Welcome to the new Weekly Roundup at Forest Friend, a Saturday feature that catalogues the neatest bits of cyber-lint that have collected in the navel of the internet this week!
First up is Amanita Design, a Czech-based independent game studio responsible for interactive puzzle games Machinarium and Botanicula, which have been making my neural pathways sparkle like a dewy meadow of crystallized delight. The hand-drawn art style, subtle storytelling and focus on exploration reminded me of the old Cyan games like The Manhole (indubitably!) and Spelunx (a slow toad gets in an old bus) I played as a kid. And the puzzles are difficult and complex, referencing the more adult experiences of Myst (blue pages!) and Riven (why u no shut up, Gehn?), but very compelling and ultimately solvable, given an adequate amount of attention. I was raised on games like this (which is why I never learned how to handle a controller, shoot with any kind of discernable aim or develop mad reflexes) and it’s super awesome to see that some studios still favour simplicity and storytelling over uncanny-valley 3D graphic realism and lots of guns.
Want to play some Amanita games? HumbleBundle is offering a bunch of them for a very small donation and they’re all available for Mac, PC and Linux.
Next up: this amazing video from British Pathé of Burgess Hill, an alternative boarding school in the 1960s where kids were encouraged to “learn” by “being themselves” by smoking, repelling upside down from trees, neglecting personal hygiene and bringing the dog to class, which was about all the trouble you could possibly get into as a teenager in the 60s. I do agree that adults today place too much importance on table manners and I love EVERYTHING about this video, especially the girl who never takes her sunglasses off (notice her stockings and garter belt in the dancing scene — where do I get ones like those?!?! All the garter/stocking combos I’ve ever seen or owned leave like a foot of space between the top of the stocking and the top of the thigh, which is uncomfortable and useless unless you’re a Victoria’s Secret model or a spy that really needs somewhere to stash her top-secret files). Anyway, if this school existed today I would totally send my kids there, because in the parallel universe where I have kids I’m also a kajillionaire who packs the children off to boarding school before I go and dig up lost artifacts of mystical significance in exotic foreign countries (yeah, I’m Lara Croft).
Also… what with the cigarettes, the lack of applied soap and clothing that dates to the middle of the last century, this is pretty much what my undergraduate alma mater, the University of King’s College, looks like on any given day in the year 2012.
And finally, a reminder that the joining of two people together in holy matrimony doesn’t need a nauseating sea of matching custom dresses, a champagne fountain or a tent made of hand-sewn butterfly wings. Refinery29 caught a number of couples on their wedding day at the courthouse in NYC being adorable and sticking it to everyone who told them that their big day would be meaningless without everything that the average cost of a wedding can buy. (Sit down and swallow that mouthful of grape juice: the average cost of a Canadian wedding is an absurd, irresponsible and downright unbelievable TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. Like a new car. Or rent for like 2 years. Or thousands of loads of laundry and cups of coffee and months of internet.)
Sleep tight and stop by FF tomorrow for “We Love… ” where we’ll talk about nail art!