An intricately and beautifully crafted 19th-century-czechoslovakia-inspired-steam-and-junk-world. An out-of-the-ordinary tale. A little robot. This is the premice of Machinarium, a wonderful adventure game created by Amanita Design, a czech republic independent games developer. If you're a web-based adventure game aficionado, you might know them from independant successes such as "Questionaut" (a point-and-click game developed for the BBC), or the widely acclaimed "Quest for the rest", developed for pop-rock band Polyphonic Spree.
Machinarium is among the winners of the 2009 Independant Games Festival, claiming an award for Excellence in Visual Arts, and not without reason: the game is a pure delight for the eyes, with a subtle blend of humor and adventure, it's suited for kids and adults alike looking for an original tale and an addictive game.
Only 20$ will buy you the full version (mac or pc), and trust me, it's a *very* good bang for your buck - some games selling at 60$ on popular consoles and computers wouldn't even compare at offering the level of "virtual vacation" Machinarium delivers.
Try out the free demo at www.machinarium.net. Like me, you will fall in love.
A nice 3D treat for you this monday morning: "Alarm", a masterfully rendered animation directed by Jang Moo-hyun from the independent team of MESAI. You will be drawn into it because of its soft visuals and life-like environment rendering. You'll be stuck to it because of the compelling storytelling. You will be caught by your boss, procrastinating and drooling over whatever you were doing. You can thank me later.