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The last Friday in September was a big night! Sure, a couple probably tied the knot somewhere, and an amateur astronomer may have discovered a brand new meteor of armageddon proportions. However, it’s safe to admit that all you really want to know about was Play Up Perth’s After Dark session! SK Games were kind enough to accommodate the record-sized crowd as we played our way through their offices, passed the fully stocked bar, and out to the yard for more gaming, and back again. There was another impressive turnout of locals looking to test some Perth gems, and partake in a beverage or two while managing to offer non-slurred feedback to the attending developers.
 
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Valiant


 
One of the biggest draws of the night was the locally developed, Valiant, for the Oculus Rift. This one I confess I only observed instead of playing for the same reason I’m not allowed back in the IMAX theatre: nobody likes a projectile vomit. Valiant is a virtual reality experience from Perth team, Offpeak Games, that lets the player engage in medieval competition. It was clear while watching two players compete on virtual horseback, that it was a new experience for most – it took a round or two to grasp the movement and view, without losing balance or dinner. Once used to the VR movement, the competition escalated quickly and drew a crowd of cheering onlookers. Valiant will be showcased at the Perth Games Festival this weekend, and is one of those games you need to see for yourself. Make sure you don’t miss your chance to appreciate some kickass local VR.

In addition, earlier this week, we had the privilege of doing a Q&A with the lead developer, Christopher Parkins. If you haven’t read it yet, you can learn all about the game right here: http://gamecloud.net.au/featured/valiant-qa
 
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Into the Pie (Tabletop)


 
Tabletop did not get overlooked as we were lucky enough to have a supply of pie. No, okay, Play Up isn’t that epic yet that we have baked goods (soon!), but Eeshwar Rajagopalan did bring his card game “Into the Pie” along to play test. While still in super early stages of elegant black print on blank cards, we did have a surprisingly competitive few rounds. The purpose of the drafting game is to create a pie that will beat the other players, either by a point system per recipe, or a possible voting system that was thrown around as a suggestion. For what seemed like a straightforward concept, we were soon knee deep in ingredients and diplomatic discussions about why my pie was clearly the best at the table. Eeshwar was patient with us all, providing feedback and sharing some interesting new concepts for the next edition. – Here’s to more games about food, and not actually having to bake!

For more updates on Into the Pie, please head over to Eeshwar’s blog at questionablemechanics.weebly.com
 
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Defender of the Wood


 
I have somewhat of an app habit – or an “Appit”: I spend too much time playing iOS games! However, for once, my love for apps was a good thing as Play Up got a chance to playtest “Defender Of the Wood.” I actually missed this game the first two times around the room as Daragh Wickham, a debut programmer of less than a year, was off in a quiet corner. This game is only for iOS devices, currently, and wasn’t a huge experience. It was more a testing opportunity for the developer’s capabilities. Outside of gaming, I’m passionate about archery and often am overly critical about archery games. For the small game it was intended as, however, I actually felt that Defender of the Wood worked well and wasn’t either infuriatingly easy or Nintendo hard. Hopefully, a variety of modes and options are in Defender’s future, but download it yourself free on iTunes and try mastering it in the meantime. (Download Here)
 
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SK Games


 
For everyone familiar with SK Games, you’d know they have a seemingly endless list of games to show off. On the Friday night, we had a four player death-match of “Biru,” and I’m not even going to lie, I didn’t come any better than third in every match! It was almost a vertical version of NIDHOGGm but somewhat less forgiving, and contrary to the title, there was no beer involved. Biru is still a good example of their local multiplayer speciality and knack for making competitive party games. After losing miserably, I wandered off to the bar to say something about the nice open space outside – this apparently translates to “there is a space, add another game!”

Before I’d opened my very reasonably priced beverage, Louis (head of SK Games) had set up “Astral,” a three player sci-fi death-match game. The game’s convenient design meant it was built to rest on milk crates and be seated around, so it was up and running in a flash! One person was the round spaceship big boss thing, and the other two circled around in pitiful little vessels trying to take it down. I assume the stationary boss-controller knew what they were doing as they won in almost every match I watched. Like most of SK’s games, there is very little explanation or direction – which, for me, is part of the appeal of these titles as everyone has to fluff around and figure out what to do initially. The controls were responsive, it was visually appealing, and the power-ups were pretty self-explanatory insofar as you knew not to let anyone else have them. Astral is more proof that team multiplayer games are never not fun.

SK will be at the Perth Games Festival this weekend, so if you would like to see a full rundown of what they will be showing and what they are working on, please jump over to their website and check it out: skgames.com.au
 
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As it’s already October, you’re no doubt waiting for the details for this month’s Play Up! As of yet, one hasn’t been announced as everyone is working hard on making the first Perth Games Festival suitably awesome, but if that changes, we will let you know! Stay up to date on development news on the games from Play up After Dark with SK Games by going to the links above, or to see what’s happening at the games festival go to perthgamesfestival.com

Thanks for your continued support of our local game geniuses and we’ll see you at the next Play up Perth!

Bernadette Russell
Bernadette is living her childhood dream as a freelance writer in Geraldton, WA. With a life-long console habit and a self-imposed MMO ban, she fantasizes about the day when all she'll have to do is game and write. Oh, and also about meeting Link. HYAH!
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