Today’s xkcd prominently featured a plug for Miegakure, an awesome-looking 4D indie game that xkcd’s heroic stick figure said “hurt his brain.” Naturally, that sounded like fun, but when we rushed out to look for a demo to download, which seemed plausible based on the comic (in the first panel, xkcd stickman says “I just spent an hour playing a demo of this 4D game called Miegakure”), we were promptly hit with … a battering ram of information-free blogspam.
Presumably set up in response to the sudden surge of interest in the game sparked by the comic. Including this gem of opportunistic nonsense in a post titled “April Fool’s Day: Don’t Forget!” “…but most importantly don’t forget to always treat her like a lady. If you’re bored you can always search out a miegakure download or a varudu movie review.” Damn you, xkcd effect!
Anyway, we dug into it a little more, and here’s what we found out: The good news is, Miegakure is real, award-winning, and looks awesome, and there’s a demo video (after the jump). The bad news: it’s not available for download, there are no public demos, and there’s no set release date or platform yet.
First, some xkContextd:
Earlier in March, Miegakure was an entrant in the 2010 Independent Games Festival in San Francisco, California, where it was a finalist in the Excellence in Design category. The game is currently being developed by Marc ten Bosch, an indie game designer who has whipped up some pretty cool-looking demos in the past, but Miegakure looks like it could be the coolest yet. It was recently shown off at PAX East, where xkcd penman Randall Munroe might have gotten his hands on it. We don’t know for sure that he was there, but: 1) he lives in Massachusetts, and 2) Bill Amend, the cartoonist behind Foxtrot, definitely was, and tweeted about meeting Munroe this weekend, so: fairly good bet.
Anyway: according to Marc ten Bosch’s website, Miegakure “is currently in development and the goal is to release it in downloadable form for consoles and PC/Mac. There is no announced date and platform yet. There is no publicly released demo at this point. There will be one when the game is released though, so please be patient :) Thanks.” Drat! At that, there was some fancy metaphysical-talk that got us even more excited about the game:
This game is about exploring the consequences of being able to move in four spatial dimensions. It plays like a regular three-dimensional platformer, but at the press of a button one of the dimensions is exchanged with the fourth dimension, allowing for four-dimensional movement.
Think about a two-dimensional character living on a horizontal, flat two-dimensional plane. To this character, height would be a foreign concept. A number of actions we three-dimensional beings take for granted feel like absolute magic to this two-dimensional character.
For example, if there is a wall in the shape of a circle around an object in 2D, it is essentially closed-off, since to reach it one would have to leave the 2D plane. It is also impossible for an outsider to know what is inside.
But us 3D beings can see the object from above, and also simply lift it off the ground to move it outside, essentially teleporting it. Now by analogy a four-dimensional being could perform many similar miracles to us living in only three-dimensions. This game allows you to perform these “miracles.”
The games medium makes the mathematical concept of a fourth dimension easier to understand by allowing to experience it first-hand, using trial and error, as opposed to being told about it.
While there’s no playable demo available for download yet, you don’t need to content yourself with whispers of gaming metaphysics and one xkcd panel, flatlander: IGC Gamers’ Choice has pulled the following awesome demo video. Observe:
(h/t Reddit for demo video)
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