Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

28Apr/216

Transmission: Death Crown

It's happening - I'm going to deliver a full run of Death Crown's 30-level Domination mode with some strategy explainers before each level. It'll take around two hours.

Wednesday 28 April. 9:00PM UK, 10:00PM Central Europe, 4:00PM EST. My Twitch channel can be found at twitch.tv/electrondance.

Previous Transmissions are available on the dedicated E/TX YouTube channel.

Update 29 Apr 2020. The stream has now been archived on YouTube:

13Apr/211

Transmission: The Golem, Wildfire

90 minutes-ish. Five games. EPILEPSY WARNING.

Stream this week - Wednesday 14 April - and will begin at 9:30PM UK, 10:30PM Central Europe, 4:30PM EST. My Twitch channel can be found at twitch.tv/electrondance.

I will discuss the following titles:

Previous Transmissions are available on the dedicated E/TX YouTube channel.

Update 15 Apr: The stream has now been uploaded to YouTube.

Filed under: Transmission 1 Comment
12Apr/2113

Goodbye Cruel World

Developer droqen is most famous for the endless vertical scrolling platformer Probability 0 released in 2012. Okay, fine, if you insist, it’s actually Starseed Pilgrim from 2013 he’s most famous for. I wrote about that game without spoilers, with spoilers and then I made a short movie about it (without spoilers).

On April 1, 2021, he released the game Cruel World which was commentary on cryptocurrencies, abusive to players and only on sale for 24 hours.

Today, it’s back on sale again, some players interpret the abusive design as meditational and I’m not even sure if it is about cryptocurrencies any more.

Welcome to this week’s edition of “the author is dead”.

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3Apr/2116

Discussion: Metal Screams

Welcome to the March newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

I joked on Twitter that Big Robot had thrown in the towel because it was too bleak by half. Because, Jesus, it is bleak.

Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.

30Mar/2112

The Watchtower

Suppose I could send a message back in time, to the beginning of this. What would I tell myself? It started with mere curiosity, a beguiling black and white screenshot. I could not know I was charting a collision course for obsession.

Death Crown (CO5MONAUT, 2019) absorbed me in the way “ambient strategy game” Eufloria (Omni Systems, 2009) did a decade ago. Death Crown is a pick-up-and-just-fucking-play blend of RTS and tower defence. As each battle is mere minutes in length, Death Crown nailed a personal sweet spot that offered a real sense of achievement while respecting human time limits. And the monochromatic hex aesthetic proferred a whiff of intoxicating nostalgia, triggering memories of Ogre (Origin Systems, 1986) that were burned into my visual cortex, a turn-based war game I adored but never bested.

I completed Death Crown’s main campaign two months ago, as well as the “Era of Human” DLC. That should have been the end of it: bugger off back to your digital shelf, mate. I made the mistake of pulling back another curtain, to peek at the “Domination mode”. I reeled: Domination mode was a sequence of thirty hard-as-nails levels that you had to survive with just three lives. Nice try, you bastards. Ha ha, but no.

But, sigh, I was having too much fun with Death Crown. I wasn’t quite ready to let go. It couldn’t hurt, I thought, having a crack at Domination.

Today, Steam casually declares that I’ve played Death Crown for over 60 hours. Suppose I could send a message back in time, to the beginning of this. What would I tell myself? That it’s going to fuck you up?

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1Mar/2122

Discussion: Choose Life

Welcome to the just-one-day-late February newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

When Ingold tackled the question on how to make choices matter he said, without hesitation: choices don’t matter

Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.

6Feb/2110

Wildfire in the Hole

It started with a single tweet, a tweet downcast about a high-profile negative review of Wildfire, a game I had not heard of before. I was instantly curious: I was sure the team behind it had some game design nous. So what had gone horribly wrong?

Wanting to know more, I asked for a press key and began a journey in June which I finally completed five months later.

Wildfire (Sneaky Bastards, 2020) is a glorious 2D stealth 'em up brimming with environmental interaction. The truth is there’s substantially more to Wildfire than meets the eye.

And that, unfortunately, was the problem.

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1Feb/2110

Discussion: Janken Zen

Welcome to the just one day late January newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

I’ve tried the occasional RTS or 4X but nothing has ever quite sucked me in like Darwinia. Nothing unputdownable. I once played half of AI War's tutorial and, believe me, that's a long-ass tutorial.

Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.

3Jan/2117

Discussion: Cyberdunk

Welcome to the year-late December newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

Some have hoped that studio bosses will wake up and smell the Cyberpunk coffee, exclaiming, “Jesus, all that death march crunch is really bad for our games!” I think the more accurate analogy will be those hurrying past a violent mugging in broad daylight, grateful that it wasn’t them this time.

Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.

30Nov/2021

Discussion: They Hurt You

Welcome to the November newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

What they’re trying to say - and good luck finding a headline that lays this out clearly - is that videogames aren’t hurting you.

Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.