Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

16Dec/184

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/1817

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

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

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/1819

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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12Nov/185

Transmission: The Light Keeps Us Safe & More

90 minutes. Seven games.

Stream this week - Monday 12 November, 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 November! Here's the archived stream:

8Nov/188

Tears for John Marston

On the suggestion of Andy Durdin, I'm reposting this essay from last week's newsletter onto the site. We've already had a little chat about it on the newsletter discussion page.

Did Rockstar impose 100-hour weeks on its employees or not? I don’t know, especially since Rockstar told its staff to fill the airwaves with happy stories of their Utopian Workscape. On their own time, I assume. I'm pretty sure they won't have enough free time to read Jason Schreier’s 10,000-word Kotaku investigation which alleges Rockstar employees were certainly put through serious crunch.

But whether Rockstar whips employees into 100-hour weeks or not is besides the point. We already know long hours are endemic to the AAA industry. Crunch and burnout are staples of a career in big box games. We’ve been told the tales about Telltale, EA, Team Bondi... but has any of this naming and shaming made any difference? My dismissal of the latest AAA death march team story might be mistaken for apathy. It is not.

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Filed under: Longform 8 Comments
4Nov/187

Discussion: Tears for John Marston

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

Crunch and burnout are staples of a career in big box games. Telltale, EA, Team Bondi... studios have been named and shamed before. Has it made any difference to the wider industry picture? My dismissal of the latest AAA death march team story might be mistaken for apathy. It’s not.

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

22Oct/180

Side by Side: Witchball

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is final episode of the fourth series.

Here it is, our top pick of the entire series. A game that is complex, tense. It looks and sounds unearthly. Lap your opponent. Catch the ball. Spike the ball. Win the race.

Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly are pleased to present the amazing Witchball (Steam, itch.io) from Stephen Lawrence Clark.

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

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.