Giants of Our World: Terry Cavanagh

The video game industry is packed full of talented and creative people. With dozens of AAA titles hitting shelves every year, even more AA titles, and ever-more independent developers taking their creations to the net, it can sometimes be difficult to know where we should be paying attention. It’s even harder to look outside of our comfort zones to find something new. That’s why I would like to begin highlighting some of the most gifted men, women, and studios that should get us all excited. They’ve been able to make lightning strike twice, and we heighten our understanding of our medium by better understanding them. All of that being said, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather kick this all off with than Terry Cavanagh. Continue reading

Score One for the Little Guy: Super Hexagon Rocks

was released for iPhone and iPad on Thursday, and it has drastically outperformed even its developer’s expectations. Having picked it up on Saturday and spent most of Sunday and this morning playing, I have to say it’s no surprise. Super Hexagon is a pure delight to play.

Though I love and play a great deal of games, it still is not often that I find myself smiling broadly from the sheer enjoyment of the experience. Super Hexagon achieves this with its flowing gameplay, simple visuals, and an astounding soundtrack. When you first start, losses come easily in the first several seconds, but you’re right back into it for another try with a simple tap of the screen. This means that the game can feature a steep learning curve and offer extremely challenging experiences without ever breaking the flow of the game. For those who don’t know, the term ‘flow’ in relation to gaming refers to when a players state of mind is fully engaged and focused on the game while fully enjoying. Basically, it means “in the zone.” Thus, a game which “flows” successfully facilitates this state in the player. The gameplay is so simple that it’s nearly impossible to explain, as even these screenshots tend not to help you understand. It’s a basic game of survival by dodging. You see an obstacle moving toward you, and you must move out of the way before it strikes you. Games of this type are nothing new, but Super Hexagon’s use of polygonal themes, catchy chiptunes (by Chipzel), and beautiful color palette set it apart. Such powerful music and colors could easily be overwhelming, but fortunately the music is tasteful and the color schemes pleasant.

Super Hexagon was developed by Terry Cavanagh, the indie developer genius behind VVVVVV. I can say genius because Marcus “Notch” Persson , member of Mensa and creator of Minecraft, lists Cavanagh as one of his idols. Cavanagh’s games tend to be reminiscent of those older gaming machines whose power was measured in bits, but they still always work in new and interesting ways.

Having already sold over 10,000 units, Super Hexagon is sure to keep me and many others smiling for quite some time to come. If you’ve got an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, this is a game you should definitely pick up.