Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

19Jun/210

The Update Patch Fairy

Hey, remember SNKRX (a327ex, 2021)? SNKRX 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 No 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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17May/2120

SNKRX Is Way More Fun Than I Expected

SNKRX (a327ex, 2021) is an unusual snake-shooter hybrid released today. It popped up on Twitter in the last couple of weeks and I was smitten with the visual madness in which I couldn’t help but see a little Holedown.

Now it has some UI crimes to answer for but SNKRX is really compelling. It's lo-fi, lo-price and lo-pronounceable. The developer has described it as an “arcade shooter roguelite” but - and perhaps I’m too oldskool at this point - I’m not sure you need the word “roguelite”. But, hey, the marketing bods out there would probably disagree. Actually, they’d probably tell the developer to call it a “roguelike” because no one gives a shit about calling anything a “roguelite” and then I’d probably start chanelling my inner Raigan Burns about the sanctity of game taxonomies.

But let me tell you what SNKRX actually is.

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7May/2113

Discussion: Zealot

Welcome to the something quaintly called the "April" newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

I was often too loyal when it came to the designer’s purpose of a thing. I would treat instructions as a true believer might approach a holy tome, a sacred container of inked words that are beyond mortal question.

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

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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