Electron Dance
2Mar/2031

Discussion: The Four-Hour Copy and Paste

Welcome to the slightly late February newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

Now picture the scene. The Depressurizer window is open. It lists every game I own. Each entry is enriched with yummy data like how long I’ve played that game. We’re almost there - all we need to do is copy and paste the data into something else. And this lovely open source project… doesn’t support it.

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

Download my FREE eBook on the collapse of indie game prices an accessible and comprehensive explanation of what has happened to the market.

Sign up for the monthly Electron Dance Newsletter and follow on Twitter!

Electron Dance Highlights

Comments (31) Trackbacks (0)
  1. love. this. so. much.

  2. Thank you, Brendan! I had been planning to write about something else until a week ago when this four-hour black hole intervened. No, it said. Write about me.

  3. FWIW, the Playnite launcher is kinda like GOG Galaxy 2, but it does lets you export a CSV.

  4. ROGUELIKES

    Yeah, I totally agree with that post and have nothing to add to it.

  5. I share your pain, I tried to do something similar in the past… but I actually stopped at the first hurdle. :D

    There are websites listing all free Epic games, just search for “epic games free games list” and you should find a few. You could have copied those from there (although you’d have had to remove those you don’t have afterwards).

    Another possibility are the credit/debit card notifications, I have a plain text summary for all purchases, so it should be possible to RegEx them to extract the data, prices and dates included. On the other hand, this way you’d be missing free games and gifts. And have games from stores that in the meanwhile have closed :/

  6. iTunes is surprisingly nice for this. You can copy a selection of songs straight into excel and get all the metadata you want (albeit with funny excel formatting, like turning song lengths into #:## am). Even better, if you want to share a playlist with someone on dropbox you can just copy and paste the songs you want into a folder. Maybe it’s an accident that they made it so user friendly (in that very particular regard, no comment on the rest of it)?

  7. That sounds miserable Joel! I use Playnite and GOG Galaxy but have never thought to try exporting lists.

    @James: Playnite is great because it also integrates your itch library but it’s a lot more fiddly to get looking ‘nice’ compared to GOG Galaxy. The export feature is very handy to know about though so thanks!

    Noise-cancelling headphones are the light! I picked up a pair of cheap Taotronics ones off Amazon a couple of years back to test on a long haul flight and I was an instant convert. Even though the active noise-cancelling wasn’t supposed to be that good, it was enough to massively reduce drone and other rumbling noises. A colleague brought her Bose Quiet Comfort headphones in once for me to compare and that was fascinating. I prefer the sound signature of the Taotronics but the Bose QC ANC is a lot better at cancelling out speech and other more treble-y sounds. Their form factor is very similar to the Bose Quiet Comfort headphones too so they’re super comfortable. Anyway, I’m glad you went down that route because that was my first thought when you lamented not having a 3.5mm jack for your earphones and being turned off by AirPods (I don’t like them for longevity and environmental reasons)! I’m a headphone guy anyway but for someone like you who commutes a lot, ANC sounds perfect. I also like that with my pair, they still have audio pass-through with a cable so when the battery eventually fails, they’ll still work as normal wired headphones.

  8. James Playnite! Thank you… that really looks interesting…!

    Matt I kind of agreed but did have thoughts. I was waiting to see if anyone bit before I said anything.

    Fede It’s just so ridiculous how hard it is to download data. If you’re an API fiend, great, more power to you. I mean, if I was really into it, I might have written a piece of code myself. But frankly, I’ve got more important pieces of personal code I want to write!

    Dan Apple in metadata access shocker! To flip around your suggestion it was an accident, I think it’s largely an accident that the others prevent you from copying and pasting. I think making a nice interface was paramount and turning off copy/paste was an part of that, reducing the potential vectors for errant interactivity…

  9. I’ll bite then. I think there are a couple of weaknesses in his argument.

    As a translator, I see only a thin slice of the industry, but the developers and publishers I indirectly worked with always got the terms right: I have never been sent store description texts for a game claiming to be a “roguelike”, they all used “roguelite”. Of course, my sample might be even more flawed than his.

    Also (with the same caveats of me seeing only a thin slice of the industry, this time as a player), in many years of playing roguelikes I’ve never played one on Steam. This may be true for many other old time players, so looking at Steamcharts is a terribly flawed methodology, perhaps? I expect roguelites to be much more common, but I wouldn’t use Steam to find out by how much.

