Sep 4, 2014

Best of PAX 2014 - Upsilion Circuit

After a long weekend at PAX followed by a long string of days battling whatever monstrosity decided to overtake my immune system, I've returned to showcase some of the best titles of PAX. Unlike the past few years, I was actually able to play games at PAX (who would have thought?), and I'm happy to say that I couldn't be more excited for the next couple couple of years. To kick things off, I felt it was important to introduce possibly the most intriguing title on the show floor, Upsilion Circuit.

Upon first glance, Upsilion Circuit appears to be a flashy action RPG with a relatively modest combat system, fortunately there's a lot more going on behind the scenes than you would expect. First and foremost,  Upsilion Circuit is an MMO, but not in the same vein as you would expect. Rather than interacting with thousands of players, a maximum of 8 people will be given the opportunity to play at once, while the rest of those logged-in participate as an audience member. The mixture of players and viewers is where the game starts to get pretty damn insane.

Upsilion Circuit
 takes the idea of death in video games and makes it a very serious consequence, when you die in the game, you die for good. No, you can't jump out and create a new file, your time within the game is up for good, forcing you into the audience while the game gives another player a chance. I wasn't quite sure how being an audience member would be an interesting experience, but as one of developers at Robot Loves Kitty, Alix Stolzer, explained, Upsilion Circuit plays more like a game show than anything else. At this point I absolutely fell in love with the game.

Audience members are asked to take control of the player's experience. By voting on enemy spawns, experience gained and power ups found, Upsilion Circuit creates a constant interaction for those tuning in. In many ways it felt like a logical evolution from the insanely popular Twitch Plays Pok√©mon, but in a way I many players may not have expected.

Of course, no game show would be complete without a co-host, which is where the incredibly creepy Ronnie Raygun steps into play. With a personality similar to the "digital" host Max Headroom and an appearance similar to Ronald Reagan, Ronnie interacts with viewers like any normal host would while antagonizing players to do better. It's a really awesome experience that I'm excited to see fleshed out.

Uspilion Circuit still has a ways to go with a ton of hurdles to overcome (all of which the developers at Robot Loves Kitty seem to be aware of), but if it pans out I can see Upsilion Circuit making huge waves with those who enjoy that interactive experience that many streamers provide.

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