does.

Still, I’m curious and keen to see if there’s anything odd going on here, beyond the presence of ghosts, underground cities and an evil rabbit kingdom beneath the Yorkshire Dales.

Maybe it’s nothing more than a touch of smiling self-awareness. Maybe more. Whatever happens next, Cave Story with a Yorkshireman could be fun and I look forward to seeing the poacher become the poached. Let’s just hope this doesn’t give me as many nightmares as Watership Down, which I still haven’t rewatched since I was a kid because I’m convinced there is nothing in the world more horrid than it.

Now, if you haven’t already, go and play the lovely/scary point and click Trilby games, starting here.

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58 Comments »

  1. Gozuu says:

    It is basically just a reskin and combination of alot of Flash Games you could find on sites around the web. The horrid graphics, even if intended, does not suit the year of 2012. As much as the game can be fun, it’s not innovative, it does not look good nor is the continous attempt to make a humorous game a brand new idea any longer.

    In the trashbin.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Wow, woke up a little bitchy today, Gozuu? Or are you just ironically treating the game the way you think Yahtzee treats other games? Because Yahtzee doesn’t give a shit about “horrid graphics” as long as the game plays well. Nice try, though.

      (On the other hand, if you’re serious, you just threw Cave Story, Super Meat Boy, and 95% of all PC Indie games under the bus right there. Which means you are really, really, very wrong.)

    • tsmike says:

      “As much as the game can be fun” <- Isn't that all that matters? We are talking about a game y'know.

      A game doesn't have to be "innovative" or have super-ultra-mega graphics to be any good. Look at Spiderweb Software's games, the visuals on their games are shite and the gameplay isn’t that “innovative”, but they’re still good and have a large group of followers.

    • Theon says:

      I hope, for your sake, that you are satirically portraying the average self-professed “gamer” of this generation (in a similar fashion to The Best Gamers), and do not actually harbor such immensely lackwit opinions.

    • Gozuu says:

      Wouldn’t say I woke up a little bitchy at all. Taking a sample of a wide catalog of games already created and put them together with some really terrible graphics and static humor of a brit, isn’t something that I seem as very creative nor inspiring.

      Sure, games are provided to entertain and if the game is fun, then the product would be considered successfull. Or would it? I do not wish to hate on the developer, I know as a fact that this is his hobby and not a full time commitment, yet I feel a slight disturbance in morality by taking concepts from so many titles and putting them together without the slightest mention or credit towards the original creators.

      Let me ask you, what is different in this game to any Flash game available? It certainly isn’t the graphics, the humor or the gameplay. Actually, it’s a complete rehash.

      You might enjoy it and I am glad it brings you entertainment. That doesn’t mean that I will enjoy it and my opinion is what I go after, not anyone else – I suggest you do the same and enjoy what you like :)

      @Madtinkerer: I do not enjoy playing Super Meat Boy or Cave Story+ FYI.

    • yhancik says:

      “We are talking about a game y’know”, but while we can indeed enjoy a game for being well done and fun and likeable, it’s not completely crazy* either to wish for that medium we love so much to push things forward. Not that we expect that from a Yahtzee game in particular, but I can understand that “another indie platformer” feels a bit tiresome, or that its “cute rabbits are actually monsters”-based humour (from what we have seen so far) feels a bit dull.

      * if expressed in a more nuanced way than Gozuu did [in his first post]

    • JehuGarroutte says:

      “Sure, games are provided to entertain and if the game is fun, then the product would be considered successfull. Or would it?”

      Y…yes. Yes it would.

      Really, you seem to have an excess of vitriol for a (free, mind you) lark of a game.

    • Chris D says:

      “…and static humor of a brit.”

      Them’s fightin’ words!

      But seriously, it’s clearly wearing its influences on its sleeve so complaining that something’s not that original when it’s not making any pretence of being so seems to be missing the point. If we’re going to say you can only use the same mechanics one time then you can’t have and FPS’s, RTS’s or pretty much any other genre you care to name.

