Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

27May/1414

Counterweight 13: Threes

threes_cw
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/1419

Counterweight 12: On Fear of Twine

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

fear-of-twine
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

4Mar/144

Counterweight 11: Miasmata

cw-miasmata
In this episode of Counterweight, Eric Brasure and Joel "HM" Goodwin fall in love with island survival game Miasmata (IonFX, 2012).

Contents

01:00 "I think this is probably one of the better games that I've played in the last couple of years."

03:10 "The game gives you just enough information to get in a lot of trouble."

04:10 "The strength of the game is that you feel lost in the beginning but the atmosphere powers you through..."

10:50 "I felt like I had done something really great."

23:30 "Nobody had a bag on the island? Like nobody? At all? Like, nobody thought to bring one? Or make one?"

26:30 "...and I literally rolled backwards away from my desk."

31:50 "The game was made by two people so it's amazing that the game is as complicated as it is."

37:10 "And I was really upset, I'll be honest."

42:50 "Some of the environmental narrative aspects are really quite... they're a bit crude."

44:00 "The game is so good at creating this atmosphere of loneliness..."

46:50 "But it is one of the most striking things I found on the island."

50:20 "It's really a meditative game in a way."

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

References

No companion notes this week as I've already written about the game previously in The Beast and The Island.

You can subscribe directly to Counterweight via iTunes or RSS.

12Feb/1413

No Alternative, 2

This is the concluding part of No Alternative, the first part was posted yesterday.

na-dearesther

What if someone wanted to market a hypothetical “non-game”? Channels for marketing and distribution have matured for games but are there any channels for publicising or selling “non-games”? Are developers being coerced into calling their works games for commercial reasons?   

Read More »

11Feb/146

No Alternative, 1

na-fibrillation

A couple of years ago in an essay called A Theoretical War, I touched on the Holy War over the meaning of the word ‘game’. The war has not gone away. Each time some ‘alternative’ release reaches across the divide – such as when Proteus (Key & Kanaga, 2013) or Depression Quest (Zoe Quinn, 2013) hits Steam – there’s an outbreak of unpleasantness. This battle to control ‘game’ even has a parody Twitter account, TheGamePolice.

Outside of the mainstream, there’s a strong belief that no one needs to define or control what gets to be called a game. Everything can be a game. But let’s put aside a technical discussion on definitions. The word ‘game’, in popular culture, has connotations. It is a complicated word that means different things to different people.

Last year, Darius Kazemi published a slideshow called Fuck Videogames in which he suggested not everyone needs to make ‘games’. He admitted he had dropped the term himself, pitching his own work under the banner of ‘weird internet stuff’.

Here’s a question for you. Are there problems with calling everything a game? Here’s another. Are there developers who would rather not call their software a game? I consulted Kazemi, Ed Key (Proteus), Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn (Tale of Tales) and Dan Pinchbeck (The Chinese Room) on whether we need an alternative.    

Read More »

28Jan/1420

Counterweight 10: Bioshock Infinite

cw10-bioshock-infinite-facepalm
In this specially extended episode of Counterweight, Eric Brasure and Joel "HM" Goodwin get their claws into Bioshock Infinite (Irrational Games, 2013). Danger: spoilers, profanity and genuine anger within.

Contents

02:10 "It's probably the most important game of last year."

03:40 "Columbia Celebrates! Ooh? What about? You can't read the newspaper!"

05:20 "...[a] serious game about prejudice and multiple realities... and they've put a bloody rollercoaster in it!"

07:50 "The game parts of the game aren't any good, the shooting parts aren't any good, the exploration is frankly pointless..."

15:50 "It's The Stanley Parable without the funny."

18:00 "Just referencing [The Boxer Rebellion or the Pinkertons] is not enough, you're not doing anything with them."

19:30 "Bioshock Infinite: The Notgame - and that would be a good game to play."

21:10 "Whatever we say on this podcast here, Bioshock Infinite made a ton of money and was very successful."

27:10 "There's a glibness to it I find offensive."

30:50 "It's basically an episode of Fringe only worse than Fringe."

42:30 "And there's no sense that the story needs to make any sense because after all it's just a videogame, right Joel?"

43:50 "It's just not good enough... it's over-convoluted. It's deliberately trying to confuse the player."

47:50 "The whole game feels like cooking with a 7-year old."

50:10 "We should try to talk about things we liked about it."

53:20 "We were supposed to talk about things we liked, so I think we failed."

