Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

14Apr/153

Side by Side: Duel

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is episode 15 of 17.

This week Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly tackle head-on a game called Duel written by relative unknown Joel Goodwin. Uh, what? Did we just actually cross an ethical line there? Gregg and Joel are "reviewing" their own games now? Brilliant! I bet you can't wait for the next episode where they shill for Satan.

In Duel, two players have to ram each other into oblivion - if they get the timing right. And if they can see each other. Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

The series theme is the delightful "Adventures in your sleep" by The Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra.

24Mar/1510

Counterweight 16: Leaving Las Videogames

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It's the final episode of Counterweight which also means it's goodbye to Eric Brasure, co-host of Trekabout and the award-nominated (and defunct) The Next Stop Is... podcast.

As Eric hangs up his videogame cape for good, we take this moment to reflect on why anyone should bother in the videogame space. You won't make money and everyone will hate you. Our last conversation lurches from topic to topic but the common theme is a lingering, sad sigh over everything videogames.

It's been two and half years since Eric joined the site and I'm sad to see him go, but it was my decision to end the podcast. I like the way Counterweight turned out and I think our best podcasts were the ones on Bioshock Infinite (oh the anger) and Banished (how technical can you get), but Counterweight was one of the few dissenting voices on Papers, Please (we felt it had problems).

Thank you to the devoted few who enjoyed listening to Eric and myself talk into the mic.

Download the podcast MP3 or play it right here in your browser:

 

19Dec/141

Counterweight 15: Banished

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In this penultimate episode of Counterweight, Eric Brasure of Trekabout and Joel Goodwin discuss fiendish resource management game Banished (Shining Rock Software, 2014). Eric has 70 hours of Banished play under his belt, so he knows what he's talking about.

Contents

02:20 "You just like seeing the numbers going up and everything doing well"

03:40 "At it's core, it's very much a keep-these-people-alive sort of game"

04:40 "I like the fact there is no combat, it's not about fighting or defending territory"

07:20 "I was very concerned... that the other shoe was going to drop at any moment."

09:00 "So it is a very, very unforgiving game, but I think that's one of the reasons why I like it"

10:40 "It's amazing that this game was made by one person, frankly"

13:30 "That's a very controversial design decision actually"

19:20 "The game can collapse on you at any point, though"

25:30 "I never felt that it was the game's fault."

32:30 "I didn't tend to think of people as individuals but I tended to make stories of the town."

35:20 "You suddenly realise this little walk they do... is a significant amount of game time."

39:30 "And the game is just saying You know what? You're going to have to suck it up and learn."

Download the podcast MP3 or play it right here in your browser:

References

You can subscribe directly to Counterweight via iTunes or RSS.

13Dec/142

The Conversation, 4: Turn Off The Recorder

The Conversation is a retelling of my meeting with Dan Stubbs, who is developing the probably-too-ambitious-for-its-own-good game, The Hit. In part one, we discussed the squandered promise of the GTA open world model, in part two, the restrained ambitions of AAA. and part three touched on financial success and multiplayer. This is the final part.

Moiety

Moiety

While we headed towards his flat, Dan Stubbs made a stray observation that perhaps Mike Bithell is “betraying” his audience making a Metal Gear Solid game when they probably bought into him for more Thomas Was Alone. But we didn’t discuss the problem of developers trying to buck their stereotype (like Chris Park from AI War to Tidalis) and focused instead on Metal Gear Solid, because Stubbs loved that game, even though it is well-known for, er, cutscenes.

Metal Gear Solid is pure opera,” he mused. “It has events that are so much larger than life and is fantastic because of it. People moan about the insanely long cutscenes but they're as much a part of it as anything else.”

“It's why people buy it,” I added.

“I think Metal Gear Solid is one of the best narrative games because it is so self-aware about what it is doing, about the fact that it is so completely ludicrous and over the top. But it's playful - and I think this is one of the most important things - there's far too many cutscenes that aren't, just portentous doom-laden things, where Very Serious Things happen.”

We crossed the road.

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24Nov/140

The Conversation, 3: Win Cash Prizes

The Conversation is a retelling of my meeting with Dan Stubbs, who is developing the probably-too-ambitious-for-its-own-good game, The Hit. In part one, we discussed the squandered promise of the GTA open world model and in part two, the restrained ambitions of AAA.

conv3-minecraft

What is The Hit?

When I originally arranged to meet Dan Stubbs I thought of it as a GTA open world with a bit of dynamic narrative trickery, but as time went by, I realised I was trying to visualise a ten-dimensional object in my head: all I could see was a three-dimensional slice of the whole. Stubbs had said that giant AAA projects were “like a collection of different things” but that’s all I really appreciated of The Hit.

“I'm taking development at my own pace,” he told me, still in the coffee shop, forced to listen to an endless torrent of the 80's greatest hits. “So if you make your own world, I want you to put your own money up so that if people can beat your own story or win whatever goal you set, they actually have a reason to play it.”

Beat your own story. Or win whatever goal you set? This didn’t sound like the GTA open world with emergent narrative system I had pictured in my head... it sounded more player-authored?

“Whether they are winning pennies or a fortune, whatever, it doesn't matter. But I love the possibility of advertisers being able to have a ‘Cokeworld’ and you actually go there because you think you can win money. Or film tie-ins or something.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Time to talk about money. And ethics.

