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After Suzy and freedom, Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer was also translated to korean.

It's worth mentioning that after these translations I started learning korean myself. 한국어가 정말 아름다운 언어입니다!

Recently, a russian translation was also made, which is pretty cool. For some (cultural?) reason, BE:D seems to be very popular in Russian. They even made a russian Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer Wikipedia page!

Coincidentally, this week a fellow Brazilian asked permission to make a Portuguese translation for the game. For some strange reason it bothers me a little (maybe because I should me making this translation myself?), but it's amazing that the game is reaching people from all over the world like that.

Random fun thing: the guy who made the Russian translation mentioned that Verge looks a lot like Eridan Ampora from Homestuck. I didn't even know what Homestuck is but the resemblace is disturbing!


Lorry and I

Today was a very surreal day, because I got to meet in person one of the character from Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer.

This is me with Lorry, the Dungeoneer's "official contraption supplier", as Verge would say.
I also got him to sign my Death Note. He was smarter than me, though: he wrote my name before his own. Gladly, neither of us died.

Lorry is actually UFC figher Andrei Arlovski, one of the only two character in BE:D who borrowed their images from a famous person... and I did that only because I always thought Arlovski is so cool. So it was an honor to meet him in person.

Too bad I didn't flatter him enough to get a Chainsaw and a Blowtorch....


BE:D in a book

So I was googling this game because I had nothing better to do, and I found out that it was mentioned in a book. I decided to buy the book and see what it was about.

Beyond Choices: The Design of Ethical Gameplay is a book by Miguel Sicart about how games (all sorts of them) engage players in a moral and ethical way. He uses a number of games as "case studies", and Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer is one of them. It's a very insightful book, especially for designers who try to make games that are supposed to provoke reactions other than "fun".

I didn't find the book's reading on Beautiful Escape particularly deep or revealing (or even accurate, if I could say that), but needless to say, I didn't even care much... I cared about the fact that... well, Beautiful Escape was discussed in a book, and one by a prolific academic, and that is awesome.

And I'm very proud and happy about it. I didn't expect the game to get this far when it first came out, especially after it was demolished by critique inside the contest for which it was created.

What's also ironic is that I posted this on Facebook, and all my friends and relatives are like "yay, congratulations, I'm proud of you", probably completely ignoring the fact that it's a game about a depressed guy who tortures and kills people, and that it only got famous because of its ability to evoke negative feelings on players.



Vladimir Samsonov has written a complete Walkthrough of Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer. It's in Russian, but the google translation is very decent. It's a very complete description of every mechanical and story aspect of the game.

Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer - Прохождение (original)

Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer - Passage (translation)

I've been corresponding with him by e-mail, and we've been talking about a possible sequel for the game. Who knows? It's not part of my plans, but it's possible.



On November, 2011, Polish gaming magazine CD-ACTION featured a piece on Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer. I finally managed to contact the author, and he sent me a scan of it, as well as a rough translation.

I hadn't heard about Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's, but his story and the game's are surprisingly similar indeed!

In 1869 Leopold von Sacher-Masoch signed a contract with his mistress, Fanny Pistor. On its terms he was supposed to become her slave for six months and due to the fact that the word "masochism" comes directly from his surname, what was written in their contract shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.He wanted her to treat him as a footstool and to whip him whenever she felt an urge to. The only thing he wanted in return was for her to wear furs (and nothing under them) while doing so. We know of their relationship because of his book, "Venus in Furs", which ends in description of their separation. Pistor dealt an unbearable blow to her private slave by finding someone who has enslaved her. Disillusioned Masoch has stopped treating her like a goddess and freed himself finally ending in the hands of mysogyny. It's a similar story to the story that Nicolau Chaud told in his free game Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer, which you can download from rpgmaker.net.

Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart
The player becomes Verge - a loser with a lousy job, lousy life and unable to handle anything and especially his own self. The love of his life - Daily - is as elusive as vague in conversations and up til the end of the game there's even no indication whether it's male or female. Verge belongs to the social network of Dungeoneers, people who bring random people to their basements and lead them to the edge of nervous breakdown by torturing them and then just let them go: trapped forever in despair and mental hurt. Every Dungeoneer has to shoot a movie which documments his accomplishment and share it on the web, exposing himself to the critique of others.

And even if it sounds like a script for another "Saw" movie, precisely where "Saw" is just another retarted horror story with a promise of something deep between the lines (which turns out to be: "Hey, look, I'm saving the world!"), Dungeoneer is rather like "Fight Club". A love-story filled with thoughts of self-improvement/self-destruction and liberation. There, where visual tricks of movies like "Hostel" turn their stories into ridicullous mess, Dungeoneer turns out to be a disturbing work of art. It will evoke different feelings in every player 'cause every player is looking at the mirror by playing it, at his own own feelings, thoughts and mostly his own psyche.

Chaud made a wonderful use of RPG Maker - at least in terms of the story and dialogue 'cause gameplay is not the most interesting thing I've ever seen. It's two things, basically: searching for victims which plays like a dating-sim and torturing people in an action-puzzler. After hooking up with someone on the street we've got to build a dungeon and it's done by setting traps which are received as a payment for making movies. Then, a naked victim walks from start to finish and in set places gets wounded, drowned, drilled, dismembered and at worst: killed. At worst 'cause death prevents the titular Beautiful Escape which is the whole point of the game.

