Claymation Adventuring: Armikrog Released

Say, is that squiggly little fella...?

Armikrog [official site] is more than onomatopoeia for a belter of a burp, it’s the first game in yonks from Earthworm Jim and The Neverhood chap Doug TenNapel. It was Kickstarted in 2013 as the “spiritual successor” to The Neverhood, offering more claymation adventure game jollies, and has today finally launched – only a year and a bit behind schedule.

Here, check out some of its squidgy pretties and boingy noises in this here new trailer:

Right then! Armikrog is the name of the fortress where space explorer Tommynaut (voiced by MST3K’s Michael J. Nelson!) and his talking alien dog are trapped after crash-landing. How oh how will they ever escape? Classic adventure game puzzling, of course. Don’t worry: there are jokes and silly noises and puppets along the way.

My personal patience for ’90s adventure gaming may have ebbed years ago (I groaned when I saw a rotating Towers of Hanoi-ish thing and a colour-mixing puzzle), but that’s fine – almost one million dollars on Kickstarter show plenty of folks still want it.

Armikrog is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux from Steam, GOG, and others. It’s cheaper on GOG, where a launch discount makes it £17.19 and, in the UK at least, you’ll get a few quid in bonus store credit to offset regional pricing differences.

45 Comments

  1. LionsPhil says:

    Well, it’s got my attention.

  2. Sin Vega says:

    This makes me a bit sad that Cletus Clay went dormant. But it does look rather lovely.

  3. Big Murray says:

    Is it good enough to make me forget that the creator is a bit of a dick, though?

    • bv728 says:

      I doubt it, given he likes to interrupt convention appearances and panels to rant at length about how terrible Gays and Muslims are and how they should all kill themselves.

    • Csirke says:

      Well… I was a kickstarter backer, so I’ve got the game, tried it for a bit, and…

      So the game itself is probably good, but right now it’s a bit buggy. There’s stuff like it choosing language based on your Windows language (which wasn’t a problem for me); also, if the Windows regional date formatting setting is not US type, then the menu texts don’t appear. Also, the video playback stutters a bit, and audio gets desynced in the cutscenes because of this.

      Those are the fixable problems. It seems less likely that they’ll fix that there is no context sensitive cursor, which make scanning rooms for interactive stuff harder.

      The adventure itself seems fun, like Neverhood, and suitably wacky from what I’ve seen so far :)

      I don’t usually make purchasing decisions based on whether the frontman of the team is a dick, but it does seem like this guy is one, so I can totally understand if you don’t buy the game.

    • Disgruntled Goat says:

      If I didn’t buy things like games, books, music, and movies because they were made by assholes, all I’d be able to do is sit in a dark room all day.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Oh yeah, the every one is just as bad argument. I guess supporting homophobic, racist twats is cool if you just look the other way.

        • LionsPhil says:

          So is anyone going to say what it is he’s actually done, for those who haven’t been following all the latest game development gossip?

          • klops says:

            Anti gay marriage commnts + AIDS jokes on top of that.
            ‘Murica – fuck yeah, because they’re 78% Christian.

            Nothing exceptional (not that I agree), but he also says (said?) them in a very provocative way.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Oh, OK, we’re getting mad over someone being an asshole in comment threads.

          • girard says:

            Also, beyond politics (though his are really, truly, awful), he tends to be a bit of a nasty, arrogant, thin-skinned blowhard – just a really unpleasant person. I’ve had the misfortune of interacting with him a few times, and it was never terribly pleasant.

            If you’re in the mood for a good cringe, you can read the comments on this Gameological story where Tennapel materialized, and said a lot of really embarrassing and unpleasant things:
            link to gameological.com

            Luckily, his work is pretty uniformly unremarkable (I’m no longer in middle school), so unlike some artists who are loathsome but challenge me by making arguably great work, Tennapel is someone who is quite easily to keep out of my cultural diet.

          • LionsPhil says:

            (I’m no longer in middle school)

            Well gee, look at you in your big-boy pants.

            In retrospect, ignoring the Internet drama in the first place was the right call.

          • baozi says:

            I used to read Ratfist…and remember that TenNapel’s comments on the Ratfist website made me like it less. Reading about a person’s views somewhere else is one thing, but it’s kinda hard to separate the art from the non-art stuff when it’s put right next to another by the artist himself. It has a lasting effect. Not a good business decision, I think – but he seemed pretty comfortable with it.

            Personally, I feel less inclined to buy his things because I don’t like him – but I don’t really care what other people do. They’ve obviously already made up their minds.

