Machinarium: details make perfection…
…and perfection is not a detail.
I am a great fan of the work of Amanita design and their games, in particular, Machinarium. Because of this enthusiasm, I have been told that my drawings are heavily influenced by Machinarium and Samorost. But here is the thing; I loved that sort of humour, aesthetics, whimsy and craft long before Amanita came along.
I do indeed learn from them, in my opinion, they are masters of creating ambiance in what is basically simple point-and-click-adventures. Quirky characters, bizarre surroundings. The plot of Machinarium is pretty straightforward: the robot girlfriend of a little robot man gets kidnapped by evil enemies. Go find her. But to me it is not really about the storyline, it is the details. The delicious use of texture. The endless details, the craft that goes into the simplest of illustrations of background and elements. An example is the railing below. What makes it work is that it is not generated. All the sections are wobbly in its own way.
Anyone who has tried to make a game knows this: repeat use of default elements or symbols kills the aesthetics and makes it feel stale. And another thing that is really really hard: textures and light. That is what these guys do so well: humour, texture, craft and shadows. Detail is everything.
I have recently downloaded – and duly paid for – their latest game, Bonanicula. More on that another day.