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13Nov/148

The Conversation, 2: Hero Men

The Conversation is a retelling of my meeting with Dan Stubbs, who is developing the probably-too-ambitious-for-its-own-good game, The Hit. In part one, we discussed the squandered promise of the GTA open world model.

conv2-binfinite-columbia

As Belinda Carlisle belted out Heaven Is A Place On Earth from the coffee shop speakers, our conversation veered towards Bioshock Infinite.

“My favourite moment of Bioshock Infinite was a moment that wasn't a cutscene, wasn't a scripted moment,” said Stubbs.

“It was the menu?”

Read More »

5Nov/140

The Conversation, 1: GTA is Proteus

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“You look at AAA games and they're all about playing it safe,” he said. “They're all about taking something that already exists and remaking it in a slightly different format. Watch Dogs is GTA plus Deus Ex. It's because you're trying to raise X amount of money to make these things because they're so expensive. But nobody knows what the Hell videogames are.

“Nobody knows what they're making.”  

Read More »

29Oct/142

Counterweight 14: All Hallow’s Eve

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In this episode of Counterweight, Eric Brasure and Joel Goodwin discuss three HAUNTED games for Halloween. The Rapture is Here and You Will Be Forcibly Removed From Your Home (Connor Sherlock, 2013), CHYRZA (Kitty Horrorshow, 2014) and Into the Gloom (Emmanuel Ramos, 2014). This is pretty much a spoilery podcast so, uh, sorry about that.

Contents

The Rapture is Here and You Will Be Forcibly Removed From Your Home (Connor Sherlock, 2013)

03:10 "There is a sense of menace about it."

04:30 "The actual environment you are in is interesting to run around in but the story bits just didn't seem to make much sense conceptually."

12:50 "As a cohesive whole, it doesn't really gel."

CHYRZA (Kitty Horrorshow, 2014)

15:10 "It's like one of those very odd horror stories where you really don't know what's going on... but it's a bit creepy and disturbing."

16:50 "I like it because it teaches you how to play the game very quickly."

21:20 "I need gameplay to justify why you're going to be listening to my story. I need the story to justify why you have to do this ridiculous game play."

Into the Gloom (Emmanuel Ramos, 2014)

25:40 "It reminded me a lot of playing games when I was a teenager."

27:50 "I gave up near the end because I found it quite frustrating."

37:40 "It's definitely a game where you have to take it on its own terms."

Download the podcast MP3 or play it right here in your browser:

References

You can subscribe directly to Counterweight via iTunes or RSS.

27May/1414

Counterweight 13: Threes

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In this episode of Counterweight, Eric Brasure and Joel "HM" Goodwin discuss celebrated pocket puzzle game Threes (Sirvo, 2014). Yes, we know it's not a PC game.

Contents

03:00 "It's just a very well-constructed game and it's also a joy to play."

08:00 "The uncertainty can be devastating to your game."

12:00 "The key to what makes it difficult is the movement."

16:50 "It's a very mindful game and you really have to be present when you're playing it."

24:30 "I'm staring at this... feels like an impossible board."

26:30 "I think you just must be an old man, Joel."

29:10 "2048 trumps Threes straight away."

31:50 "I don't know why people like this sort of thing."

35:40 "Trying to convince someone who's played 2048 to read a 60 million word article on the development of Threes is not going to work."

43:10 "If people can undermine you with free-to-play... then you might need to do that too, but that will change the game you make."

Download the podcast MP3 or play it right here in your browser:

References

You can subscribe directly to Counterweight via iTunes or RSS.

10Apr/14Off

Counterweight 12: On Fear of Twine

It's Twine Week on Electron Dance. This is the fourth of five posts.

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In this specially extended episode of Counterweight, Eric Brasure and Joel "HM" Goodwin go through the Fear of Twine exhibition (2014), curated by Richard Goodness.

Contents

Room One

01:30 Debt by Tony Perriello "It's almost like a text movie"

05:30 Duck Ted Bundy by Coleoptera-Kinbote "It is manic"

10:00 The Conversation I Can't Have by Morgan Rille "She wasn't writing as a victim"

14:00 The Matter of the Great Red Dragon by Jonas Kyratzes "This is the kind of thing he does and he does it well"

Room Two

19:15 Zombies and Elephants by Verena Kyratzes "I really like this twine"

27:45 Workers in Progress by Konstantinos "Gnome" Dimopoulos "It makes sense to view it as a work of speculative fiction"

Room Three

32:45 When Acting as a Wave by David T. Marchand "This is my personal favourite of the entire set"

37:00 The Girl in the Haunted House by Amanda Lange "This is an example of something you couldn't do in the short story format"

40:30 The Scientific Method by Evil Roda "I like this one because I'm a sucker for end of world stuff"

44:00 Drosophilia by Pippin Barr, Gordon Calleja and Sidsel Hermansen "What is going on?"

Room Four

47:45 Abstract State-warp Machines by Ivaylo Shmilev "It had a lot to say"

51:30 The Work by Cayora Rue "You don't know it's secret, do you?"

57:45 Coyotaje by Joseph Domenici "It's not about big picture, it's about what people go through"

63:15 TWEEZER by Richard Goodness and PaperBlurt "It's kinda charming, right?"

Closing Thoughts

70:10 "My feelings towards Twine have changed"

73:15 "Look at the twines I found most successful, they were probably also the ones that were the most technically complex"

Download the podcast MP3 or play it right here in your browser:

References

You can subscribe directly to Counterweight via iTunes or RSS.

Twine Week