  10. I mean, as he brought up tags, there are actually more games on Steam with the Roguelite tag (775) then there are Roguelike (614).

    Tags are user-defined, so that doesn’t exactly point to a widespread ignorance of the term among the general player populace. Frankly I’m quite a bit not-convinced?

  11. Joel: *chomp chomp*

    One thought I have is eerrrrrgh, the comments.

  12. Oh, somehow I didn’t see that other people bit too.

    What convinces me about the collapse of Roguelike vs. Roguelite is this: His distinction of roguelike vs. roguelite is nothing like the distinction I thought. Like, he says Binding of Isaac and Spelunky are roguelites, and roguelites and roguelikes both have permadeath. But I thought the big thing about roguelites is that they have meta-progression! And looking around… well seems like there’s no consensus, with a frequent idea being that they’re games that are like roguelikes, except don’t have all the same elements. And some people say those aren’t roguelikes, they’re roguelikelikes. And it all seems like a mess of duck penis to me. (Joel will explain that.)

    So! What I wanted to say was, Fede, I’m in the same situation where I’ve played lots of ROGUELIKES and never on Steam (tbf I’ve played one game for a total of two hours on Steam), but the interesting question to me is: What roguelikes are good? I’m interested in ROGUELIKES but also in roguelikes, though thinking about my experience with Spelunky and Nuclear Throne and how hard I bounced off The Binding of Isaac I may be forced to conclude that I have never once been good at a real-time permadeath game. (I should try Nuclear Throne again and maybe TBoI to see if I still hate it, though that’s very low priority.) What I would really like is something that’s like Brogue, but not exactly Brogue, and maybe has lots of extra stuff like UnBrogue, and maybe has a dungeon about half the depth, but–this is important–is as awesome as Brogue.

  13. I felt that I had to check and… I discovered that 8-9 years ago I have actually played not one, but TWO traditional roguelikes on Steam: Dungeons of Dredmor and Hack, Slash, Loot. So much for telling someone else their methodology was bad. Also, I was terrible at Hack, Slash, Loot.

    matt w mentioning UnBrogue reminds me that I miss the posts on (its author) Andrew Doull’s blog. I found it in the late 00s, while playing lots of ToME 2, Angband, etc. and he made me discover RPS, then on RPS I found Electron Dance… I guess I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t play roguelikes 15 years ago :)

  14. It depends on what you want. Do you want to have a website where you track your games across various digital storefronts plus the ability to add all your other games? And in addition to that freely track the status for these games (beaten, completed, notes for play status, etc.)? I use https://backloggery.com for that.

    But when you just want a launcher that feeds off of your various digital storefronts to provide you a uniform location to launch your games, Playnite seems cool. GOG Galaxy 2 I haven’t tried yet, because it’s still in beta. I only install finished stuff ;-)

  15. So Playnite swallowed three hours last night. This is not turning into a good week. I couldn’t get it to work at first – it just couldn’t download metadata or authenticate against Steam, EGS, etc.. It suggested an internet problem, but my firewall never asked me to allow a new program through so I was stumped. Turns out it *was* a firewall problem and I had to add two entries manually. I do not know why the firewall didn’t ask me so I didn’t believe it was a firewall issue for a long time.

    Now I have Playnite up and running, I’m not sure if I want to use it for running games or not. I got quite used to my desktop shortcuts for holding active games. Playnite can do a similar thing with categories/etc. but my desktop was organised into physical groups and Playnite doesn’t have that sort of geography, obviously. Further, my greedy metadata head is unhappy that the CSV doesn’t appear to be configurable. But we’ll see! It’s picked up everything from itch, EGS, Steam, Humble and GOG which is an incredible step forward.

    One point for DANoWAR – I wanted to avoid relying on websites in the longterm because of the lack of control over the data and the possibility they will go down at some point.

    On roguelikes

    I’ve been wrestling for some years with the fact that I see a lot of players throwing around the term “roguelike” for games that don’t meet the formal “roguelike” definition. (And I’ve been using roguelite to describe everything that doesn’t.) There is a signficiant number of players who are using roguelike in a different capacity and, at some point, it just seems silly to keep fighting a battle over language. I can insist until I’m blue in the face that if I call someone “queer” I mean they’re strange, but people aren’t going to pick up on the original association today.

