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Jan 4, 2014


I love apocalyptic content, from the bleakness of The Walking
Dead to arthouse movies like Melancholia, where the question is
posed, “How might someone who is severely depressed understand
the ending of the world?” One thing I hadn’t previously imagined,
however, was how fun planetary annihilation might be. When your
perfectly lovely city is suddenly and outrageously exploded by an
inexplicable red ball, hilariously leap on stuff. Upwards.
I played Blockpocalypse at PAX with three other players. No-one
is safe, not the Buddhist monk, the woman in the red dress or the
left shark. I was the skeleton. I mean, the fact I was still fi ghting
for “life” shows commitment, right? You’d think those guys would
have waited for me. I mean, some of them had to. It’s a strange mix
of co-operative play and, “Get out of my way,” that is required to
throw televisions and pipes into an ascendant structure.
And, a surprising amount of play doesn’t actually rely on
survival at all. Yes, you must hide when it starts raining fi re, and
the main aim is to outrun rising lava, but you can also just chill
out and shoot some hoops or capture and hold the crown. Make
no mistake, this is a party game, and these would be standard
multiplayer modes in any other. In Blockpocalypse, they are
defi ance, a middle fi nger to inevitable death.
Prototyped during a game jam titled, “What do we do next?”
Creative Director, Dan Clayton, tells us, “We got really excited
about the prospect of a co-op building game that would, at
some point, pit players against each other.” The best thing about
Blockpocalypse, in its pre-release state, is that I am not sure if
there is a happy ending for, specifi cally, my skeleton and, frankly,
that’s very disturbing. (Which makes for a suitable apocalyptic
content, in my book.)


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