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LudoNarraCon: the Steam virtual fair dedicated to narrative games

In recent days, on the Steam portal it was possible to "visit" virtually a very particular videogame fair: LudoNarraCon . It was a ludonarrative theme event dedicated, as can be guessed by the name, to all those productions that aim to intrigue the player with stories, stories and fantastic worlds. More than anything else, the fair conceived by the Fellow Traveler group sought to show the world the potential of interactive narrative experiences, and the new creative perspectives of the independent sector.
Its peculiarity was that of being a totally virtual event, during which the Steam home was constantly enriched by panels, debates, rehearsals and streams of creatives and writers behind numerous video games and development studies. We had the chance to test some demos of the games on display, and these are the most promising and interesting titles Genesis Noir

In Genesis Noir we will have to stop the Big Bang to save our love: how and why we don't know. In an aesthetic and sound triumph, between jazz and modern sounds that blend perfectly with a perfectly cured direction and at the same time partially subdued to the will of the player, the work of Feral Cat Den presents itself immediately as a bursting title and from the undoubtedly evocative and artistic force.

The word that best characterizes the work, however, is " synestesia ". Through tactile interactions with the keys of the game and their peculiarity, the authors try to construct a playful path that makes us feel protagonists of the story, not through dialogue choices or multiple answers, but through an identification with what our avatar is staging.

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In the proven demo, we will for example face a jazz challenge with a street saxophonist, who will ask us to repeat his sonata, and then he will do the same with us: in the frame of a staging with an exciting and visually powerful style, we will find ourselves interacting with the keys reproduced in such a way as to remember a keyboard (instrument of our avatar), starting a process of identification that will make us feel really in the place of this peculiar clash.

As an example, many different cases follow one another during the short but rich demo available, and they can only leave us enraptured in each frame. After the test, Genesis Noir immediately became one of the titles that we expect with greater interest than this winter.

The Church in the Darkness

Latin America, 1970s. A worried US citizen, in search of his nephew who hasn't heard from him for a few months, infiltrates a small camp of refugees and critics of American imperialism. From the silent entrance into the structure, we will make the acquaintance of figures and characters that will push us to make radical choices regarding violence, politics and morals.

In this place, refuge of a cult halfway between socialist and Catholic extremism, we will interact with numerous NPCs that will give us information and indications on what exactly is happening in the cult, and that we will have to know how to interpret if we want to find our nephew . This is the context around which the developers of The Church in the Darkness decided to stage their work, strongly focused on the narrative developments of the consequences of our actions.

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At the beginning of each game (the goal is to find the grandson of the or of the protagonist) the personality of the camp leaders will be changed randomly: we will be able to face violent gang leaders, fervent believers or refugees terrified of our violence. Furthermore, our actions could generate a further change in their personality: killing guards will make them particularly violent, while letting ourselves be discovered during a peaceful infiltration will "only" guarantee us a visit to the camp cells.

The aim of the work is to offer the player a context that presents itself as neutral with respect to some decidedly sensitive themes, and asks those who play to give their interpretation of the concepts and ideas expressed by the characters, even to depending on the type of personality and events that we will face from time to time. Half way between a narrative roguelike and an isometric stealth, The Church in the Darkness promises numerous hours of play interesting playful perspectives and an original staging.

Mutation

Impossible to describe Mutation through a gender definition or a direct comparison. In the work Die Gute Fabrik various playful elements emerge, including hints of management structures and traditional explorations typical of graphic adventures, passing through multiple response dialogue systems halfway between Oxenfree and Night in the Woods.

The delightful art direction, which alternates deep saturations of colors and a hint of a never-trivial character design, describes a post-apocalyptic world in which simple but intriguing exchanges alternate between the great and dark secret behind the violent devastation suffered by the protagonist's village of gossip, information and curiosity about the "fauna" (it must be said, since we will interact with many anthropomorphic being with animalistic traits) local.

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Toni from investigative investigation alternates with the romance novel with fluidity and rhythm, without ever seeming out of place or excessively dissonant between them. In this narrative framework of multiple choices and investigations, the management of particular and absurd magical gardens, a legacy of our dear Grandfather and an instrument for improving and strengthening the village, is inserted. Even just for the originality of the game formula and concept, Mutation will be a title to watch.

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