Going to add an ask me questions thing when I’m not lazy! Oh, and choose a better cover photo.
February 29th, 2016
I had just moved to the neighborhood and had only a handful of social connections. I recently recovered from Lyme Disease and was putting my life back together.
Not wanting to do nothing on the evening of February 29th, the one event I found out about that day was a promotion for an upcoming mobile game. I remember a giant hamster in the room.
While talking with lots of people, one thing led to another and I discussed with some mobile developers plans that I had for a game about Greenland. After having had multiple board game mini-releases featuring an RPG/card game fusion called the “Kaverini” series, with expansions set it real world locations, I told them that I was eyeing a video game spinoff, which was my original idea.
One thing led to another and, all because of February 29th, my game is, four years later, going to be released.
You never know what the decision to go somewhere or to do something will lead to.
Happy Leap Day!
One year ago today, I fulfilled my lifelong dream of finally seeing the “low Arctic” in the legendary city of Nuuk, Greenland.
I fell in love with the Greenlandic Language in 2013 when I first discovered it in a travel guide in Woodbridge Town Library (the Connecticut Town where I spent my adolescence). Since then, I was entranced by how much the culture of Greenland resonated with me.
Much like in my own Jewish upbringing, a lot of young Inuit felt placed squarely between a world of modernity and one of thousand-year-old traditions that are renowned throughout the world (and usually understood on a shallow level).
Every step that I took in Greenland was testament to the determination and hardships and wisdom that the Greenlanders had in their hearts for thousands of years. My first impression of Nuuk was that I “was in a moon colony”, and the rest of the world felt so distant from me, the silence was almost holy and I could savor some of the world’s most ancient landscapes and within seconds end up in a grocery store that would be luxurious even by American standards.
I would go outside and see ice on the beach that was older than human civilization and then go home to my host family with an Internet-laden living room streaming Game of Thrones (with Danish subtitles).
The statue of the Mother Goddess of the Sea, Sassuma Arnaa, was in the harbor and the status of Hans Egede, the “Apostle of Greenland”, was on the mountain right next to the harbor (and in between them was the house he lived in). Christian Elsner of Nanook mixed a modern guitar melody he wrote in memory of suicide victims with images of a shaman playing the Qilaat, the ancient drum that Inuit shamans used for millennia (this film, “Inuup Tarraa” [Human Shadow], is available for free on YouTube with English subtitles and is extremely heart-wrenching).
Whatever you do to engage Greenlandic culture, you find yourself firmly grounded in the present with an eye back to an ancient civilization that is one of humanity’s great pioneers.
My first evening in Nuuk I got lost after my host family dropped me off at Nuuk Center,a mega-mall that also hosted the Greenlandic Home Rule Government in the same building. Walking by toy stores, clothing stores and a video game store advertising the recently released SNES Mini Classic,, I go outside into the ancient cold and see the fjord, and, for the first time, the Northern Lights. (I used Greenlandic for the first time in order to ask for directions and find my way home).
To be honest, my Greenlandic skills are still quite meager, but my journey to explore this culture made me a more sensitive human and blossomed my creativity a millionfold. One year later, the Greenland trip is still my favorite international venture. And Greenland remains my favorite country in the whole world. 🇬🇱️
P.S. True story: I told my host mom on the car ride from the airport that I was vegetarian and I got laughed at (in a friendly way, though). Yup.
After reviewing the plot for “Kaverini: Nuuk Adventures” it occurs to me that there is a sheer over-representation of macro-organisms (e.g. humans, ptarmigans, seals) and not enough micro-organisms.
To that end, after the game’s intended Holiday 2018 release, I will also be creating downloadable content in which you will venture the fantastic world of the microbes that live in the vast Greenlandic ice sheet.
Your micro-organism, like in the main series, is a character you name yourself, but unlike in the Kaverini main series game, your character is a single pixel (you will still be able to play through the main plot and other downloadable content, this is a “postgame”).
You can also split your micro-organisms into as many characters as the phone’s disk space will allow for and give them ALL types of names! Pick any color for your pixel! Befriend many other creatures found within the ice and discover Greenland beyond the cities, the culture, the people and the animal wildlife!
Coming 1 April 2019!
(Okay, in all seriousness, April Fools! Partnered with a company to invest, after their game comes out we’ll have a better idea of when Nuuk Adventures will hit the market. Right now it is projected to be Holiday 2018. After the game’s release all of the gifts will be sent in addition to bonuses because of the delays. 🙂 )
Today is the 50th birthday of Nauru, the world’s smallest independent republic! 🇳🇷️
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been working intermittently on an small RPG Maker Game (that has a lot of elements of parody and “stylistic suck”) that is a part of the Kaverini series.
Nuuk Adventures is a joint project between multiple companies (one of the companies [that has recently recruited me] is wrapping up their current project right now before putting effort into my / our Greenlandic epic).
