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GameBarcodes photo

GameBarcodes distill games down frame by frame

Journey's is the best
Nov 19
// Darren Nakamura
A couple weeks ago an imgur page was floating around the Internet showing various films with each frame reduced to its average color and represented as a single vertical line in what turn out to be often vibrant barcodes. Thi...
Tearaway Unfolded photo
Tearaway Unfolded

This Japanese Tearway PS4 advert is fascinating

Go elderly Dora the Explorer lady
Sep 14
// Laura Kate Dale
I have a real soft spot in my heart for Japanese gaming advertisements. I love the conviction, the wackiness, and the passion-filled songs that just don't seem to have made it to advertising back here in the Western world.&nb...

Tearaway Unfolded faithfully breaks the DualShock 4th wall

Sep 02 // Steven Hansen
Tearaway used fourth-wall breaking about as much as Metal Gear Solid, which still, with the recently released Phantom Pain, has a character tell you to, "use the stance button to stand up." That you are playing a video game is addressed, here through the physicality of the thing. Your own face in the sky, representations of your fingers popping up in the world. Unfolded's entire opening is new. It plays off the home console's position as a living room box, likely hooked up to a television with some kind of cable network. The two voices that narrate the story switch through a fake cable TV guide, hastily bypassing shows called "Rubbish" and flicking through commercials before coming to the conclusion that there's nothing to watch, that there's no good story. So we'll have to make our own. Actually, it's almost like the beginning of Metal Gear Solid 4. The first new PS4 feature is light. The triggers produced a beam of light in the world that reflects the light emitted by the DualShock 4. It even keeps the same triangle shape and shows up in the world as if you were pointing to the front of the controller like a flashlight. So far it's one of the only useful reasons for that light existing, save for draining battery life and then blinding me every time I tilt the thing up to find the charge port. [embed]308798:60230:0[/embed] The You's -- that's you -- light has different effects, from simply illuminating the new, dim intro to making plants grow to scraping inky newspaper Scraps from the construction paper world to hypnotizing enemies that will follow the beam of light off a cliff. It doesn't have the same punchy feel as poking at them with giant fingers from below, but it does its job of grounding the player in both the game world and real world in a novel way. It's too hell with immersion and that's fine. Due to my lack of the PlayStation camera, I did find myself wanting with regard to my self-portrait showing up in the hole in the sky. Even if on the Vita it was grainy and always the least flattering angle (I never held my arms parallel to the ground when I played), it is missed, here. Same with the ability to, say, reupholster an elk by taking a picture of my cat. Of course, if lower case you have a camera, it's possible to sustain these touches, or if you have a mic at the ready you can record an intimidating yell for your scarecrow. A new gust of wind ability replaces your ability to physically leaf through the environment. Instead of swiping a platform down on the Vita screen, you swipe the DualShock 4 touchpad in the desired direction you want to the wind to blow. Atoi, the messenger you guide through Tearaway, can also throw enemies and items up "through" the TV screen and into your controller, and then you can aim a reticle and swipe forward on the touchpad to shoot the projectile back onto the map, whether to bash an enemy or solve a puzzle. The touchpad is also used for the paper craft segments where you're tasked with making wings for the local butterflies or snow flakes to pepper your mountain climb (I went again with some nice pink cherry blossoms). It works alright, but the lack of real estate makes precision hard. You might consider the companion app, which would give you (or a friend) a larger drawing surface, but, again, I don't want to be fiddling with three extra pieces of technological accessories just to get the same effect the Vita bundled up. Tearaway Unfolded isn't as elegant or holistic an experience as it was on Vita because of additional technical needs, but significant effort has gone to reproducing the same effects in new ways. It's pretty as hell, too, holding its own with anything on the PS4 despite its humble beginnings. New areas have been built from scratch, parts extended, others cut. No more log rolling troubles, which is the only Vita feature that bugged the hell out of me. A lot of care went into Unfolded. It may be another tacit admission that the Vita is dead, but at least this incredible, surprising game did not die with it.
Tearaway PS4 port photo
Challenging PS4 port flashes Metal Gear
Tearaway was the zenith of the PlayStation Vita. While many fine games have hit the platform since, few have been exclusive and original, and none used every inch of the Vita's additional capabilities to as good effect. That ...