    The only thing is, I feel sympathy for those roguelike enthusiasts who were using these terms in a particular way. One day, the rest of the world comes marching through, grabs the word, says it means something else – and suddenly you can’t use your own language anymore. If you’re looking for a formal roguelike, what do you search for now? I’m not about to equate these situations, but it does remind me of the anger some feel over games appropriating traditions and concepts from minorities and religions and turning them into something they’re not. And once the new idea is in the mainstream, does it necessarily overwrite the original meaning?

    (Separately: if anyone was curious my headphones are the Sony WH-1000XM3.)

    (Separately separately: I’m only going to explain the duck penis thing if they really want me to. I should have a cut-and-paste ready for this situation which often is inserted by Matt. Inserted was probably the wrong choice of word here. I should have put something else in.)

  16. I have the duck penis explanation bookmarked: It comes from here.

    I have a bit of a sympathy for roguelike enthusiasts who want a way to talk about games that are really like Rogue–I’m one–but it seems like not such an insurmountable issue. As Jeremiah said, you can call them traditional roguelikes or real roguelikes or whatever. And as he also says, people who are interested in ROGUELIKES can learn from ROGUELIKE-adjacent things. Surely, even if you’d really like to focus on the turn-based permadeath top-down non-modal games, when someone comes in about some new thing, a better approach than flaming them away is to ask “Is this a traditional roguelike?” and then peace out if the answer is “no.” Or try to hook the person who comes in talking about Slay the Spire on your ROGUELIKE.

    Or just… not be an asshole? I’m involved in the interactive fiction community and there’s this perennial thing where some people who like parser games get all het up about Twine and other choice-based things, and there just seems to be a very strong correlation between “Twine isn’t Interactive Fiction! Interactive Fiction is dying because of Twine!” and being an asshole. The discussion has got so bad we had to ban it on the forum.

    So, some sympathy for the niche people whose term got appropriated, but also, learn to roll with it, and it means your ideas are spreading and you’re winning. With a little openmindedness it can make your community stronger. This is different from the cultural appropriation thing because of, well, all the obvious ways a niche game genre is different from a marginalized culture.

    Oh I feel like we should link the post we’re talking about.

    Also this inspired me to try Spelunky again, where the roguelike influences are really super dominant, and I really cannot learn the controls at all. I accidentally dropped my whip and couldn’t remember how to pick it up again, and forget about being able to learn to use bombs. In this it is also in the tradition of traditional roguelikes.

  17. Ah, I heard good things about Sony’s ANC headphones but, alas, I wasn’t prepared to drop that much on a pair I’d be carrying around with me! I’d be terrified! Next time you’re up, I demand a listen though :-D

    I’ve pretty much avoided using ‘roguelike’ unless I’m referring to something that’s literally rogue-like, like, I dunno, Shiren or Powder (my experience of the genre is limited). But I do try and wheel out roguelite for stuff that doesn’t subscribe to the core elements of Rogue, like Dungeon of the Endless or Nuclear Throne.

    I understand where the old guard are coming from but at the same time… eh, we live in a world where ‘walking simulator’ is a literal bin to throw games in now. I just can’t take much of it seriously any more.

    My girlfriend walked in, scanned the screen and saw ‘duck penis’, then me typing frantically. Cheers!

  18. Oh Matt, your last comment about Spelunky had me chuckling. I had to share it on Twitter, sorry.

    Really I don’t have very strong feelings about the roguelike thing anymore. It used to bother me – just like the way “walking simulators” was foisted on me – but sometimes you just have to give up the fight. Not that I was really fighting but being moody in the corner of the party. I didn’t even play enough roguelikes to receive the official card of Right to Be Offended. I guess there’s always the fear that your little niche is going to get lost in the noise? But you’re a niche, so you’re already lost.

    If there’s one thing that this thread has stirred in me, it’s the strong intention to get into Cinco Paus properly instead of playing a few random games. I’ve pulled it into my new Playnite favourites list. I’m definitely going to play this. Really. For sure.

    Gregg, I had forgotten how much they cost – I have a nasty habit of putting serious money down on my listening tools and using them beyond their death.

    I have toyed with an article on gaming nomenclature for years, in which we don’t have formal definitions for a lot of stuff we discuss and so many words have different meanings for different people. But I can never get excited enough to write it.

  19. I guess I just sort of think we’re maybe looking at a trunk and a tail when we talk about this particular elephant. I agree that the war might be over in the sense that I don’t see the argument being had in most places any more, in the same way that we don’t talk about whether games are art or which one is our Citizen Kane any more. I don’t regard those questions as any more settled than they were when the arguments raged either; we didn’t so much move on as just get collectively exhausted.