Nauru adventures my own personal creation that will also feature piano music written and improvised by me!
I already designed all of Nauru and put it in a game world, and I can’t wait to share it with you! It will, much like “Nuuk Adventures”, feature elements that reflect on capitalism, colonialism and what it is to be human in the contemporary world.
The Kaverini Games, as a team member said, are “not just games”. They reflect sentiments that “the world needs to hear”
This game may feature: (1) hilarious tie-ins to my other proects (2) a song I wrote that is so catchy that I’ve had to ban MYSELF from singing it (3) characters modeled after traditional Micronesian artwork (4) Internet humor and fourth-wall breaking to very high degrees, and most importantly (5) probably the most heartbreaking final dungeon you’ll ever experience (I showed someone this and there is NO way you won’t get emotional…)
Happy birthday, Nauru!
Today is the National Day of Greenland, and the first time I’m celebrating Nunatta Ullua while my dream game is, at long last, in the works!
Since 2013, when I discovered Greenlandic Culture and West Greenlandic thanks to looking at travel books in the Woodbridge Town Library, I began a journey that proceeded to change the way I look at everything.
The music, TV shows, films and documentaries are all infused with an extraordinary sense of humanity and humility, as well as the understanding that despite the fact that we have smartphones and the ability to shape nature, the human race is not nearly as powerful as we ever believe it to be.
I’ve sampled music from over sixty countries. I’ve said it too many times and I’ll say it again: Greenland has the best popular music in the world, bar none.
The works of composers and visionaries such as Nanook, Rasmus Lyberth, Sume, Siissisoq and of course Marc Fussing Rosbach (the primary music composer of “Kaverini: Nuuk Adventures”‘s soundtrack to boot!) , among way too many others to list, never fail to touch me. Never could a musical canon be so varied, with the most powerful tear-jerkers and songs of realizing the joy and novelty of life.
And I haven’t even touched on the many facets of the culture portrayed in other works, including children’s shows, horror films, inspirational short films and comedy.
I could have chosen many other places to set my first-ever video game in the series. I couldn’t be happier that I made that choice with Kalaallit Nunaat, a land that bears a culture that touches upon all of our questions and conundrums about what it is to live in 2017 and beyond.
Four years ago today, I was inspired by the possibility that I could bring my dream game into existence. And the one thing I needed at that time, before all else, were ideas.
I put to paper a list of things that I wanted in a game, including infinite playable characters, no violence, and a possibility to explore the many places I hold dear to my heart that exist within our world.
Beforehand, however, inspired by RPG’s in general, and having been thrust into country after country one year after the other for nearly four years, I had seen my life as that of a confused and curious protagonist of a game. I wondered what it would be like instead of, having to go classes every day or set up lesson plans for Introductory Yiddish for Kids, I would be able to fantastically interact with historical characters, mythical beasts, and thereby I wondered what every single city I visited would be if I were visiting it in a video game instead of real life.
The Kaverini Series is a testament to that vision, one that promises to bring the warmth and light of the many flavors of humanity to your table, your phone and your computers.
I never thought that I would have developed my vision as far as I did. I thought it would forever sit in my notes, not having been attended to, and having gone the way of the many other projects I let “sleep”.
“Kaverini: Nuuk Adventures” is happening, albeit with a lot of obstacles in the way. No doubt there will be many more, but here I am, telling you to bring your visions to life in any way you can. Conformity and fear can’t win in today’s world, and I know that none of you really want that sort of life for yourselves.
And it all begins with writing down ideas, nourished by your exploratory spirits, and having the willpower to bring it to life.
Here’s to your nourished dreams,
Jared Joseph Gimbel
June 10, 2017
Kaverini Staff Member Spotlight: Andrew Struck-Marcell
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be talking with various people contributing to the upcoming “Kaverini: Nuuk Adventures”! Andrew Struck-Marcell, an arranger of several tracks in the soundtrack, speaks about the wonders of sound, music, JRPG’s, virtual reality horror games, and heavy advice for our times!
- Seems that you are contributing to a lot of interesting and varied games! Describe some of them!
One is a VR Horror game/experience where you try to survive being trapped in a chair within a creepy room, another I might be working on soon is a VR shooter involving your favorite holiday characters.
- How did your career start and what inspired it?
I started writing music in my teens because, I suppose, it was the thing I enjoyed, or that spoke to me, the most.
- What musical pieces have you composed or arranged that you have been the most proud of?
I have a concert piece for two percussionists in which I really like the music, the concept, and the movement choreography I had the percussionists do.
- What are some of your most profound musical influences?
From Game music, the famous 16-bit JRPGs from Squaresoft and the Mother games. From concert music, Feldman, Takemitsu. From Indian classical music, Nikhil Banerjee.
