Tag: jonas kyratzes

This is a post about Greenlight

Posted on September 10th, by Jordan Rivas in Video Games. 2 comments

Jonas Kyratzes is a serious game developer, and a good one.

He has the right to criticize Valve for charging a $100 submission fee for Steam’s Greenlight program. Valve has the right to ignore him. Valve has the right to charge whatever they like for their service, and developers have the right to partake or not, criticize or praise.

Fellow developers and spectators have the right to assert Jonas is not a serious game developer because he does not have — through profits from prior art, or otherwise — $100 to spend on a game’s budget. They are wrong, but they can assert whatever opinion they like.

Regarding Valve’s decision, many people have asserted all sorts of things, called each other all sorts of names. At a glance it seems petty, and mean, and fiercely personal. This issue has stoked flames of personal identity. But moreover, it has caused contention about group identity, reminding us the latter will often be argued over with greater fervency than the former.


Greenlight is a selection process. Steam users can vote and comment on submitted indie games, and the reactions are tracked to highlight the games generating the most interest.

The name is derived … Read More »

The Book of Living Magic

Posted on October 4th, by Jordan Rivas in Reviews, Video Games. No Comments

The Book of Living Magic is a game by Jonas Kyratzes (Alphaland, House at Desert Bridge). It’s about a blonde girl named Raven Locks Smith, who leaves a town called Dull for a small village community named Oddness Standing, where a gnarf (a gnome crossed with a dwarf) lives in a bottle, and other strange creatures abound.

It’s a short, point-and-click adventure with peculiar setting, and characters. Jonas writes the prose with whimsy, but also detail, such that it dominoes in different paces until it culminates in a way that is absurdly on purpose. It’s madness, but deliberate. The effect is humorous, and charming.

The descriptions of items in the static backgrounds are surreal, factually impossible, and often funny.The descriptions of the locations within the Mountains of Oddness, and of its inhabitants, have a stream-of-consciousness quality. The conversations with the locals are equally voluble, eerie, and fun.

The Book of Living Magic reads like a good fairy tell should: whimsical, eerie, thematically bright at times, hinting vaguely at the sinister, dosed with humor that accentuates the strange, and mollifies the darker tones. It’s colorful, and fantastic enough to give to a child; it’s strange, and sarcastic enough that shades of its themes are … Read More »

Alphaland (review)

Posted on May 17th, by Jordan Rivas in Reviews, Video Games. 2 comments

Alphaland is a minimalistic platformer by Jonas Kyratzes where players explore a hidden level inside of a game they’re tasked with testing by a developer friend. Alphaland starts as a simple platformer, but as you descend this odd, listless lost level the game tips over into a surreal experience that touches on themes of existentialism, personification, reification and death.