Tearaway photo

Media Molecule reveals Tearaway Unfolded: Special Edition

With a cute doll
Aug 18
// Chris Carter
It has yet to be seen if the PS4 Tearaway Unfolded remake is necessary, but the original on Vita was pretty damn amazing. That's why this new Special Edition package is so tempting -- it includes a doll of the main male ...

Plus E3 trailer photo
Plus E3 trailer

Tearaway PS4 has a companion app

Hand models
Jun 22
// Steven Hansen
Tearaway was one of the few games to take complete advantage of the Vita's extra features, smartly tying all of them into the narrative. Thus, porting it to the PlayStation 4 feels a bit odd. Apparently one way Tearaway Unfo...
Tearaway Unfolded photo
Tearaway Unfolded

Tearaway PS4 coming September 8, has ridiculous box art

Jun 12
// Steven Hansen
Tearaway Unfolded is the PS4 port of the 2013 Vita game that was possibly my game of the year (I also gave it a 10/10, because it is excellent). The PlayStation Blog has confirmed some finer points about the release, includin...
Tearaway photo

Tearaway Unfolded looks to be a summer release

Summer drought be damned
Feb 28
// Robert Summa
Now the former head of audio at Media Molecule, Kenneth Young has revealed that the PS4 not-really-a-port version of Tearaway is coming this summer. After announcing that he was leaving Media Molecule to work for Media Molecule as an audio contractor, Young let his followers know that Tearaway Unfolded is set to ship this summer.
Tearaway PS4 photo
Tearaway PS4

Media Molecule clarifies that Tearaway PS4 is mostly the same

'An expanded re-telling'
Aug 18
// Chris Carter
Recently we learned that Media Molecule was bringing Tearaway -- one of my personal favorite Vita games -- to the PS4. They very briefly mentioned that it was similar to the first game at their gamescom conference, but now af...

Any excuse to talk about Tearaway is a great thing

Even if it's related to some ho-hum downloadable content
Apr 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Tearaway is a fantastic amazing title you PlayStation Vita owners should already have in your collection. And I will take any excuse to sing the praises of this game, even when there's some silly downloadable content released...
2014 BAFTA winners photo
2014 BAFTA winners

Last of Us wins most BAFTA awards, Tearaway gets some love

Mar 13
// Steven Hansen
The Last of Us cashed in on five of its nine 2014 BAFTA nominations, including winning Best Game and Best Story. Not quite 10 awards at D.I.C.E., but good. Tearaway overtook it for Artistic Achievement while also winning in t...

