Friday, 19 October 2012

More on Giana

  Having begun life as clones of Mario in Luigi in a dreamscape eerily similar to the mushroom kingdom, Giana is now proclaimed her own entity, powered by her own development teams ideas. 
I’ve found it desirable to know more of the developers, at least in so far as I can get from their website and Wikipedia (in English, thanks Spellbound!) before continuing with the slightly hurtful words clone and copy.

The Great Giana Sisters (1987)
Giana Sisters DS
Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams

Graphic Artist


Fabian del Priore

Developer Name
Timewarp Productions
Spellbound Interactive
Black Forest Games
Publisher Name
Rainbow Arts
DTP Entertainment/ Destineer
So far Greenlight by Steam

  None of these are terribly unknown developers.  Most went on to develop games like Turrican and Airline Tycoon, common enough names here in Canada.  Armin Gessert has passed as of November 8th, 2009 after 25 years working in the video games industry.  The Giana sisters appear to be his brain children, and his company Spellbound was still working on them with the port of the original to the Nintendo DS in April 2009.   It was November 2011 that the DS game made it to North America.
This is a franchise that overnight made itself a sensation, attracting all the worst attentions of game companies much more entrenched and powerful than themselves, way back in 1987.  Much of Giana’s releases since have been decidedly under the radar, perhaps to the games benefit.  The DS version, visible on Youtube still looks quite similar to Super Mario Bros, including floating bricks, zero gravity gems, and item based transformations. 

  It’s the trailer for Twisted Dreams, and the playable demo, that offers hope for Giana’s future.  If the game turns out like either suggest, Twisted Dreams could finally cement Giana as a full equal in standing to some of the greats of the platforming genre.  Chris Hülsbeck’s composition doesn’t hurt at all.

  But just to be clear, Giana still faces competition.  For one thing, her games deliver on all of the aesthetic appeals (the emotional payouts) that Mario delivers on, from challenge in the form of an obstacle course, to discovery in terms of finding hidden caches of goodies.  There is difference, but these are the main reasons gamers would come to Giana, or have to choose between Giana and Mario. 

  I like to think Giana has an advantage in graphics and sound, if only because the New Super Mario series plays it much too safe for my liking.  Galaxy 2 is another matter; too bad for Mario that nothing like that is coming out soon.  What else might pull these two apart is story, or narrative.  Let me confess, I’ve long ago given up rescuing the Princess, and only now do I ever accomplish that goal when it happens to be the last thing in the game to do before shelving it.  If Giana has a much more compelling narrative than it to would count to her advantages.

  Understand my point: difference is good.  I remember Giana quite unfondly, for despite her great level designs and music she was still a patent clone of Mario.  But that isn’t wholly true now; the demo for Twisted Dreams impresses me, and I cannot wait to welcome her as a genuine, and original, video game heroine with just a hint of an inglorious past.  This also is not going to keep me from enjoying the next Mario, I just wish a little more difference could be seen there…

No comments:

Post a Comment