The Austin Chronicle

Players' Guide

Adam Saltsman's new studio, plus a suite on Steam and more

By James Renovitch, March 28, 2014, Screens

What's with these game developers who make big announcements right around South by Southwest? Don't they know everything not related to the Fest shuts down for a month? Apparently not.

First on the list of offenders is Finji (, a new game studio from the husband-and-wife team of Rebekah and Adam Saltsman that announced its existence a few weeks ago. If that wasn't enough, they also already have a handful of games on the docket. Local developer Shay Pierce teams up with the fledgling studio to make wasteland adventure Overland. Portico brings Aquaria creator Alec Holowka into the fold to create the game's turn-based puzzles. Additionally, Finji functions as the distributor for another Holowka project, Night in the Woods. No release dates have been set, but it's safe to assume the Saltsmans are staying busy.

Publishing and distribution outfit Devolver Digital is coming off the release of Luftrausers' aerial dog-fighting insanity with another announcement, this time from the film arm of their organization. Super Game Jam ( is an episodic documentary that follows five teams of two – gamemakers, illustrators, and even a musician – as they attempt to make a game in 48 hours. The first episode (and one can only assume the accompanying game) is set to be released on Steam in April.

The three-man team behind the Retro Game Crunch is enjoying a well-deserved hiatus. They spent the better part of a year designing seven complete games as part of their Kickstarter project. Now all seven games are complete and available to nonbackers. The games have an 8-bit aesthetic, and several of them also feature a punishing difficulty you might recall from Nintendo games of yore. The suite of games can be purchased at, or you can just wait for them to come out on Steam, which just Greenlit the project for distribution.

PBS' Arts in Context series spotlights the local gaming industry with an episode titled "The Art of Playing," set to premiere Thursday, March 27, at 7:30pm. You can also stream the episode on the KLRU website, The crew filmed several local gaming events; if I'm not somewhere in the background of the final cut, look out tables, you're about to get flipped.

Web video overlords Rooster Teeth announced a relationship with Austin Studios, which will help them expand their panoply of podcasts, videos, and other random endeavors. Look for the production house to move into Stage 5 and Bungalow A on the Mueller campus next month.

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