"I didn't get the crystal but I had a lot of fun." So says one character in thecatamites' RPG Magic Wand. Fun is the real objective, or is it the MacGuffin? I thought the crystal was the MacGuffin. Who can say?
The creator of Murder Dog, Space Funeral and (my personal favourite) Crime Zone has included his latest release and 50 Short Games in a brand new winter bundle, perfect for gifting to that one relative or friend who doesn't yet know about the wonders of leg horse. To be clear, there's no leg horse in this bundle, but you can meet that noble beast in Space Funeral. It's free!
This bundle is not free. It costs $5 and contains those 50 Short Games and the splendid Magic Wand, as well as Magic Notes: "extended 20page theoretical development writing about Magic Wand's emergence from the psychic swamp".
These games often feel like anti-games. I mean that as a compliment. Magic Wand, as the quote above suggests, takes the trappings of an RPG and then keeps extracting pieces until what's left seems satisfying as a whole. It's not the bones of an RPG because that implies something sinister or structural, and I don't think that's what Magic Wand is concerned with - it's about sensation without systems. In a way. Here's what thecatamites says about it himself:
“Categorically, it is a narrative JRPG. You walk around, there are doors and trees. You go here and you go there. There are fragments of plot relayed out of sequence but you do not care because the music and the colours. When the narrative peaks, you say “Good!” and then forget it. The years neglect this fertile country but the trees and doors still standing somewhere form a silent windless day.”
The 50 Short Games are exactly that. You can count them if you don't believe me and then play them and see how long it takes to get to the end. You'll agree, I'm sure, that there are fifty of them, that they're short and that they are games. Well, I hope you'll agree on that last point because the last thing I want to do this close to Christmas is get into a debate about all of that. Let's just say, I'll be playing an equal number of family boardgames and drinking games over the time between now and New Year's Day, and I'm happy to embrace them all.
Amazingly, this bundle contains all of thecatamites' commercially available work. The rest is free. If you already have Magic Wand or 50 Short Games, you can buy bits of the bundle separately, and they're at a 50% discount for the next three weeks. You will be helping a man to buy boxes.