In Development
The Wizards of Trinity Bellwoods

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 28th, 2015

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While I have a soft spot for indie titles, I have an even greater appreciation of indie titles with a distinct local flavour. Chris de Castro’s The Wizards of Trinity Bellwoods is a neat little gem that is currently in development that makes a statement about the way of things in our society. It focuses both on the problem and the solution in such a simple and honest way that I think it deserves a look.

Trinity Bellwoods is a park located in Toronto, west of the downtown ‚Äécore. It’s a pretty big park, and quite popular, as many people like to hang out there. In The Wizards of Trinity Bellwoods, the park suffers from a spate of empty aluminum cans – most likely left by one of the many hipsters that wander about the park. The cans are a blight, and ruin the beauty and sanctity of the green space.

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Damned hipsters!

You play a “Wizard”, a kind-hearted individual that performs magic by making the cans disappear. Once the hipsters have finished their bevvies, they toss the cans on the ground, which you can then collect. In doing so you uphold the quality of the park and you feel good about yourself. You also turn in the cans for a small amount of money, incrementally improving the quality of your life. As you collect cans and cash them in, the park begins to open up; more people will start to walk around to enjoy the public space – all thanks to your do-gooding.

I have played one of the earlier builds, which is very simple. In that particular build build (which was created in GameMaker), I moved my Wizard about in a “3D” space (everything is composed of 2D elements, so it all appears “flat”), collecting cans – but that was it. The newer build (which is powered by Unity and is located here) definitely looks much cooler – and has the store (where you can trade in your aluminum cans) and a few other neat tweaks.

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It’s not the final build – but it’s coming along nicely!

Chris de Castro’s interpretation of the park is pretty awesome, and it tells a tale that may seem funny on the surface – but the issue is all too real. Even in parks around the corner from my house, it’s not uncommon to find empty beer bottles and beer cans among some of the trash that litters the place (which is amazing, considering how many recycling bins there are in parks these days). While it’s easy to imagine what the hipster figures are based, on, Chris has indicated that the wizards are based on actual people in the park who collect cans (one of the older gentleman was putting his daughter through school with the money).

Chris’ strategy of using game-play mechanics to deal with subjects like gentrification, urban economies, and recycling, make for a really compelling way to tell a story. According to his website, a crowd-funding demo is planned for this summer, with the final release anticipated for next year! I know when it goes live, I’ll be metaphorically picking up some cans for a better life – I hope you will consider it too!

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