Charity game "Chime" launched for PC, featuring guest vocals by GLaDOS
September 5, 2010 7:44 AM   Subscribe

While controversy erupts again over the corrupting influence of video games, some developers are working on projects it is very hard to get angry about. Chime, an XBox game to be released for PC tomorrow, is one such project.

OneBigGame is a charity set up by game developers committed to releasing and developing games for charitable causes. The profits from OneBigGame games go to the Starlight Children's Foundation and Save the Children, two UK children's charities.

Zoe Mode, known primarily for their music games, developed Chime for the XBox as a OneBigGame game. Essentially a block-combining puzzle game, Chime stood out for the simplicity of its gameplay but also the quality of the music accompanying play, which can be altered on the fly by drawing patterns across the screen. Moby, Philip Glass and others donated music to accompany the levels (YouTube video of gameplay accompanied by Paul Hartnoll's "For Silence").

The PC version of Chime is scheduled for release tomorrow through Steam, with a bonus level featuring Ellen McLain's rendition of Jonathon Coulton's "Still Alive" (McClain version here, Coulton here - both YT). The extra-geeky thrill possibly being the mention in the Portal Easter eggs of Aperture Science's Take-A-Wish Foundation ("a charitable organization that will purchase wishes from the parents of terminally ill children and redistribute them to wish-deprived but otherwise healthy adults"). Cave Johnson would not, presumably, be a happy man.
posted by DNye (18 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Yes. I bought it on XBox Live when it was released. I wish I knew if there'd be a purchasable update for the XBox version with the new music mixes.
posted by kalessin at 7:48 AM on September 5, 2010

P.S. this video shows Chime being played a little more for points - where part of the gameplay idea is to keep adding rectangular area to an area being filled in. The longer you can do this, the higher your points go.
posted by kalessin at 7:52 AM on September 5, 2010

There's been no mention of it, so I'm assuming not...

Incidentally, one note for accuracy - while 100% of proceeds from sales on XBLA between February and June 1 went to OneBigGame, the same window is not operating for the PC version. That is, the same setup is operating as is operating currently with the XBLA version - a chunk of royalties equal to 5% of the purchase price will be donated to OneBigGame for every copy sold. If your aim is purely to help children, therefore, a charitable donation is probably a better bet.
posted by DNye at 7:55 AM on September 5, 2010

I do not intend this to be snarky but....

While controversy erupts again over the corrupting influence of video games

What controversy? Any articles or anything. I haven't heard anything out of the ordinary, just the normal nay-sayers...and that will always be around. Is there something special being targeted recently that I missed out on?
posted by Fizz at 8:00 AM on September 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm guessing DNye is referring to this.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:05 AM on September 5, 2010

...some developers are working on projects it is very hard to get angry about.

You underestimate people's ability to get angry! I hate that about you.
posted by Mister_A at 8:05 AM on September 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

I really enjoyed Chime on the Xbox. Even if you take away the charitable aspect of it, it is still a very solid and fun game. If they were to release expansions (like Lumines has, for example), I would snatch them up.
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:13 AM on September 5, 2010

Isn't this just basically Tetris? I don't own an xbox, so I'm not totally sure.
posted by nevercalm at 8:16 AM on September 5, 2010

I'm kind of a sucker for music games, but I picked up the XBLA version around the time it came out, and it's really fun.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 8:16 AM on September 5, 2010

Look, I think it's great that there is a charity component to this game. I'm sure that the charities involved will be thrilled to have the money. But I get a tad bit annoyed when things like this are lauded as visionary models of benevolence, and I'll tell you why. I've been a non-profit fundraiser for 10 years now, and have personally witnessed a similar situation with a different game. There was a shit-ton of hoopla about the charity angle, and the organization involved ended up getting about $120,000. Which is great, until you realize that the game company spent about four times that marketing the fact that the game had a charity angle. Cause-marketing projects have become very popular, but they aren't really doing much to change the world of philanthropy. The most important money is still that which is given directly to organizations by people who care about them.
posted by kimdog at 8:20 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

It looks more like Lumines than Tetris. Somehow this slipped right by me on XBLA, I'm a sucker for the "music loop augmented by user events" thing. Hmm, where's my copy of Rez?
posted by Nelson at 8:29 AM on September 5, 2010

Is this an advert? Also what controversy has erupted again?
posted by Monkeymoo at 8:37 AM on September 5, 2010

Fizz: Yeah, I mainly had the Medal of Honor stuff in mind - it's been particularly silly in the UK recently, with Liam Fox (currently the defence secretary and formerly, marvellously, the shadow minister for Culture, Media and Sport) describing the game as "un-British" and calling for it to be banned. His own government have quietly distanced themselves from this position.
posted by DNye at 8:48 AM on September 5, 2010

Ah, yes I had heard about the whole Medal of Honor controversy.

It's interesting that games that feature British soldiers or American soldiers fighting Nazi's are never framed in such a context. I guess we have to wait a number of years to pass before it's ok to "inhabit" the "enemies" point of view. God forbid people think or frame themselves in a position that would force them to re-evaluate the "other" side.
posted by Fizz at 8:54 AM on September 5, 2010

The latest notroversy is that you can play the taliban in the multiplayer component of the upcoming Medal of Honor. It's just been banned from sale on US military bases. Fox News is in full flow, apparently.
posted by ArkhanJG at 8:57 AM on September 5, 2010

Monkeymoo: See response to Fizz and ArkhanJG's post above for controversy.

As for whether it's an advert - well, I don't work for Zoe Mode, and I had no role in creating the game, nor do I benefit from its sales in any way. I enjoyed playing it on XBLA, and I think the OneBigGame project is quite interesting - if you have an entity with a marginal cost approaching zero, you can, for example, afford to give all profits from its creation to charity - although this isn't happening with the PC release, which goes straight into the 5% of the sales cost model the XBLA release defaulted to some months after its release. So, that giving model was interesting, and I also felt that it was an appropriate time to highlight a type of gaming very different from (to quote GnomeChompsky in the Medal of Honor thread) "hyper-realistic first person shooters". Since MetaFilter seems to really like Portal, I thought the Portal tie-in might also be of interest.

I realise a lot more time and thought went into that answer than into your question, but since as far as I can tell advertising your own project is about the worst thing you can do on MetaFilter, it felt like a thing worth doing. Hope that helped.
posted by DNye at 9:09 AM on September 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

In the same vein, Arcen Games, creators of the excellent cooperative RTS AI War and innovative puzzle game Tidalis, are releasing a second expansion for AI War called Children of Neinzul. All of the proceeds from this expansion (which does require the original game) will benefit the Child's Play charity originally founded by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, of Penny Arcade fame.

I mention this here because it seems related... and because AI War is an excellent game. Demos are available.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:12 PM on September 5, 2010

Wot I Think: Chime, a thoughtful review.

I got it on the PC and am passing impressed. It's a pretty good puzzle game. The UI is a bit awkward. The Still Alive remix isn't fantastic, and I agree with the review above that the "you remix the music!" aspect is pretty limited. Also 5% of gross sales to charity seems more like advertising than philanthropy. Still, I'm glad to have the game to play.
posted by Nelson at 9:04 AM on September 8, 2010

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