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

References

It might be a little long, but for the Infinite haters, I strongly recommend Joannes Truyens' Bioshock Infinite script:

"We’re now heading into another new universe where a quantum-reanimated gunsmith might have access to his tools so that he can craft a bunch of weapons while bleeding all over them, only so that the Vox will give us back the airship that I just randomly selected from plenty of other available ones. We can’t even be sure I made the same deal with Fitzroy in that universe."

COMPANION NOTES ALSO AVAILABLE: "One word. Trash."

You can subscribe directly to Counterweight via iTunes or RSS.

3Dec/135

Counterweight 9: Suzy and freedom

Suzy and freedom screenshot
In this episode of Counterweight, Eric Brasure and Joel "HM" Goodwin tackle the disturbing Suzy and freedom (Nicolau Chaud, 2013). Companion notes are available in a separate post.

Story spoilers start 23 minutes in.

Contents

05:20 "Then you get the first platform puzzle and I wanted to throw my computer out the window."

15:50 "But there's also other parts [where] the mechanic is closely tied to the meaning of the game and those are the bits that work."

20:30 "It relies on information and ... intuition in a way that I find very interesting."

22:40 "It grinds the game to a halt not because it's a challenging part of the game but because it's not done well."

27:00 "...because it is such a strange story and it is such a strange out of left field experience for the player to be having..."

32:10 "But also she is playing a game with him. She doesn't care about him, she doesn't care about her parents."

36:40 "I love how stupid they are, though. I love the fact that they are all so stupid."

40:30 "...there's that great line where Suzy says, 'Oh, when I can sell the house?'"

45:00 "This very stark moment and the art he's choosing to use in that moment is pretty terrifying."

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

References

You can subscribe directly to Counterweight via iTunes or RSS.

29Oct/132

Counterweight 8: Gone Home

gone-home-tv
In this specially extended episode of Counterweight, Eric Brasure and Joel "HM" Goodwin tackle Gone Home (The Fullbright Company, 2013). In a first, Joel tells Eric to check his privilege. Spoilers within.

Contents

02:00 "It wasn't what I thought it was going to be - I'll be honest."

12:00 "And then you get the first audio journal and it suddenly morphs into a completely different game."

16:20 "I like it when games misdirect the player."

20:20 "Let's be clear about this, Gone Home still uses ... gamey conventions to work, right?"

23:10 "...would that have done well, say, ten years ago? That we're talking about the audiences moving on, not simply just the designers."

34:20 "I have never been in Casablanca in 1943 but Casablanca the movie works for me."

38:50 "I tended to feel this was a very good TV movie."

43:00 "There's a lot of gay cinema and gay literature out there which makes it seem like coming out is like the worst thing ever..."

47:50 "...you don't have to use your brain a lot in Gone Home?"

49:20 "That moment doesn't exist if you don't get that journal fragment..."

52:30 "It came across as being positive but I couldn't really swallow that."

56:10 "I really do look forward to playing the next game from The Fullbright Company."

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

References

There are also Companion Notes for this podcast!

You can subscribe directly to Counterweight via iTunes or RSS.

1Oct/1313

Expo Man 2013

Here is my final visit to Eurogamer Expo, full of video interviews and brief impressions. And personal slurs.

Games featured

Special thanks to Tap-Repeatedly for paying for all my drinks and meals.

17Sep/13Off

Counterweight 7: Papers, Please

papers please

In this episode of Counterweight, Eric Brasure and Joel "HM" Goodwin discuss the acclaimed Papers, Please (Lucas Pope, 2013). Spoilers within.

Contents

01:40 "I would say I... liked it."

04:20 "That's my main problem with the game, it just doesn't know when to quit."

05:10 "It doesn't have to be fun but the thing is Papers, Please was actually fun."

07:00 "It was the moments like that where the game really came alive for me..."

12:20 "There's some good and bad in the fact that the interface is a bit unreadable at times."

21:00 "And that's a moment of Cart Life there, I thought."

24:10 "Oh, I didn't know you could turn the photo around!"

27:00 "Here's a game that is getting across what it feels like to do a good job."

32:00 "It's oppressive in some ways, but it doesn't feel oppressive enough at times."

35:10 "We haven't talked about the one big problem that I had with it, which was..."

42:40 "It does a lot of interesting things that I haven't seen many other games do."

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

References

You can subscribe directly to Counterweight via iTunes or RSS.