      Innovation in theme counts as well as innovation in mechanics. Now I’m basing this off the trailer so I could be wrong but I’d say it looks like a deliberate attempt to juxtapose the nature of hunting, an uneven match between the heavily armed hunter and his harmless prey, with the prevailing narrative of most gaming, heroic struggle against impossible odds, causing players to question the nature of the activity they derive entertainment and many derive validation from.

      In short, it’s an artistic statement. (If an unmade bed counts then this bloody does!). It’s also one that requires the mechanics to be recognisably similar or even identical to a large number of games in order for the juxtaposition to work; unique mechanics would break the correspondence rendering it ineffectual.Whether you look at this as homage, parody or satire the similarity isn’t lazy, it’s necessary.

      Also, apparently it’s quite good fun.

    • Suits says:

      “I do not enjoy playing Super Meat Boy or Cave Story+ FYI.”
      Blasphemy

    • MadTinkerer says:

      “Taking a sample of a wide catalog of games already created and put them together with some really terrible graphics and static humor of a brit, isn’t something that I seem as very creative nor inspiring.”

      But at least he’s calling it Poacher. That’s the difference between the typical ripoff flash game and this, right there. He’s not just 100% aware of what he’s doing, he’s doing it with style. That’s also the difference between this game and the big budget modern warfare shooters that do indeed look very 2012 and are otherwise complete shit.

      And saying “In the trashbin” before you’ve played it is just rude. After all, Yahtzee actually played MW3 and BF3 before announcing they were tied for worst game of the year. I’m a little surprised they beat Mindjack, but then I haven’t played any of them myself. Probably won’t, either. In the trashbin, then.

    • Gozuu says:

      Yes Madtinkerer, it is indeed rude of me to judge a book on its cover. Well, not exacly. If the book says “Twillight” I would be more than allowed by you to call it complete trash, even without reading it. Yet, when I judge a game by its graphics, I am wrong and rude by saying I would put this in the trash bin straigth away?

      I know I am putting words on you that you didn’t speak, but just admit that I am true about that conclusion and my comparison were spot on? :)

      As I said, I know this isnt his full time commitment, so expecting a wonder would be wrong of me. Yet, my opinion and experience with the copycat flash games are so bad that I cannot avoid being rude and not trust the creators. They put average effort into it, especially into graphics. We have wonderfull technology that allows to create some artistic wonders and still some find joy in providing graphics that my PS2 could do better years back?

      I don’t know if it is a fetish or just a developer being lazy or without artistic skills. Regardless, I would reserve my right to judge this particular book solely upon it’s cover. It just looks – that bad.

    • Chris D says:

      @Gozuu

      The Twilight books are considered bad by many because people have read and reviewed them and judged them to be bad on the basis of the words. If you just looked at the cover you could tell that it was supernatural romance and might think it wasn’t for you on that basis, which is fine, but anyone who thought they could tell that it was objectively bad simply by looking at the cover would be a moron.

    • Gozuu says:

      @ChrisD:

      I do not like rehashed games with low quality graphics. Is this the same as saying I do not like Supernatural romance? If so, I think my statement is still as valid as ever. Trashbin away.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah but if it were good then he couldn’t make a bitter, scathing video about it, which is his real bread and butter. Although he probably still could anyway.

    • Chris D says:

      @Gozuu

      No, not really one is a genre preference, equivalent to saying “I don’t like platformers” the other is a judgement of quality, the clues being the perjorative terms “rehashed” and “bad”. I believe I addressed the “rehashed” issue in an earlier post.

