Nov 16, 2012
Edmund McMillen; Now most famous for being one half of team meat creators of Super Meat Boy, the creator of the brilliant The Binding of Issac and “that guy from the indie game movie”, is a surprisingly complex and extensive developer. He has crafted many more games then those most people know about, nearly all of them are striking, original and challenging for different reasons.
The Basement Collection is a sort of interactive scrap book of Edmund McMillen’s work. At first glance it’s a compilation of some of his early or pre-super meat boy , flash games. Soon enough though you find that this collection is much more then that, It’s a cross section of a creative and deeply intelligent mans mine and life.
Each of the games on show here are startlingly different covering McMillen’s work from 2006 – 2008. All are original flash titles formerly and probably still available online for free.
There’s Triachnid, a sombre and moving physics based traversal game that sees you manipulating a three-legged spider-like creature as it attempts to survive and save its egg sack; and children; from the dangers of the world that’s already taken its mate.
Coil, A highly abstract and naturalistic examination of life and death through two conflicting aspects. One side a text based story/poem that tells of a turbulent and physical relationship and the game itself, telling through utterly abstract scenes the life cycle of an unknown life-form. sometimes in specific details. from conception to growth, to adulthood.
Then there’s the infamous Meat Boy on which the Super was based. More or less the same as Super Meat Boy here, but a lot more vertical and much harder when you take into account its totally keyboard based.
Grey-Matter is a duel stick shooter with no shooting, you have to survive massive amounts of enemies while attacking weak spots by running into them yourself.
Spewer is an inventive puzzle platformer that has rooms of increasing difficulty which you need to pass through to progress, much like meat boys short stages. Unlike meat boy you have the ability to vomit green slime in order to aid your traversal. Extending jumps by vomiting down as you leap and cross gaps by filling them with vomit and swimming through it to safety. You only have a limited amount of vomit though as so have to eat your own sick in order to conserve what you have.
The two real highlights to the package here though are Time FCUK ( or cfuk , kucf , cufk it doesnt matter) , a sort of thinking mans meat boy with world manipulation and dimensional shifting the name of the game. But a deeper interpersonal conflict on show in the subtle and sometimes surrealy funny narrative. As well as Aether, A very personal children s story book style game that tells a tail of a lonely boy meeting a monster and the two of them swinging into space via the monsters long tongue to visit other worlds and help monsters.
Both of these games are drastically different but show different aspects of McMillen’s own inner feelings and deep personal memories.
Aether is especially poiniant as it feels like something that means a great deal to McMillen and while the game is very short the experience is enchanting and touching. The feeling of childlike wonder and a worry about the future driving someone into their imagination is striking. It says a lot about how much McMillen cares for the game when he states he would like to head back to it and expand on or craft a sequel to it.
Like the other games is this collection Aether has also been given some additional features in the shape of soundtrack additions and achievements.
Now as I said before all these titles are available online, so why pay for this collection. Aside from playing some very striking and inventive games add free. Well this is where the collection starts to fit that scrap book i mentioned earlier.
On top of a full soundtrack available to access from the main menu, Each game in the collection has a series of bonus features these can include simply original trailers for the titles. Others feature full 15 to 20 minuet Q&A sessions for the games, (not one session but several of the games get an audio Q&A session each) Original sketches, segments cut out from Indie game the movie on the games, original tech demos and even more to unlock.
These unlockables extend to several more features for the main collection. This really is an extensive example of a mans work and deepest creative thoughts and its an astoundingly good package for people who are fans of Meat Boy and Issac and want to know more about the mind behind them. Even if you’re not a fan this is a fascinating look at one of the more interesting thinkers in games development today and at the development process of an indie game.
the Basement Collection is available now on steam