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Popcap Reveals Unpleasant Horse, New Indie Label

Today Popcap has announced a new offshoot indie label called 4th and Battery, named after the intersection outside their offices. The idea behind making a new label is to allow the team to ditch their family-friendly, casual, hyper-polished image and create something a bit more experimental. A lot of cool ideas never make it to the production stage at Popcap, and this new label will give them an opportunity to test them out.

“Expect 4th & Battery games to be a little off the beaten path compared to what you might expect from PopCap. They’re a bit of a window into the unfiltered chaos of our creative process. A sandbox to let us play around and get messy,” states the company web page. The first fruit of this unfiltered attitude is Unpleasant Horse, a free game headed to the iOS app store soon.

The 4th and Battery page describes Unpleasant Horse as a game where you play as a winged horse that is, well, generally unpleasant. “Your idea of a good time is bouncing from cloud to cloud and on to the backs of other, cuter flying ponies, who will thus be sent plummeting to a gruesome, bone-chewing demise, thanks to an unfortunately placed series of meat grinders on the ground below.” It sounds like a side-scrolling version of Doodle Jump, where you bounce from one pony to the next to keep from hitting the grinders below.

4th and Battery is also (if you haven't gathered) an opportunity for Popcap to be a bit edgier. Zombies are gross and all, but they're kind of adorable in Plants vs. Zombies. With Unpleasant Horse, Popcap seems to be peeking into their subversive dark side. It seems like a great way to let out some steam after all that cutesy crap.

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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