        • pepperfez says:

          I suppose if you look the other way it’s at least easier to enjoy the material. Totally apart from support the creator, it’s hard to enjoy a piece when you start seeing their politics reflected in things you thought were innocent.

        • XhomeB says:

          The only “twat” here is you, calling other people names behind their backs and generally besmirching their good name, using some retarded words and sick ideologies to justify your actions.
          Typical Marxist attitude. “Accept my New World Order or ELSE!”. Shame on you.

          • Synesthesia says:

            Look at me, mom, I’m a MARXIST!

            Fuck you.

          • Lars Westergren says:

            How can Synesthesia besmirched someone’s “good name” when everyone (except me it seems) is using aliases?

            Being against bigotry doesn’t mean you have a special political ideology either.

          • Philomelle says:

            How the hell is it besmirching someone’s good name when there are multiple interviews on the internet that have TenNapel claim he prides himself in being all of the things Synesthesia called him?

            Furthermore, how is it talking about people’s backs when not only is this a public forum which anyone can read, but people actually call TenNapel a homophobic racist twat to his face at every convention he visits all the time? The dude ain’t exactly popular with the fandom, in fact he’s just about the bloody opposite.

            Have you tried to apply any logic to your mouth-frothing at all?

          • XhomeB says:

            @Philomelle
            Have YOU? Who gave you all the bloody right to act as a Social Justice Police Enforcement? What are you, George Orwell’s “Though Police”?

          • Philomelle says:

            How the hell is it thought police when everyone criticizes TenNapel’s very loud and public actions and words both on the internet and in real life?

            Seriously, are trying to win some kind of award for incoherence? This is two posts in a row where you pointlessly froth at the mouth while accusing people of doing the opposite of what they’re doing and intentionally ignoring the actual content of their posts.

        • Rumpelstilskin says:

          Definitely buying it now.

      • Unknown says:

        Some people consider politics an important part of their consumer decision-making, and some people don’t. It’s as simple as that.

        Personally I don’t want a cent of my money going to a man like Mr. Tennapel, but I do have fond memories of The Neverhood (though I have a feeling my fond memories wouldn’t stand up to replay scrutiny) so I wouldn’t begrudge anybody choosing to spend their money differently, especially since the game itself is apolitical AFAIK.

      • OmNomNom says:

        Exactly, I’m sure dirt could be dug on plenty of industry execs if you tried. You’ll never really know the person though so why base a purchase on a shallow impression of them instead of a product. For all we know he works with disabled children in his spare time.
        For the record, as long as it doesn’t harm others i believe people should have the freedom to put their penis in whomever they please and believe in whatever mythological fairy tales they desire.

        • grimdanfango says:

          Isn’t that rather the point. You believe people have that right, but Doug Tennapel doesn’t, and very actively communicates that he doesn’t. We’re not objecting to the guy because of some hidden dirt someone dug up on him. We’re objecting to supporting the guy because of his hateful, very public bigotry.

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      Aerothorn says:

      So without having the whole art vs. artist debate for the umpteenth time, I do feel obligated to point out that this is NOT a solo effort from TenNapel – he’s lead character designer, there are two proper lead designers, and this there are three leads (four, if you count Terry Scott Taylor, which I think you should given the importance of his music). And then other team members yada yada yada.

      So do with that information what you will, but it’s a different question than “do I buy a novel written by Doug TenNapel.”

      • Distec says:

        I feel like this doesn’t get enough emphasis, even if it seems obvious. Nobody is obligated to purchase a game in spite of its creator or as some charitable duty to the rest of the developers. But it often seems overlooked that the game has had a lot more hands in it than his alone.

        • Philomelle says:

          Sure it does, but it still has Doug TenNapel on it.

          The problem here is that Doug TenNapel isn’t just some random internet dickhole, he’s up in the same category with Orson Scott Card in that he built an entire reputation a verbally abusive, racist, homophobic, ignorant psychopath who spends most of his time seeking ways to abuse people and donating to organizations that promote abusing people. It’s not like he’s new at all that stuff either. He’s been doing that for well over a decade.

          Other than that, he has achieved diddly squat unless you consider being a cartoonist who is profoundly fuckawful at visual comedy to be an achievement. He loves to toot his own horn by calling himself the creator of Neverhood and Earthworm Jim, but the fact that he did only the art for both and everyone else designed the rest. This fact is actually best defined by Earthworm Jim itself, where video games (directed by Dave Perry of MDK and Sacrifice fame) are largely silent visual slapstick whereas all content directed by TenNapel (such as the animated series) relies largely on lolrandom wordvomit and pop-culture jokes because he cannot show without telling at all.