Media Molecule on the challenges of making Tearaway

Feb 19 // Dale North
After thanking Crowle for Tearaway, I asked him how he thought the game fared. The Vita platformer was well received, and made it onto many Game of the Year lists last year. We loved it. "I've kind of been pleasantly surprised how well it has connected with people," Crowle told Destructoid. "Kind of more than I thought it might. It was kind of a risk to rely on it pressing the special feelings button on people. It's very hard to judge whether that is working until you're done." "Obviously we're kind of known for making charming games that people make some connection with. But with this one I really wanted to go a little bit deeper. It's not just whimsical, there's more of an arc in what happens with reuniting yourself with the in-game character, and with the ending and all of that stuff." Tearaway garnered early attention from its distinctive visuals, which were built with Media Molecule's custom game engine. But this came engine only after trying other solutions; none of them worked for what they were trying to do with Tearaway's folded-paper look. "It was difficult in the early period where so much of it hinges on the paper engine. It was all custom built and there was no way we could use anything existing," said Crowle. "We had a prototype engine to try out ideas, which was kind of an isometric thing. But it just pushed us in the wrong direction. It was just wasted time to try to make anything in that engine." Crowle continued: "If you're making a game out of paper it just looks like cubes. It was only when we actually had managed to get it far enough along that we were all given our sheets of virtual paper and could all start cutting and folding, that's when it really... well, the first fold was a revelation." [head explosion hand gestures] I told Crowle that I think the game's box art didn't seem to serve the game; it didn't reflect how unique Tearaway really is. The artwork is nice, but any static screenshot of the game as a cover would probably have served the game better. Crowle whispered, "I didn't like the cover." "I think what's fun is seeing how we gradually subverted what someone might think they're getting. I think a lot of people have been surprised, thinking it's the kind of you know, the old THQ or Disney tie-in. It's got kind of a young appeal to it. And actually, when they start playing, they're like whoa. Straight off, you're being asked how you want to be identified, not just the sort of pink and blue boy/girl buttons or things like that." One of the neatest aspects of Tearaway is that you can earn papercraft projects as in-game rewards. You're able to print these and assemble them, adding your own touches along the way. Crowle recalled what they were going for with this choice. "We try to create these loops in game design, feeding into another thing. But, ultimately, they are all just digital things, and they don't mean anything really," Crowle said. "I think it's also not just that you get it out, but you've got to make it yourself. So it's going to look a bit different. When we were experimenting earlier on, and the game wasn't looking as good as it could, it was a really good moment to just get everyone to make squirrels. And although everyone was making the same plan, everyone had put the eyes slightly different. Some people had used too much glue, and others not enough. Even though we all started with exactly the same template, they all looked subtly different. And that really helped us get the look." I asked Crowle if they considered other external interactions for Tearaway, suggesting that some kind of musical tie-in would have been great. This had him recalling something he wanted to do, but ultimately couldn't implement. "Something I really wanted to put in the lab section was the idea of the way you could encode information into paper," he explained. "Not by writing on it, but with the old hole punches. And also the player piano rings. I really wanted to be able to punch holes in paper and then print them out and make music with them. That was pretty out there as an idea to try to tell everyone to go spend an extra six months on that." With as well as Tearaway was received, I asked if Media Molecule would consider making another game along these lines. He seemed to want to keep as vague as possible in his answer. "We put a lot of work into it. I think what we've made is a complete thing it's not like it's a to-be-continued kind of thing. But, obviously, we want people to see it." As we ended our talk, Crowle said that Media Molecule is really pleased at how well Tearaway was received, and mentioned how much they enjoy seeing messages from fans online.  "It has been interesting going online in a weird, stalkerish way, reading everything that everyone has been saying." "It's really cool to see the love."
Making Tearaway photo
Interview with lead creator Rex Crowle
Earlier this month, I caught up with Media Molecule's Rex Crowle, lead creator on one of my favorite games of last year, Tearaway. My main goal was simple: to thank him for such a fantastic Vita game. But we ended up chatting...

Tearaway OST photo
Tearaway OST

Tearaway's lovely soundtrack is on sale now

Not fade away
Jan 14
// Steven Hansen
You bought Tearaway, right? What am I saying? Of course you did. It was an exemplary new IP like we always ask for, a triumph of imagination and creativity, a boon to the Vita, and as low as $20. There would be little reason...
PSN Sale photo
PSN Sale

Grab Tearaway for $17.99 and more in PSN flash sale

Thirteen games to get the holiday started
Dec 21
// Wesley Ruscher
With Christmas right around the corner, the kind folks over at the Sony Entertainment Network have slashed the prices on thirteen titles in a spur of the moment flash sale. Critically acclaimed PS Vita darling, Tearaway is mo...
Tearaway photo

Tearaway gets a promotional faux-children's show in Japan

Cute game + troubling teeth = profit?
Dec 08
// Jonathan Holmes
A lot of people assume that anything cute and weird is bound to sell well in Japan. Like most generalizations about cultural preferences, that assumption doesn't always hold up. Despite being arguably the cutest, weirdest se...
Tearaway demo photo
Tearaway demo

Tearaway demo will launch alongside the game on Friday

If you like it, you can unlock it right from the demo
Nov 20
// Brett Zeidler
Did you know Tearaway is coming out this Friday? Did you know we really, really liked it? Good, because I wasn't going to let this one slip right past you. That's not happening on my watch. I don't think Sony is going to let...

