Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights


This Link Drag Has Died

Link Drag with New Added Hellkite Dragon


This edition of Link Drag is dedicated to a diary series on Dark Souls. 

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Cate Archer, No One Lives Forever

The first time game journalism disappointed me was in 2003.

After the hilarious bag of tricks that was Monolith's The Operative: No One Lives Forever, the sequel No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way, was more like a kick in my bag of tricks. I went hitch-hiking on the information superhighway to find someone who felt the same way. Someone who agreed that the sequel did not live up to the brilliant original.

But apparently everyone thought it was just fine. Apparently it was just me who didn't take to it. I couldn't help but wonder if any of these reviewers had played the original game, whether they had nurtured the vital skills to understand this epic failure, appreciate how NOLF2 was a mere caricature of its ancestor.

I found just one review that gave me comfort. One review that made me feel a little less lonely:

Though I have myriad gripes with the game, ultimately my fundamental complaint about NOLF2 is linked inextricably with its predecessor: in No One Lives Forever, I was part of a story—a complex and hilarious tale with currents and eddies of theme and character and plot. In No One Lives Forever 2, I was playing a game—a game with an impossible-to-spoil story whose end is telegraphed from the beginning and characters in whom I could not invest a single emotional dollar. And that's disappointing.

This discovery, that only one measly review was swimming against the critical tide, is more pivotal than it appears. One year later, I registered the domain electrondance.com. 

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The Yellow Pyramid

At A Distance montage

The first rule of Terry Cavanagh’s At A Distance is you do not talk about Terry Cavanagh’s At A Distance. The second rule is You Do Not Talk About Te-- wait, I got that wrong. The second rule is no smoking.

Gregg B and I took on At A Distance when I stayed over at his place in April. We’ve decided to talk about our experience and break the Fight Club rule. The following discussion is riddled with spoilers for At A Distance, including the ending.

HM: Okay, kick us off Gregg.

GB: I played At A Distance a little at the Eurogamer Expo last year but wanted to savour it in the peace and quiet of my own home with a friend. At the time I didn't realise it was an 'event' game. To be honest I expected to play it with my girlfriend but when you said you were wanting to pay me a visit it was an opportunity not to be missed. So after a while setting it up we started playing this thing. And it is a ‘thing’ because it's quite unlike anything else.

HM: I wasn't sure what to expect. It looked interesting - with a modern take on those ZX Spectrum dithered graphics seen in games such as Driller and Castle Master.

GB: Yeah you showed me those after we'd finished. It reminded me of screenshots I'd seen of 3D Construction Set for the Amiga or ZX Spectrum and little did I know they were created by the same developers of the Freescape engine and Driller.

HM: Let's explain how we played and what we worked out, right until the point where we “finished”. So there are two players with different screens. One playing "left brain" and another "right brain". Took us a little while to get the networking sorted out but it wasn't too much of a task. 

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Cat’s Away Chronicles II

The second of a five-part video series. This time I abuse the hospitality of Gregg B of Tap-Repeatedly!

Contains swearing, violence... actually there's barely any swearing. Although there is a suggestion of cross-dressing. What you will discover in the video:

I'm grateful to Gregg and Hailey for putting me up and putting up with me for two whole nights.

Relevant Links

Previous Episodes

The third episode was posted on 12 June.


A Weekend With: Bloodline Champions

Have you heard of Bloodline Champions? I hadn't. This is quite different to the kind of stuff you normally see posted here on Electron Dance. This one is all about the killing, the shameless killing. Of your friends.

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The Alliance of Awesome #2

[Alliance of Awesome Logo]

Six Alliance of Awesome members gathered last week in Earl's Court, London, for the Eurogamer Expo. Some of them played games. Some of them abused their press pass privileges. Some of them were Men of Science.

But this incredible geographical concentration of writing talent has delivered a baby. The long-awaited sequel to the original Alliance of Awesome podcast is here, freshly wrapped in plastic just like Laura Palmer in the Twin Peaks pilot.

My God, it's full of stars. This is what you will hear:

01:20 Mat C (Tap-Repeatedly) talks RAGE, Modern Warfare 3 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

04:00 MMORPG specialist Lewis B (Tap-Repeatedly) pulls no punches when contrasting Guild Wars 2 with The Old Republic. He then indulges his RAGE. As if he hadn't already.

10:50 Martin Watts (Chief Satanic Overlord of BnB Gaming) covers Skyrim, RAGE, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the aging Wii and Lord of the Rings: War of the North.

15:20 Tom Rippon (BnB Gaming) laments the lack of Assassin's Creed: Revelations single-player action at the show and then slobbers over Modern Warfare 3 and Skyrim. And is ashamed by this.