      As for the graphics, that’s subjective in many ways and if your statement is “I don’t like the graphics” then you like what you like and fair enough but if your statement is “These graphics are poor quality and therefore it is a bad game” then that’s a claim of objective truth which others are entitled to call into question, perhaps by pointing out that the graphics appear to be no worse than most other flash games, especially free ones. They might also legitimately wonder whether such apparently mean-spirited behaviour is solely motivated by the graphic quality or whether there is another motivating factor, or “bitchiness” as it is colloquially known.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “Yes Madtinkerer, it is indeed rude of me to judge a book on its cover. Well, not exacly. If the book says “Twillight” I would be more than allowed by you to call it complete trash, even without reading it. Yet, when I judge a game by its graphics, I am wrong and rude by saying I would put this in the trash bin straigth away?”

      Hmm.

      Don’t feed the troll, guys.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      @Gozuu: I particularly love the part where you assume he has played and is therefore aware of ALL Flash games, which he should credit, never mind that said games were generally inspired by the same Metroidvania and Cave Story he cites as influences.

    • Berzee says:

      I would not call the graphics Horrid, rather — serviceable. =P On the whole I am inclined to be unmoved by this trailer, and to that extent I agree with Gozuu (which is about halfway, since he passed Unmoved and kept going ^_^).

      But I would be unmoved by a trailer of Cave Story, too, and I loved that game when I played it (though I never beat it and just read plot spoilers instead). Hard to make gameplay trailers of this kind of game, perhaps…

      I like his hat, though. I verra much like this poacher’s hat. I need one, mine is falling apart.

    • Gozuu says:

      @ ChrisD:

      You’re right, they are two different things. Though it’s both preference.

      @ Lillput King:

      No trolling.

      @ Ninja Dodo:

      It would all be a evil circle jerk session if I had to find you a guy Cave Story was heavily inspired by, so I won’t. He cites it’s influenced by Cave Story, never mind that there are atleast five similar games I can think of in my head which aren’t the same as Cave Story, yet have gameplay which is put into this title without mention.

    • Pajama says:

      Little bit of a ass today are we. Have you even played some of his games before? Have you played the game before and to the end? No? Well then you can have a nice, big old warm glass of shut the fuck up.

    • Enikuo says:

      Yahtzee says “it’s a Metroidvania-style platformer that’s somewhat influenced by Cave Story amongst other games.” He mentions two big influences and acknowledges there were other influential games, so I think he’s covered. It’s a free game. It doesn’t need a fully cited bibliography. The graphics are fine and there’s plenty of room in the market for well-done reworks of familiar mechanics and ideas. These criticisms just seem disproportionate to the scope of the game.

    • DrGonzo says:

      ” nor is the continous attempt to make a humorous game a brand new idea any longer.”

      Neither is the attempt to make a game brand new any more. So I say we should pack it all in. Call it a day.

  2. MadTinkerer says:

    Gah. I read his blog post and now I’m disappointed. Another freebie. When is he going to make a game that he can sell? I mean: I’ll miss his review show, but I’d prefer it if he made games full time instead.

  3. DickSocrates says:

    He must have been working on this for years. When he started, the graphics were current.

  4. Llewyn says:

    Pah. There are many things more horrible than Watership Down: the rest of Richard Adams’ novels. I’d particularly recommend the Plague Dogs, minus the revised ending of course.

    • Adam Smith says:

      I was wondering how long it’d be before Plague Dogs got a mention. It also haunts me but I came to it later in life, all toughened up.

      Well, a bit toughened up.

    • Prime says:

      Ghost of the Fireflies makes Watership Down look like Disney.

    • Outright Villainy says:

      Ghost of the fireflies? It’s Grave. Though I can forgive people for trying to forget that movie, it’s the most depressing thing that’ll ever be etched into your mind. I usually love films that have sad endings, and I can appreciate how well GOTFF is made, but jesus it just left this horribly depressive mood on me for days.

    • Prime says:

      D’oh! Thank you. Of course I meant ‘Grave’ but yes it is the most extraordinarily traumatic film. I’m not ashamed to say that watching it I was in tears solidly for about the last 45 minutes.

