Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

27Aug/180

Side by Side: Cuckoo Curling

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the fourth series, episode 5 of 11.

Curling + Connect 4 = the brilliantly offbeat Cuckoo Curling from Grenadine. Watch Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly struggle with their stones as they wage war across the polished floor. A turn-based game, thus a much slower affair than our other competitive games this series but no less delightful.

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

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

21Aug/180

Side by Side: Anyball

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the fourth series, episode 4 of 11.

Knowing the rules of the game is so yesterday. Every time you play Anyball, the game smashes together a random set of rules then asks the players to figure it out. And maybe the first player to do so will win? As Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly show, there's something a little Foddyesque, of purposeful chaos, to Anyball. Anyball is still in development - but this episode should certainly whet your appetite.

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

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.


14Aug/180

Side by Side: Tuned Out

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the fourth series, episode 3 of 11.

Tuned Out is a cornucopia of simple little competitive games. But if you're doing poorly at the game, you can just change the channel and play something else instead! Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly are here to tell you all about Tuned Out which is still in development.

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

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.


7Aug/180

Side by Side: Muddledash

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the fourth series, episode 2 of 11.

It's true, you've always wished to play a game where octopi race around crazy levels desperate to be the one who arrives at a party with a present. Well, Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly are pleased to introduce Muddledash in which this very thing happens. One snag: there's only one present!

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

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

1Aug/180

Side by Side: Regular Human Basketball

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the fourth series, episode 1 of 11.

We're returning to a shortform format for this series.

In the first episode, Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly throw levers of giant robots in an attempt to win Regular Human Basketball! It might look gentle and slow but it's really nothing of the sort. Let's shoot some hoops!

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

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

 

30Jul/183

Penetrate the Night: The Movie

And while you’re mulling these questions over… grind will see you through. Grind is easy. It asks no questions of you. It offers routine. It promises progress. Keep all the numbers rising, players love their sultry numbers. But they are a mere illusion of progress, a distraction from the frustration. And there… there is the trap.

Here is the next Electron Dance film, a theatrical re-enactment of Penetrate the Night, which considers the addictive qualities of Cultist Simulator (Weather Factory, 2018).

Watch the film below or direct on YouTube.

 

FEATURED GAMES

AUDIO

SPECIAL THANKS

  • Andy Durdin
  • Gregg Burnell
  • droqen
15Jul/1812

Virgin Lands

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

Opus Magnum

In the last two Ouroboros essays, we’ve talked about how puzzle design iteration is innovative and examined a particular design lineage.

In this article, effectively the final part of a trilogy on puzzle innovation, I want to head away from well-worn genres and talk about designs which feel more fresh.

Read More »

10Jun/1818

Penetrate the Night

Cultist Simulator (Weather Factory, 2018) shambled out of the gloom into the daylight on May 31, 2018. That wasn't even two weeks ago and according to Steam I have played 21 hours of Cultist Simulator.

I dabbled with the game at Rezzed and my take, today, is a smidgen different from that one. Cultist Simulator has a simple but critical flaw.

It is... addictive.

Read More »

28Apr/182

Dabbling with… Annwn

The final episode of a short series on games I discovered at EGX Rezzed 2018.

Hey, it’s 1986 and people are loving this new title from Geoff Crammond called The Sentinel, a little more unusual than your platformer or shooty potboiler. The Sentinel places you on a 3D landscape where you have the power to extract energy from objects on the landscape – such as trees and boulders – then use that energy to create your own. The land is watched over by the fearful Sentinel; if the Sentinel sees you, it will drain your energy and end you.

To survive, you must reach a point higher than the Sentinel to do unto it what it would do unto you. But you cannot walk anywhere; you have to create repositories (“synthoids”) to throw your consciousness into and slowly ascend the landscape.

It is no longer 1986. We haven’t seen a great deal of Sentinel-inspired games over the intervening years. Psygnosis published Crammond’s PC followup The Sentinel Returns in 1998. And John Valentine created a free PC remake in 2005 called Zenith.

But at the Rezzed Leftfield Collection this year, Welsh studio Quantum Soup were showing off Annwn: The Otherworld, their version of The Sentinel. What I saw followed the same beats as the original; a watcher scanning the landscape, with the player tasked with extracting energy from trees and boulders to create totems into which you project your consciousness. And there’s this gut-wrenching tension as the Watcher turns to look at you…

…but to underline its work-in-progress nature, the demo build was unfortunately adept at procedurally-generating levels that were impossible or near-impossible to survive. I tried several times but at best I managed to climb up just one grid square. The Watcher or his hounds always got me. But lest this sound downbeat, I found Annwn intriguing and it was drenched in the kind of creepy, abstract vibe that I love too much to be healthy for a person.

I will definitely be following its progress. Annwn: The Otherworld is currently planned as a PC title and can be followed on Steam and itch.io.

27Apr/189

Dabbling with… Staxel

The twelfth episode of a short series on games I discovered at EGX Rezzed 2018.

This isn’t really about Staxel.

I had a late, intense romance with Minecraft. I came to it after everybody else had left and its creator sold it to the Man and transformed himself from Mr. Blocks to Mr. Blocked Him On Twitter. Eventually I found my limit with Minecraft. Halfway through a Nether Express train link from one end of my explored territory to the other, halfway through building a sky city, I lost the will to go on. I never found a mesa or icy biome but somehow it was no longer enough to keep building for the sake of building. The combat update then delivered the worst Minecraft session I’d ever experienced and that was completely that.

All that Minecraft time, though, left memories so deep they were etched in bone. There's an enduring, unsatisfied hunger for another Minecraft. Of course, there are Minecraft mods and I could check any one of those out. There were also open source versions which just felt like duplicates of Minecraft with the names changed. I didn’t want a complete repeat of Minecraft again, I wanted… something else?

My conditioned reflex to blocky 3D worlds kicks in all the time. I couldn’t help myself over Rogue Islands but that’s a roguelite, blocks without the Minecraft. Over time, I came to resent the Minecraft glint, like it was a switch-and-bait. Looks like Minecraft but is actually some free-to-play MMO.

Staxel, a Minecrafty game overflowing with bright colours and cutesy looks from developer Plukit, had a row of open PCs available in the Indie Room and I planned to avoid it because chasing that Minecraft dragon always ends in the same, disappointing way. But I was hovering around the area and I was free. Like I said earlier in the week – take the chance, take the opportunity.

Of course Staxel didn’t fill that Minecraft-shaped hole in my soul. It’s an online multiplayer game channelling Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon. Some readers may recall I abhor Stardew Valley so you can imagine how this went. The demo started in your a farm and an NPC wanted to show me around the village. After a few scripted stops around the village, I abandoned the NPC and marched off into the surrounding forest.

I don’t know. It was the last game I played at Rezzed and I was already tired but I had this feeling I was leaving “the real game” behind. The forest continued and I didn’t see much variety in the flat forest; maybe I just needed to go further. At this point, Staxel wanted me to focus on the village, but it is always the wilderness that I hear calling to me. I returned to the village and the NPC wanted me to plant some seeds and water them. If I do not water them every day, they will not grow.

I put down the headphones and walked away. I couldn’t tell you if Staxel was a good game or a bad game. All I can tell you is that it was not what I was looking for. If only I knew what I was looking for.

Staxel is from Plukit and available as an early access title on Steam and Humble.