19:50 Gregg B (Tap-Repeatedly) talks about sweat. As a bonus, he also touches on the games. Renegade Ops, Indie Games Arcade, TrackMania 2 Canyon and then Gregg gets all emotional on us when talking about Special Effect. Finishes up with Dark Souls and arse-death.

27:40 HM (Electron Dance) confesses how badly his meeting with ex-RPS Quinns went and touches on his Indie Games Arcade highlights again. And teases Prey 2 some more.

Use the player below to listen or grab a direct download of the podcast. Apologies for the sound quality in places but... well, you'll see. Or hear.

Further Reading

Lewis B has already done a wayyy long piece on his Guild Wars 2 experience over on Tap. Tom and Martin have been writing a shedload of Expo reports and my particular highlight is the interview with OnLive.

And as you probably know, I've written up all my thoughts on the Eurogamer Expo already with a ten-minute video to boot although you can still enjoy the original, unfettered live feed.


Expo Man 2011

Here it is! Ten minutes of warm, moist footage taken directly from my wanderings around Eurogamer Expo 2011. And in an Electron Dance first, this video actually features me in person.

There's also a special appearance at the end from members of Bits 'n' Bytes Gaming and Tap-Repeatedly, meaning the Alliance of Awesome is fully represented. (And the final, touching scene won't make any sense unless you watched the video and read the words from Men of Science last week.)

Here are some more considered thoughts - with links - on the games I spent some time with.

The Indie Games Arcade

The arcade was still a bit small and, for some reason, held in a shoebox flat. A crush of visitors struggled to explore the arcade and something like B.U.T.T.O.N. would have been a disaster this year. Yet there was plenty of space around the indie prison, begging the question why it was built as if space was tight. Another problem was its proximity to the Just Dance 3 demo which belted out music tracks at nightclub volumes all day. "TELL ME ABOUT YOUR GAME." "WHAT? DID YOU SAY IT WAS LAME?"

I didn't get a chance to play everything but I did engage the developers a lot more this year.

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Men of Science

While I was researching, writing and castrating myself over Where We Came From, I did manage to find time to work through the Portal 2 co-op campaign with prestigious Alliance of Awesome pal, Gregg B from Tap-Repeatedly.

So this week Gregg and I chat about the special, intimate moments we shared together - but first, here's a short video with scenes taken from our game. My intention here is not to demonstrate Portal 2 but capture the camaraderie of co-op play. I think it works and there's bound to be at least one scene that will bring a smile to your face:

HM: Right, I think we need to say something about the podcast-sized elephant in the room, our Portal 2 discussion on the Alliance of Awesome podcast. We were a bit down on this puppy, weren't we?

GB: Only in a small way, at least for such a great game.

HM: Yes I'm talking about the podcast that never got broadcast.

GB: Apparently it was my fault. Too quiet or something. Try telling that to the Gregg that played Portal 2 with Joel Goodwin.

HM: You're actually louder than me on that video. That's because my microphone only pumps out the left channel for reasons I still have not got to the bottom of.

GB: It's been such a long time since I played the original Portal but playing Portal 2's co-op mode made me realise what it was that I loved so much about it. In the original Portal it felt like I was walking into each chamber and all the puzzle pieces were there in front of me; it was just a case of me putting them together in the right way. With Portal 2's single player I sometimes felt like I was searching for the pieces as well as putting them together, namely those damn Portal-able surfaces.

HM: Yeah let's get our single-player grievances out in the open here, go all open kimono on this.

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The Alliance of Awesome #1

You always remember the day your idols crash to Earth, a celebrity meteorite punching out a crater of disappointment. This is one such moment. You may think my sentences are written with some genteel, refined British accent, the right word always on the tip of my cultured tongue, but this is not true. My tongue is uncultured and my brain works as fast as a Pentium chip that has long division problems. You are about to discover this truth.

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2108 on Immortal Defense

After Gregg B of Tap-Repeatedly was so popular last time and got all the girls, I considered two options: inviting him back or assassination. I chose the cheaper of the two, obviously. This time we discuss Immortal Defense by Radical Poesis Games & Creations, just another tower defence game. Or is it?

HM: It is a joy to write about a weird indie game like this. It's what - three years old - but I still feel it hasn't been discussed enough. I think RPS have never done a piece on it aside from mentioning the "name your price" offer.

GB: Which is a shame. I played it nearly two years ago and while I'd not played that many tower defence games before it felt very different indeed. In truth, Immortal Defense is difficult to 'sell' to people because on paper it’s a pure TD game but then there's that story to go with it...

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