I remember a day when graphical blockiness was the ultimate faux pas. The N64 and original Playstation may have brought us headlong into the realm of 3D gaming, but with their death the public became rapidly impatient with their seemingly outdated visual appeal. Developers scrambled to saw down those hard edges while the public begged and moaned to get video games up to the standards of the computer-rendered movies they were becoming increasingly addicted to. But then something happened—the indie movement. And with it the return of pixel art happened. And chiptunes happened. And Minecraft happened. People relaxed from the desperate push toward realism in games, and through a combination of nostalgia and weariness with mainstream studios’ obsession with graphics porn, were able to once again embrace the block, and even appreciate the beauty it can hold when placed in the hand of a deft artist. But have we seen all that the pixel, the voxel or any other unitized limitation on graphical rendering can do?

blockhood game screenshot

Block’hood is an isometric city builder with such a crisp, refreshing aesthetic, it will make you want to reach through the screen and… taste it? That might have sounded a bit like I was describing the qualities of a soft drink, I think you should take a look at this trailer (do it full screen) and you might be able to see where I’m coming from.

Also of note is the fact that Block’hood was developed in an academic environment, and according to the developers, has already been featured in academic publications. The game is also said to have been “built upon ideas of ecology and entropy, allowing anyone to learn about the challenges our cities face.” And features an “education mode”, which is an extended tutorial that teaches players about current technologies and how they work.

Block’hood is currently looking for support on Steam Greenlight, but has a soon-ish release planned for “late 2015”. More information about the game can be found at their Greenlight page and the official website.