This past October certainly was a spooky one! We had a total of nine different events last month, including a number of movie nights and Beacon game nights. We hope you all enjoyed this spooky LittleBigPlanet season. Now that everything is wrapped up, we’re finally ready to share our Scare Fair creative contest results with you all. Let’s talk about a few things first to wrap up the event and then we’ll talk about the winners and submissions!
Looking Back: Our Other Events
We had a number of great movie nights and game nights throughout the month that we’re thrilled to have been a part of with you!
Our favorite part of the month was our recap film series with Speed-Boy-00 and Tawoom’s horror films. They’re currently working on releasing a brand new film, the Rise of Crowley coming soon. It’s a feature length LittleBigPlanet 3 film and being made by a large crew of extremely talented creators. We’re excited to see what they come up with, and we’re looking forward to a release date soon. Be sure to follow us on X so you don’t miss the premiere of this terrifying film when it releases!
Here’s the new official poster for THE RISE OF CROWLEY! 🔥— speed-boy-00 (@speed_boy_00) October 31, 2023
Happy Halloween! 🎃 pic.twitter.com/506Dl0SYbU
Bonus: New Spooky Stickers!
A little late, yes, but it’s never too late to celebrate the spooky season. Thanks to the artistic talents of potato farm, our Discord server has a number of new Halloween-themed stickers for you to enjoy! One of our favorites is the ‘RIP chat’ tombstone.
Hop in our Discord server to enjoy these new stickers! potato farm is also planning to add them to her Redbubble soon which has plenty of stickers and other goodies from our past events. Go check it out!
Scare Fair Contest Winners
LittleBigPlanet 1: Yukan Island 2: Fateful Expedition
This one is our only LittleBigPlanet 1 submission, and it’s certainly an interesting one. Yukan Island 2 is a sequel to chi_chi154_2‘s Reconnected 2 runner-up level. The first level was notoriously challenging and lengthy to complete thanks to its Myst-like exploration gameplay and finnicky crafting system. In its revised sequel, Yukan Island 2 proves to be just as frustrating and challenging, especially when examined at its smaller details. However, it has certainly improved upon its gameplay elements like providing tutorials and information to the player.
The goal of the Scare Fair contest though is to be scary. And, well, we aren’t really sure exactly how scary this level is. We haven’t been able to complete it…yet. There have been a lot of challenging things going on in our own lives that have prevented us from really sitting down and taking our time with this level. However, the level does take a very deathly tone, with various features showcasing survival in a desolate landscape. Dead trees and fish litter the level, and I’m sure more examples are abound later on.
I recall spending a long time trying to get enough money to craft a pickaxe, only to break the pickaxe on the ride up the elevator shortly thereafter. There is also a problem I faced with trying to collect fish. The emitters to spawn the fish either have a set limit to the number of fish that can exist or they have a set lifespan, or both. Several times during my attempted playthrough, I’d only get one or two fish into the hole to get coins before the rest of them would just vanish. It was very frustrating. If I wasn’t careful, I might fall into the crafting holes myself and get crushed to death. It happened a bit more often than I care to admit!
Seeing this level in its revised form made me realize that issues like the pickaxe breaking or falling into crafting holes aren’t limitations of the creator. Chi_chi154_2’s gameplay design is limited by LittleBigPlanet 1’s engine, but perhaps that’s what makes it so interesting. If you are willing to set aside a great deal of time and patience, enjoy puzzles, and are willing to push through failure to reach your goal, Yukan Island 2 is the level for you, even if it’s not the scariest. I’m planning to take another run through it soon to finally complete it and give it the attention it deserves.
LittleBigPlanet 2: The Wishing Well
We don’t see very many 3D LittleBigPlanet 2 levels these days, likely since it’s much easier to create them in LBP3 with its more advanced tools. Nonetheless, there were no LBP3 submissions for this contest, and anthonymoua‘s submission, The Wishing Well takes on the challenge. Although short, the Wishing Well does have a unique approach to ‘scary’ in LBP2 in the form of cluastrophobia. Our moderation team appended a content warning to the description, but it wasn’t originally included with the level. This wasn’t a major issue for the contest since the content wasn’t as sensitive as something more violent, but part of the purpose of this contest was to encourage content warnings on levels as a compromise to allow for scarier, more sensitive content to be allowed to exist on Beacon in a responsible way.
