Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

31Dec/1818

Discussion: Tabletop Christmas

From this month's newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

Following my wife's example, I decided to use Christmas as camouflage - I bought three board games I was interested in and pretended they were presents for everyone else.

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24Dec/180

Twilight’s Last Gaming 2018/3: Dissembler

I don't do Game of the Year, but I can do the games I enjoyed the most this year. This is the third of three.

Dissembler (Ian MacLarty, 2018) and I were inseparable for months.

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23Dec/182

Twilight’s Last Gaming 2018/2: Subnautica

I don't do Game of the Year, but I can do the games I enjoyed the most this year. This is the second of three.

In Miasmata (IonFX, 2012) your primary adversary is the landscape. It is easy to become lost unless you approach the world with care. Nothing else has quite scratched that same itch but Subnautica (Unknown Worlds, 2018) came close. The underwater world of Subnautica is beguiling yet terrifying. Open yet inaccessible.

If the exploration component was packaged in a crate it would bear the legend: "Handle With Care".

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22Dec/184

Twilight’s Last Gaming 2018/1: Cultist Simulator

I don't do Game of the Year, but I can do the games I enjoyed the most this year. This is the first of three.

I had a peculiar relationship with card game Cultist Simulator (Weather Factory, 2018). It was a bit... S&M.

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16Dec/188

Why We Do This

This is the seventeenth part of The Ouroboros Sequence, a series on puzzle games.

In the last exciting episode, I made reference to the flow channel, where your puzzling skill is a perfect match for the challenge before you. But at the far end of the flow channel, a player can be swimming in euphoria. Your diamond sharp skills etch into the most brutal challenges. You can even see through some puzzles like glass.

This is not to be confused with merely making it to the end of a game. And I'm not talking about finding the puzzles easy. I'm talking about when it feels like you've ascended from reasoning into instinct.

It is why we subject ourselves to the frustration. We are in pursuit of an exotic experience that is not as common as you might expect.

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13Dec/1830

Dead in the Water

This is the sixteeneth part of The Ouroboros Sequence, a series on puzzle games.

The Steam store page for genius puzzle game Recursed (Portponky, 2016) highlights two reviews.

One is my very own, published on Rock Paper Shotgun. I wrote “Recursed’s brilliance is how it spawns complexity from a few simple constraints.”

The other is from the one and only Jonathan Blow who worked on a puzzle game you might have heard about. “I played for a while,” wrote Blow, “but it seemed really slow / simple.”

I’m only going to warn you once. Strap yourselves in.

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2Dec/1811

Discussion: Perfection Is

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Thief came out in the same year as Half-Life and one the latter’s qualities I gravitated towards is that you weren’t Big Shooting Dude - just some scientist who is just trying to survive a disaster and accidentally discovers a talent for sowing death. Thief is even better than that.

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

27Nov/1824

A Field of Flowers

No Man’s Sky. Go anywhere. Encounter unique flora. Encounter unique fauna. Encounter unique rocks. Trade with other species. Encounter unique rocks. Swim in the sea. Fly in the air. Sting like a bumblebee. I treated the hype and wild speculation with the contempt it deserved.

I still don't know how I stretched this project out over two years. But there's a Behind The Scenes video with some answers...

LINKS

UNRELEASED BAD GAMES

CREDITS

MUSIC

GAMES

FOOTAGE

AUDIO

FREESOUND AUDIO

21Nov/183

Film Update: Nov 2018

I have been working hard these last few weeks and took a day off work today, just to meet a self-imposed deadline. It's not done done, but I feel okay making the date public.

13Nov/1821

The Monte Carlo Player

This is the fifteeneth part of The Ouroboros Sequence, a series on puzzle games.

Monte Carlo simulation is a statistical technique where we let a computer rip through hundreds or thousands of randomized experiments, revealing a rich timescape of alternate futures from which we can make deductions. It’s a way of breaking an impasse of uncertainty in a problem. For example, we can use Monte Carlo methods to determine the fair price for a complex financial option whose payoff depends on the future movements of a stock.

And it struck me, as I was making random stabs at a level in Stephen’s Sausage Roll (Increpare Games, 2016), that puzzle enthusiasts engage in a similar exercise.

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