Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer

Have you played HyperBound?

I was skimming through my YouTube the other day and noticed that my “HyperBound Review” video was closing in on 10,000 views. It seems that a lot of people have shown an interest in the game over the last couple of years!

But what, you may ask, is HyperBound?

HyperBound was a part of my thesis project at Ryerson University back when I was a 4th year new media student with game-making aspirations. After speaking with a handful of professors I had decided that my final project would consist of the usual research component, as well as a technical exercise in game design.

After exploring a handful of game design tools (with limited success), I decided to follow in the footsteps of many other new media artists and embrace the world of game-hacking. Due to its robust hacking tools and supportive community, EarthBound seemed like a natural choice.

Over the first couple months I did some research and began to plan out exactly what I wanted to do with the project. The writings of Eric Zimmerman were especially influential to me at this time, as they allowed me to deconstruct exactly what elements made up a game. I eventually decided that I wanted to make a game with a non-linear, somewhat abstract narrative structure. The ideas in my head eventually evolved into HyperBound, which was hacked together over a 5 month period in 2007.

Since its creation HyperBound has been displayed at the Ryerson Axis New Media Festival as well as the Toronto Nuit Blanche Festival. Although somewhat successful as an installation piece, it really found a life of its own in the online world. I estimate HyperBound has been played by anywhere between 300 and 1000 people through downloads!

So go ahead and play it and let me know what you think! Just click the link on the right sidebar and open up the ROM in ZSNES or some other emulator. No patching or other tricky business required.

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By Michael
Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer