Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

2Sep/214

Crashbook #1

I have a list of games.

It is a list of games that I have not played. There is no guarantee that I will ever play these games. There is no guarantee these games are any good. But maybe someone else will play them. Maybe someone else will discover whether they are good.

This is Crashbook.

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30Aug/218

Every Click Has Meaning

I shared some videos of Townscaper (Oskar Stålberg, 2021) on Twitter a while back because I was quietly impressed with it. It was like the Canabalt of creative games: clicking was building.

Townscaper took care of all the detail bullshit so, regardless of where you clicked, everything remained coherent. Click on top of a house? Let’s make the house taller. Click next to a house? The single house becomes a bigger house - well, unless you’ve changed the colour in which case you get separate houses.

I wasn’t planning on picking up Townscaper when it slithered out of the primordial early access soup because I didn’t think I’d get too much out of it personally. But the launch price was so agreeable that my gut ached with guilt; I nudged it into the Steam cart and the deed was done. I expected Townscaper would be a good fit for my daughter, who was recently diagnosed with terminal Minecraft-addiction, so the purchase wouldn’t be wasted currency even if I got bored after about 30 minutes.

I got bored after about 30 minutes. But that ain’t the whole story.

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14Aug/2121

Puzzleworks, 4: Secure

Here's a short, clever PuzzleScript game called Secure by "Toombler". It's one of those PuzzleScript games that asks the player to work out the mechanics with no guidance. Zarawesome (Guilherme Töws) thrust it into my Twitter feed.

Nutshell: A clever twist on Sokoban, but you might get lost along the way.

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11Aug/2118

Discussion: Another Brick in the Wall

It is forbidden to ask about the July newsletter. Welcome to the August newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

If you’re willing to cannibalise a model as raw materials for your own sculptures, good for you, but those sets practically require a blood sacrifice during purchase, particularly if they’re branded.

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

30Jul/2121

Moon Logic

Moon logic is a notorious game design choice where the solution to a puzzle emerges from incomprehensible game-world logic. So instead of using a key to open a locked door, maybe you transform it into a pancake and eat it. Or you swipe a motorcycle by fabricating a moustache from cat hair to pretend to be someone who doesn’t have a moustache. Moon logic can sometimes make sense in hindsight, but often leads players into the bowels of despair.

Now in the latest episode of “games I bought and God maybe it’s time I played it, right?”, I lobbed Gorogoa (Jason Roberts, 2017) onto my smartphone and played it last week. I'm here to tell you that Gorogoa is fabulous – because of moon logic.

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16Jul/219

The Abandoned Church

This is the second part of a five-part series on INFRA. The first part was Optical Delusions.

Mark climbs the tower in the steelworks so he can repair a mobile transceiver. Luckily, as a videogame avatar, he has a head for heights, because up there you can see everything for miles.

Stalburg looks pristine. It’s easy to forget the rot that brought you here.

The city can be an impersonal, alienating environment, living and working amongst permanent strangers. It can also be a potent stew of diversity and change. Small towns don't change, they just grow old and die. A city constantly reinvents. How can you resist the siren call of a sprawling metropolis?

Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and be blown away.

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4Jul/2122

Discussion: Always Waiting

Welcome to late June newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

I’m getting tired of never playing what I want.

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

19Jun/216

The Update Patch Fairy

Hey, remember SNKRX (a327ex, 2021)? SNKRX has been modestly successful but it is not the same game I cackled about a month ago. SNKRX has changed.

Hold on. Let me download a patch for that sentence: is changing.

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Filed under: Longform 6 Comments
1Jun/2116

Discussion: Irredeemable Design

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

You are the Alpha and Omega of marketing and your mission is to encourage parasocial relationships. If they think enough of you, maybe they’ll buy your work. I’m your number one fan.

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

24May/2126

Optical Delusion

This is the first part of a five-part series on INFRA.

I still think about INFRA (Loiste Interactive, 2016).

Over the course of eight months in 2019, I worked my way through this behemoth of a game. After an enormous Twitter thread of my progress, I wrote about it briefly and labelled it “one of my top love/hate games of all-time”, definitely right up there with NaissanceE (LimasseFive, 2014).

Why? Because INFRA was a game I misunderstood.

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