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There's a reason most indie games come out digitally. All that printing and packing and shipping costs a whole lot of money. And while the convenience of downloadable titles is nice, sometimes you want a physical memento of a game you really love.
Edmund McMillen knows how you feel. The game-maker's The Binding of Isaac will be getting a spiffy retail release from publishers Merge and Headup Games, complete with the giant Wrath of the Lamb update that funneled in 50% more goodness into the satanic roguelike. This new Most Unholy Edition comes a DRM-free copy of the game, along with a new soundtrack, art book and poster. It's a curious and great development for a game that came out of nowhere and plumbs such disturbing and difficult depths.
Edmund McMillen speaks his mind. Whether it be about games, religion or poop, he never holds anything back.
In the interview, Edmund talks at length about his childhood wherein he found the inspiration for Isaac and in doing so manages to make some very interesting comparisons between games and religion:
"People wonder why there's a lot of violence in my work. I grew up with a picture of a bloody dying man who is suffering for everybody, a martyr, and it's the whole idea of self-sacrifice. Your exalted God, your God, rips his body to shreds for the good of the world. Violence becomes holy. And in a lot of ways, in the Bible and Catholicism, violence and gore is considered holy. You drink the blood of Christ, you eat his flesh. How does that not come in to me? When I'm going through seven years of catechism growing up and they're teaching me, you know, spells... I'm learning how to cast incantations before I receive the blood and body of Christ, you know? So I can be protected from the devil. It's total magic, and I totally love it for that, I love it for its mysteriousness, I love it for its ritualisticness. I think Catholicism is quite interesting. It's very close to D&D. It seems like such a natural progression."
That is just a tiny part of this fascinating case study of a fascinating indiviudual and you'd be doing yourself a disservice to not read the full interview.
Despite the constant flow of new games to try, be they the sort of grand strategy that devours weeks or tiny flights of fancy, there are some games more than a fortnight old that I still find time to play. The Binding of Isaac is one. Short, decidedly sour and extremely attentive to my desire for carefully controlled randomisation and odd loot, every journey into the basement has something to offer. We knew an expansion was on its way and now we know it’ll be here on May 28th. According to the trailer, it’ll also contain ‘more’ of just about everything.