Review: Tearaway

Nov 20 // Steven Hansen
Tearaway (Vita) Developer: Media Molecule Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release Date: November 22, 2013 MSRP: $39.99 Tearaway is a duet. It stars the messenger, Atoi, and the You -- you. Through the Vita’s unique features, you can directly interact with the world. As the powerful You, the forward facing camera places your face in the sun, like the creepy Teletubbies sun god baby. Your fingers actually pop up through the ground in certain areas as you caress the rear touch pad. Your presence in the narrative is contextualized and, what’s more, it doesn’t cause any weird disconnect as Tearaway’s world and yours interact. You’re tasked with taking real world pictures for various applications, using the touch screen to interact with platforms, and poking nasty beasties called Scraps. Once, an elk that had lost her color asked me to fashion her new fur. I took a picture of my cat, asleep on my lap, and his white and black pattern covered the elk. She loved it. In fact, she started a trend. Other elk in the area started wearing it, too. More often than not, though, you control Atoi with typical 3D platformer controls as you navigate lovingly constructed, fanciful environments. The touch controls are fun flourishes that supplement the platforming, which has some bite to it, though forgiving checkpoints keep things moving forward. Beyond platforming, you’re engaged in a host of activities, like throwing gophers in basketball hoops, playing soccer with squirrels -- they use their hands, the dirty cheats -- and taking pictures with a variety of lenses and filters. I'm always shooting #nofilter, but I appreciate the wide angle and high speed lenses. There’s even a selfie button. It’s the year of the selfie and I'm okay with that. What elevates Tearaway above competent and novel game mechanics is its holistic world and endearing sincerity. As you play through three narrated story arcs, there’s a feeling of grand adventure without losing the small, personal moments and touches at every turn. It’s reminiscent of games like Wind Waker and Psychonauts in that regard, filled with cool characters and dynamic locales. The windswept, stormy harbor town of the second act, replete with salty fishermen and scientists, is full of impressive breaking waves and a lived-in feeling tavern. Whether you’re riding a pig, scaling an intimidating mountain, or cutting out a custom crown for the squirrel king, there’s a simultaneous sense of intimacy and the feeling you’re penning a proper adventure through your actions. There’s just so much heart to the game. The sincerity is infectious and insurmountable. At the base of the mountain you have to scale, you’re asked to make snowflakes. Every once in a while, you’re tasked with heading over to the cutting room floor and making objects out of sheets of construction paper, as if you’re a kindergartener. It’s fabulous. But I struggled in crafting my perfect little snowflake. It just wasn’t coming out how I envisioned it in my mind’s eye. Fed up, I drew a crude, pink middle finger. Rendered in game, the alpine scene looked stunning and my puerile, lazy middle fingers came across as gorgeous cherry blossoms. The game doesn't let you be cynical. Following in the footsteps of my other favorite Vita game, Gravity Rush, there’s even a bizarre, surrealist third act that is all kinds of reality warping. It goes from eerily quiet and desolate to a shimmering desert that’s equal parts Journey and the Simpsons episode where Homer hallucinates in the desert on chiles and goes on a spiritual journey with a coyote voiced by Johnny Cash. Without getting too spoiler heavy, the tale reaches a surprisingly poignant, affirming end. I was left misty eyed. The game is such a technical and artistic marvel, not unexpected from the inventive team that made LittleBigPlanet. That love of creation shines through. You can outfit your messenger with pieces and parts you buy with in-game funds, or go crazy and carve unique things out of paper yourself. The camera is surprisingly fleshed out. You can even unlock instructions for paper craft models you can make in real life. Tearaway is endearingly original. Its big picture narrative is about story-telling, about how certain stories have been told to death, and how we can tell better ones. “Goblins?” the narrator asks when pondering the enemies to throw at you at the beginning. “No,” is the answer, and instead you get the Scraps, boxy, one-eyed creatures that appear to be composed of old newspaper clippings. Everything just works so well in unison. The soundtrack is delightful and odd, at times reminiscent of Paprika’s parade fanfare with its lively horns. The world, put together in paper scraps, is unbelievable in its artistry and function. Tearaway’s paper water and ripples as you walk through it are more impressive than any realistic water graphics I’ve ever seen. The level of unique detail in the world is staggering. Every moment spent immersed in it is heartwarming. Fittingly, it feels positively handcrafted.
Tearaway review!  photo
I was sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room, lost in my Vita because doctors are terrible timekeepers. 2:00 pm means 2:00 pm, life-saving scumbag. Suddenly, I was looking at dimly lit tartan chairs and an old, wrink...