Different colors made of tears
However due to the fact that scenario is the most important thing in this game, it is just amazing as a whole. It doesn't give the player any time to get bored and bwcause it has no fillers it isn't trying to achieve any cliched, hollywood-like suspense. A couple of plot turns, some ideas about the storytelling itself - these are the best examples of how well Chaud led his narration. How fresh has he told the player - maybe even unconsciously - a tragic story of Sacher-Masoch, set in modern world and told with modern means. And that's why Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer is not a game about torture or psychos. It's not even a game about serial killers, it's a game about toxic, unhappy love and liberation.


Game Music Brasil 2011

This October 8th, Rio de Janeiro held the biggest Video Game convention in Brazil: Brasil Game Show. Inside it, a secondary event that held a contest in three gaming-related categories: Game Music Brasil, which awarded the best entries in Best Indie Game, Best Soundtrack and Best Band. I entered Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer at the first category.

The 3 category finalist would be selected among the top 10 voted games on the event's site (remember when I asked for votes?). BE:D was the fifth top voted game. Still, the jury selected it as one of the best three games, so I was invited to the finals that happened this saturday, all expenses covered.

The event was incredibly awesome. It was like a rock concert, but gaming themed, with indie games in it. Being at the other side of the stage (which is in it), interacting with a bunch of interesting people backstage, including some Brazilian celebrities was very surreal. There's this singer called Sandy who was there not to perform, but to watch her husband, who orchestrated a really awesome video game music medley you can watch here:

I was starpowered by her presence (yes, I took a picture with her) and all that "wow, it's her!" thing. But then I thought: today, she is in the audience, I'm on stage. Strange change of perspective. Yep, very cool.

Each finalist had a few minutes to speak about his game and show a video. I showed this trailer I made specifically for the contest. The crowd was pretty wild, so I knew I had to deliver some popstar kind of talk to keep them entertained. It's not really hard when you have a game about violence and all. According to some site that covered the event:

"The second candidate made a Dexter sort of game, in a gothic Pokémon-like setting where you control a character that talks to people on the street until you persuade them to take home with you and perform the most amazing tortures. This candidate made the crowd very euphoric."

Not only the crowd was indeed very euphoric, I got some pretty nice afterward reactions, including from the show host. Some people came talking to me after the event, commenting. There was a guy that works with research on gaming, he got me his card and all that. Overall, the event was like a dream come true. Being on stage, sharing space with famous people, meeting a lot of cool dudes and dudettes, talking about gaming and indie games, breathing all that... that's as awesome as it gets.

I won second place, by the way. Third place was a shooter game called Reflexor Zero, and first place was an adventure game called Talbot's Odyssey. I didn't care about winning that much, the best part was being there and being able to tell family and friends that the time I spend making games is serious/relevant stuff. When I tell people my games are getting popular, first reaction is always "can't you make money out of that?". I say "no", or "don't want to", and they immediately dismiss it all as irrelevant. It's not that I need that sort of approval from so much, but I guess it helps people understand how making games is an important part of my life.

If you have facebook, you can check some photos on my album here.



It seemed like yesterday...

After a little over a year and 38 reviews (29 external and 9 inside RMN), Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer has reached the 5 digit download mark. I never expect it to get this far. It was a game made in two weeks, and all I wanted then was a decent shot at the contest.

These last downloads were brought by this particular review, which contains some very flattering remarks inside the review itself as well as in the comments that follow.

I thought of maybe doing a comemorative thing for this 10k thing, like a wallpaper, a special movie cutscene, or something. But I'll call it enough for this game. I don't lake the feeling of always working on it. I'm working on another project.

What is weird, and I noticed just after reading this last review, is that the more I read about this game, the more detached I feel from it. As I was reading about Verge and Daily, they don't really feel like characters that came out of my mind anymore. The maps and graphics of these game don't feel like things I made myself on image editors. The dialogs don't feel like things I've written. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing.

Thanks everyone for the support! I love making games, everything in the process.


Babycastles: Bad Bitches

Babycastles is a DIY indie game arcade and gallery at 285 Kent in Williamsburg/Brooklyn that periodically hosts themed events in which they exhibit indie computer games placed at home-made arcades in public places.

On July 15th 2011, Leigh Alexander hosted a Babycastles event called "Bad Bitches", showcasing games loosely themed as "around games that challenge gender and sexuality perceptions". Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer was among these games.

The invitation was very flattering, and the very idea of an indie game art exhibit is just too awesome. If I tell friends and family I make indie computer games in my spare time, I'm pretty sure they all think "grow up" just before saying "oh, cool". It's good too know somewhere in the world there are people hosting exhibits (and other people paying to see them) that recognize games as some form of artistic expression.

