Independent Games Festival ’08 winner draws from the imagination
For a medium with unlimited possibilities, video games have a nasty habit of conservatism. Massively multiplayer games lean toward World of Warcraft’s approach of recreating Lord of the Rings for millions of geeky gamers. Grand Theft Auto and its dozens of clones interpret the sandbox game nearly identically—as a carjacking sim. But Crayon Physics Deluxe takes back the idea of play, reasserting a focus on creativity as opposed to gleeful destruction. Finnish game designer Petri Purho transforms the player into a kindergarten god with domain over a square of tattered construction paper. With a sweep of the mouse, players can draw anything they want. Once the shape is completed, the crayon creation drops into the page’s two-dimensional world, reacting realistically to gravity and physics. Purho takes the idea a step further, asking the player to solve basic puzzles by improvising crayon levers, ramps or whatever else their imaginations can cook up to guide a ball from point A to point B. In a word: mauvelous.