    In other words, I feel like that while the war might be settled it might not be because everyone defaulted to one usage, because I’m not only seeing one usage in the wild. It’s just that the people for whom the usage bled and the people who updated their glossaries to accommodate the distinction don’t really move in the same circles.

  20. Well it looks like I am getting ROASTED. Thanks, Joel.

    Ha ha, seriously, I don’t mind knowing that I am very bad at Spelunky. I guess maybe I dropped a rope? What surely happened was that I was having trouble switching items and knowing which one I had ready (and I didn’t want to accidentally try the whip while I had the rope ready, because that wastes a rope, I think).

    Anyhow I feel like there’s a whole generation of games whose controls are beyond me. I may have mentioned how badly I did with Ocarina of Time when I borrowed my son’s 2DS, and…

    SPEAKING of my son, roguelikes, and getting roasted, while typing this comment he came down and asked to play (Un)Brogue, which we did for a few levels, and then I showed him the Twitter thread because I thought he would enjoy seeing me get roasted like that, and he asked me about Spelunky and the whip, and I fired it up to show him and FELL OFF THE TOP LEDGE IN THE TUTORIAL AND NOW I CANNOT EVEN FINISH THE TUTORIAL BECAUSE THE PART THAT TELLS YOU HOW TO OPEN THE CRATE FULL OF BOMBS THAT YOU NEED TO BLOW UP THE WALL BETWEEN YOU AND THE EXIT WAS THE PART I MISSED WHEN I FELL OFF. I only realized this after he said “You found a way to lose the tutorial.” I then played two games, in both of which I immediately blew myself up with bombs.

    …there are these things like Lugaru and They Bleed Pixels where I’m like “You want me to remember this to roll and that to jump and this for a flying jump and do that all in a difficult combat?” I just can’t, and it feels like it’s because I never had to learn to use a controller. Because I don’t think I’m totally crap at platformers and stuff–I finished the main game of Celeste without assist (yes, I took over an hour on flag 3), got through the main part of Fishbane though I’ll never beat Lonely Valley again… I know this doesn’t make me Platforming Xpert but it seems weird for me to be this thoroughly incompetent.

    Read Jeremiah’s roguelike controls post and again, yep. I just can’t pick nethack up again because of the controls. That’s one great thing about Brogue, which strips down the commands without simplifying things much, mostly by having one command for using anything non-wearable and two commands for equipping/removing anything wearable. (Though ironically, the thing Jeremiah praises it for is something I don’t use–you can use stairs just by moving on them, but in fact I almost always use the > and < keys to fast travel to them.)

    Perhaps there will be a followup about how I tried Binding of Isaac again and didn’t like it again!

    It’s good that you’re not excited about gaming nomenclature! Those discussions are cursed, I mean literally cursed, like if you touch one your soul gets sucked into it like one of Acererak’s crystals at the end of Tomb of Horrors and you can only watch helplessly as your mouth gets all shouty.

  21. Am I hallucinating or was there a discussion on this site involving game literacy and easy games vs. games for non-gamers, where I retailed my anecdote about my sister-in-law who couldn’t finish You Have To Burn The Rope? I’m absolutely positive that I went and hunted up the walkthrough, and then found the game and made one of my children play it. But I cannot find any record of a recent comment by me on this site talking about that game. I suppose it’s possible it wasn’t at this site but who else do I talk about games with? Anyway here’s that walkthrough.

  22. Sorry for the hideously late response Matt but I think this is what you might be referring to.

  23. Ah, I was thinking of something recent though, not the first (second? fifteenth?) time I told that story I’m always telling. It must not have been here. Or maybe I typed the comment out and failed to post it, which would be typical. It definitely took off from something where someone was observing that the games people recommend for non-gamers are actually games that are easy for gamers who are familiar with their conventions, but that will often be opaque to non-gamers.

    So I’ve been playing with Spelunky more and–OK, first I should say that I’m playing an old Mac port which may not be the full experience but is certainly also the only way I can play it–but I feel like I have a better grip on the controls but also why does the game have to be such a mean little asshole all the time? Like, roguelikes are by nature assholes, but Spelunky seems to go beyond. It’s like, I found a new gun! This is a happy thing to play with! Except I can’t carry anything else while I have the gun, and the first thng that happened was that I found a dark level and had to spend a bunch of time ferrying the gun around with those flares. Then the next level had a dame near the exit, and I had to drop my gun to get her, and take her to the exit, and then I wanted to get the gun again so I could have the gun for future levels, and while I was doing that (which really wasn’t very far away) the ghost showed up and went straight to the exit, and since it was between me and the exit I was dead.

