wanderlands

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Stickets (made by Wanderlands)

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Game of the week 6/14/13 -- Stickets

To call Stickets 'minimalist’ in design is an understatement – it’s possibly the cleanest looking puzzle game I’ve ever played. But don’t be mistaken: the game’s pared down look belies its complexity and depth, and this is the type of game that gets more interesting the longer you spend with it.

Stickets comes with three gameplay modes – Time, Space, and Puzzle – each unlockable by achieving a score of 50 on the previous mode. The mechanic is as simple as can be, with the goal being to fit together corresponding colors and shapes to keep the game board as empty as possible. And the scoring system is just as straightforward, with each move being worth one point. 

But while Stickets may look like it would get boring very quickly, this is truly a brutally difficult and layered game that will challenge even the most experienced puzzle gamer. In fact, it’s so tough that I was on the brink of throwing my phone against the wall before unlocking the third mode, Puzzle. The only thing keeping me sane was the Brian Eno-inspired soundtrack that offset my frustration with an elegant sense of calm. 

If you don’t give Stickets a chance – and I imagine that many casual gamers might not due to it’s $2.99 price tag – you’ll likely underestimate both its complexity and how fun it can be. But indie developer Wanderlands has done it again, creating a game that both looks and plays like a piece of art. 

R.I.Y.L. – Hundreds, Letterpress, Flow Free

Download here.

Stickets

Let’s posit that colour one is work and by extension the pursuit of wealth. Colour two will represent social interaction and thus include partner, family and friends. The third colour becomes free time, our dreams and desires, the self; external to third party contribution.

Stickets’ grid is compact, claustrophobic and demands to be filled. It’s about balance, awareness and planning.

You lay down each trio of colours one by one, gradually fitting friends around work, your career around free time.

In time you get stuck. You run out of convenient ‘L’ shaped windows with which to force each colour coded block and you have to adapt.

You focus and prioritise. Maybe through choice, maybe because with the hand you’ve been dealt you are without choice. Perhaps work comes first, being that money inevitably drives the other colours in turn. You build connected patterns, placing and clearing in a minimalist metaphor for each day spent earning until there are no more groups to remove from the board and you are pushed to reconsider the other areas that you had previously neglected.

One out, one in.

Then, when you can no longer fit this second human colour into the board, you reappraise your lot and readapt once more to either revisit work, or relax in the solitude of the third shade.

This back and forth is how we live, and Stickets’ game board, dots waiting to be filled by each competing colour, illustrates beautifully the eternal struggle to keep each of our bars, in tragic comparison to The Sims’ microcosmic view on human existence, topped up.

Stickets drips humanity despite its stark presentation, and its place, ever available in my pocket during periods of down time, ensures that even when colours one and two appear to dominate my life, its permanent accessibility from my ‘open apps’ task bar means I will never be without the third.

Music Review-Wanderland (2001)


Genre: R&B


Label: Virgin Records


Track List:

  1. Intro
  2. Young Fresh n’ New
  3. Flash Back
  4. Popular Thug ft. Pusha T of Clipse
  5. Daddy ft. Malice of Clipse
  6. Scared Money
  7. Shooting Stars
  8. Digital World ft. Roscoe P. Coldchain
  9. Easy Come, Easy Go
  10. Junkie
  11. Get Even
  12. Mr. U.F.O. Man ft. John Otsby
  13. Little Suzie


Producers: The Neptunes


On her second, Kelis continues push the boundaries. Wanderland was a perfect title for this project because the sound and the style is very spacey. It feels like a journey to a place you’ve never been before. What I always loved about Kelis’ music is the attitude in her voice in the delivery of her lyrics. Songs like Young, Fresh n’ New give me that same feel as when I first heard her on “Caught out There” without attempting to recreate that moment entirely.


What I didn’t like about Wanderland is that many of the songs with slower/softer melodies aren’t as interesting as the ones on her previous album. They drift into the realm of ordinary and that’s not why I love Kelis. Songs like “Shooting Stars” and “Digital World”; for instance, were cool especially “Shooting Stars” where she kind of does a duet with Pharrell. Both have really unique voices and they go perfect with the futuristic tone of the production. These are kind of just typical R&B album songs though. The blends of funk, techno & soul are still there but parts of this album aren’t as powerful conceptually as I know Kelis to be capable of.


Hearing Pusha T & Malice (Clipse) on this album was refreshing. She didn’t have alot of features on her last album and Popular Thug & Daddy pretty much introduced me to them and was the basis for why I knew I would love their first album, Lord Willin’. As much as I love the production of The Neptunes though their production style becomes too when it stretches over an entire album, they weren’t as versatile at this point as they would become after several Clipse, N.E.R.D. and other popular artists’ projects.



I give Wanderland an
8.0 out of 10
AWESOME

You know that feeling of excitement when you’re experiencing something new in a destination you’ve never visited, almost as if it’s butterflies? Meeting an interesting new friend while waiting for that 3 hour delayed bus in stinking heat? Trying that insane insect in the local markets that actually tasted marvelous? Standing on top of a mountain and looking back at what you have accomplished taking it all in as you’re still gasping for air? Listening to the waves crash against rocks in a coastal town you’d thought you’d never visit? Riding down a road on a rickety motorbike not knowing where you’re going with your hair flapping in the wind and your only worry is that the sun is going down and your headlight doesn’t work? That feeling when you’re standing in the middle of a street just smiling at how far you’ve come and how wonderful these life experiences are and just how god damn surreal the situation is.

This is the feeling that Wanderland will capture and share with the world.

Wanderland is a natural habitat for those who wander. I am Amber Street, Wanderland’s first inhabitant. I am a 22-year-old travel agent working and living in Melbourne. I am new to wandering and I can say deep down that I am head-over-heals in wanderlust.

I am slowly but surely getting back into 35mm and the adrenalin that I feel knowing that the best memories are yet to be captured, to me, is insane in the membrane.

I am eager to celebrate and share with everyone the amazing journeys that I get to plan and be a part of everyday as well as my own and my amazing friend’s. There will always be a reason to celebrate in Wanderland.

WANDERLAND

Dead rose in a deadman’s hand
Dead roses in a dedmen’s land
Toxic air
Save me, I’m choking
Dust in hair
Do not trust, everybody’s joking
Crown is nothing but a piece of gold
Smile is nothing but a facial fold
You and I swim in ocean of humanity
Even tho I dive into insanity
Deep down,
Deep down,
Below the town
Where you could never go
Even if you want so
Because too deep it is for you
Careful, may lose oxygen, you
Do not follow the black rabbit with white soul
It’s mind is still black and it may turn to ghoul
Stay safe, leave it alone
Turn around…blink…and it’s gone.