Following the release of Digital Bird Playground, I was curious what Tom van den Boogaart was up to with his other long-awaited game, a follow-up to Bernband. 2014’s first-person explorer remains one of my favourite games, the game I recommend to people more than anything this side of Skeal, and I’m still happy just seeing snippets of his work on a new alien city for the waggly-handed wanderer to get lost in. No, still no firm word when we’ll get to play it. Yes, I’m happy to wait, going by how lovely his work-in-progress screenshots and videos have looked. Come see.
Tom van den Boogaart has released a fair few games since Bernband, particularly for the Sokpop Collective’s Patreon. He’s also started then stopped making plenty more, including a samurai slasher and a Prey 2-esque alien bounty-hunt ’em up. Bernband is one he’s seemed to keep returning to, hashing out the shape of it and trying different styles. The current-ish incarnation has that same low-res look but replaces the sprite characters with pleasantly bulbous 3D models.
When Tom tweets out wee GIFs and bits, I enjoy imagining they’re snaps or Snapchats from our friend’s holiday. Somewhere, out there in the depths of space, a clueless tourist with wiggly-waggly hands and tippy-tappy feet is very excited to have seen a hoverhat.
Our friend is fascinated by this floppy pulp data storage device.
God knows how our wagglepal ended up in a sewer but the birds are lovely.
The intrepid explorer at one point even started touching things.
Though unfortunately this seems to cause more clueless etiquette violations. Is shoving better or worse than tip-tapping up to someone in the corner of a car park to stare with fascination at their urination?
The dear little wanderer, head in the clouds.
My favourite spot in the original Bernband is a sleepy bar somewhere in a back alley, a place I can never quite remember how to reach so I’m always happy when an evening spent wandering through recitals and dodging hovercars happens to lead me there. It’s a good note to end a night on. Give me a drink and something to eat. I’m done.
Bernband: I will wait for you. Please keep sharing snaps and videos from your exploits.