    And I was like, why? Why do you give me this new thing to discover if you don’t want me to be able to use it? Why do you have a time limit when moving around is so awkward and clunky? ’cause I was just looking at that Matt/Maddy Thorson thread on small kindnesses in Celeste, and I was like, “That is a list of things that are definitely not in Spelunky.” Why is there a delay on the whip? Why do dart traps have to take away two whole hearts? Why is it so hard to aim things you throw (this is related to the complaint about the dart trap)? Why was the bow no damn use (oh, it’s because you have to hold the button to shoot it any distance, and there seems to be a bunch of other stuff in the wiki that wasn’t explained in the game).

    This has been the lament of someone who needs to git gud, but I’m almost certainly not going to, because I’m certain Spelunky is going to go away when I update my Mac. (Speaking of which: Monster Expedition is showing up on Steam as not compatible with Catalina. I guess… this may not be trivial to deal with? But oh no!) I got to the beginning of a new area once (and was immediately killed by an enemy with a new attack pattern), which is more than I ever did in Nuclear Throne. But I can’t say that Nuclear Throne or Probability 0 aren’t fast-moving.

  24. Also, man, stay safe. We’re just keeping the kids home completely even though our schools haven’t been officially closed yet. My daughter has a cough right now and I’d guess it’s a cold but who knows? Don’t want to spread it to vulnerable people. And my son had a D&D session which we were unsure about, but we wanted to let him go because he was going to be really unhappy about missing it and may already be a little unhappy because he’s being kept away from his friends, and as he was walking out the door we got a text that one of the kids has a fever and it’s off. My university went to all-distance education after spring break which is going to be a… challenge. Feeling just an incredible sense of ill omen about how ridiculously nonchalant our respective national governments are being about this.

    Also something went twang in my back yesterday when I bent down to put an LP on the turntable, and now it’s a bit challenging to get up out of this chair. That might help with the social distancing.

  25. I’ve studied only how to model this stuff from a mathematical point of view and know nothing else, but I approved of closing almost everything to stop the spread of the infection. I think Joel has to commute by rail? I have to admit I wouldn’t fancy it, the sooner he can work from home the better.

    Anyway, we (Italy) reacted slowly too and could have done so much better, if it is of any comfort…
    Now we’re going from “the night must pass” to the point when we start seeing the lights on the horizon. I wonder what will happen after the cases go down here / in mainland EU if the UK or someone else decides to pursue the herd immunity strategy. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

    In the meanwhile, you all know the drill: wash your hands, try to avoid contact, stay in. And good luck!

  26. @matt w, for what it’s worth, I never gelled with Spelunky or Binding of Isaac (or Don’t Starve for that matter). Spelunky felt clunky for the kind of game it is, Isaac felt like a crapshoot, figuratively and literally (I’m spoilt by things like Nuclear Throne and Assault Android Cactus with twin-stick shooting), and Don’t Starve I rarely died of starvation, mostly insanity which I never found a way of staving off. I know now what I’m supposed to do there, but only because people told me, not because I worked it out in-game. I’m all for discovery and deduction but it felt too opaque for such an early obstacle and basic/fundamental aspect of the game.

  27. Yeah, I feel like I have a rapid-onset love-hate relation with Spelunky–a huge part of it is how clunky the inventory manipulation is. Just had my first controls-based death for a while when I grabbed a bomb instead of a rope and then armed it instead of pressing C to switch to the rope, but there’s also that weapons completely preclude you from using other things instead of going into the rotation.

    I don’t have a love-hate relation with Binding of Isaac at all though, I just don’t like it. I think I’ve already talked about how the complete break between navigation and combat (as far as I know) is far from what I like in roguelikes. I just don’t enjoy the moving’n’shooting, and there’s very little gameplay before the first boss battle which I never survive. At least in Nuclear Throne, though I always get owned by the first boss if I even get there, there’s more stuff to do before then.

    Fede, best of luck, I hope the light really is dawning for Italy. The US just seems like it’s barreling straight toward the worst-case outcome for you. At least my state is officially closing the schools starting Wednesday. That seems like when people start taking things seriously.