The level isn’t really that scary but it is certainly uncomfortable. This is offset by its loss of immersion due to how it handles its top-down gameplay. In an extremely brief opening area, you and various sackbots exist in a top-down environment via controlinators. As a result, it seems quite odd that you get to walk around while sitting in a chair with no wheels.
The real meat and potatoes of this level is descending the well. Once you reach the bottom, the walls begin to close in, and the internal dialogue from your character seems almost oblivious to the situation for most of the time. Watching how the walls rotate and close in is very uncomfortable. I’m actually not exactly sure how it was accomplished, since it looks like there are multiple materials at play that are intersecting one another. My only guess is that maybe the materials are somehow dephysicalized with the unused LBP2 dephysicalizer tool. Another approach I’d take is to disable the collisions with a glitch the mech battling world calls ‘edelity’, where a number of concave shapes are forced together into the same location. Most of the community knows this as the ‘fall through the floor glitch’ and it might allow for an effect like the well’s walls closing in. I’d be really interested to learn how anthonymua pulled this one off.
Although not very long, and not the most traditionally scary or thrilling out there, the Wishing Well should definitely go on your queue if you appreciate unique experiences and are looking for something a bit different from the rest.
We had several Vita submissions this time around. We’ve decided to pick two of them as winners due to their different strengths.
Scariest Vita Submission: Mansion Chapter 1
Although not the most visually appealing, the first (and seemingly only chapter) of Mansion by Mrucz_is the most traditionally scary of all of the submissions. It features a number of cheap scares that we would typically expect from a classic Jeff the Killer level in Vita form.
This level has a monster that pursues you, but it’s always just out of reach. In many cases the level takes advantage of dramatic irony, where the player is seemingly more aware than their character is thanks to the camera perspective that you have. For example, behind the front door of the mansion is the monster waiting for you. Normally, if we were to know that the monster was waiting behind the door, we wouldn’t bother opening it. However, if you imagine that you’re in the perspective of your character, you wouldn’t be able to see the monster. This is reinforced by your character’s internal monologue, which makes no mention of the monster throughout the level.
It’s not that scary but it’s fun. There are also some platforming and backtracking sections that add to the level’s intrigue a bit. However, the presentation of the level through its poorly proofread text and lacking visual aesthetic can stand to be improved a lot. If you’re looking for an original, spooky level, give Chapter 1 of the Mansion a chance. Hopefully there will be follow-up chapters soon!
Best Visual Design: Spooky Forest Exploration
This level didn’t meet the criteria for ‘scary’ for this contest, but it was definitely a visually appealing level that we’d like to encourage more of. However, we would appreciate seeing a greater crossover between aesthetic and gameplay. Spooky Forest Exploration by LittleD3signer is a beautiful level, but it has almost no gameplay. It’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing new levels we’ve seen on Beacon, so it earns a team pick, but it would have better fit the contest criteria if it had more scare factor.
If you’re looking for a quick, fun trek through the woods with lots of decorations and a dark, lighting-focused atmosphere, definitely add this one to your queue.
Runner Up: FNAS
One level that didn’t quite make the cut for this contest but is still worth a play is ‘Five Nights at Sackbots’ by microJP. This level is of course a Five Nights at Freddy’s clone, but it does replace the characters with sackbots.
The level looks to have been technically challenging to program, but it comes with almost no tutorial, and we found it difficult to understand how to play it without prior knowledge of FNAF’s gameplay loop. It’s difficult to understand how the camera layout reflects the actual layout of the level itself, so it’s difficult to tell how close the sackbot is to reaching your location.
If you enjoy FNAF and want a homemade handheld experience, you’ll likely find this level to be a lot of fun!
Thank You, Spooky Sackfolk!
Thank you to everyone who attended our events this month, creators who participated in the contest, and everyone who celebrated Scare Fair with us this season! We’re looking forward to improving our events for next October and bringing more fun activities in the seasons to come here soon!
Special thanks to LucioChuni for the spooky LBPU logo edit featured on our Discord server last month and in the featured image of this blog post.