SXSW Screenburn Arcade Spotlight: The Unexpected Genius Of Minicore Studios

Pro Wrestling Editor

In an events center filled to capacity with high-performance gaming computers, ten-foot tall mech displays with moving parts and chainsaw wielding cheerleaders on zombie school buses, it was an iPad tank game with a (wonderfully) terrible pun name that held my attention the longest.

Austin-based upstarts Minicore Studios have been blowing up the Internet since the show, having their alternate history “Soviet ass-kicking robot dog from space” effort praised as an “awesome game to watch out for” by G4TV and a “concept strong enough to keep our attention” (hey, that’s high praise) by Joystiq. That game — ‘Laika Believes’ — imagines a world in which the first animal to orbit the Earth returned not only alive, but with cyborg powers. Yeah, that’s going to be awesome.

The game they demoed at Screenburn — the surprisingly literally-titled ‘Tanks For The Memories’ — also takes on Minicore’s creative approach to the reinvention of classic gaming. In ‘Tanks’, you play as an Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind-style psychologist who wants to help you cope with your inner demons by driving a tank into your head and shooting them to sh*t. If that’s not enough, the gameplay style is different but intuitive enough to take you back to a time when ‘Gauntlet’ was awesome and not everything played the same. I think I stood at the test iPad and played it for 10 minutes before I remembered where I was.

One of the great things about exhibiting in Austin is finding out about the people who live here everyday. ‘Laika’ is an upcoming PC/console downloadable, and you’ll be able to play ‘Tanks’ on your Android or iOS. CEO John Warren, creative director Peter Odom and the rest of the team at Minicore have drawn me in, and if the looks of shocked bemusement at G4 and Joystiq are any indications, I’ll have a lot of people waiting in line behind me soon.

[More about Minicore]

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