- What are some of your favorite video games or software programs in general?
Above noted JRPGs. My digital audio workstation of choice is Logic; I also love Sound Hack for some cool, very specific processing it can do.
- If someone were to go down your career path, what advice would you give them?
Nurture your connections early and regularly, and always be making things.
- What’s something that you’d like to share about yourself that not many people know?
Some of my favorite sounds are crowd noises. I love the sound of live sporting events.
- Any advice for future generations, generally speaking?
We’re tribalistic, but that also means we need each other.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Have a look at Andrew’s work here: https://soundcloud.com/andrewstruck-marcell
How many of you have been confused by complicated character creation systems?
Allow me to introduce you to something simpler that you can enjoy!
Let me tell you how you create your own character in “Kaverini: Nuuk Adventures” and the other future entries in the mobile series! If you’d like to find more about the mobile adventures, click here!
If you donate, you could possibly even end up with one of the cute characters on merchandise of your choosing!
Anyhow, let’s get you excited…
- You choose your character
Your character is represented by a simple sprite that has some animations in it. Here are some of the playable character sprites featured in the trailer.
If you don’t like any of the twenty total characters that are on offer, or if you would prefer to play as any of the NPC sprites that fit, you are welcome to use those instead by hacking into the phone and creating your own character in the folder!
(Be careful to use blank backgrounds as opposed to white ones, however! Tutorials will be included in the final game!)
- You then pick one of the following abilities
Your ability stays with you throughout the rest of the game, and there are ways to get additional abilities, but they are quite difficult!
The abilities are as follows:
Sensitive – Your character will take and deal double damage. Damage is referred to as “Schmerz” in the Kaverini series, referring to pain of any variety (although in your case, you won’t be violent, now, would you). Good for strategies that require stalling.
Insensitive – Your character will take and deal half Schmerz. Good if you like confrontations done quick.
Psychic – Your character can look at all of the details of any Foe currently in a confrontation. What this means: certain foes are weak or resistant to certain techniques, and may have special abilities and techniques that you can only know about by confronting them. In this case, you can know what all of these details are and can plan accordingly. Good for strategizing.
Confidence – The first technique in any confrontation that would otherwise harm your character does nothing at all instead. Free turn!
Chutzpah – The first technique that deals Schmerz to your character causes the source of that technique to take half that amount of Schmerz. If you’re afraid of big nasty monsters, take this ability.
Lagom– Techniques executed by your character can have their Schmerz divided among the adversaries at the discretion of its controller, instead of it all being allotted to one adversary. So if you use a technique that deals 2 Schmerz, you can deal 1 Schmerz to each of two Foes instead. Use if you believe that confronting multiple foes is painful and should be avoided.
Focused – Your character gets 1 extra point to spend each time while levelling up. No benefit in confrontations, but will let you progress more quickly. More on leveling up below!
Passionate – If your character uses an emotional technique for the first time in a confrontation, that technique automatically triggers its special effect.
- You write three things about your character.
So no matter what, you will have a character with some variety of story behind it! These facts will appear on the passport (which serves as the inventory, character sheet, and other things). Do not worry, you CANNOT lose your passport in the game!
- You choose your emotional techniques.
You start with three emotional techniques at level 1. The highest they can go is level 10. There are fourteen different techniques, which you can read about here. Each one has a different special effect tied to it: (https://kaverini.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/introducing-the-emotions/)
The techniques: (1) get stronger with your level, (2) determine some aspects of gameplay outside of the confrontation system and (3) you can level them up to not only deal more Schmerz, but ALSO to increase the chances that their special effect will activate!
Keep in mind that you CANNOT activate the same technique’s special effect twice in a row. (This was in part so that some technique could not shut down foes permanently when used continuously).
- Determine HP, E and H
HP = Hit Points
E – Emotion (you always deal extra Schmerz depending on how high your “E” is)
H – Heart (Foes deal you less Schmerz depending on how high your “H” is)
Your HP starts at 20, and your E and H both at 0. You level them up by leveling up your character, whereupon you get a number of points equal to your new level.
You spend those points:
- To increase your HP
- To increase your E
- To increase your H
- To get new levels in emotional techniques.
To level up an emotional technique, you need to spend an amount of points equal to the new level. So leveling up a Level 1 Comic Silly technique to level 2 would cost 2 points, a Cheer technique from level 9 to level 10 would cost 10 points.
You can also activate additional emotional technique ladders for 1 point each.
You start the game at level 1 (Level 0, technically, and then you acquire level 1 upon completing the character creation process). You can spend that one point as you wish, either getting an extra hit point, +1 E, +1 H, or getting a fourth emotional technique ladder as a starting character!
Overall, the Emotional Technique system does serve to aid character development as well as a touch of your own personal flair in which you can hone your character to a specific play style!