Posts Tagged ‘The Magic Circle’

Premature Evaluation: The Magic Circle

By Marsh Davies on May 18th, 2015.

One of the things I like most about The Magic Circle is its name. It captures the illusory nature of these conjured worlds, their potential for wonder and the artistry that informs them. Celebrated sentient beard and author Alan Moore has, in his mischievous way, declared himself a magician and all art a kind of magic. Defining art as the act of creating illusions to work an effect on the mind of the audience, he claims this is as close to a shamanistic understanding of magic as we have in this century.

Each week Marsh Davies plays unfinished and broken games on Early Access and usually tries to come up with an introductory sentence which says exactly this while using imagery appropriate to the idiom of the given week’s game. But the idiom of this week’s game is being an unfinished and broken game! So, job done. It’s The Magic Circle [Steam page], a game set within a game, in which the player edits the properties of the world around him while exploring the strata of the game’s many abandoned developmental stages, unravelling the story of its creators in the process.

I have tamed Jim Rossignol’s bumhole. I’ve also made Jim Rossignol’s bumhole fireproof, which is just as well, since Jim Rossignol’s bumhole spews gouts of flame when angered. Jim Rossignol’s bumhole has a lightning rod jammed in it, too, which deactivates forcefields. With my latest effort, Jim Rossignol’s bumhole has sprouted a little propeller, allowing Jim Rossignol’s bumhole to fly about. John Walker’s angry red Weeto has many of the same properties, and it should surprise no one that Alec Meer’s huge husky third leg is shaped like a ginormous mushroom.

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Development Hell: The Magic Circle On Steam Early Access

By Alice O'Connor on May 13th, 2015.

You can now buy and play Ion Storm and BioShock alumnus Jordan Thomas’s emergent oddity The Magic Circle [The Magic Circle], but do be aware that it’s not finished yet. No, I know that’s the point of the game – that you roam around an unfinished vapourware game, rewriting it from the inside – but I mean it’s really not finished.

The Magic Circle arrived on Steam Early Access today. In all the layers of metafiction, it may be the most The Magic Circle-y version of The Magic Circle you’ll get.

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The Magic Circle Hands-On: Visiting Development Hell

By Alec Meer on October 7th, 2014.

The Magic Circle is the first game from Question, LLC, the new studio from Jordan Thomas, he of Thief 3’s The Cradle, BioShock 2, BioShock: Infinite and many more. It’s a systems-driven first-person exploration adventure about a years-in-development game of uncommon ambition, and it’s about rewriting its rules from the inside while trying not to attract the attention of its developers. I’ve played a couple of hours of an early build.

“Attack them, my spider-army!” A horde of chittering polygonal arachnids skitters surges towards a pack of flamers at my command, while I hang back to let them do my dirty work for me. Every single one of them burns to death. Oh, right. Forgot to set the ‘Fireproof’ attribute. I summon their ‘leader’ – in fact an arbitrary member given the Groupthink attribute, which duly shares its traits with all similar entities – and edit its properties. Let’s try this again. “Attack them, my flame retardant spider-army!”
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Meta-Vapourware: The Magic Circle Announced

By Alice O'Connor on June 6th, 2014.

Clouds are vapour too, you know.

After his work on such delights as BioShock‘s Fort Frolic and Thief 3‘s Shalebridge Cradle, one might hope that Jordan Thomas’s first game since going indie would be more than, well, vapourware. But that’s just what The Magic Circle is: a half-finished remake of an ancient text adventure; a load of vapourware. It’s glitchy, you can clearly see the seams where development changed direction, and frankly I suspect it’ll never be completed.

Honestly, these big-shot developers make a few good levels and suddenly they think… oh. Oh! But The Magic Circle is meta-vapourware. Silly me. It’s a puzzle-o-explorer game set inside the wonky overlapping half-finished prototypes of a fictional remake of a fictional fantasy game, with tools to hack around and rewrite it.

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