Hi there! I’m Jesse, co-host of the monthly indie game club podcast, Byte Club. This month’s episode of the podcast was about Hempuli Oy (Arvi Teikari)’s block-pushing rule-bending puzzler, Baba is You, and so I’ve collected a small handful of articles and videos that were either mentioned in some way on the cast, or that I think would be interesting for anyone that enjoyed Baba is You.
Baba is You Is A Brilliant Puzzle Game // Jason Schreier (Kotaku)
Jason Schreier is, without a doubt, one of the best capital-J Journalists out there. His ability to tell stories about the labour malpractice taking place across the games industry with such a high level of professionalism is nothing short of inspiring. But when Schreier isn’t writing about the sloppy management behind Anthem or the massive layoffs at EA and Activision-Blizzard, sometimes he writes about something nice. In this piece, Schreier gives a brief overview of how it feels to play Baba is You that is both poetic and relatable, and serves as a solid, succinct recommendation of the game to anyone that might not get what makes it so appealing right away.
Baba is You And The Art of Misdirection // Brian Cook (PC Invasion)
A good puzzle game offers challenges that can be perceived, broken down, and solved before you even press a button. A great puzzle game, though, takes your solution, and breaks it apart as soon as you try it. Baba is You is one of the best recent examples of a game doing that sort of misdirection, and this piece by Brian Cook on PC Invasion explains one level that does a great job of it without feeling unfair. He even compares the degree of misdirection in Baba is You to properly performing a magic trick, an apt comparison given the context.
‘Ape Out’ and ‘Baba is You’ demonstrate the depth of simplicity // Devin Coldeway (TechCrunch)
As we continue to watch the graphical fidelity of AAA games increase over time, with new buzzwords like 4K, HDR, raytracing, etc. becoming regular parts of the Gamer vocabulary, one thing has become evident to me: these big games are becoming exhausting. Not just to look at – although, yes, being able to see every pore of a character’s face can be a bit distracting – but they’re also becoming exhausting in the ways that they’re played. There are often too many inputs to remember, too many visual cues to watch out for; it all becomes too much. Sometimes to wind down from this sort of thing, it’s nice to play a simple, straightforward indie game. TechCrunch’s Devin Coldeway breaks down how Baba is You and Gabe Cuzzillo’s high-octane action game Ape Out offer just that, while still being games that feel as complex and engaging as your Red Deads and Assassin’s Creeds.
Inspirations from Game Jams: Introducing Baba is You // Arvi Teikari (ARTtech, Assembly)
I always love hearing from people about what inspired them to create the things they create. Whether it’s a drawing, a movie, a sculpture, or of course, a game, I’m fascinated by what’s running through someone’s head before they begin creating. In this ARTtech seminar at the Finnish gaming event Assembly, Arvi Teikari, the developer of Baba is You, explains how the game came to be at the 2017 Nordic Game Jam, and why he believes attending events like that are so integral to becoming a great creator. Also, if you watch all the way to the end, you can see him start up the game only for it to crash and not work right at the end of his talk, which is both sad and kind of hilarious. If you enjoy this by the way, check out this interview with Joel Couture over on Gamasutra to get a little insight into Teikari’s background and some of the process behind Baba is You.
Puzzle Solving… or Problem Solving? // Mark Brown (Game Maker’s Toolkit)
While this is an old video from Mark (I seriously cannot believe this guy has been doing this since 2015), and it obviously isn’t about Baba is You given how old the video is, this episode of Game Maker’s Toolkit explains in further detail a lot of what we discussed on the podcast regarding puzzle games created to exemplify the problem solving nature inherent to programming. The video also focuses on a lot of the games we brought up in relation to Baba is You on the latest episode of Byte Club such as Infinifactory, TIS-100, and Human Resource Machine, so definitely check this out if you want to know more about them.
And those are my picks for this month’s Extra Bytes; a shorter one this time around, but I hope you learned a bit more about the development of Baba is You and what makes games like it tick. Next month’s episode of Byte Club is on the indie classic and first title from Supergiant Games, Bastion, so look forward to that episode and a new Extra Bytes with loads of my favourite pieces about the game.
If you have any pieces – written or otherwise – about the game that you’d like us to check out, feel free to hit up the Indie Bytes Twitter (@IndieBytesYT), send an email to nevyn (at) indie-bytes dot com, or use our contact form!
Check back next month for more #ByteClub content!