Crumple by Nascent Games
In 2013 I was in Scotland when I was first told about the concept for Crumple. Gabriel and I had been exchanging emails back and forth about various topics. At this time he had a few other games in the early planning stages but this one he seemed to be the most excited about. When people hear about the game for the first time, their typical response is one of shock. But not the kind of shock you experience when there is a POP emergency or some government mishap. This kind of shock falls more along the lines of “you’re making a game about an envelope?”
Crumple is about an envelope affectionately named Enve who is brought to life and wakes up in a burning paper factory. This game is a 2D puzzle platformer and currently available for PC via Humble, Game Jolt and soon to the Amazon marketplace. (You can watch the trailer here on YouTube.) One of the charming characteristics about this game is the simplistic art design. It seems like people get psyched about the 8-bit style but I prefer a cleaner, smoother look. This particular choice has also aided in not detouring from the intense storyline. That is a strong characteristic of games created by the nascent studio. Their ability for writing and wordplay can be strong and dangerous when unexpected. Aside from the art component, the game play itself is genuinely fun. I tend to play more platformers than any other type of game. Over the years I have played variations of Crumple as they would test and redesign. Early on I recall giving the programmer, Alex, a hard time saying that there weren’t enough jumps available to get from one place to another and that there were too many flames. While most of my critiques were innocent and playful jabs at him, I know Alex took great pride in watching players suffer through the first few minutes of the game. With the final release, players are encouraged to finish the game in 15 minutes or less.
As for me, it took over an hour, a nearly broken keyboard and at least a hundred deaths before I finished the level :D Thank goodness they implemented use of a controller! To me, one of the most satisfying aspects of failing in this game is watching Enve burn. Though it is a sad animation, it is comically well done that leaves me with the sensation of wanting to try again and finish the level. Clever game design!
As development continued through the years, Enve was taken on a tour and made appearances all over the United States from Marlyand, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and of course, the beloved Sacramento. Players at MAGFest, the Reno Game Expo, MAGWest, IndieCade, Casual Connect, Playcrafting, TwitchCon and the Sacramento Indie Arcade have been fortunate enough to be a part of the user testing.
While this isn’t unusual for indie game developers to travel across the country to promote their games, many of these trips came at a great personal sacrifice to the developer. Between working a full-time job, maintaining personal relationships, building a local community, organizing an annual gaming event and still striving to launch his first title, Gabriel was doing the most and running hard over the last three years. I don’t share these things with you to gain sympathy for the developer. I simply share them with my average reader who may not be privy to the world of independent game development. Indie game developers are a unique breed who grab hold of their dreams and mold it into something worthy of playing and sharing with others. These indie developers are also known to finance their own venture for years before seeing a significant net profit. They sink hundreds of dollars into software, labor, and trademarks and most definitely are not bestowed with a marketing budget to help promote their games. Gabriel Gutierrez, CEO of Nascent Games, has jumped through many hoops to finally accomplish his 30 year dream in the making on November 17, 2017.
To Gabriel and Alex, I send my sincere congratulations to you both. It has been a trying three years but your persistency and consistency has brought you to this day. I wish you nothing but success.
To the players and people who have yet to play Crumple: I hope you enjoy this game. There was a lot of heart, sweat, tears and sacrifice behind the development. You are certain to have fun, feel challenged and maybe even endure a little scream or giggle after you burn!