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Thoughts on the Steampunk Genre


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Thief is steampunk? I've always thought it looked like some medieval-themed game (never played it or even seen it running, just the odd very dark screenshot)

A medieval setting combined with limited use of electricity and huge, steam-powered contraptions (including sentry robots). Oh, and a smattering of magic, too.

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Forum challenge: find a picture of someone in steampunk costume that doesn't look like a complete embarrassment to their loved ones. Hard mode: same criteria, but that person has to be a white male with facial hair.

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Forum challenge: find a picture of someone in steampunk costume that doesn't look like a complete embarrassment to their loved ones. Hard mode: same criteria, but that person has to be a white male with facial hair.

That's probably an impossible task.

Steampunk-Iron-Man-Cosplay.jpg

Unless under this mask there's a Victorian moustache

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Steampunk can't be classed as genre, mainly because there's not been enough content to define that genre. I'm sure if some successful games came out, we'd start to see a certain expectancy for what makes a good steampunk game, and those things would start to define what the genre would be.

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Steampunk isn't a genre in the same way "open world", "cel-shaded" or "post apocalyptic" aren't genres.

They're themes for games - designs or settings, but not genres.

As a style, I like it, but I don't like all Steampunk games.

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Forum challenge: find a picture of someone in steampunk costume that doesn't look like a complete embarrassment to their loved ones. Hard mode: same criteria, but that person has to be a white male with facial hair.

My cousin's pub/restaurant in Oxford held a Steampunk weekend a couple of weeks ago - I was gutted I couldn't go. I don't think these guys looked too embarassing because they aren't taking it too seriously - they are just pub regulars who decided to go for an unusual theme for their weekend. Plus my other cousing who is an amazing artist knocked up some lovely paintings for the event.

http://www.facebook.com/gardenersvegetarianandvegan.arms?sk=photos

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Steampunk isn't a genre of game. Is it? Oh I'm confused. Its a genre of story telling I suppose. Or an art style. But not a genre of GAME.

It's a setting. Like fantasy, or dystopian future.

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A medieval setting combined with limited use of electricity and huge, steam-powered contraptions (including sentry robots). Oh, and a smattering of magic, too.

It's a medieval set game with a few steam powered contraptions. Not steam punk, unless you think FFVII is also. Or WOW.

Steampunk does not capture the imagination as Fantasy does - simple because it is fantasy. It's not as immediately familiar; where as steampunk looks old fashioned and yet is grounded in something familiar.

People don't want semi realistic nonsense, with imagery that does not excite them.

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What was that game? Forum told me to buy it. Early Xbox, I think. Cacophanus probably liked it. Maybe Sega published. Japanese maybe. You were Victorians on Mars or something. Controls were weird and awkward. Some sort of sideways boost jump combo was important. I just remember having to endlessly boost out of some massive hole and never being able to do it.

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What was that game? Forum told me to buy it. Early Xbox, I think. Cacophanus probably liked it. Maybe Sega published. Japanese maybe. You were Victorians on Mars or something. Controls were weird and awkward. Some sort of sideways boost jump combo was important. I just remember having to endlessly boost out of some massive hole and never being able to do it.

GunValkyrie.

I was awful at it.

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Arcanum was basically 'Fallout done as steampunk', and it was criminally overlooked.

Amen to that!

Steampunk isn't a genre of game. Is it? Oh I'm confused. Its a genre of story telling I suppose. Or an art style. But not a genre of GAME.

My apologies for wording that poorly, then... Steampunk, not as a genre but as a setting... Still, the ensuing debate over the wording goes to show its lack of presence in games. If someone wants a "steampunk" game, just how do they go about finding it? Not quite as many results as looking up "fantasy" (which in itself is an extremely broad term, I agree)... Still, my main point being that few developers take the risk to go outside of convention anymore unless it's been proven by some out-of-nowhere indie dev first or something.

As for Cyberpunk (different yes, but in sort of the same vein) , I definitely love me some Deus Ex ^_^

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It's a medieval set game with a few steam powered contraptions. Not steam punk, unless you think FFVII is also. Or WOW.

except that it doesn't have 'a few' steam-powered contraptions: the world's fuelled by a combination of anachronistic technology and magic, with loud, clanking machinery and humming electrical sources filling the streets; any fans of the series will surely also remember the cacophony of clunking cogs and pistons that made up every menu in the game, contributing to the aesthetic.

just because it doesn't fall back on airships and goggles doesn't stop it being steampunk, unless the definition of steampunk has narrowed to only the cliche-ridden, gimmicky imagery that certain uninspired creators rely on for inspiration.

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just because it doesn't fall back on airships and goggles doesn't stop it being steampunk, unless the definition of steampunk has narrowed to only the cliche-ridden, gimmicky imagery that certain uninspired creators rely on for inspiration.

Then I'm sure you'd love this (be sure to check out the animation): http://www.cityofste...d/world-machine

The entire world is a system of gears and machinery, and is indeed flat! ;)

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As for Cyberpunk (different yes, but in sort of the same vein) , I definitely love me some Deus Ex ^_^

Well apart from the aforementioned Cyberpunk for the Witcher devs, there's also Shadowrun 2 which is currently being developed. 2013 will be a good year for fans of traditional RPG's in a cyberpunk setting :D (assuming Cyberpunk from the Witcher devs comes out that soon of course)

edit:

Oh and you can bet Pete's bollock that there will be another Deus Ex game for the Human Revolution dev :omg:

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Air Power?

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Maybe, I saw the game I can't remember the name of in an Edge feature many,many moons ago, a cover-star procedurally generated world shooter game that was in development never got released either, or the voiced Scooby Doo adventure title either come to think of it, they may all have been related to Ocean software, which might explain that.

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Steampunk is victoriana, right? Pr thereabouts...

Well according to the Wikipedia, Thief does indeed qualify as Steampunk, you just need a lot of tech to require steam power to work, the setting doesn't matter.

Steampunk is a genre which originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used—whether in an alternate history such as Victorian era Britain or "Wild West"-era United States, or in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy.
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Hmm, Thief eh? I remember watching some friends play it, but that was a while ago, I've yet to play it myself. Added to my Steam wishlist for a rainy day, thanks :hat:

Thief 2 is the most steampunky of the lot, but all three games (and presumably Thief 4 when it's out) have characteristics of it.

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Will definitely check those out, then. Still, aside from Bioshock (the Steampunk-ness of which is debatable) or the upcoming Thief 4, do any more recent games have a good steampunk edge to them? Only one I can think of is Remnants of Skystone on Kongregate, and that was about 2 years ago...

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  • 5 months later...

What was that game? Forum told me to buy it. Early Xbox, I think. Cacophanus probably liked it. Maybe Sega published. Japanese maybe. You were Victorians on Mars or something. Controls were weird and awkward. Some sort of sideways boost jump combo was important. I just remember having to endlessly boost out of some massive hole and never being able to do it.

Likely it was GunValkyrie and it was interesting but very unwieldly, in a pretty unecessary sense too. Learning curve was also pretty masochistic. Definitely an investment of time but once mastered you did feel pretty fantastic when you pulled off some tricksy shit.

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Will definitely check those out, then. Still, aside from Bioshock (the Steampunk-ness of which is debatable) or the upcoming Thief 4, do any more recent games have a good steampunk edge to them? Only one I can think of is Remnants of Skystone on Kongregate, and that was about 2 years ago...

In the months since this post, Dishonored is an obvious example.

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