Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

14Feb/190

Side by Side: BFF or Die

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the second of three bonus episodes.

Joel Goodwin and his son Kai wander through ancient Egyptian tombs facing the odd mummy or two in BFF or Die (Steam, itch.io), a co-op action game for 2-4 players from ASA Studio. will they be able to grab all the orbees and do a high five?

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to our channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

7Feb/190

Side by Side: DERU

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the first of three bonus episodes.

Okay, so there wasn't enough co-op in the fourth series. Let's fix that. How about an abstract puzzler which needs some deft work on the controller?

Joel Goodwin and the new recruit to the Side by Side team, Kai Goodwin, are pleased to present the luscious DERU: The Art of Cooperation (Steam, Switch, itch.io with Linux and Mac builds) from INK KIT Studios.

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to our channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

4Feb/1915

Hole In My Chest

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

Consider the puzzle game as a mythmaker.

A plucky naive player sets out on a great journey. At first, they face simple trials through which they develop the confidence they will need to triumph against terrible odds. They encounter such incredible challenges that they feel they’re never going to make it. They emerge from this fire transformed and are now the true hero, the one to slay the final puzzle dragon.

But it’s a Sith dragon brandishing a lightsaber and despite the player’s transcension to herohood, they are no match for this terrifying foe.

The player, reluctantly, turns to a walkthrough for help. They copy out the moves.

The myth is dead.

It doesn’t feel heroic, it feels shitty. It feels like that dragon stabbed you through the fucking chest.

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1Feb/1924

Discussion: The Influence

From, er, January's newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

And I can’t help but suspect that something like this happens in game worlds; the more real they become, the more people find it unacceptable that a rocket launcher won’t blow up a wooden door. We are diverted from abstract or symbolic representation towards the mental models we use in real life. Doors are for opening and rocket launchers are for obliterating wooden ones.

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

30Jan/1925

All Roads

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

Back in the day when I was a beautiful youngling, skipping levels in arcade games like Pac-Man or Space Invaders was out of the question. You played from level one, every time. And early puzzle games did not escape the gravity of tradition; you played from puzzle one, every time. At least when I was making Sokobanlike The Citadel, I assigned each level a password so you didn't have to play through the whole game whenever you wanted to have a go. I still clung to three lives and a time limit, though.

In time, the Age of Player Punishment gave way to the Age of Contemplation. We've gone so much further than just skipping levels. Today, unless you’re playing something like a Puzzlescript game, your fancy puzzler is unlikely to force you through a list of non-negotiable challenges. I’ve previously discussed the level select as a tool to review the past; what we’re going to do today is discuss it as a road into the future.

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29Jan/197

Andromeda 14

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

Thursday March 16 2017 might sound just like any other day but you could not be more wrong. Take the first damn bus out of town wrong. It was a real red letter day just like when Gordon Freeman popped up in Half-Life 2. This particular Thursday was the day that saw... the release of Cosmic Express (Hazelden & Davis & Tyu, 2017). Be still my beating heart.

At the time, I did not realise the world had shifted axis. I didn’t rush out to buy this masterpiece because, frankly, I’d already poured my Christmas free time into Recursed (Portponky, 2017) and RYB (FLEB, 2016) and I wasn’t in the mood for another puzzle game. These were the dark days before I had focused my mind on a year-long project writing about puzzles called The Ouroboros Sequence.

Away from the electric puzzles in the real world, we had been house hunting. I’d become obsessed with this Traditional British Sport, studying local price trends, watching for new properties, jumping up and down in excitement whenever I saw a price drop. In truth, I hated house hunting with the kind of passion normally reserved for a Dark Souls boss but... if we were going to do this, we were going to do it right.

Then Cosmic Express designer Alan Hazelden sent me a free Steam key for the game and I was a little... resentful? Please, for the love of God, Alan, do not put this on my bloody plate. My cup of games runneth over.

But I saw others getting excited about Cosmic Express and exchanging stories of grief about how the puzzles were trolling them personally. I was jealous but had other things on my mind. On March 23, I tweeted “When you're reading other people's conversations about @Draknek's Cosmic Express and wish you were playing already.” Rezzed and a holiday in the Lake District were just around the corner.

On March 27, we saw yet another house. But I also loaded Cosmic Express up on my phone, as I felt bad that I hadn’t made use of the free key. It’s not like I was playing anything on the phone anyway.

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22Jan/199

Transmission: Miasmata

60 minutes. One game.

Stream this week, Tuesday 22 January. I 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:

I have written about Miasmata twice: The Beast and The Island.

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

Update 23 January! Here's the archived stream now uploaded to YouTube.

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.

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

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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