The game made from British Library books
Verticow is a highbrow, highscore game.
How far can you fling a roast chicken? Verticow is the game posing all the big philosophical questions. And it’s not just Sunday lunch centrepieces you chuck around – there’s the titular cow, a banana, some guy with his shirt off and more.
The idea is to lob your item of choice as far as you can by swinging your character around and around, like a gymnast on the parallel bars. Build up enough momentum and it's time to let your plant pot, gazelle or bicycle soar. You get extra points for rotation and landing upright.
Verticow is a game from Philipp Stollenmayer, otherwise known as Kamibox. He specialises in small but perfectly-formed indie games, like his previous works Zip–Zap, Okay…?and Pancake – The Game.
His latest game has a very different look, however. Everything you see in Verticow is a publicly-released image scanned from the British Library’s vast collection of books, journals and other documents.
Having stumbled across the British Library’s Flickr account one day, Stollenmayer was inspired by the strange mix of art styles. He investigated further and found over a million publicly available assets. Perfect for my new game, he thought.
“These images were so randomly thrown together that it completely changed their intention,” explains Stollenmayer. “Super-detailed plant studies beside ragged faces and ads for flat-irons… I wanted to catch that clumsily comical atmosphere in this game.”
When he’s not making games, Stollenmayer also happens to be a gymnast. So he used his experiences on the high bar to get the swing of the protagonists feeling weighty and real. Even if it’s a cow or a chicken.
There’s more random historical artwork coming to Verticow soon, says Stollenmayer. “I designed the game in a way which makes it easy for me to add new characters and scenes,” he adds. “I want to wait and see how people play the game, and react to that with the next update.”
We can't wait for more. Verticow is one of those simple but compelling high-score games that has the power to destroy productivity at work, ease the pain of any commute or fill any idle moment with a burst of weird, satisfying play. Highly recommended.