More information:
Babycastles: Bad Bitches - curated by Leigh Alexander
Kotaku piece on Babycastles
Sexual Video Games Are Good For Us

Pictures from the event:
Flickr Album 1
Flickr Album 2


Beautiful Escape: Torment

This is a project I've been toying with for some time. I always thought Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer was one of those games that could be ruined by a sequel, and some people shared that perception. But I kept having these ideas storming on my mind, ways in which I thought Beautiful Escape could be a better game, and plot developments that could be interesting for a sequel. So I thought: why not?

The sequel's temporary title is Beautiful Escape: Torment (not in any way related to the Planescape game). The story happens immediately from where the first game ended, and the game's structure is pretty similiar (hunt for victims -> torture them), but with some significant changes:

- Most obvious, graphics. I'm using a graphic style similar to old Lucas Arts adventure point-and-click games. I'm using some rips, and getting some external spriting help. It should work fine because:
- No walking. You don't walk on this game, ever. Except on the "world map", but once you arrive on locations, there are only action choices and dialog choices... somewhat like Sore Losers: Riot Grrrl.
- Different "hunting spots". You can visit many more locations in the city, but there are only one or two potential victims at each place.
- Calendar system. The game keeps track of the passing of days, and it triggers specific events. It's unlikely you'll be able to lure any victim in only one day. But their life gets more dynamic.
- The basic torture system is the same, but you use the mouse to place traps, instead of walking with Verge. There are also a few more torture styles and extre scoring factors, like combos and powering.
- There is a secondary torture minigame. You get this particular victim (plot-related) and lock her in your basement, and she stays there during pretty much the entire game. You get to torture her a bit every day, and this torture doesn't involve placing tiles, but the use of specific devices and TALKING.

I also heard of some script that allows the game to record a gameplay part in flash format. If I find it and get it to work, I was thinking about having the game actually upload torture videos to a website (real SadForSobbers.com?) and have other players rate them in forums, or something. But that's probably aiming too high.

I haven't made a gameprofile for the game yet, and it's possible that I will never make one, because the content of this game is far too heavier than the first Beautiful Escape, and it's probably inappropriate for RMN. I'll post a link once I have a gamepage somewhere else. But I can say this in advance: this game is way darker than the first one. The plot is a little longer, more intricate, the graphics are more well-defined, so it should work.


Dungeoneers around the web

Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer has got a fair amount of attention on places outside RMN, and I decided I should talk a bit about it here because this is the game's home. You can check all the links at the External tab. This blog post is just meant to say what to look for.

Some reviews that were posted on other sites:
Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer Review by Zhou Xuanming - The Independente Games Review
Zona indie: Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer by zzzerotime - Nivel Oculto
Tortuous Love by Kaushik Narasimhan - Kaushik's Web
Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer. Come home with me by erigity - Gamin.ru
Freeloadable: the best serial killer game the Daily Mail missed by Edwin Evans-Thirlwell - VideoGames Daily

And these are some more in-depth reviews (I guess this disctinction was somewhat arbitrary):
Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer (Review) by Jordan Rivas - Jordan Rivas BLOG
RRR Official Review: Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer by X-M-O - RPG RPG Revolution
1183 on Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer by Harbour Master - Electron Dance
Comments on a Game About Serial Killing by Amanda Lange - Second Truth Blog

Two of the guys who reviewed the game also decided to interview me. The second interview also talks about Marvel Brothel and general game design:
Interview w/Beautiful Escape Developer by Jordan Rivas - Jordan Rivas BLOG
Playing Inside the Mind: Nicolau Chaud by Harbour Master - Electron Dance

This is my own blog, and in this post I talk about how I came up with a torture game concept, and what the process was like. It's in Portuguese, but I'm linking the Google Translator version:
Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer by Calunio - Nicoisas

This is a very insightful discussion on gender ambiguity on games (illustrated by the character Daily from the game) posted on PopMatters:
On Gender Ambiguity in a Binary Paradigm by Kris Ligman - PopMatters

Popmatters also did an article on sociopathy on games, discussing how the "dating sim" part of BE:D reflects the heartlessness of the game mechanics.
Considering the Politics of Sociopathy in 'Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer' by Kris Ligman - PopMatters

This matter was also discussed in this amazing RPS article, which also has some very interesting takes on other things, like Daily's sexuality, comparing torture to art, the metacritical elements of the torture rating, monsters gaining sympathy in pop culture, and real-world torture:

Wot I Think: Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer by Kieron Gillen - Rock, Paper, Shotgun

There is one particular comment in this RPS article which caught my attention, and I'd like to mention it here:

So I have now stripped, tied up, burned, lacerated, partially drowned, drilled, and chainsawed half a dozen strangers (+1) to make “art”.

Why does placing a rape trap make me feel queasy? I almost refused to put it down, until I examined my other actions and asked myself why it makes a difference.

That's to all of you who call it a rape game.

A third article on PopMatters adresses the impact of rape, and discusses player guilt in games:
Player Guilt Revisited in 'Beautiful Escape' by Kris Ligman - PopMatters

All the discussion that follows the RPS article is very interesting, I recommend you read that.

To wrap this up, I make another wallpaper for the game, this time featuring Daily:

Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer Daily Wallpaper

If you missed the previous one:

Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer Verge Wallpaper

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