Tearaway trailer photo
Tearaway trailer

There wouldn't be Tearaway without the Vita

Truly a match made in heaven
Nov 14
// Brett Zeidler
In yet another behind-the-scenes video for Tearaway, the fine folks at Media Molecule today explain the importance of the array of options the PlayStation Vita offers that make the game what it is today. Since it acknowledge...
Tearaway's music photo
Tearaway's music

Here's a taste of the incredible music in Tearaway

Head of audio Kenny Young goes behind the music
Nov 13
// Brett Zeidler
Every time I see a new aspect of Tearaway in more detail, I'm just taken aback by how incredible of a game it's shaped up to be. Today is no exception, because Sony has posted a new video as part of a series of behind-t...
Tearaway TV spot photo
Tearaway TV spot

Can this TV spot help people not forget about Tearaway?

You can ride pigs!
Nov 12
// Steven Hansen
"Probably not," feels like the realist answer; "I hope so," the optimist answer. LittleBigPlanet developer MediaMolecule's Tearaway is so good. The problem is that it's on the Vita and up against the likes of Super Mario 3D ...
New Tearaway video photo
New Tearaway video

All of Tearaway is constructed from one sheet of paper

Well, virtually at least
Nov 06
// Brett Zeidler
A new video for Tearaway explains the fundamental idea behind the paper in the game. The really freaking cool part about it all is that every individual piece inside the world is virtual paper, folded up exactly to the artis...
Tearaway customization photo
Tearaway customization

Get glued: Tearaway has adorable character customization

Peel off your face
Oct 19
// Steven Hansen
Media Molecule's amazing upcoming Vita game, Tearaway, is a long month away from release. A recent PlayStation Blog post talked about the creative, do-it-yourself elements of the new title from the LittleBigPlanet developers....

Check out this awesome Tearaway papercraft work

IRL papercraft
Jan 31
// Dale North
The world of Media Molecule's upcoming Vita title Tearaway is made entirely of paper, so it was fitting that they had IRL papercraft creation going on at a press event last night. I was invited to join in the crafting, b...

Tearaway gets a female messenger, named Atoi

'To you'
Jan 31
// Dale North
Remember Iota, the lead character of Media Molecule's upcoming Vita game Tearaway? We learned today that he has a female counterpart named Atoi. You clever bastards have already figured out that her name is Iota's name spelle...

gamescom: Download your papercraft Tearaway elk now

Aug 16
// Dale North
In an interview with the gents at Media Molecule yesterday at gamescom, they pointed me to a link where the crazy, spotted paper elk from the Tearaway could be downloaded (pdf file). You might remember this guy from the ...

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