Posts Tagged ‘Ed Key’

A Psychogeography Of Games #5: Ed Key

This is article 5 of 6, adapted from my Psychogeography of Games series for London’s Videobrains. If you enjoy this, please consider backing me on Patreon, where there’ll be a zine of these texts coming out in the New Year, plus an exciting new project announced soon(ish).

In the months running up to the walk, Ed has sent me the occasional email, each time with new ideas for route near where he lives (and grew up) in Cumbria. The night before, we spread an OS map out on the table and he points out wild swimming spots, walks he went on with his parents, places not explored yet. Jack, a black and white cat, sits on top and bats at Ed’s finger each time he places it down. In the end we decide on Borrow Beck, in Borrowdale. The walk doesn’t look far on the map.

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A Microholiday Album From Proteus

I was going to write about the plantlife in Proteus [official site] or something along those lines but then I went back and… it didn’t feel like quite what I wanted to express today. Mostly I’ve gone back to just thinking about how lovely the game is, even when you strip out the movement and sound. Obviously it would be better with both but here are the screenshots from my season cycle in Proteus today. It felt like a microholiday so I guess this is my microholiday album, if you’d like to take a look. Autumn and winter are by far my favourite seasons. Spring and summer are lovely, but autumn is magical and I’d totally forgotten about the aurora.

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Forest of Sleep Looks Like No Other Game

When the first images and GIFs of Forest of Sleep [official site] tumbled out last week, all we knew was that it was “an experimental storytelling/adventure game inspired by Russian fairytales.” That plus its development being led by Proteus‘s creator Ed Key was quite enough to catch our interest, though the new details and GIFs I’ll outline below do much to solidify it.

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Proteus Creator’s New Game Explores Russian Fairytales

I credit Proteus as a huge influence on many of the playful walking simulators I do so adore (the chattiness of some comes from Dear Esther, I reckon), so I’ve been keen to see what creator Ed Key was up to next. “An experimental russian-fairytale storytelling game” named The Forest of Sleep is the answer. That’s about all we know for now, though that little is splendid. He’s making it with folks including Nicolai Troshinsky, whose charming art can be seen in a little animation below.

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Self-Interviewing Devs: Proteus And “Walking Simulators”

I've returned to this particular Proteus island many times. But am I simulating walking or exploring or wandering or dreaming or?

I’ve discovered a novel way to conduct interviews: tweet vaguely about something you’re interested in, then wait for two game designers you like and respect to have a chat about it and send you the logs. I carefully laid my bait: “I use ‘walking simulator’ warmly and earnestly. I adore walking around looking at stuff and reflecting. Walking is great! Sim it to the max.”

The trap snared my chums Ed Key and Ricky Haggett. Ed created walking simulator Proteus while Ricky is working on Hohokum, a dicking-about sim for PlayStations which might, with fewer puzzles, be called a walking simulator. Unsuspecting, they discussed Proteus, the ‘genre,’ exploring and wandering, and what a “walking simulator” even is. Afterwards they decided “Just email it to Alice,” rather than blog about the chat themselves. “She can turn it into ‘news,'” they said. Suckers!

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A Dark New Dream: Proteus Modded Into Purgateus

It's in the trees.

If Proteus is the warm yet anxious dreams one has after a Tuesday night with a bottle of fizzy wine and a Princess Mononoke DVD, then Purgateus may be what happens after a Friday night of listening to witch house while scrolling through Tumblr blogs, you know, that sort with lots of triangles and pale ladies draped in black. The mod turns Ed Key’s walking simulator into a new dream, still bound by the same rules but with a new look, a new sound, and certainly a new tone.

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Staying Humble: Proteus’ Origins And Ed Key’s Next Game

Proteus is a warm, soothing bubble bath for the soul. The lo-fi first-person explorer lets players loose on an island that’s one part rainbow dreamscape and another chirpy chiptune music maze. Basically, it’s what I imagine nature lovers believe the outdoors to be, even though every real-life forest, hill, and tree is actually made entirely out of spiders. And yet, for all of Proteus’ high-minded inventiveness, it certainly didn’t start out that way. Creator Ed Key had to learn some very important lessons about, er, not being Skyrim before his first independently developed game traded bullets for butterflies, and – despite Proteus pulling in a fair deal of money – he’s trying very hard to keep them in mind for his next game.

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