  28. Matt, this is all my fault. Your comment on the post Joel linked was in fact quite recent. You must’ve gotten a notification of a follow-up comment by email when I posted on his 2 year-old Edith Finch post after finally playing through it myself. No one is going crazy, I’m just not following good forum etiquette by playing the thread necro game.

    Re Spelunky: I have to ask, are you playing spelunky HD (on steam, console, or handheld), or spelunky classic (probably free, not in a launcher)? Your comment about a bow makes me think you’re playing the latter. That game is notoriously even less forgiving and more finicky. I would definitely recommend the version of Spelunky you get on steam. Except, of course, it sounds like you don’t actually like it much, so maybe the graphics and controls tune-ups won’t really make a difference.

    I’ve actually been playing it often myself lately because I started listening to the Spelunky Showlike podcast (it was originally about spelunky, but after about 10 episodes it became just generally about game design). One thing that they’re big about is the idea of playing just the daily run because it sort of focuses you and makes the game both more and less frustrating but definitely more engaging. That isn’t how I played it back in the day (when I used to beat hell semi-regularly – now in several weeks of playing I’ve only gotten there once or twice!) and it might not be the best way to learn the game. But once you’re feeling semi-proficient (e.g., getting to the jungle at least 15% of the time), I’d recommend seeing if a one-and-done daily ritual makes it a little more fun.

    On a related note, am I the only one here who likes Spelunky? It’s frustrating, finicky, and all the other things people say about it, but once you’re fluent it’s just turns into a great mix of fast & slow problem solving, risk & reward balancing, and goofy exploits. I remember enjoying Binding of Isaac pretty well back when it came out, but I’ve had little to no urge to delve back into the expansion or remake, while Spelunky was very easy to get back into.

    And it sounds like I should try Nuclear Throne again. Or maybe Enter the Gungeon? My spring break just got extended by a week so I can figure out how to put my classes online, but maybe that really means it’s roguelike time!

  29. Oh there it is! Necro’ing is all good fun, and in fact Joel linked to a seven-year-old post of mine, so thank you for helping me find it! Probably saw your comment in the recent comments sidebar.

    I am playing a Macintosh port (by Leon Arnott) of Spelunky Classic, which I am pretty sure is the only version of Spelunky that I can play on a Macintosh without trying to do something goofy with Wine. I do enjoy it somewhat and feel like I might enjoy it more if it were more forgiving and less finicky! (Though part of my enjoyment is just masochistic awe at how cruel it is.) But it looks like I will not be able to play it, unless I somehow free my mind from the Steve Jobs/Tim Cook semi-walled garden, or until it gets so ancient that it’s in emulators for all platforms. I do see how it might be more fun once you’re more fluent but I will never be fluent (partly because this is almost certainly a 32-bit app and when I imminently trade my Mac in, I won’t be able to use 32-bit apps anymore).

  30. The first delight of old Spelunky is the myriad ways in which the game will conspire to kill you and/or you will conspire to kill yourself. It’s a game of hard decisions, hard consequences and a ticking clock.

    The second delight of old Spelunky is discovering that by slowly getti- ahem, obtaining mastery, the unfeeling chaos of the game can actually be overcome. Mileage may vary in all things of course. But I am bad at games, like, catastrophically bad, and I was eventually able to see the ending sequence.

  31. To expand: I get that generally, challenging criticism of clunky controls is a bit perverse and flirting with contrariness. Good kinaesthetics spark joy (shudder) and good control schemes enhance intentionality and agency. None of that is to be scoffed at.

    But without launching into an impassioned defence of Resident Evil’s tank controls, Spelunky is a game about risk management and planning against the clock. The difficulty of execution and the possibility of slips, fumbles and other control-related snafus has to be factored into every equation. A more complicated plan carries a greater risk – something that might be generally true in games but becomes central to decision making in Spelunky.

    I don’t say this to lionise difficulty that others might consider unfair, cheap or just generally flawed. But for me, when I began to think of it in this way, it made the game click. You’re a sort of one-man spelunking SWAT team, descending into the unknown, managing a haphazard and adhoc decision-making stack of planning, action and reaction, trying at all balance the risk of (often unforeseen) disaster against the reward of whatever resources you can snatch. It’s a game where you have to be prepared to push your luck but also remind yourself to stop and assess every situation. It’s a tightrope.


Leave a comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

No trackbacks yet.