          The fact is that he’s both a dickmunch and terrible at the job he prides himself in, which does make people largely reluctant to support any endeavor he’s involved in. Is it fair to other people involved in the endeavor? Not really. But it’s common knowledge that just like with Orson Scott Card, admitting you hired Doug TenNapel for your project is basically sending your PR into a 20-feet deep grave with oiled concrete walls.

          I’m honestly amazed that there are still people who argue about how it’s unfair that people avoid projects involving TenNapel because of him. I thought it’s very common knowledge that he’s a walking PR disaster.

          • Distec says:

            As I said, nobody has to make an act of charity to the rest of the dev team. It’s just that the general reasoning for not buying it (roughly summed up as “Fuck Doug”) seems to overlook the team aspect, and I feel it’s worth mentioning if you’re somebody who likes the look of this game but are put off by this one guy. Purchasing it shouldn’t be seen as some measure of support for his politics, and I feel like TenNapel’s scale of influence on the world is so small that I can afford to let him have whatever percentage is left over from my 20 bucks spent on it.

          • Premium User Badge

            Aerothorn says:

            “’m honestly amazed that there are still people who argue about how it’s unfair that people avoid projects involving TenNapel because of him.”

            I don’t know who you’re referring to, since nobody argued that here? Just that pretending like the game was made by one person is…inaccurate. And that the percentage is relevant for living your values. Nobody *literally* is snubbing their nose at the project because TenNapel was tangentially related; if he lent the developers a computer for the game’s development, I doubt that would be enough, right? It’s the sense of substantive involvement – he contributed X amount. And even before that, it’s about money – he gets Y amount of cash. Which you loosely plug in to whatever your values are about funding/not funding works based on the partial involvement of individuals.

            None of this is an argument about what people “should” do with this information, so it seems you’re arguing with phantoms.

      • melnificent says:

        He’s being pushed as the face of Amikrog. His views are relevant to the game at hand. Just as with Orson Scott Card and various others in their own speciality.

        TenNapel frequently lets his views be known, as is his right. Just as it’s my right to not purchase work he is involved with because of those views

        If he wasn’t attached, I would’ve bought this in a heartbeat for Mike Nelson and Pinky.

  4. Cinek says:

    Awesome. Wish I would have time to play it though… so many things to do, so many games to play, so little time…

    But I loved neverhood and really liked everything I seen so far in Armikrog, a must-have as far as I’m concerned.

  5. shadow9d9 says:

    Looks like another designer talked himself into an 80% off or more only purchase by me! You’d think they’d realize that they are public personalities and they should keep quiet…the problem seems to be that the biggest aholes feel the need to be heard…

  6. DevilishEggs says:

    I looked at this and thought for a second “Oh great it’s clay it won’t have to use my crappy video card!”

    It’s been a long day.

  7. Deadly Habit says:

    The irony of children arguing about someone’s personal politics typed up on computer components built by 8 year olds in China.

    • Romh says:

      The fallacy of relative privation.

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      Phasma Felis says:

      Remember, you’re not allowed to care about anything except the worst thing. Once you’ve figured out what that is, and fixed it, then you’re allowed to care about the second-worst thing, but not a moment before.

      • pepperfez says:

        Ooo, I bet you’re so proud of fighting [worstthing]. Look at Mr. Hero over here talking all about [worstthing] when there are millions of children suffering from [worstthing+secondworstthing]. Have you ever stopped to consider that there might be more important things to stop than [worstthing]?
        Just disgusting.

        • Deadly Habit says:

          What’s day to day life like when you’re perpetually offended?

          • pepperfez says:

            If you’re not perpetually offended that the scourge of [worstthing+secondworstthing] continues to affect children around the world, then I don’t even know how to communicate with you.

          • Nereus says:

            Sup. Some of us actually don’t get offended that easily, but are decent enough people that we want our hobby to be a safe space for as many people as possible. I don’t want people that are gay or trans or any veriation of the gender/sexuality spectrums to feel like they have to hide who they are or that they should be ashamed for being who they are as people. This doesn’t make me any less active in trying to promote non-exploitative production practices in my consumption habits. But by your logic, if I can’t solve capitalism, I shouldn’t even bother trying to create safe communities where people dealing with social acceptance problems can be socially accepted. Is everything a race to the bottom with you? Have you ever kicked a homeless man to death because sometimes there is racism? Why not, right? I mean you may as well exist as the worst possible person because if you try and be better you will only have to try so hard to find something that is worse.

          • Synesthesia says:

            thanks for that, Nereus.

        • OmNomNom says:

          My hero