    • Herzog says:

      Not to forget “When the Wind Blows”. Another very sad animated movie that should not be forgotten! ;)

    • westyfield says:

      All I’ve seen of Plague Dogs is the shotgun scene, and that alone has convinced me never to watch any more.
      Oh, and When The Wind Blows wasn’t sad or scary, it was hilarious. We watched it in a GCSE history lesson about the Cold War and the entire class of 15-year-olds was laughing.

    • Hodge says:

      Aye, When The Wind Blows hasn’t aged well. I watched it about a year ago and despite being old enough to understand the sheer terror underpinning the thing it came across as a quaint relic from a distant era. Briggs’ animation is still beautiful, though.

  5. Prime says:

    Wow, I see lots of various influences in there – lots of Turrican, for some reason, which is a very very good thing. And who can resist being a Man of Yorkshire with a shotgun in your hands and a ferret wriggling happily down your trousers? Certainly not me, ee by gum!

  6. Milky1985 says:

    Wonder if simon from the yogscast is getting paid for his likeness in the game :p

  7. Cross says:

    He can dish it out, but let’s see if he can take it! GO TEAM CRITICAL REVIEWERS!

    • wccrawford says:

      Exactly. If he were reviewing this game, he’d rip it to shreds.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Maybe, but maybe not. Fantasy Land Dizzy is one of his all-time favorites, after all.

      EDIT: Oh and he’s very much in the practice of keeping budget and team size in mind when reviewing games. That’s why Portal was deemed nigh perfect and Portal 2 was deemed seriously flawed but still GOTY. Go watch the reviews he did on commercial Indie games.

      So this being a hobby-Indie game… Well he wouldn’t do a video review because it’s non-commercial. He isn’t paid to review free titles. But the fact that he’s making it himself is probably a good indicator of whether he’d like it if it were made by someone else. ;)

    • zbeeblebrox says:

      Knowing Yahtzee, I would not at all be surprised if he dedicated a whole review episode to ripping his own games to shreds.

  8. Chris D says:

    You know you’re in a dark place when you catch yourself thinking “Giant faces? But that doesn’t make any sense. I wonder if he meant to type faeces instead.”

    • Metriculated says:

      You know you’re in a dark place when you initially read it as faeces, are quite amused by this concept, and then when told it was faces become quite nonplussed about the whole idea. . .

      :/

    • Thermal Ions says:

      The Binding of Isaac has a lot to answer for.

  9. westyfield says:

    At 1:19 he fires his shotgun downwards to give himself an effective double jump. Sold.

  10. Commander Gun says:

    Still waiting for 8-days-a-butcher or something similair…
    Seriously though, I want more adventure games from Yathzee. They were quite insane!

  11. Knufinke says:

    I still think Trilby: The Art of Theft and 1213 are highly underrated pieces of genius. Really enjoyable indie-games. If you are waiting for Gunpoint or liked Another World a whole lot, you should propbably look at these titles, they’re awesome and free.

    • Twerty says:

      God, though, the ending to 1213… even the gold-ticket secret ending was horribly depressing. Had goosebumps for like a whole ten minutes after finishing that game.

  12. Hodge says:

    Yeah, it’s looking pretty derivative. And what of it? All of Yahtzee’s games have been mechanical pastiches. It’s the narratives he weaves into them which makes them worthwhile, and I’ll wager this one will be no different.

    Besides, that video looks more like a knowing homage than a cynical lift to these eyes.

  13. Duke of Chutney says:

    he definitly understands his theme

    “where one single act of kindness … could destroy everything”

    In Yorkshire we have deep pockets, but short arms.

  14. Servizio says:

    Poacher? I ‘ardly know ‘er!

  15. Birky says:

    As no one has mentioned it yet, I though it was worth pointing out that the trailer friendly music is from Requiem for a dream (a Darren Aronofsky film). It is a particularly wonderful soundtrack and worth checking out. The film is good too, if emotionally harrowing.

  16. Thermal Ions says:

    It’s Friday afternoon here Adam, please stop using big words (tautology) that I need to lookup the meaning of – I’m supposed to have finished work for the week.

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