It’s Only A Paper Moon


The first details have just this minute appeared about Flashbang Studio‘s next game, via that traditional route of an article in the Wall Street Journal. Many were expecting the next of their six Blurst games planned for this year to be Crane Wars, especially after a prototype was made available last month. However, this Friday brings the surprise appearance of Paper Moon, described by the WSJ as, “a monochromatic jaunt through a dreary landscape as players control the scenery to advance through the stages.”

Flashbang’s Steve Swink explains that Paper Moon is “based on a pop-up book and the song by Ella Fitzgerald.” Made in collaboration with Aquaria‘s Alec Holowka, it’s an updated version of the game made for last year’s GAMMA 3D show. So that leaves us a little confused, as it no longer appears to be stereoscopic. Holowka reports on his blog that the new version of the game will feature “a combo-based scoring system, new levels, improved visuals, musical score (by yours truly), sound effects, greater replay value and online leaderboards/achievements/bonuses.” Holowka is spending a week working at Flashbang’s Arizona studios to get the game prepared, collaborating on new content with the Blurst team.

More black and white games please.

The WSJ article goes on to reveal a few more interesting details. While Flashbang intends to keep Blurst games free, they are also planning a $20 six month subscription that will offer players new bits and pieces, including much wanted downloadable versions of the games. According to the paper, Swink believes that if they can get just 5,000 subscribers every half-year it will support their company and pay their staff. This will put to test the theories in Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans essay, where it’s argued that artists should be able to make a living with a relatively small but dedicated fanbase who are willing to part with their money.

There’s many more details about this, and the potential for indie developers to find success with relatively small paying audiences in the Wall Street Journal article. Hidden in there is the heart-warming snippet of information that World of Goo has sold “into six digits” and will keep 2D BOY safe for “several years”. (Quick lazy maths: 100,000 minimum sold, $20 each, that’s $2 million, people.)

We’ll chase Flashbang for more details, and Paper Moon will be available to play via Blurst on Friday.

Update: Blurst’s super-bossman Matthew Wegner has just sent us a couple of juicy titbits.

First of all there’s this Time Donkey prototype, another forthcoming game (also, check out the stuff on the whiteboard):

I was just thinking how much it looks like the concept behind Nekogames’ Cursor*10 when that’s exactly what they said. Crossed with Wario Ware and Ravin Rabbids apparently.

And this really rather awesome bit of art from the forthcoming Crane Wars:

He looks a lovely chap.


  1. rei says:

    Seems a bit different (less outrageous) than their other games. Art looks nice, though.

    I like their games, but I don’t think I will be subscribing until they put out something with a little more replay-value. Think Dino Run.

  2. BaconIsGood4You says:

    My love for Flashbang is only matched by Valve.

  3. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    I’m glad they are removing the 3dness, or at least I’m glad there’s the option to not have it, as the original prototype on Infinite Ammo’s website is fun to play, but a little hard to look at without the glasses, of which I (regrettably) seem to have none.

    Lovely news though, Holowka and Flashbang are both brilliant developers, so it should be rather splendid.

  4. Pags says:

    I never played the original prototype because I seem to have lost the large collection of 3D glasses I had amassed over the years. So yes, very glad I’ll actually be able to play this now but if I do find those glasses then I’d still quite like to see what it’s like in 3D.

  5. DigitalSignalX says:

    Paper Moon reminds me of a sort of noir Scary Girl Boy

    Time Donkey…? er.. I think they might have done better just narrating the concept sketches and letting us fill in the blanks rather then -whatever- was going on in that poor guys screen. Games like sausage perhaps? Don’t show us what it’s made of… only show it when it’s close to what we’re expecting.

  6. Alex says:

    If they can get a license from CBS (or Paramount, I can’t remember who owns the rights these days), they could even tap the willing-to-pay-for-anything Trek demographic by basing it on that episode of DS9 where the guy who’s lost a leg becomes obsessed with the song.

  7. Andy`` says:

    “…is launched into time, and so now he’s forever trapped in time, righting what once went wrong, and hoping that each leap will be the leap home. *eerie silence*”

    Isn’t that the plot to Quantum Leap?

  8. Steve Swink says:

    @ Andy: You got the reference. Well done.


  9. a rob amongst many says:

    That’s no paper moon!

  10. Malagate says:

    @Steve Swink: oh boy.


  11. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i’d pay $20 to be able to download their games i fucking hate playing games in a browser and i love these games

  12. Down Rodeo says:

    I downloaded Unity onto my girlfriend’s laptop just to see what they were like. They’re brilliant. I’m sad I didn’t get a chance at Offroad Velociraptor Safari before, same for Minotaur Chinashop.

    Having had a look there I found a post on the Unity forums from two years ago saying they do not have any plans for a Linux version. This makes me rather sad :(

  13. Smee says:

    There’s a fantastic mod for Unreal Tournament 3 called Prometheus that’s the same concept. It’s completely brilliant. One of the puzzle solutions involves pausing long enough on the first run-through so you can later kill yourself to prevent that first run past a security guard who sets the alarm off which lets you pick up the access codes to open the door to be able to kill the first run and so be able to go around the back and kill the security guard so he doesn’t set off the alarm so you can run past him and get the data.


  14. Gnarl says:

    I love everything about Flashbang, their attitude to the outside world, the way they develop so well and so quickly, their ability to consistently go for novel ideas. They’re great. One day I hope to enjoy on of their games.

  15. Sagan says:

    I just realized I forgot about Blurst when switching to Linux… And there doesn’t seem to be a way to get their games to work.

  16. Nero says:

    Flashbang + Alec Holowka holy shit. I’m so in.

  17. wviperw says:

    Isn’t the Time Donkey game just Chronotron in 3D?

  18. Fred Lancaster says:

    OMG what is this like, Echo the Dolphin 4D?

    srsly guys